Sunday, October 18, 2015

United Church of God: It's Pathetic Feast of Tabernacles Attendance Figures

United Church of God touts its self as the true restored Church of God that holds fast to the truth of Herbert Armstrong.  It does that while still living in the pre-1986 modus operandi of their former mother the Worldwide Church of God. As hard as they try, they cannot seem to make their brand of Armstrongism relevant to the world around them.  Twenty some years on, even with countless personal appearance campaigns, the UCG is not able to draw people in, let alone keep their present members engaged.

Just take a look at their Feast attendance figures for 2015. 7,700 total people in attendance!    This total is the equivalent of ONE medium sized WCG Feast site from the past.  Large sites like St. Pete/Tampa would have 15,000+ during the WCG glory days!  Jekyll Island would have 7-8,000+ when the WCG put it UCG can only get 479 to attend!  It would be laughable if it wasn't so pathetic!

2015 Feast of Tabernacles Attendance 
United States Sites:
Bend/Redmond           684
Bigfork 152
Branson 528
Cincinnati 370
Galveston 456
Jekyll Island 479
Lahaina 311
Ocean City 362
Oceanside 554
Panama City Beach 1234
Phoenix 188
Sevierville 781
Steamboat Springs 313
Wisconsin Dells 744    

United States Satellite Sites:

Big Sandy 51
Tampa 37
Tucson 31
Canadian Sites:
Canmore 180
Gros Morne 42
Kelowna 163
Total, U.S. & Canada Combined 7,785


Black Ops Mikey said...

Let us be clear here: None of the Churches of God can possibly keep the Feast of Tabernacles. What they keep is a Church Cult Corporate Convention.

In order to keep the Feast of Tabernacles, it is necessary to follow the explicit in-depth instructions in the Old Testament. This means that the Feast must have animal sacrifices, sacrificed by the Levites. No one else is qualified. Even Jewish rabbis don’t claim to be Levites today because all Jewish genealogical records were lost with the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, ensuring that it is no longer possible to ascertain the true identity of Levites. There are also other problems. It is to be kept in the Place God has chosen and He has been completely silent about where. Not only that, no one knows exactly when it should be kept. Current count is that the various churches of God, both Armstrongist and not, keep 10 different variations of the 'Calendar'. Herbert Armstrong was wont to say that to keep something holy, it must be holy in the first place. It is quite clear that the ACoGs keep the Feast Days on the wrong days at least 60% of the time.

This is all assuming that the Olde Testament Christianity is in effect: The New Covenant may be in effect, but the assumption is that anything that is not explicitly excluded from the New Covenant is covered by the Old. This isn't how contracts work. Once a new one is in place, the old one has no impact any longer, but Armstrongists are terribly inconsistent, insisting upon picking and choosing what they will employ.

Acts 15 has something to say about that: Circumcision is no longer in effect. There were 4 things left to the Gentiles, which if they could do, they would do well. These did not include Feasts.

Now there are those who claim that we are the 'Children of Abraham' and his heirs. I would point out that he didn't seem to keep the Feasts either. The ACoGs don't have a leg to stand on... and, oh, yeah, there's no such thing as second tithe, so there's no way to fund the Feast of Tabernacles, so you are on your own.

So the stats for United a bit down this year from last. So what. The Feast of Tabernacles isn't commanded for Christians, so it's irrelevant.

And to be pointed about it, all Armstrongist sects are cults.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...


I was thinking the same thing as I was reading your post. You and I both were in attendance at Jekyll Island in 1969. With about 8,000, the island filled to capacity and the traffic jams leaving the world's largest tent created grind lock on the island for both feast goers and for the locals just trying to do their normal routine. The highlight of the Feast was, of course, trekking over to the small airport on the island waiting in excitement for either Herbert or Garner Ted to arrive on the Church jets. In 1969, there were little to no hints of financial and sexual scandals within the Church. All eyes were expecting the Great Tribulation to begin occurring in January, 1972 climaxing with the return of Jesus Christ in 1975. That is what the Church taught in 1969. They can deny it all they want after 1972 came and went without the German attack on America, but there are those of us still alive as a witness to the truth of what the Church actually taught prior to 1972.

