"Well Done, Good and Faithful Servants!"
Fellow Ministers, Satan tried again — God's Church has been through troublous times these past few months — but the Head of God's Church, Jesus Christ, was interceding for us — and thanks largely to you ministers, the Church has come through stronger than ever!
I simply cannot find words to adequately express my THANKS and GRATITUDE and LOVE for the LOYALTY of you ministers standing staunchly and unitedly behind me, behind the living Christ, and behind the GREAT MAJESTIC GOD OUR FATHER!
We have just had a splendid and successful meeting of the area coordinators. Reports from them show that God's Church — His one and only Church — has weathered this latest storm and now presses on with renewed vigor to finish the GREAT COMMISSION.
All indication confirms this. The Work's income holds steadily with a slight increase. The mail response confirms it. The atmosphere at Headquarters has taken on a "NEW LOOK" — it seems everyone is smiling — there is TOGETHERNESS, peace and harmony. Sometimes the barber shop is a reflector of campus atmosphere. The campus barber told me that he, too, notices the happy change — all seem to be looking forward to a leap ahead in God's Work.
Let me give you just a few brief excerpts from State-of-the-Work reports from scattered areas.
From the populous New York area Mr. Elbert Atlas reports: "There are no indications that the difficulties we have been experiencing during the last few months have adversely affected Church attendance. Attendance figures for the area" [New York State, New England states, Delaware, New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania] "are either holding steady or are slightly up. The brethren then ...are remaining steadfast and stable. The fine manner in which the ministry in this area has responded to your leadership has resulted in the high degree of stability and unity. I feel the men have been doing an excellent job in shepherding their flocks during these traumatic and troublesome times.
"To the best of my knowledge only three members have left the Church... that is three out of 5,600. One lives in the New York City area, and the others — a man and his wife — live in New Jersey. Press releases to 5 or 6 newspapers announced the time and place of a meeting... in Clark, New Jersey, two Sabbaths ago. Letters were also sent to members whose addresses he had, encouraging them to attend...a grand total of 6 or 8 people showed up. Only one was a member...not yet identified.
"Mr. Armstrong, because you are the head of this Work under Christ, the ministry looks to you for direction, guidance and correction. But you are also our "Father in Christ," ...I can say as your representative in this area, the ministers are doing highly commendable jobs in shepherding the flocks over which Christ through you made them overseers."
From the West Coast Sacramento area, Mr. Norman Smith reports: "The ministry and the people are committed to keeping the body of Jesus Christ working together as one unit. There have been a few families that have departed in the past few months, but generally speaking, it has been only about one family per church or less. The ministry believes in the Government of God and is remaining loyal to the offices God has established."
From the Cleveland area: Mr. Guy Englebart reports: "Mr. Armstrong, the churches here are basically very stable. The ministers and brethren are behind you 100% as Christ leads you in accomplishing the Work of God in these last days. I know of no one here who has left God's Church and is following Mr. Ted Armstrong. Even though the churches are basically stable, ...some ...understood you to say in your letter that we should not pray for Garner Ted Armstrong's repentance and return to God's Work. Many are confused as to why you said this."
Let me interrupt Mr. Englebart's report here to say that I'm sure I never said that! I myself pray for him and his restoration daily. What I did write was that I had been praying earnestly for him, and a real repentance, ever since 1971. In the letter to the membership I did add a quotation from Hebrews 6:4-6 — that some refuse to repent, but I'm sure I indicated how I hoped desperately that he would. I still do, and ask all to do the same. Mr. Englebart continues, "Let me assure you, Mr. Armstrong, that the ministers here are solidly behind you and fully loyal to you as you accomplish God's Work. The attitude and the feeling of the ministry and brethren is to forget the past and let's get on with accomplishing the Great Commission... The most encouraging thing for the brethren right now would be for them to continue to see God's Work forging ahead and dynamically accomplishing the commission Christ has given to the Church."
The report from Mr. Dennis Pyle, Kansas area: "Mr. Armstrong, all of us in the ministry are behind you. We are supportive and loyal to you and the Work of God. We want to preach the truth of God as you instruct us based on God's Word. I want you to know that the ministry daily and zealously supports you and God's Church. They earnestly need your trust, your confidence, your support, and your leadership."
Fellow ministers, you certainly have my confidence, trust and support — and as I said above, I cannot find words to properly express my GRATITUDE, and LOVE for you in your loyalty and faithfulness, especially during the recent few traumatic months. And I am now working some 14 or more hours daily to try to give you the leadership under Christ that you need. Your diligence, loyalty and faithfulness, coupled with the leadership that the living Christ enables me to give you — THAT IS THE TEAMWORK AND UNITY, under Christ's guidance, inspiration and power that has continued to pull God's Church through all attacks by Satan. I do not blame humans for the trauma from which Christ has delivered us. I attribute it to Satan, "for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [wicked spirits] in high places" (Eph. 6:12).
I pray for you daily and I still pray for my son daily whom I love deeply. Christ, our Head, is daily interceding for us on God's throne, and will in His way bring us all in the UNITY OF THE FAITH. I remember that my mother's favorite Bible passage was, "Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity" (Psalms 133:1).