Dear Fellow Ministers:
Greetings from rainy Pasadena! Even though the sun is gone, I am enjoying our "English weather" as it still brings us plenty of fresh air.
My wife and I just returned from a most enjoyable and profitable visit to the San Francisco area. It was good to be there again, speak to the church, attend a church social, and have a fine dinner and long visit with Messrs. Carlton Smith and Dennis Adams and their wives. They are doing a fine job, but I hope to see them and all of you occasionally to renew or deepen our acquaintances and our capacity to know, to understand, to love, and to be able to work together more effectively.
Things are quieting down around headquarters the past few days, and we hope and pray that the receivership will be lifted soon. Our P.A.D. "team" is beginning to function well — although some are still in the process of moving out here — and we have all been under a certain strain because of the traumatic problems of last month as well as the recent budget cuts that had to be made.
I want to publicly thank Messrs. Sherwin McMichael, Jim Thornhill and Ted Herlofson and their respective staffs for the fine work they did in helping us trim our overall division budget. I certainly do appreciate their cooperation, yet hope that we can always retain all the necessary core elements of each of these vital programs.
Perhaps it would be helpful for all of you in the ministry around the world to realize that Mr. Raymond McNair, Mr. Dennis Luker and I — and others on our team — have regular phone conversations and/or meetings with Mr. Herbert Armstrong. Some ill-conceived rumors are still circulating implying that we are in some way "cut off" from the chief — which is simply not so! I, personally, regularly call Mr. Armstrong at least two to four times a week for extended conversations about the field ministry, the Work in general, and the state of the universe! To a lesser extent, perhaps, Messrs. McNair, Luker, and others do the same. And we will be flying over to Tucson to see Mr. Armstrong personally every month or two as well.
Our team of dedicated senior ministers are trying, prayerfully and with God's help, to restore the doctrines, the way of life and the approach to the Bible that Mr. Herbert Armstrong wants throughout this entire Church, worldwide. As most of you realize, a sizeable minority of God's ministers were affected by the liberalism that began to be rampant in our theological approaches and in our approach to administration during the past few years. However, only a small number have been deeply affected and "bitten" by these wrong approaches, and we are trying to work with these men in deciding their futures in the most fair and equitable way we possibly can. We do care for and want to help these men. But we also MUST have great concern for the entire flock of God and for the "sheep" Christ has put under our charge. So for those who in their hearts do NOT truly believe in and follow the approach and the way of life that Mr. Armstrong has taught for so many years, the best and most honest course may be choosing the path of resignation or going non-career. We are trying to assist in this and our only motive and approach in this vital matter is the absolute necessity of recapturing the purity and unity of doctrine and approach we used to enjoy so much.
We have spent countless hours with some of these men in helping them work out these problems. In a couple of cases, most of an entire day was spent by me and one or two others in counseling and encouraging some of our senior men involved in traumas of this sort. They are in my thoughts and prayers constantly.
On the other hand, a few are spreading "sour grapes" stories about how we don't "like" them or are not being "fair" with them and this type of thing. Fellows, this misses the entire point of Mr. Armstrong's direct instruction to me and the P.A.D. team to get God's Church unified again in doctrine, approach and administration. And it certainly misses· the deep concern I say before God we have for these men — most of whom I have personally taught, worked with, and regarded as friends and brothers in Christ for many, many years.
For the most part, however, the above situation has worked out pleasantly and well, and some of the men carne to us without any prompting whatsoever and suggested that they would like to go non-career. In this capacity they will still be able to help out from time to time and may yet be used full-time in the future as their own desires and the needs of God's Work dictate.
Among those volunteering to go non-career are Mr. Jack Pyle, who, after setting up an appointment, simply walked into my living room after the Tucson conference and said to Mr. McMichael and me: "Mr. Meredith, my wife and I came in this morning to talk about going non-career." After discussing this matter with them for about an hour or more, we all agreed that this was the best course and tried to work out the details in the most equitable manner possible. Another who volunteered to go non-career is Mr. Wayne Freeman — who did this in an extended conversation with Mr. Dennis Luker. Other men now going non-career include Mr. George Panteleef, Mr. Elliott Hurwitt, Mr. Dave Odar, Mr. Ivan Sell and Mr. Charles Dickerson. Although he has assured me there is no hurry, Mr. Reg Platt plans to go non-career later this spring as also does Mr. Bruce Anderson. Mr. Dave Robinson will either come in on sabbatical or go non-career, and I expect to hear from him within a few days on this matter. Messrs. Herbert Magoon and Bob Hoops have simply quit the ministry. Mr. Ledru Woodbury had to be terminated. Larry Smith was terminated under the previous administration. This represents the entire list of those changing their ministerial status thus far. We are in the process of working with a half dozen or so others in similar circumstances and, again, hope that it may be done as fairly and equitably as possible at this time. There are definitely not "dozens" on some kind of "hit list" which has been rumored about among those who like to feed upon these types of stories.
We are having our problems, fellows, but they are nowhere near as traumatic in regard to losing ministers or members as the problems we faced in 1974. So let me repeat from last time — the overwhelming majority of God's ministers and people remain strong and committed to helping fulfill the Great Commission God has revealed to Mr. Armstrong.
In an entirely different vein from the above, I want to announce that the area coordinators will occasionally be rotated or brought in for a sabbatical before going back to the field in the same or a similar function. In keeping with this, Mr. Dennis Pyle will be corning in this summer to begin a sabbatical and will be replaced as area coordinator for the Kansas City area by Mr. Ray Wooten. I hope all of you will give Mr. Wooten your full cooperation and support.
By some changing and rotating of assignments, we hope to give more of you the opportunity for new challenges, advancement and growth. So all of you fellows be alert and ready to respond to the opportunities for growth and perfection put before each of you by the Living Christ through His Church.
Let's all catch the vision of striving for excellence in doctrine, our ministry and our personal character. As ministers of the Living God, we need to begin to study the Bible on our knees as never before, to pray our hearts out to our Rock and our Redeemer, and to yield ourselves to the one who gives us life and breath as perhaps we have never done before! In this way, and this way only, we will be able to finish the Work Christ has given us with the POWER of His Spirit — the only power truly capable of doing the job.
So please do this, fellows! And pray fervently for Mr. Armstrong, for all of us here on the headquarter's team, and for one another in God's Work and Church scattered all around this world. We do need one another's love, encouragement, and prayers. So remember us, let us hear from you, and keep up the good work the vast majority of you are doing.
With Christian love,
Roderick C. Meredith
P.S. Mr. Bob Morton just called in from New Zealand. He reports a 33 1/3% increase in this January's income over last January, and that growth continues there in all phases of the Work. How's that for progress?!