Fast forward to 2015, an attendance of only 479 at Jekyll Island for the Feast is truly pathetic. Consider that is smaller than the Baltimore, Maryland WCG congregation alone of 600+ at the WCG peak.

The most important Work on earth according to Mr. Herbert Armstrong - God's Work - has fragmented into almost nothing!


Anonymous said...

I wonder how those numbers compare to last years feast attendance?

Anonymous said...

This year, LCG is claiming they had 10,400 of the most loving feasters ever. Check out their lie in print:
Can anyone supply the amount of people at each, or any, LCG site?

Anonymous said...

United Church of God: It's Pathetic Feast of Tabernacles Attendance Figures [for 2015]

Total, U.S. & Canada Combined 7,785

For comparison purposes, the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) at its peak had about 150,000 people observing the Feast of Tabernacles at its various sites around the world. In his old age, Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) had made it appear to be so easy to grow the church that everyone else thought that they could easily do it too, and even better than HWA. The past 29 years since HWA's death in January 1986, and the past 20 years since Joseph W. Tkach, Sr.'s total and open apostasy in January 1995, have shown that all those who thought they could do better than HWA, or even anywhere near as well as HWA, were totally wrong about their ability to do any such thing.

The Tkaches and their buddies kept on talking about how they were so much wiser, thriftier, more scholarly, and more spiritual than HWA, until they had wrecked everything and finally caused the WCG to break up into numerous little pieces. What was left of the WCG was just a small fraction of what it had been under HWA, and Joseph Tkach, Jr. changed its name to Grace Communion International (GCI), which became a really graceless community of iniquity (gci).

When the United Church of God (UCG) started in 1995, several months after the Tkaches had openly changed virtually everything that the WCG had once taught, they bragged about how they were already starting off with the same number of people that it had taken HWA many years to put together. Of course, the UCG was just feeding off of what HWA had built up and what JWT had destroyed. Since its beginning, the UCG has done nothing but split and splinter and decline.

The Laodiceans just say that they are rich, have acquired wealth, and do not need a thing.

The Laodiceans do not realise that they REALLY ARE wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.

See Revelation 3:22 for more details.

Byker Bob said...

Know what would really be a quandary? How would someone who had left or been disfellowshioped from old school WCG sometime in the years between 1972-1985 even know which of the splinters to attend if he or she decided that perhaps they ought to return? That bridge seems to have washed out. They could either contact the splinter their family or friends were attending, pick their favorite minister from back in the day, or set up a dart board and go where the majority of the darts landed. There is not a single splinter that is desirable above all the others. Every one of them has huge negatives, some even worse than the original WCG.

Looking at just the UCG feast sites, how can they be sure that God has put His name on one of them, let alone all? Clearly, we're in the era of "phoning it in." This is nothing more than an exercise in nostalgia.


Michael said...

Richard wrote:

I was thinking the same thing as I was reading your post. You and I both were in attendance at Jekyll Island in 1969. With about 8,000, the island filled to capacity and the traffic jams leaving the world's largest tent created grind lock on the island for both feast goers and for the locals just trying to do their normal routine."

1969 Jekyll, I was there too, as a youngun with all of 5 siblings :-)
Remember that tent and the traffic jams!
What was it with the tent, by the way? Just cheaper than renting a large hall?
Recall there were often some rather forceful winds, not to mention the rainy days.

Anonymous said...

Yep, the UCG should be honest and rename themselves, "The Nostalgic Church of God"!
It's a church that has the past as it's ever dimming headlights.

Even UCG apologist "Cowboy Joe Moeller" galloped out of here with his horse's tail between his legs after realizing people wouldn't fall for his bullshit stories of UCG's growth and wonderfulness he was trying to lay on us.

Cowboy Joe was a sad UCG case, and last I heard he was writing to Miss Piggy to try to get Jelly a date for Passover, but unfortunately for the UCG, Miss Piggy isn't into strange lying cult MUCGetts of the Armstrongist type.

Anonymous said...

Was that the '69 Jekyll Island feast when there was a severe storm, with the light bulbs popping under the Big Top, and deacons gathering round- holding the poles for dear life to try and keep the big tent from blowing away?

