Rod Matthews  

Dutch-Speaking Region

Mr. Bram de Bree, Regional Director of the Dutch-speaking Work, reports that the income for that area, comprising the Netherlands and the Flemish part of Belgium, is holding its own at a year-to-date increase of four percent.

De Echte Waarheid (PT), circulation 18,425, added 1550 subscribers for the year to date. Good News circulation stands at 125, and the CC active list has 1239 students. Baptisms year to date total 5. Total membership is 147, an increase of 15 per cent over one year ago.

In the past year a series of public lectures with follow-up Bible studies were held; Two in the Netherlands and three in Belgium. The result of the lectures in Belgium was very encouraging. In Gent alone, 30 percent of the people who attended the first lecture came back for seven follow-up lectures.

As a result of the enthusiasm in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, a regular once-a-month Bible study has been started in Antwerp. The first study took place on May 5th with a total attendance of 31, excluding several visitors from the Tilburg and Bilthoven churches, in the Netherlands.

In addition to an extensive advertising program scheduled for this fall, other public lectures are scheduled for other parts of the Netherlands.

Both churches in the Netherlands are very encouraged by the developments there and have taken a very positive approach to all the difficulties God's Work is presently going through. They all stand solidly behind the Work and its human leader, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong.


The German office reports a very fine Passover holy day season, with services held in six locations across West Germany, one in Austria and one in Switzerland. Services were also held at Muehlleithen in East Germany for the first three days, conducted by local deacon Heinz Pistorius and visiting Austrian deacon Helmuth Kaserer. The total offerings were up 9.7 per cent and 19.2 percent respectively over 1978.

As far as the imposition of the Receivership earlier this year is concerned, at present no substantial negative effect has been reported by our local ministers. (Actually, only one case of a member having been really turned off has been reported). The German press has not mentioned the receivership crisis at all, to our knowledge. It is apparently considered an event of purely local American interest.

For various reasons April's incoming mail was down considerably compared to April of last year. However, for the year to date our total mail count, 16,123 letters, is only down 12 per cent compared to last year. Obviously last year's advertising campaign in the German magazines SPIEGEL and BUNTE contributed greatly to the larger volumes of mail last year.

Another possible reason for fewer letters hinges around the poor weather and Easter vacation. Many more people here took advantage of the Easter vacation to get away from the bad weather which has been continually wet and cold all year round for the last two years.

This trend of decreased mail is especially apparent in summer when many readers go on vacation. In April it was unexpected. Another reason for the low mail count is the small number of renewals sent out in April. As a result, renewals sent back amounted to only one sixth of the total mail (363 renewals) in April as compared to one third to one half of the total mail for the first three months of 1979.

In April the annual thank-you-letter was mailed to all who donated in 1978. In the letter were offered booklets, an annual receipt for 1978 donations and a visit. The cash sent with some of the responses has amounted to DM 3.800 ($2,054) so far, not to mention bank and post office money transfers.

Consequently, booklets sent out in April amounted to more than the previous two months combined — around 3400 booklets.

United Kingdom

Income continues on the up and up. April showed an increase of 13% over the corresponding month last year. The year-to-date increase is 20% over the 1978 figure, with the fiscal year-to-date rise running at 15%. Holy Day offerings have also followed last year's good trend, showing increases of 15% and 9% respectively for the first and last days of Unleavened Bread. Attendance figures were 3,169 and 3,149, with 2,008 taking the Passover (3% up on last year).

Ministerial Move: Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Hegvold are returning to Pasadena at the end of May to take up their respective responsibilities on the faculty. Sincere thanks are due to the Hegvolds for their 54 years of service during which time Mr. Hegvold has helped to build and strengthen the Dublin Church and Cork Bible study.

Mr. Mark Ellis will now be moving to Dublin, from where he will pastor all three Irish churches — Ballymena, Belfast and Dublin itself — with the help of local elders, Hugh Carton in the North and Brian Bedlow in the South.

April has been a very active month on the promotional front. Our first national newspaper ad in the Daily Mail on March 31st (featuring the booklet "Does God Exist?" and The Plain Truth) was followed by 8 further insertions in April. Largest response so far has come from the April 21st ad for "Why Were You Born?" in the The Sun. Responses stood at just under 6,000 on May 22nd. The most popular booklet on a cost per response basis is "Why Were You Born?"

In the month of April, there was featured at 7 exhibition sites — Southampton, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Nottingham, Hull and London (Olympia) — a special Plain Truth display complete with a recorded audio-visual presentation. The object of the display, according to Ernie Winchester, promotions manager responsible for coordinating the exhibition program, "is to explain clearly the aims and content of the magazine and encourage people to become subscribers." In all, over 14,000 leaflets were taken by the public at the exhibitions during April, 4,000 from the London (Olympia) exhibition alone ("Festival for Mind, Body and Spirit"). It was found that people who have been exposed to the display and the audio-visual presentation respond better on the whole than those who merely receive the brochure for the first time in their homes. At Olympia 15,000 booklets were given away — among the most popular were "IS This The End Time?", "Why Were You Born?", "The Modern Romans" and "The Dilemma of Drugs."


In the early summer of 1978 a detailed study was made of the costs and benefits to God's Work of maintaining an office in Oslo, Norway. Above all the Work wanted to ensure that our Scandinavian readers received good quality service via the most cost-effective means. Although there were obvious benefits in having an office on the spot, we were very conscious that the Scandinavian cost of living is virtually double that of Britain. The conclusion was reached that the benefits to the Work of operating from the U.K. (printing, mailing and editorial facilities, as well as the financial aspect) did outweigh any drawbacks. The money saved (around 20% of the former budget) is now being plowed back into advertising, promotion and translations of booklets and the Correspondence Course.

One of the first fruits of this move to Radlett was an important new advertising program, the first stage of which began on May 5th and is scheduled to continue until the end of June.

Once the Scandinavian Work has built on the current foundation of Plain Truth readership, the intention is to put on subscriber presentations to encourage and feed the people God is calling in Scandinavia. The most likely locations for these would be Stockholm, Oslo and Aarhus, Denmark (pronounced Orhoos), where the three Scandinavian churches meet twice a month, and Helsinki, where Bible studies are held. Currently, Mr. Peter Shenton, pastor of the East Anglian churches in England, visits the area once a month to conduct a service and counsel the brethren and prospective members.

Compiled by Rod Matthews, International Office

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Pastor General's ReportMay 29, 1979Vol 3 No. 20