Analyses Today's News, with the Prophesies of THE WORLD TOMORROW
Box 111, Pasadena, California
Publishing: The PLAIN TRUTH a Magazine of UNDERSTANDING
September 9th, 1953
Dear Brethren and Co-Workers in Christ:
This is a last-minute letter of URGENCY about the FESTIVAL OF TABERNACLES.
Letters are pouring in, asking many questions. I will try to answer every question so far as possible, but first, news about the building of the Tabernacle and the entire work.
Mr. Roy Hammer, his helpers and the contractor and his crew are doing all they can to get the Tabernacle far enough along so we can hold services during the Feast of Tabernacles. The large auditorium is now TWICE as large as it was for Passover and Pentecost festivals, and they are now putting up the room to the rear of the auditorium which will serve as dining room at festivals, and as school and local church room the rest of the year. The large lounge room at the front will not be started until after the fall Festival. The entire building will be totally unfinished as it was last spring — but there will be enough more of it to take care of the larger attendance.
But, special offerings for the building of the Tabernacle have come in so small we have not been able to even start to erect the housing districts of little booths. We are still going to TRY to get one or more of these sleeping booths built just to show those coming what is planned for the future. We will lost some $12,000 or more, which now will have to be spent by our people at motels, cabins, and hotels, which could have been paid in to us to help pay for the building of our own housing districts, IF we had had funds to finance the building of these districts. The contractor could have put on a large crew and could have built it all in time, had we had sufficient funds. As it is, he has had to work a small crew — but they are doing their very best to at least get the big Tabernacle far enough along to hold services.
So, as it now is, we shall have to just rough it — make out the best we can for this Festival, and look forward to having it completed by another year. "Rome wasn't built in a day," they say. It will take more TIME to finish God's beautiful Tabernacle and sleeping booths for His Festivals — but by faith we know it will be finished in His due time.
Several are coming with house trailers or tents. We are making frantic efforts to provide electricity for trailer houses, and toilet and sanitary facilities enough for a limited number — but if too many try to camp on the grounds, there will not be enough wash, shower, and toilet facilities. It would cost more than $50,000 just to provide sanitary plumbing facilities alone, for all the people we expect at this great Festival in two weeks. We may be able to provide enough for some 50 or 60 people — so, as instructed below, GET IN A RESERVATION if you expect to camp in a tent or bring a trailer-house. DO NOT EXPECT TO CAMP ON THE GROUNDS UNLESS YOU FIRST GET A RESERVATION. We are doing our level best to take care of as many as possible.
Now listen, brethren! Mr. Roy Hammer just called me and told me we absolutely HAVE to raise and send over at least $10,000 more IN THE NEXT WEEK, or the contractor cannot have even the big Tabernacle building far enough along for this Festival!
The Festival is just TWO WEEKS AWAY — we are UNDER PRESSURE — it is now the FINAL, URGENT CRISIS — We simply HAVE to raise this money! I know many of you have done almost more than you could. But somehow we now simply MUST make one last MIGHTY SACRIFICE to put this over the top. Some whom I feel sure would have sent in two or three thousand dollars or more each have had reverses and had their incomes cut in two this year, and simply could not do it. IS THERE NOT SOMEONE ELSE WHO COULD PUT IN A REALLY BIG SUM — one, two, or five thousand dollars? It is now a dire need. GOD WILL BLESS YOU for your sacrifice and generosity. And ALL THE REST OF YOU — send in a SHOWER of offerings — if only one or two dollars, or ten or thirty or a hundred — just whatever you are able. Every single dollar counts BIG just now. Single dollars alone would build it IF THERE WERE ENOUGH OF THEM. Don't think any amount is too small — SEND IT. But if you can send more, do so!
Many hundreds of GOD'S PEOPLE are now making last-minute plans to attend this greatest Festival of Tabernacles since the days of the early Apostles!
Yes, THINK OF IT! This will be the greatest Festival of Tabernacles since the early Church in the days of the Apostles! Every real child of God — every member of HIS Church — will want to be sure to be there! Enthusiasm is already generating for it! This, too, will be the first one where we will have a number of ordained ministers — elders who are evangelists and pastors in God's Church. GOD'S CHURCH IS FAST GROWING IN THESE VERY LAST DAYS!
Now to try to answer your questions:
First, the DATES: Beginning after sunset, Wednesday evening, September 23rd, lasting until sunset Thursday evening, October 1st.
The PLACE: The new Radio Church of God TABERNACLE being built 8 miles west of Gladewater, Texas, and 2 miles east of Big Sandy, Texas, and about 105 miles east of Dallas, on Highway #80. Drive in our own private road, at the sign: "PRIVATE GROUNDS — RADIO CHURCH OF GOD TABERNACLE," beside "Tuck's Cafe" and cabins at this point on Highway #80.