At the next service there, were were told how a hurricane had split in two the night before and the two halves had gone AROUND the tent, only to rejoin again after passing the Feast site.
What a total crock of shit! We were told the description came from "the official weather service", but that was totally made up (as "miracles" tend to be).

While the winds were blowing and lightbulbs popping and deacons hung on to the tent poles, we were instructed to get down on our knees and pray.

Funny thing.
As Glynn Washington says in his interview, narrative can make all the difference.
In this case, instead of it being, "What stupid church leaders with their heads up their asses would go ahead with a service when there might be a hurricane?", to...

"I'm more sure than EVER that HWA is RIGHT and I am CHOSEN, after God made a hurricane split in two and spare our tent! It's another miracle!"

Anonymous said...

Oooo, I almost forgot that it was GTA himself that got us down on our knees praying with our elbows leaning on metal fold-up chairs, in that feast tent at Jekyll as the storm raged on.

Any reasonable person would have cancelled that service beforehand, but in the world of the WCG, it gave another opportunity for them to ascribe something "mighty" to what was actually stupid.

Whoah! What a scene it was! The wind howling and hitting the tent...Thunder raging as lightbulbs high above popped loudly and rained on us...Deacons and assistant Deacons gathering around all the tent poles trying to hold them down...Kneeling down on GTA's orders as shards of glass from the popping lightbulbs landed on our heads...We were the chosen, the few, and we felt the attack of Satan. We fought back, listening to GTA with our elbows on metal chairs praying, and eventually making it through heavy wind and rain to our cars and to hotel rooms or blown-away tents.

Glynn nailed it in recognizing how the WCG honchos' later narrative could change members' perspective:
The next day's narrative was that the hurricane had split in two, and the two halves had gone around the tent and then after passing God's Tent, had become a single entity once more.

The church turned shit into shineola, via narrative.
It hardly mattered that there was zero evidence of such a weather service report.

Imagine the psychological impact of a person thinking that their prayers had caused such an event?

(Next thing they know, they'll be thinking it's great and because of their prayers and relationship with God that Aunt Charlotte's wedding to her gay lover Sophia ended up on a very rainy day in South Carolina that flooded their town.)

whatmeworry said...

There was at least 2 hurricanes that threatened Jekyll, 64 and 65 I think. I was a kid, and remember we were not allowed to leave the tent until the rain subsided. We had to hike a distance to get to the parking lot, in knee deep water. I remember my mom was so "comforted" when she heard GTA was prowling around the motels to see if everyone was ok. They all prayed that the Hurricane would turn around and hit Cuba twice, which it did. How Christian. The first year in the Poconos, I think '67?, there was a bad storm with breaking light bulbs and snow showers. The storms weren't so bad, it was the 2 church services every day that killed me!

NO2HWA said...

I was in Jekyll Island each time those hurricanes hit. I remember the deacons holding down the tent poles and popping light bulbs. I remember the prayers that members we required to do on their knees on the wet pavement and the ministers great delight in the fact that the hurricanes turned around and killed hundreds in Cuba each time. I remember when the light bulbs kept popping till the last one over the stage was right over GTA's head stayed on during the entire service. That was interpreted as a sign from God. The idea that the one hurricane split in to was a complete fabrication of the ministry. Justified lying was always allowed when it made the church look good.

I was also in the Pocono's when it started and we had that same tent from Jekyll Island. Huge storms with tornadoes, hail, pounding rain and howling winds. Waves of water rushing over the floor of the tent so bad you had to keep your feet on the chair rung in front of you. No babies slept on the ground that night!Yet again the idiots in the ministry refused to cancel services and the dumb sheep struggled through pounding rain to get to the tent.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Michael and Anonymous 8:18AM are correct – 1969 was one of the years hurricanes approached Jekyll Island during the Feast of Tabernacles. My older brother was on tent flap duty and had only one suit to wear the entire feast - it got soaked thoroughly the night of the storm. Anonymous 9:57AM and No2HWA gave accurate descriptions of what happened that “dark and stormy night”. I would add that the storm seemed to have gotten worse with the light bulbs busting when Garner Ted was introduced to speak. It seemed like the rain and the wind hit its climax when Garner Ted came to the podium and he said something to the effect that “Satan hates this Work” and that we were witnessing Satan’s anger. I remember it was hard to hear him over the wind and the pounding rain on the tent. Only 46 years later I now wonder if Satan is given far more credit than he deserved and perhaps it was the Deity that was angered that night.

