Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mt Pocono Feast Site Wasteland

double click to enlarge.


If you ever attended the Mt Pocono Feast of Tabernacles site you would remember over 10,000 people, huge parking lots that seemed miles away from the tent/convention building, spanking tents, trams, food stands stocked with donuts and all beef hot dogs, briefcases, long dresses, freezing cold, walking in huge rainstorms back to your car, surviving an almost direct hit by a tornado that sent the tent bouncing and flapping in the gale force winds, and so much more.

Above you see the depressing remnants of the old feast site.   The large parking lots are to the left, the Administration building is in the center and the tabernacle site was right where the road leads into the Administration building lot.  There are lots of dead trees, denuded landscaping.  Just like the Church of God as a whole, it symbolizes a dead church slowly being eaten up by decay.

35 comments:

Byker Bob said...

Who owns this land? Was it ever owned by the WCG? Did the new WCG sell it off?

BB

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

NO2HWA said, "Just like the Church of God as a whole, it symbolizes a dead church slowly being eaten up by decay".

MY COMMENT - This post brought back memories of my youth!

My family attended the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. WCG Church circuit with Baltimore attendance at 600 and Washington, D.C. at 500. Today, from what I read, a large COG Feast of Tabernacles site attendance is the size of what either Baltimore or Washington WCG was in the 1960s/1970s.

Our church circuit was on the Festival borderline of the Feast site boundaries as set by Headquarters so we would anxiously await each year which feast site we would be assigned to attend - Mt. Pocono or Jekyll Island. When assigned to sunny, beachy and warm Jekyll Island, we were happy. When assigned to Mt. Pocono, we were....well....we took it with a good attitude. Cold, and I do mean cold was what I remember the most about Mt. Pocono.

One memory is going out to the airport to greet Garner Ted's arrival flying the Falcon Jet. A large group met him at the airport. I listened to Stanley Radar and Albert J. Portune for the first time at Mt. Pocono

One memorable sermon was given by C. Wayne Cole at Mt. Pocono. At a time when the Church predicted 1972 Great Tribulation was right around the corner, Mr. Cole preached a sermon that speculated what if time went on for 40 years or more, who would be the leaders of the Church of God? It was the only sermon I ever heard in my 8 years in the Church that broke ranks with the official Church line that "Time is short" and 1975 in prophecy was near. Time has proven Mr. Cole's hypothetical question correct - and he was the only one to question the Church's"Time is short" end time message.

Richard









Byker Bob said...

I wonder, Richard, if Raymond Cole visualized a vibrant, unified church, doing a great and highly visible work 40 years after the time and date stamp expiration, or if he foresaw a bunch of small copycat splinters with “leaders” that are consumed with their own importance, and just phoning it in or logging their time.

I don’t believe anyone anticipated what we see today. If the Armstrong movement were a gun, it began shooting blanks shortly after HWA passed away.

BB

Anonymous said...

The so-called "spanking tents" are a lie that dissident exmembers use to discredit God's church.

Anonymous said...

"The so-called "spanking tents" are a lie that dissident exmembers use to discredit God's church."

Really? That's what you're going to use? Never mind the failed prophesies, the mental, spiritual, and physical abuse that so many people have verified? Never mind the extravagance of spending, the horrific pride, egos, and untruths that have perpetuated this church? Never mind the constant oppression that the ministry put on the members constantly? Never mind the cherry-picking to support their doctrines and their agenda - and you focus on "Spanking tents"??

There are FAR more things then just "spanking tents" out there to be concerned about. "God's Church" - as you put it - actually, Herbert's Cult - has far more to it's discredit than the conflicting memories of a "spanking tent". Tent or not, serious, and sometimes abusive spankings did happen, regularly, and with the church's blessing. You're grasping at straws trying to legitimize Armstrongism as "God's Church". But go ahead, keep on digging that hole.

Dumbhead said...

"took it with a good attitude" I remember a guy,and it was maybe his first Feast,carrying on maybe about how there was nothing to do there at the Poconos. He said "go somewhere else" when talking about the next Feast. A minister from NY, I believe it was Keith Thomas, was talking about having a Feast site in New York City. Something that probably never happened

Anonymous said...

