Monday, January 22, 2018

COGWA Italian Feast Site Controversy


Feast meeting location

COGWA is the latest Church of God in the pre-Feast news.  This time it concerns their Feast site in Cortona, Italy.

COGWA members who were interested in attending the Tuscany site quickly found out that when they went to register that registration was already closed before it even "officially" opened.  European COGWA members were told to attend elsewhere.

Then to add insult to injury, they were told that if they showed up at the Feast site they would be barred from entering and would be turned away at the door!  Yes, you heard that right!  COGWA is putting the love of Jesus into action...a sure sign of the millennium!

The disgust level rose rather rapidly at these unfortunate turn of events and COGWA was forced to lighten its stance somewhat.

Another issue with the site is that nothing about the town or the meeting facility is wheelchair accessible or appropriate for those with walking issues.  Feast attendees must park outside the city walls and walk to their hotels or accommodations. Once again we see millennial concepts put into action!   Perhaps they are preparing for when people show up in Petra and COGWA can deny handicapped people admittance or deny those who did not pre-register in advance, entrance through the narrow gate.
A word of caution: Cortona is a “hill town” in its truest sense. Other than the main flat road that runs through the city, all the streets and alleys are steep ramps or staircases. The roads are pedestrian-only, so you won’t be able to drop anyone off at the theater where services are held. If you would like to attend, please be sure that you are comfortable walking on steep cobblestone streets and stairs.
The source that sent me this information has this to say, and I think it is spot on:
So what it amounts to is the creation of a luxury vacation feast spot for rich and healthy (and well connected) American members."
International Feast sites have always been set up by Americans to cater to American dollars.  Very few have been set up to cater to the needs of lower income members in certain European areas or in South America.

Just take a notice of the side trips they have planned during the Feast:
In addition, we are planning two excursions outside of Cortona. One will be to Florence—a city with wonderful architecture, gardens, museums and artwork. The other will be to Montalcino—a beautiful hill town set in the Orcia Valley, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site made famous by its beauty and its Brunello wine.
Cortona attracts many English-speaking tourists, and many of the merchants speak some English.
Feast site expectations:

  • Cortona is built on the side of a large hill, and almost all of its roads and walkways are steep. Please be sure that you are comfortable walking on steep cobblestone streets and stairs. Those needing wheelchairs or those who have severe walking disabilities should be aware of the mobility difficulties they will encounter at this site.
  • Cortona is a pedestrian town, so you will not be able to drive a car inside the walls or drop off passengers where services are being held. Free parking is available outside the city walls, approximately a quarter of a mile from services.
  • Round-trip tickets to Rome for travel dates around the Feast are currently between $600 and $1,000.
  • We have room blocks reserved at several hotels within walking distance of services. Prices range from €80 to €179 per night (around US$97-217 per night) based on double occupancy (breakfast included). In addition, there are many bed-and-breakfasts and affordable apartments and villas available for rent. Attendees are encouraged to choose accommodations within walking distance of the hall.
  • At this time, the exchange rate is US$1.21 to €1.
  • Please wait until you receive your site acceptance before reserving housing. When you receive your acceptance and housing brochure, we encourage you to reserve housing as soon as possible, as some of the room blocks are only available through the end of February.
  • If you are not accepted at first, you will be placed on a waiting list until you are accepted or until the Italy site is officially closed. You will be taken off of the waiting list if you choose to register for another site.
COGWA has always been looked upon by many in the broader church as a group of elitist members who threw a fit when things did not go their way.  COGWA is white and financially well off and they brag about it constantly to justify their break from the heretics at United.

The source that sent me this info ended with this:
This kind of thing is of course not unique to cogwa, but I'm not sure when people will wake up and realize that the cogs just amount to a Ponzi scheme for the benefit of the top of the pyramid. a side note:

Cortona is known for its Jesuit institutions and churches and for its quantity of "porte del morto's" (the doors of death) that are found next to the entrances of its medieval palaces.


Anonymous said...

I protest. The place is too nice. I'm not going to the feast again until they move it to a ghetto.

Anonymous said...

Another one who totally misses the point. Typical.

Byker Bob said...

What about Jerusalem? If people were inclined to travel to a foreign feast site, you’d think it might be to the place where the Old Testament said it should be. At least once in their lives?


Anonymous said...

In all fairness it looks like a much nicer feast site than the regular very basic campsites the various COG groups hire for their feast sites.
It looks romantic and will be very popular with the young adults, families and youth that COGWA have.

I served Bob Thiel pork at the feast said...

why not have a feast in a ghetto? what better place for a foretaste of the millennium to be held!

you are right about COGWA being elitist. they have always thought they were better than any other COG, particularly UCG. this site is geared towards the rich Americans and Canadians.

