Dear Fellow Ministers:

   Greetings again from Pasadena! It is good to be back and a wonderful Passover season was experienced in nearly all areas of God's Church around the world. Several of us from Headquarters were privileged to fly out and visit some of the major church areas during this time.

   My wife and I flew to Cincinnati where I spoke before 3,000 people assembled in Cincinnati's fine old Music Hall on the first holy day. had enjoyable dinners and meetings with the area ministers and the brethren. Then we flew on to New York to a most enjoyable church social — beginning the very night we arrived. Again, I held a couple of meetings with the area ministers and was able to speak twice to about 2,200 brethren on the final holy day. I won't try to describe the trips of all the other men, but most of them report growth and enthusiasm in the areas they visited — for which we were all most thankful. Attendance and offerings were up at nearly all Passover sites, and God's Work continues to grow in spite of the problems. A number of areas reported a significant increase in the number of baptisms this year just before Passover. Apparently, our current trial has caused quite a number of people to "commit" themselves to God's Work and get off the fence.

   One unhappy note was the situation in Hawaii. We had to switch our previously announced plans and send Mr. Dennis Luker to Hawaii because our minister there, John Ouvrier, had been carefully "programming" our brethren against God's Work and against His apostle, Mr. Armstrong. In spite of Dennis' best efforts, it looks like about 2/3 of the Honolulu church has defected to John Ouvrier and his disloyal, heinous, backstabbing tactics.

   It is my sad duty, therefore, to announce that John Ouvrier is out of God's ministry and has been officially disfellowshipped from God's Church. I am here marking him as one who has caused GREAT division and confusion in the area of Christ's ministry over which he was responsible. I feel it is necessary to mark him here so that all of you ministers can warn any of your brethren going to and from Hawaii about this situation. For the next several weeks, Mr. Wilbur Berg, one of our most senior, loyal and tried and tested ministers is going to fill in until we find a permanent minister for Hawaii. Meanwhile, if any of you know of one of our outstanding elders who could partially support himself and still serve the church over there as Tommy Blackwell did, please let us know immediately and we will certainly consider any offers, counsel or advice from any of you.

   Another sad situation that has just come up is that of Mr. Richard Prince — former pastor of our church in St. Joseph, Missouri. Mr. Prince "vomited" on the St. Joseph Church a week ago Sabbath — spilling out to Christ's little ones" all of his frustrations, misunderstandings, and personal animosities about Mr. Armstrong and those assisting him and his upsets over all manner of programs and policies with which he personally disagreed. The area coordinator, Mr. Ray Wooten, reports that Mr. Prince also has "programmed" the church so that we may lose quite a number of brethren from the St. Joseph Church.

   Therefore, it is my sad duty also to mark Mr. Richard Prince as one who has been aggressively causing DIVISION and great hurt in God's Church. I have had to ex-communicate him from the body of Christ for his reprehensible conduct and he, too, must be avoided by those who are loyal to Jesus Christ.

   This is very, very sad on the one hand, and absolutely reprehensible on the other that one of Christ's so-called "servants" would take unto himself the responsibility to confuse and upset, the spiritual sheep who nearly always remain loyal when a LOYAL minister is in their midst!

   Because of these continuing problems, 1 feel it important to remind us of God's command in the New Testament: "NOW I beseech you, brethren, mask them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Rom. 16:17-18). Notice that it says to mark or "point out" those who are causing DIVISIONS. We NUST obey this command, fellows! If we don't, even GREATER divisions and offenses will follow in their wake. Also, it is interesting that God's inspired word states "that by good words and fair speeches" these oily deceivers try to upset the simple little ones and turn them aside from the one Work, and the one Apostle, the living Jesus Christ has been using now for over 45 years!

   Yes, we do need to have LOVE. But sometimes, the kindest thing you can do to a rebellious child is to forcefully SPANK him and send him into the back room for awhile — perhaps missing his dinner. In like manner, we must forcefully DEAL with these spiritual rebels for their own good, ultimately, as well as the more immediate good of other brethren whom they would deceive.

   So, fellows, be forceful and enthusiastic in your loyalty to Mr. Armstrong and to the Work God is STILL using to preach this gospel around the face of this entire world!

   By way of encouragement in that regard, I was just given a report from our Bonn, Germany office. It relates that the total attendance at the Days of unleavened Bread in Germany was well over 700. The offering was 9.3% above last year. The mail income for March was 30% above last year! And the year-to-date increase in income now stands at 15%.

   Then, just as I was starting to write this, Mr. Dean Wilson called in from Australia where he reports that everything is very sound and solid in God's Work down there with continuing growth and unity. They had good increases in Passover attendance and the offerings were up 6% over last year.

   By way of encouragement, let me also say that I know that the VAST MAJORITY of all you ministers are "rock solid" behind Mr. Armstrong and God's Work. Those of us who sincerely believe what God has revealed through Mr. Armstrong, who teach the truth faithfully, and who honor God's government and his Church need have no fears of being "marked," excommunicated or harshly dealt with by the living Jesus Christ through His Church. As long as we are sincerely faithful and trying, we can only Look forward to BLESSINGS in the end. As the apostle Peter was inspired to state: "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you (I Pet. 5:10-11). And I am sure we can all say "Amen" to that! so "hang in there" and we will write to you again or hear from you soon.

With Christian love,
Roderick C. Merddith

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Pastor General's ReportApril 23, 1979Vol 3 No. 14