As an aside, I have to wonder if the WCG (or anyone for that matter) could duplicate in 2015 what it constructed in 1969 on Jekyll Island - the world’s largest tent large enough to hold 8,000 people underneath it equipped and fully wired with electricity. Can you imagine in 2015 the permitting process and the government code and safety inspections? Do anyone think that the Fire Marshall would have shut the Feast site down with the approaching hurricane if it had happened in 2015? Only in retrospect do I realize how dangerous and potentially disastrous that situation could have been and I guess everyone felt at the time it was divine intervention and answered prayer that delivered everyone from harm.

I guess for me the 1969 Jekyll Island Feast was the first time I got to see firsthand a much larger work than our local Washington/Baltimore congregations. We got to see in person Herbert, Garner Ted and some leading evangelists that were only names in bylines of the Plain Truth magazine. I remember seeing the large trucks with the Ambassador College emblems on them. There was an energy, innocence and purpose that I alluded to in my earlier post. Other than Minister Bob Lay getting thrown out of the Church around that time, there was no hint of financial and sexual scandals and no hint of schisms and splintering. There was plenty of evidence of a larger worldwide Work (misguided though it may have been in retrospect).

Fast forward again to 2015, a UCG attendance of 479 people at Jekyll Island is pathetic and cannot possibly generate the same aura, energy and enthusiasm that 8,000 brethren had in 1969 on the same island. There certainly is little evidence of a worldwide work that these people can see firsthand like I got to see in 1969. Perhaps many have learned that the emperor Herbert Armstrong had no clothes, and humpty dumpty can’t be put back together again.


NO2HWA said...


Satan was always a more powerful being than the God WCG claimed to follow. They could always give Satan credit for everything but could never talk about that most inconvenient dude named Jesus.

Anonymous said...

"Satan was always a more powerful being than the God WCG claimed to follow. They could always give Satan credit for everything but could never talk about that most inconvenient dude named Jesus."

I'm not old enough to remember 1969, as it would still be several years until I would be born to my devout AC grad parents, but I began to remember starting in the late seventies how everything was. HWA was a really good salesman and a one-trick pony at that. He wasn't a good theologian or scholar, and it turns out he was an even worse parent. But if you can inspire people to believe any ol' propaganda, you really don't have to be good at anything else. And believe they did, and as Glynn said, he was the master of the narrative and it's his narratives that are still motivating a core of people who remember him, which is the only reason why Armstrongism isn't dead already. Once caught up in the mental maze his narrative created, it isn't easy to find one's way out. When no one can personally remember those times, Armstrongism is finished.

One thing about religion that reveals it's false nature, however, is the guessing games inherent to religious narratives. GTA may have blamed the hurricane on "satan's anger," but that's just a guess. Any other guess is equally good. All these years later, Rod Meredith still trucks in this lazy guessing game narrative, that the weather is either a sign of "satan's anger" or of "god's punishment." Which is it? Depends on who is affected by it, of course! Just because a guy with a microphone says something, the presence of the microphone doesn't make it true. It's still just a guess. My guess, that weather is what happens when you mix an atmosphere, water, and solar energy, is just as valid. But as someone, I'm sure, is just about to point out, that's just a guess! LOL! The masterful "narrative" strikes again! Only someone who can remember those times would ever imply that their guess must be so much better than everyone else's guesses.

Anonymous said...

Anyone notice how powerful Germany has become and the way Europe is detached politically from the UK? Does this remind you of HA's prophecy thereto? Is it not possible that we're living in the last days after all and a great falling away has/ is occurring? Which would explain the low population/ attendances of UCG and other such churches. Notice how UK is and USA soon will be ruled by women, sound familiar?! Notice the state of the economies of the latter compared to China and Germany/ Europe? Tell you anything,anything at all?