Anonymous said...

Attention. All church members attending the Italian feast site are required to pay insurance money to the Corleone family. Otherwise they will wake up with a horses head in their beds. Capiche?

TX said...


There's no question that it's much nicer or more romantic than most sites. The problem is that it's been prepared and reserved for the privileged few.

nck said...


EVERY Italian town and city has a ghetto.
In fact it is an Italian word.


Connie Schmidt said...

Why doesn't Detroit have a Feast Site?

Connie Schmidt said...

Heard at the Italian FOT COGWA planning meeting...

Michael Corleone: My father made COGWA an offer they couldn't refuse.

Kay Adams: What was that?

Michael Corleone: Luca Brasi held a gun to Jim Franks head, and my father assured him that either his brains -- or his signature -- would be on the contract. That's a true story. That's my family, Kay. It's not me.

Near_Earth_Object said...

In Godfather II there is a scene where Vito (Andolini) Corleone as a little boy is looking out a window towards New York. He has a tag clipped to his shirt with the inscription "Red Star Line". My family started the Red Star Line and operated it until it went out of business shortly after 1900. We apparently brought the fictional Vito to the US. (Actually, we brought mostly immigrant Scandinavians to the US.) That is just about the most relevant thing I can say about this topic.

Armstrongism has always been elitist. We all know it. We all experienced it. It has always been exemplified most dramatically to us at the FOT - perhaps, as a symbol of the Armstrongist dream of the Millennium. It is just another symptom of an autocratic cult.

nck said...


That is fantastic.
About a year ago I watched a three part documentary on the Red Star Line. I love it.
I never cease upon the opportunity to visit ports of embarkation. My favorites. Cobh Ireland, Ellis Island, Ballinstadt Hamburg, Holland America Line headquarters and I am yet to visit the new Red Star Line museum in Antwerp, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Let me know if you are planning to visit one of these museums. I might just arrange to join you if the opportunity arises since some of your aura might reflect favorably on me if I would present you as kin of one of the founders. (I might get in for free :-) in your "wake".

In Ballinstatt I noticed that the marketingflyers for the Eastern Europeans made no mention of the Red Star Line. Of course there was huge competition between the different shipping companies.

Wow what a difference today with all the discussion on immigration.

About elitism. Yes I believe it was Lenin or Trotsky who deemed it necessary to have an advance guard or elite prepare for the masses, since the rabble only brings chaos.

What an irony that the one debunking BI on genetic grounds is also responsible for that one sentence in "BI in prophecy" about the "sifting of the peoples." Oh the irony.


Near_Earth_Object said...


I did not know there was so much interest in the Red Star Line. The company papers are in a library at Harvard University.

Anonymous said...

oh I want to go to a feast somewhere nice. Is there any feast that accepts old members who left a long time ago? I have an AC degree. I would be prepared to go to a few sermons. And I would promise to keep quiet about any disagreements. I just want someone to arrange a vacation for me.

Feastgoer said...

>> COGWA is white and financially well off... <<

Now hold on a minute. Didn't the COGWA split have its roots in a Hispanic minister, and a Sabbath-keeping controversy in South America?

And at least two leading COGWA pastors in the split were African-American - Kevin Epps and the late Todd Carey.

Silenced said...

Yeah, I heard some complaining about this over the weekend from COGWA people. A lot of younger couples and middle-aged ministers are going. Most other members couldn't even begin to afford it. There's an elderly-focused FOT site in Woodbury, MN and a primary midwestern site in Rapid City, SD. There were laments of "so and so gets to be in Italy while we're forced to be in the middle of nowhere." I would characterize the reaction as a hefty sigh.

Anonymous said...

There's plenty of other feast sites to go to that fit your budget. Stop crying, haters.

Anonymous said...

Jerusalem? But the children of Ephraim and Manasseh laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.


Anonymous said...

Not every Feast site is appropriate for every member...this is nothing new, there have always been more expensive locations, more exotic, and sites for more/less physically abled. This is a tempest in a teapot.

Anonymous said...

2:57 PM wrote: Not every Feast site is appropriate for every member...this is nothing new, there have always been more expensive locations, more exotic, and sites for more/less physically abled. This is a tempest in a teapot.

What about the idea that brethren should not segregate themselves by wealth? When wealthy people have their own gatherings that exclude the poor, they aren't following the example of Jesus Christ. In the old WCG it was often expected that the wealthy would go out of their way to help the poor at the Feast. Later on, especially after HWA died, the Feast turned into "the best vacation you can afford," but earlier on, especially in the 60s and earlier, the idea was for wealthy and poor brethren to fellowship together as equals.

