April 30, 2020

Plans for resuming Sabbath services

In the announcements section of Sabbath services this week, May 2, Ministerial Services operation manager Doug Horchak will explain when and under what conditions we plan to have congregations resume meeting for weekly services. Circumstances will vary from place to place and country to country, of course, but we do have an overall strategy and principles in place to guide the ministry and members in deciding when and how to start meeting together again. 

Sabbath services in May

For the next few weeks, we will continue webcasting services as we have since March 14:

  • Congregations that are hosting webcasts have their information posted in alphabetical order on cogwa.tv. If your church area is not listed, contact your pastor to receive information about your local webcast. 
  • We are also webcasting a full Sabbath service from headquarters at 12 p.m. Central Daylight Time. You can access the headquarters webcast simply by going to cogwa.tv or your Roku channel. We will also be providing simultaneous translations in Spanish and in French (also available on cogwa.tv and Roku).
  • All local services will be held either before or after the webcast from headquarters, so there will be no scheduling conflict. As of April 2, 21 church areas are webcasting in the afternoon and 19 in the morning.
  • You can access the headquarters webcast simply by going to cogwa.tv (no password necessary) or your Roku channel. We will also be providing simultaneous translations in Spanish and in French (also available on cogwa.tv and Roku).

Office reopening

The Church office has been temporarily closed, but will officially reopen on Tuesday, May 5. We will follow the guidelines issued by the governor of Texas, who is opening the state for most businesses, but at reduced capacity. Our employees aged 65 and older and any employees who have any underlying health conditions may choose to work from home for the time being. 

Important Festival registration update

Some members have registered for their Feast site, but have not completed the process by providing the names of family members and volunteer information, which helps us with our planning.  

The FOT registration includes two steps: 1) FOT Registration to register each household and 2) FOT Household Attendees to set up who in each household will be attending the site. In some cases, some completed step one but missed step two—the FOT Household Attendees step—and thus do not have any household members set up. Your pastor has a document he can give to you that shows how you can add household members to your registration, if you have not already done so.

If you have not yet registered, we do ask that all COGWA households, whether attending in the U.S. or internationally, complete the online Festival registration. Three U.S. Feast sites—Park City, Tucson, and Orange Beach—are now closed due to having reached capacity.

If adult members in one household are attending different sites, you will need to register individually. We also ask that those not attending please register as well by selecting NOT ATTENDING as their site choice. This gives us more accurate figures for planning.

You can register by clicking on the “Registration” button at feast.cogwa.org. (Or you can go directly to portal.cogwa.org/acct if you already know where you want to attend.) The email address of the registrant will be used to identify that person’s or family’s registration account.

Foundation Institute currently accepting applications

We are still planning to begin our next year of classes at Foundation Institute as scheduled, on Aug. 23. If you have been considering attending Foundation Institute next year, we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

You can download and mail your application, or you can complete and submit it online. Start the process either way by going to the Foundation Institute website (foundationinstitute.org) and clicking on the “Apply Now” link at the top of the page. Further details about the program and its costs are also available on the Foundation Institute website.

It is important that your application be submitted by May 31, and sooner if possible. This allows us to ensure we have adequate student housing available. Applications submitted after that date may still be considered, but we cannot guarantee housing.

Foundation Institute is a full nine-month immersion program in God’s way of life. Classes cover the entirety of the Bible along with such special classes as Principles of Christianity; Comparative Religion; Fundamental Beliefs of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association; and Service in the Church. This coming year we are planning to introduce a new course: Modern History of the Church.

The education at Foundation Institute is unique and unavailable anywhere else. We look forward to receiving your application and having you join us for what promises to be an exciting year ahead.

2020 Foundation Institute Continuing Education summer seminars

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the administration of the Church, together with the Foundation Institute faculty, has decided to cancel the two Continuing Education seminars scheduled for June 8-12 and July 13-17.

While the governor of Texas has announced plans for gradually easing the lockdown restrictions, it is far from clear whether and when we would be allowed to have an event such as these seminars. Given that participants need to make their plans for the summer, we determined the responsible course of action is to cancel this year’s two sessions.

We realize this will disappoint many of you (as it does us), but in lieu of summer classes, this could be a good time to catch up on any of the FI Online classes you might have missed over the past few years. And rest assured, we plan to resume the Continuing Education program in the summer of 2021. Thank you for your interest, and we hope to see you some time in the not too distant future.

Rights to privacy

The Church’s long-standing policy is that pastors should not share prayer requests about any member’s health situation unless the member who is ill gives specific permission and makes such a request. Federal law (HIPAA) also prohibits this for a number of people in various professions. We urge all members to be mindful of that guideline as well. Even though we are well-meaning, we should respect people’s right to privacy and their right to be the first to disclose their personal health information at the time and in the manner of their choosing. This is especially applicable during this time of uncertainty with COVID-19. If there is a situation where some confusion or uncertainty exists on the part of the member and/or pastor, the pastor is encouraged to contact Ministerial Services for advice.

COGWA Youth Camps video 

The COGWA Youth Camps 2020 video presentation that was played during the headquarters webcast on April 11 is now posted on the CYC web page. We hope everyone will tune in to view this short but encouraging seven-minute video about our youth camps and plans for this coming summer.

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