In spite of their admonitions to the membership, ministers were among the unfriendliest of church members. In one sermon shortly after I started attending the WCG, my first pastor explained why he didn’t socialize with lay members – if he got too friendly with them, they wouldn’t respect his authority. “Familiarity breeds a certain amount of disrespect,” he said. Ministers, with few exceptions, maintained an arms length relationship with lay members as a matter of policy. At the Feast of Tabernacles, ministers socialized with other ministers. When you saw them dining in restaurants, they dined not with lonely lay members, but with other ministers, usually their chums from Ambassador College. They had their own parking spaces, their own ministerial luncheons, and reserved ministers-only seating during services. Even if they participated in social activities open to lay members, such as dances and luncheons, they sat at reserved, ministers-only tables. “Ministers Only” signs were ubiquitous in the Worldwide Church of God. The ministers segregated themselves from lay members by staying in the best hotels and dining in the most expensive restaurants. The ordinary member couldn’t afford to patronize these establishments, but the ministers could because of the generous festival allowance they received from church headquarters. This is yet one more example of the Worldwide Church of God ministry applying one set of standards to the membership while applying another less rigorous set of standards to themselves. Needless to say, there are no “Parents Only” signs on the dinner table when the family gets together for Christmas.
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Thursday, March 13, 2014
Are COG Ministers the "Unfriendliest of Church Members?"
A reader here sent me a great quote from an article The Phony Feast of Tabernacles
I remember working in the Auditorium in Pasadena and how each week we had to mark of rows and rows of seats for ministers and their families. Many of them never could get to church on time even though they lived on campus. We had to ensure that they had seats when they came in late.
For many years I also set up and worked in the ministerial dining room at the Feast in Pasadena. Members were forbidden to enter the room. They were to remain in the main area of the Student Center at all times. Most usually brought their own lunch and used the dining area, or on holy days ate from a potluck where unknown and questionable foods always were present. However, it was another story on the other side of the folding teak walls. A well stocked bar with every imaginable liquor, beer and wine was waiting. A vast array of food was waiting to be gorged upon, roast beef, turkey, salmon, lamb, chicken, all freshly cooked in the kitchen. If you were the feast advisor and specially selected men (always men) you also received a gift basket of cheeses, salami's (beef of course), crackers, candies and wines costing over 200.00 each. Go back outside those teak folding walls and it was another story.