May 14, 2020

Plans for resuming Sabbath services

May 30 is the earliest date U.S. congregations will resume meeting for weekly services. Pastors have guidelines for deciding when and how to start meeting together again and will convey those to the members in their congregations. Circumstances vary from place to place and country to country, of course, so the opportunities to begin meeting together will likewise vary widely.

Feast of Pentecost

We will be webcasting one service from headquarters on the Feast of Pentecost, Sunday, May 31, at 12 p.m. Central Daylight Time. While the service is timed for U.S. congregations, brethren anywhere else in the world are welcome to join us, of course. The holy day offering will be collected in the same manner as during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Sabbath services in May

On May 16, 23 and 30 we will be webcasting a full Sabbath service from headquarters at 12 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The headquarters webcast can be accessed by going to cogwa.tv (no password necessary) or your Roku channel. Simultaneous translations in Spanish and in French are also provided on cogwa.tv and Roku. Congregations 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. 

Feast of Tabernacles in Greece

Based on several factors and the information currently available to us, we believe it is prudent to postpone having a Feast site in Greece until 2021. The government of Greece required all hoteliers to give tourists a voucher extending to 18 months the time in which they may use their deposit. Vouchers have been sent to the members registered for Greece who had made their hotel reservations. If the voucher is not used within 18 months, the deposit will be refunded.  

Foundation Institute graduation

The FI class of 2020 will graduate on Sunday, May 17, at 10 a.m. in a ceremony that will be webcast on cogwa.tv or your Roku channel. This is our first webcast of an FI graduation, and we welcome you to join us for this milestone in our students’ lives.

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 the household and 2) FOT Household Attendees to set up the household members who 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.

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.

COGWA Youth Camps update

Our camp directors continue to monitor conditions that might affect our ability to hold COGWA Youth Camps this summer. We have determined that it is necessary to cancel our five preteen camps scheduled to take place during the month of June—Camp Lone Star in Texas, Camp Sequoia (preteen) in California, Camp Chattahoochee in Georgia, Camp Cherokee in Arkansas and Camp Lebanon in Minnesota. While it is disappointing, we feel that this decision—made out of an abundance of caution—is best for these early camps. In lieu of the full camp experience, COGWA Youth Camps will develop online activities and classes (by early July) that will help fill that gap left by missing out on this summer camp program.

We are currently still planning to operate all of our teen camps, which run from late July through mid-August, and our preteen Camp Arrowhead in Ohio, which is scheduled for August.

We hope you will do your best to encourage our preteens and help them find positive outlets for their energy and enthusiasm this summer. We will continue to monitor the situation and inform you of any other changes with the remaining camps.

The COGWA Youth Camps 2020 video presentation is now posted on the CYC web page. We hope everyone will tune in to view this encouraging seven-minute video about our youth camps and plans for this coming summer.

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.

Office reopening

The Church office officially reopened on Tuesday, May 5, following the guidelines issued by the governor of Texas. Some employees 65 and over or who have an underlying health conditions have opted to work from home for the time being. If you need to talk with anyone at the office, please call 972-521-7777. If the person you are seeking is working from home, you will be redirected to be able to reach him or her.

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.

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