Anonymous said...

According to the pigs in Animal Farm, some barnyard animals are more equal than others.

Retired Prof said...

Anon at 3:28 PM tells us that "earlier on, especially in the 60s and earlier, the idea was for wealthy and poor brethren to fellowship together as equals."

Sounds like a lean toward social justice. I imagine the commenter who refers contemptuously to "social justice warriors" is pleased that nobody is making any noises about egalitarianism these days. I think of him as a "crusader for social injustice."

Anonymous said...

3.38 PM
Typically there are differences in character levels between the financially rich and poor. A reminder that character poor Cain murdered character rich Abel, not the other way around.
It's the poor that persecute the rich, so why condemn the rich for protecting themselves by shunning these poor.
This is like a minister who once criticized me for shunning church crazies. He was siding with the zombie crazies who want their victims.

In summary, the poor (together with their dishonest bible cherry picking) can go eat cake.

Anonymous said...

That's what happens when you think the FOT represents the millennium. Everyone must have the most lavish vacation ever. Too bad they don't realize that not only will the earth be a wasteland in the millennium, but the FOT doesn't even represent the millennium. The Sabbath does. How does a 7 day feast represent 1000 years? Remember, to God, 1 day is like 1000 years.

Anonymous said...

"What about the idea that brethren shouldn't segregate themselves by wealth?"

Who is segregating who? Don't assume that those who attend in Italy are wealthy. Maybe some are, but many members over the years have attended local sites for the most part, then traveled far to an exciting location once every few years. If they are wealthy, good for them!!! And who says that they won't help the poor at the Feast....even if it's not at their chosen location. There are many issues in the COG's on the whole. This is nothing. I am happy for those who get to Italy. I wish I could go..maybe another time!

Anonymous said...

There are a significant number of european COGWA members (in COG terms.) What about the European members who could afford to go, and would, but are not being allowed in favor of "higher ranking" members from another continent? Should the same "locals get priority at local sites" logic not be enforced equitably? The issue isn't necessarily having an expensive feast site, it's having a class system and preferential treatment in the COG based on wealth and status. Unfortunately this is nothing new.

Anonymous said...


God isn't a capitalist.

Acts 2:42-47 (NKJV)

"42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."

Anonymous said...

8.31 PM
People have a right and responsibility to protect themselves. If this means hiding from the character challenged, so be it. In case you didn't notice, the Christ child was protected from Harod by travelling to Egypt, and then to Nazareth.
People have a right to hide from thieves and murders.

Byker Bob said...

It is one of the Biblical examples of social justice, RP! All treated equally legally, morally, and ethically.

I wonder if the “warrior” you mentioned is also the anti-diversity guy. That would explain a lot. Some ultra-conservative extremists believe that social justice means giving special treatment and privileges to minorities and members of the LGBT community. And, that’s why they are against social justice. Constitutional or Magna Carta rights, equally applied to all, are not special privileges or treatment.


Anonymous said...

Italy is not the only COGWA European feast site. There are at least two other COGWA European feast sites. This all appears like bitterness and spite.

Byker Bob said...

8:31, those verses are not an eternal pattern, commanded for all curcumstances, although people like Dave Pack would like you to believe that that’s the case. What the Jewish Jerusalem Christians were doing here was an extreme survival measure! They were being persecuted by the Jews and the Romans, in many cases had been kicked out of Temple, and lost their livelihoods, and simply pooled all of their resources in the hopes that all would make it through extremely bad times.

Armstrongism was always great at lifting one easy to remember precept from the Bible and making it into a universal paradigm for every single circumstance. They certainly do this on a continuing basis with “Let the dead bury the dead”. Let’s not give them a pass on the various blindnesses they manufacture by binary (I-O or black and white) thinking.


Anonymous said...

This is to announce the establishment of a new COG off shoot. It is called the Scoundrel Church Of God. Like all scoundrels, the church lies, cheats and steals.
All the ministers are graduates of Scoundrel College, and are experts at swindling members.
Are you tired of twisting and cherry picking scriptures to suite your needs? Not a problem, SCOG also has its own Scoundrel translation - The Scoundrel Bible.

Below are some testimonials

Mary Smith: "I had some money left over after paying 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tithe, but the scoundrel ministers swindled me out of that, leaving me flat broke."

Harry Brown:
"I paid SCOG upfront for the travel and accommodation to the Hawaii FOT.
I discovered that they instead gave me accommodation in a shipping container for the Detroit feast site. They really are crooks. Yes, you can not trust the Scoundrel church of God."

Ekklesia said...