RESERVATIONS: We have been unable to get our housing districts built in time for this Festival, and therefore we are not taking reservations this year. Nearly everybody will have to find their own reservations at cabins, auto courts or motels along the highway, or at hotels in Longview (20 miles away) or the hotel in Big Sandy or hotel or cabins at Gilmer, 15 miles north, or at Tyler, 30 miles south. All of the cabins on the highway at the entrance to our grounds are already reserved, and all the rooms at the Resmore Court in Gladewater are already reserved. It may be very difficult for many to find vacancies, since we expect between 700 and 1,000 people. I would advise that you write, telegraph, or telephone some motel or auto court between the Tabernacle and Long- view immediately for reservations, because if you wait until you arrive on the afternoon of the 23rd, you may have to hunt a long time and drive many miles before you find a vacancy — but I am sure that everyone will be able to find a place to stay, provided you arrive in the early afternoon and keep driving until you find a place. If you wish to wire or write ahead for reservation, go to some of the filling stations in your neighborhood and ask for their motor court directories for Highway $80 in Texas. I am sure many of the oil companies publish these directories — and if not, they can tell you where to get one. Do not write to us or the Hammers for auto court reservations.
THOSE WITHOUT CARS: If you are coming by train or by bus, and will be afoot without a car after you arrive, BE SURE to write a letter or post card advising us of this, and telling how many in your party. Send this letter to The RADIO CHURCH OF GOD, Post Office Box #453, Gladewater, Texas. We are going to make every effort to provide some kind of make-shift housing on the Tabernacle grounds for those who do not have cars. It may be a tent, or a trailer-house — whatever we are able to get — and I cannot promise you we will be able to get anything at all, but Mr. Roy Hammer and his son Buck Hammer are going to try. Even if you are coming with- out a car, I still advise telephoning long distance or telegraphing to a motel or a hotel for a reservation, in order to be SURE of a place to stay at night. We will try to provide regular bus service of our own between the Tabernacle grounds and Longview, and also between the Tabernacle grounds and Big Sandy. CAUTION: Do not depend on finding housing on the Tabernacle grounds — we will do our best to provide something, but can not promise anything, and at best will be able to provide housing for ONLY A FEW. We will just have to rough it the best way we can this year, and without grumbling.
COST OF TRANSPORTATION: Some have written to ask us this question. Go to your local bus depot, or railroad depot ticket office, and ask them to provide you with this information. Or, if you are driving, you can figure for yourself what it will cost you. We have no way of figuring this for you. As to cost of motels or auto courts, we cannot quote figures. There are some very deluxe motels on both sides of Longview on Highway #80, and two or three down at Tyler, about 30 miles south. These cost more of course. Also there are cheaper cabins up and down the highway — not nearly so nice, of course, — and others in between — all prices, depending on how modern and nice they are.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO ATTEND? As stated above, we cannot tell you this. It depends on how good a motel you get. I might mention that generally I have found that the best and highest priced motels fill up first, and if you have to take what's left it is most likely to be the lower priced cabins. We will serve three meals a day at the tabernacle, on a bare cost basis, the same as last year — $2 per day per person for adults; children age six to twelve, $1 per day per person; children under 6, no charge.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO CANNOT AFFORD TO COME? Some have written: "We can get there, but you'll have to give us money to pay our way back home." THERE IS NO FUND AT PRESENT FOR THIS. All I can say is, DO NOT COME expecting us to be able to give you money to get home on. You may have to WALK! If you have not been obeying God in saving a second tithe of all your income to pay your own expenses, you should not expect others to pay your expenses in addition to their own. If you have saved your second tithe and it is not enough, then do as Rod Meredith directed in his article on the subject — save this second tithe and stay home this year and keep on saving it another year and then you can come next year. There are already a certain number whose cases we are familiar with, whom we shall try to help this year because they are deserving, but their need is already far beyond what we have to help them. In fact, we have nothing so far toward this purchase, as I shall state below. We do want to help all we can who are worthy of help — God's true people have always done this — but we do not feel this help can be given without discretion, or to those who are not trying to help themselves by saving their second tithe and faithfully paying God's first tithe into His work, no matter how small. There are more whom we already KNOW to be worthy of this help than we are able to help — so I must repeat — nobody should come with the idea that they will expect return fare home to be given them. This could lead to an abuse that is injurious to those who do it and unjust to those who sacrifice to help them.