Yes there are more important issues that Armstrongism was guilty of, however, there were mother’s rooms where children were spanked. I don’t recall them being called spanking tents but I do know there were areas set aside for crying children and often this is where spanking was administered. I do remember 1/2 inch paddles being made and being made available to parents who wanted them. Spanking was the norm back in the 60s.
Jim

Anonymous said...

They had spanking tents for kids & adults.

What About The Truth said...

The Mt. Pocono parking lot brings back memories and lessons for one young WCG member. I was 19 years old heading a parking group of men. Our crew was at the head of the parking lot where it converged into the trail leading to the festival building ready for the 1st cars of opening night. I parked about 15 cars at the head of the parking lot when I turned to hear a man in a suit and tie yelling and screaming coming up the trail towards me. He came up to my face and called me a stupid _ss mother f______ pile of sh__............. He ordered me to go get all the people who by now were down the trail heading to the tabernacle and have them come back and move their cars out of those front parking spaces.

That is how one minister put in a leadership position handled a situation of little importance and impressed upon a young man of how church government administered by men could be tyrannical.

Anonymous said...

I never attended the Feast at Mt Pocono, but did work there one summer before college started in the early 70's. We painted the red girders, egg shell white and had a crazy setup that should have been banned, to get up to the level to paint.

We picked up 8 dump trucks of rocks, so they could plant grass, but didn't make much of a dent in all the rocks on the property.

I've never seen fog thicker than I saw there that summer and torrential rain that went on for days. We slept on the floors of the bathrooms on air mattresses and sleeping bags.

One of the less known Cole brothers was the caretaker, and we'd give him fits with some of our pranks. One day, we asked the restaurant we ate at most of the time if we could have a large potato. We snuck out that night, shoved it as far up the tailpipe of his truck as we could and watched the next morning what would happen.

He turned the truck over and of course it was very sluggish and then the backed up pressure finally shot the potato out of the pipe with a loud bang. He must have gotten the message, because he pretty much left us alone after that.

I do remember a big ministerial meeting taking place that summer at the Feast Ad building and later heard it was where the men who started the Associated COG (Westby, Williams, Zaph etc.) met to plan the break off.

Anonymous said...

It's unsurprising that Herb, GTA, Radar, Waterhouse etc 'hijacked' the church by insisting that their generation was the special last generation. The next generation can go eat cake. Sort of like the country as a whole living it up by passing on the national debt to future generations. Same unfeeling attitude.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Byker, C. Wayne Cole's sermon speculated what if time went on for 40 years. Who would be the leaders? His sermon was in the context of the early 1970s Worldwide Church of God projected forward 40 years. It was definitely an "off the plantation" sermon and in hindsight, I wonder if he was ever called on the carpet or even taken behind the shed to the "spanking tent" for even suggesting that time could go on for 40 years or so before the Great Tribulation commencing culminating with the return of Christ. As I know you know, that wasn't within WCG script and Church chatter awaiting for the January 1972 German attack on America. I don't recall whether or not he dealt with the obvious - that Herbert Armstrong would likely be gone but it had to have been inferred. He did not foresee a bunch of small copycat splinters with “leaders” that are consumed with their own importance, and just phoning it in or logging their time. No one foresaw this current state of a dead Church 45+ years.

Richard

Byker Bob said...

The tents were a stealth move. The church didn’t want people from the local community seeing parents horsewhip their kids over the hoods of their cars in the parking lot, which is what was happening before someone came up with the tents.

BB

Anonymous said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXErQZruJQc

Here's the Mt. Pocono Feast videotaped in 1972. Notice:

All the helmeted parking people
The two ministers walking fast ignoring everyone around them
The bathrooms way out the way you had to go to in the rain and cold
The infamous trams
Some really paranoid guy mad that he was being taped and nearly made the person he was escorting fall
One of the "stand" buildings
Some dude with really baggy pants, a not-tucked-in shirt, and too short a tie

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:43 AM, Yes, I do remember the spanking tents for the adults. I had to put my wife over my knee and spank her bare bottom often at the feast.

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Anonymous 5:14 PM

Thank you for posting the YouTube clip of the Mt. Pocono Feast site. It brought back memories, and I have viewed multiple times this evening see if either myself or my family or anyone I might remember appearing in the clip. I am not sure if I was even in Mt. Pocono in 1972 or if I was in Jekyll Island.