I'm not bent out of shape by this. Of course, it will be the healthier and wealthier there. It does segregate based on cost and people do like being around their own ilk in a beautiful area. There has always been favoritism in most organizations and money always talks.
I think one issue is how out of touch some of the ministry are. Just last year one of the Cogwa ministers incredulously asked how anyone could not rejoice at the Feast when his memories as a "preacher's kid" included staying in a beautiful condo where his parents had one floor, his sister had another, and then he had his own. What could possibly affect someone's ability to rejoice!?!?

Anonymous said...

Well if a hall only seats a certain number of people it seems like good planning to monitor how many people are attending.

I'm not sure what the problem is...

Cognac Willie said...

THE FOT has been transformed into a high class extravagant vacation at overly-consumptive and environmentally unfriendly resorts. It does not resemble and follow the simple instructions in Lev 23, the "prooftext" used to support commanded festival observance. Why do they eat unleavened bread and fast on atonement, but not blow trumpets on Trumpets and carry boughs or leaves into Tabernacles, not to mention dwell in tents or booths? Cherry-picking has resulted in these odd and unbiblical meldings of the holy days into a modern culture they were not instituted for.

I recently heard how the coordinator (Smarmy Dave Register) at cogwa's Hawaii feast site complained that the luxury, top-floor suite in the cogwa convention's hotel he was to occupy was not big or good enough. Obligingly, he was moved to a different facility with a much better and more expensive room, and a less important subordinate (the "treasurer," who already had received an expenses paid family trip for his minimal duties) was given the top ocean-view room he refused. Cogwa supporters and elitists, make sure you send in extra tithe of the tithe and offerings to cogwa, the most important group solely invested in themselves!

Ekklesia said...

It's a nice perk to get a top notch room for free when you are already being paid to organize an event. All in the name of being a servant.

Anonymous said...

Where was it said that European members were not to sign up for this location?

Anonymous said...

Has this site's censoring gone into suspicious hyper-sensitive mode or is there a black hole lurking in the background sucking up contrary opinions?

Anonymous said...

With all of the whinny petty stuff written on this post, makes me wonder about the rest of the site....

Dennis Diehl said...

On the other hand Luke has no Herod, no killings, no chasing Jesus and no trip to Egypt. His Holy Family hangs out for purification rights and calmly walks back home.

I have driven between Jerusalem and Nazareth and it is one very long waste howling wilderness romp. The "then try went here\then they went there" of the Gospels is misleading and understated

nck said...

"I have driven between Jerusalem and Nazareth and it is one very long waste howling wilderness romp"

Dennis, I don't understand. Did you drive over the mountainroad or through the Palestinian territories????

If you would have taken the coastal road you could have profited from all the "Roman" amenities. Very nice toll road and closer to the coast nice Roman cities.

Descending to The Jordan river over Beet Shean would include scenary aswell.

I was surprised how tiny that country actually is.

No surprise they are NEVER going to give up an 11 mile buffer zone between countries that consider them enemies. Whenever my plane leaves from Amman I am always irritated by the extreme steep ascend the plane is obliged to make since within minutes it needs to be on a certain altitude when crossing Israel, which only takes minutes.

So much quicker than the flying distande from Poughkeepsy to Goose bay both in time and psychologically since one thinks "almost home." Ah well "promised lands."


Anonymous said...

This doesn't even make sense. Registration for the site has not even opened yet. According to their web site, registration opens Feb. 11th. Someone really needs to get their story straight!

Buckeye Bob said...

Registration has not opened yet! How can they have been turned away??

Anonymous said...

6:40 God isn't a capitalist: When the couple sold land and kept back some of the money they gave to the church it says wasn't the money yours. They were killed not for giving, but for lying. Also Timothy says that those who are rich should use their riches to help others. There was not equality of wealth. Those who had wealth were encouraged (not commanded by law) to give to help others.
God is a capitalist, but a generous one. Wealthy should use wealth to help others, not just focus on themselves.
As with all passages, a description of what was done is not always a prescription that is for all people, for all time. Jesus told a rich person to sell your stuff and give it to the poor. If he did, then he would be poor and the rich person would have to give it back to him. Makes no sense if you universalize some of these passages.

Jean said...

Same happened last year for the LCG Spanish Feast Site.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you get it. What if the Church was headquartered in Rome and the Italians planned a Feast in Miami and told the American members that they needn't apply.

Anonymous said...

The point is that the European cogwa members were originally not allowed to apply. It is an American site for Americans.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad you have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, only trying the best you can to cause dissension -- definitely not a true Christian trait.

Anonymous said...

My parents are in COGWA and are poor as dirt. I have no love loss for the legacy of Armstrong but this argument seems pointless.