SEND IN YOUR SURPLUS SECOND TITHE: As the original Church of God did, those who have more than they need do turn in this surplus from their second tithe into a special fund for helping those who do not have enough. PLEASE RUSH all these special offerings, as we already have the largest list of any previous year of those needing, and deserving of, this help. Those who have more than they need thus share with those who lack. As stated above, we cannot promise to help more than those already known and approved for this help. But the need is really great this year — we need many hundred dollars in this fund. Heretofore Mrs. Armstrong has handled this fund. We have not had other ordained ministers beside myself in former years. Now, however, since we do have ordained ministers, and since the early disciples gave their surplus funds to the apostles for distribution, I have appointed Elder Rod Meredith to handle this fund. Address him at 182 So. Orange Grove Avenue, Pasadena, Calif., and he will handle it honestly and in business-like manner, but those receiving it will not know who gave it, and those giving it will not know the names of those receiving it.
ABOUT BRINGING TENTS OR TRAILER HOUSES: We will try to set up arrangements so that you may pitch your own tent on the grounds, or bring your trailer house. We will try to provide electricity for trailer houses, and limited toilet and shower bath facilities, but only enough for a small portion of these attending.
If you expect to bring a trailer house or tent, write ahead immediately for RESERVATION — address Radio Church of God, Box 453, Gladewater, Texas. DO NOT send this reservation to Pasadena. In this case, bring along everything you shall need for camping or living in your trailer.
ATTENDANCE OF NON-MEMBERS: First, DO NOT bring visitors whom you HOPE to get interested or hope to get converted. This is NOT an evangelistic service preaching the Gospel to THE WORLD — it is a Festival God commands for HIS PEOPLE, — already converted, and already HIS people — to GO AWAY from the world, and live together for eight days as a foretaste of the JOYS of the Kingdom of God, which it pictures to us. In the Kingdom of God there will be ONLY the children of God, then immortal and divine. In this Festival there should be ONLY those who are begotten children of God. Of course repentant believers, not yet baptized, but coming to be baptized during the festival, should by all means come. MANY will be baptized at this Festival. If there is some other member of your own family who is NOT converted or in sympathy with this festival or God's truth as it is proclaimed on the WORLD TOMORROW or in The PLAIN TRUTH, that member should not be brought to this festival — and harm has come, and reflection been cast of God's Church in past years because this very condition was not observed. This should not hurt anyone's feelings, and will not of any converted person — it is GOD'S way, not ours — and we must follow the ways of GOD. Some have written to ask, what about people who send their tithe money regularly to the Radio Church of God, who support this work, and yet are members of other churches? Surely the HEARTS of such people must be in God's work and in His true Church, even though they have not yet taken their membership out of a sectarian denomination of this world, or else their TREASURE would not be in this work. If their HEARTS are truly in this work of GOD, and God has opened their minds to see that they should keep His holydays, and they are in accord with THE TRUTH as God proclaims it thru us, then certainly they ought to COME, and are most welcome. But, on the other hand, we should all realize, of course, that tithes paid or offerings given into God's work does not buy either one's salvation, or his rights or privileges of fellowship with God's people. These are FREE, to those whose hearts are right with God and with His Church and His work.
EATING AT RESTAURANTS: As stated above, all meals will be served, three times a day, at the Tabernacle. Yet some may eat an occasional meal or snack in a restaurant. At the spring Festival, some restaurant owners complained to us that some of our people came in and told them what they ought to eat and serve, and expected them to provide special whole wheat bread and other things. This only caused restaurant owners to ask, "What kind of a strange crack-pot religion do you have, anyway — going around telling everyone what they ought to eat!" This only casts a stumbling block in the way of others. OUR PEOPLE SHOULD USE MORE WISDOM. We know, of course, that restaurants do not serve real health food — but it is not our calling to reform them. If you do go to a restaurant, order the best you can from what you find on the menu, and say nothing. We want FRIENDS, not enemies. We will be persecuted enough without asking for it.
FINALLY: Remember, now, the URGENT CRISIS upon us. We must raise $10,000 in seven days, two or three of which will pass before you receive this letter. SEND ALL YOU CAN — nothing too small, nothing too large — IN ENCLOSED ENVELOPE BY RETURN AIR-MAIL.
Let EVERYONE rally to this great cause. We can do it if EVERYONE will do the best he can.
AND KEEP REGULAR TITHES AND OFFERINGS COMING! As I write this, it is hanging in the balance whether we shall be on XEG at all this fall and winter. PRAY FOR IT, earnestly, everybody! Depending upon acceptance at New York, the AMERICAN BROADCASTING COMPANY has opened to us a half hour, 5 to 5:30 Sunday evenings for the entire 16 stations of the California net-work on ABC — that's California only. Time has been cleared on KVOD, Denver, and KGER, Los Angeles. Broadcast times to be announced later. TWO broad- casts now on Radio LUXEMBOURG to all Europe and Britain. PRAY for GOD'S WORK AS NEVER BEFORE. RUSH THE OFFERING!