I have thrown all my Worldwide Church of God stuff away with the exception of my Sabbath Services notebooks and Feast of Tabernacles notes. They are kept in my Maryland principal residence and I am writing this evening from my Florida domicile so I couldn't look it up nor provide any further details of my aforementioned C. Wayne Cole sermon. Thanks again!

Richard

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Anonymous 12:13 PM said, "I never attended the Feast at Mt Pocono, but did work there one summer before college started in the early 70's".

MY COMMENT - I remember an announcement made by Mr. Westby during a Washington, D.C. WCG Sabbath Service in early summer sometime in the early 1970s that the Church was looking for volunteers to work at the Mt. Pocono Feast site for a week at a time.

Interesting that you mention the Associated Churches of God - the original splinter Church - and Ken Westby, Tom Williams and Paul Zapf. If memory serves me correct, Tom Williams was Peaching Elder in Richmond, Va. at the time he was fired. Mr. Westby and Tom Williams visited my mother in 1968 and invited us to Church in Washington, D.C. The rest is history with me. Paul Zapf was Pastor of Harrisburg, Pa., and he wasn't fired at the same time as Mr. Westby and Mr. Williams. When Larry Salyer came to Washington, D.C. to replace Mr. Westby, my first interaction with him was helping stuff in preprinted addressed envelopes hundreds of emergency letters written by Garner Ted addressed to the Harrisburg Church brethren announcing Mr. Zapf had been marked and fired - no longer a minister in the Church of God. Due to the urgency, the boxes of letters and pre-printed envelopes arrived in Washington from Pasadena via the Church jet. The letters had to get into the mail immediately because it gave a change of venue instructions to the brethren for the upcoming weekly Sabbath Service besides making the announcement about Mr. Zapf. After completing the envelope stuffing, my brother and I were given the responsibility to the boxes of letters and go to downtown Baltimore to the United States Postal Center which was open all night. We arrived about midnight and got the urgent letters into the mail.

Your reference to Westby, Williams, and Zapf as well as your work at Mt. Pocono made me wonder if you attended in WCG my local Baltimore/Washinton area. I attended from 1968 to 1976 although the rest of my family stayed in the Church until the Tkach changes in the early 1990s.

Richard

Anonymous said...

Richard

I didn’t attend in the area, but my wife did in Harrisburg. She actually flew back from AC on the church plane as a group of students “trying” to convince people to not leave WCG. Paul Zapf was her minister. I’ve often said the best thing I got from AC (maybe the only thing) was my wife of almost 44 years now)

I was hired by the church for the summer, prior to going to AC Big Sandy. We worked on 2 sites that summer, Ozarks and Pocono, both sites owned by the church.

Glenn said...

As I recall from my days in the Pasadena business office, the church owned feast sites, other than Big Sandy, were sold off to raise cash during the early to mid 1970s. Raymond Cole wasted a ton on money on the Ozarks and Wisconsin Dells sites that were used only a few years. Those were the days when HWAs choo choo really started going off the tracks.

Anonymous said...

"As I recall from my days in the Pasadena business office, the church owned feast sites, other than Big Sandy, were sold off to raise cash during the early to mid 1970s. "

Your recollection is incorrect.

Ozarks and the Dells were sites well into the 80s and possibly early 90s. Poconos I'm not so sure of. Perhaps others can chime in.

Anonymous said...

Can't find it on map. What road is it on?

NO2HWA said...

Here is the google page: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.1479587,-75.3580374,651a,35y,233.47h,44.87t/data=!3m1!1e3

Anonymous said...

5:26 here. I worked at both sites the summer of 1973 and at the time, both Ozarks and Pocono were still church owned. I know they started selling sites at some point, but not sure when. I’d defer to 3:02.

Anonymous said...

The WCG did own the Pocono site. The Ozark and Wisconsin Dells property were not bought for a few more years after that. Word had it it was originally sold in the 90's to some Japanese company and maybe there's be like rock concerts held there. Never happened. On a side note: In the middle 80's someone called Pennsylvania CPS to report parents spanking their kids in the "mothers rooms" in the metal building and there were announcements made to cut it out for fear of parents getting arrested for child abuse.

NO2HWA said...

I remember the announcement about cutting back on the spanking. CPS scared the crap out of the WCG when they swooped in.

Anonymous said...

Wow.

Making an announcement to "cut back" on the spanking is pretty much an admission of the fact. Surprised they took that route. Wonder if any CPS was in the place.

Anonymous said...

"Thank you for posting the YouTube clip of the Mt. Pocono Feast site. It brought back memories,"

Welcome.

I have early, early, early memories of being in the Poconos' building as a very small child. The exact memory I have was extremely scary to me as a small child. Frank R. McCrady was yelling and pounding his fist on the lectern in fits of anger at people skipping out of church at the Feast. But even this was not as scary as HWA's booming voice yelling and echoing throughout the hall. No child should have had to have been exposed to this, but there I was.

Thankfully, I had a "Mr. Professor" calculator to keep me occupied, as well as an "Etch-A-Sketch". My mother nearly had a panic attack when one of my "talking" gadgets nearly went off during a service.

By the way - to a small, young child at a Feast Metal Tin Can Building - that place was absolutely enormous - like being in a superdome or something.

That stand in the video - was that the food stand thing? I was too young to know what it was. Im assuming all those people going into the Festival Admin Building were there to register or something?

Glenn said...

My mistake 3:02. I know we tried to sell those feast sites back in the 1970s. Guess no one wanted them back then. We did sell the press facilities in Pasadena about that time. I left the business office in 1976.

Anonymous said...

NO2HWA said...
Here is the google page: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.1479587,-75.3580374,651a,35y,233.47h,44.87t/data=!3m1!1e3

Has the large meeting bldg, behind the admin bldg?,(vacant patch of ground) been demolished?

NO2HWA said...

If I remember right, the metal structure had partially collapsed because of snow, rain damage and poor maintenance, years ago.

Mish-Mash said...

I attended many Feasts in Mt. Pocono, and I actually live in the area now. Its a mess up there. The last time I checked, Northampton Community college had an office in the building, but, I looked like they abandoned that office. I have a bunch of pictures of me a cute little kid running around the place. I will post them here one of these days when I dig them out and scan them. I have to say, I was known to have the "cool" parents. They weren't spankers, but then I was pretty scared of what "could" come down, so I acted like a mini-adult. That way, you don't get in trouble. One thing that always struck me when you entered the metal building was the SMELL ! Either two-thirds of the people weren't wearing deodorant, or there was some kind of mold in there due to the dampness. Would get a cold every year from that germ incubator. My Mom would do everything she could to get an assignment in the Admin building so she could get us out of the tent. Oh, and the booze. There was an open bar for the ministers in the Admin building. Does anyone remember the fancy wooden bar they brought in? Well my Dad made that, he also made the famous cheesecakes for the "royalty". I can't say I had a bad time in my years there. We found fun things to do up here, the Alpine Slide at Camelback, trout fishing in Paradise Twp Fish Hatchery, and the swinging bridge at the Holley Ross pottery factory. Well, I like here now. The excitement of those days has worn off. South of Mr. Pocono on Rt. 611, it is getting real developed, but up there, its still a ghost town. Too many demons of the past scaring away the developers.

Anonymous said...

" There was an open bar for the ministers in the Admin building."

This does not surprise me one bit.

Well, that could explain a lot of the behavior behind the pulpit!!! ;)

Anonymous said...

There is an airstrip right next to property. Was that there back in the day? Maybe it was originally built for wcg royalty visits like Big Sandy airstrip was? The fatman & the 'playboy' also demanded an airport near Lake Orr.

Anonymous said...

"Fatman And the Playboy" sounds like a new PrimeTime Drama on one of the big networks.

Like "Hardcastle and McCormick."
Or "Cagney and Lacey".

Plot: A Multi-Million dollar religious figure, and his wild, deviant son battle internal and external battles in the fight for power, including unusual villains, dissident ex-members, even the state itself. Episodes about the torrid love affair of the Fatman and his much younger bride. Internal schisms and intrigue. Cover ups, and power challenges.

Sound familiar? ;)

Might be a neat idea to do a "search" to see what actors would best portray the main characters ;)

Anonymous said...

One notices the meager forestation around Mt Pocono/Pennsylvania. What destruction of magnificent natural beauty since European settlement, and now extreme immigration population boom!