New Headquarters Complex Dedication Ceremony
LOCATION: Tyler, Texas
DATE: June 29, 2002
On the Sabbath, June 29, 2002, shortly after 1:00 PM, the newly completed office/auditorium building near Tyler, Texas was formally dedicated to God.
Mr. Garner Ted Armstrong, President, welcomed 164 brethren from as far away as Canada, Alabama, Utah and many points in between. Prior to the beginning of the regular Sabbath services, he explained the design and construction of the all-steel building; the 8 and ½ acre grounds, and how the facility will not only house the offices of the Evangelistic Association and the Church, but will also serve as a regular meeting place for the local Tyler congregation; for regional church meetings; for annual Holy Days; that it will become another of the two newly-added Feast sites for 2002. He also mentioned potlucks, church socials and the possibility, in the future of a place for such events as seminars, or, in the “hopes and dreams” department, an academy, and a summer program for the youths of the church.
Asking the audience to rise, Mr. Armstrong then formally dedicated the building to God in an emotion-laden prayer. He asked that God place His holy angels inside and all about the facility; that everything that is to be done would be to the honor and glory of God; that the building belongs to God, and asked God’s blessings on all those who had made it possible by their contributions to the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association Building Fund.
He asked God’s blessings on all those who would work in the building, and on all those who would attend worship services in the auditorium.
Following the dedication prayer, Mr. Armstrong led those assembled in singing both verses of the Star Spangled Banner, followed by “God Bless America.” Then, in a loud voice, he said, “And in defiance of the judge in California, will you join me in pledging allegiance to the flag!” An enthusiastic audience responded with a ringing pledge to the flag.
Mr. Armstrong then introduced Mr. George Trent, Area Coordinator for the northeastern United States, and an ordained minister of the church, to give the sermonette.
Mr. Trent began by referencing his wristwatch, and speaking of how often we continually refer to time. “Time passes by,” “water under the bridge,” “what time is it?” and many other references to how we are constantly speaking of time. He explained how time and distance are the same thing; how God created time, by setting in motion the planets and the earth around the sun. His scriptural reference came from Ephesians 5:15,16, which says, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”
He explained that a human lifetime consists of just so many days, hours and seconds, and showed how many hours were left to him until reaching his allotted “threescore and ten.” He showed how, as the second hand moves in one direction, our allotted life span is moving in the other direction; how as each second passes, we have one second less allotted to us, exhorting the audience to make the best of every minute of our lives.
Following another congregational hymn, led by Mr. Tony Brazil of Whitehouse, Texas, special music was given by Mrs. Lucy Jones of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, who sang a beautiful song, with the most appropriate words, “Jesus, Savior, Fill This Place.”
Mr. Armstrong was then introduced for the sermon. He asked, “Just Who Do We Think We Are?” He referred to the “rock opera” of long ago, which asked, “Jesus Christ, Super Star, Are You Who You Say You Are?”
He showed how the nominal Christian-professing world believes Christ came for all the wrong reasons, saying, “Christ did not come to save the world then, and He is not trying to save it today! Christ did not come to start a ‘new religion.’ He did not come to ‘nail the Ten Commandments to His cross!’ He did not come to reform the synagogue. He did not come to deliver to men idols, icons, long dresses, weird head gear, huge crucifixes, chants, somber processions, beards, ringlets, the lighting of candles, tinkling of bells, or reciting endless, repetitive prayers. He did not come to deliver to them the Rosary, or the worship of Mary, or to order His disciples to be celibate. Nor did he begin ‘orders’ for women who should shave their heads and dress up in weird costumes. He did not come to do away with the Old Testament, or to tell mankind it is alright to eat pigs, crabs, snails, rattlesnakes, armadillos or road kill. He did not come to bring us Christmas and Santa Claus, Easter and the Easter bunny, or Hallowe’en with witches, goblins and jack o’ lanterns, or give us license to divorce, commit abortion, ordain homosexuals into the ministry, and advocate gay rights. He did not come to begin more than 450 denominations, sects and cults, and did not come to ‘create a vast bureaucracy masquerading as His church!’”
He then related the real reasons why Christ came to earth: “He came to DISqualify the present evil world ruler, who is Satan. He came to QUALIFY to become the world ruler. He came to build His church; His group of called-out ones; to train and commission them to preach the good news to the world. He came to die for the sins of all mankind; to fulfill the dozens of prophecies about the Messiah; to set us an example that we should follow in His steps, and live as he lived; to confirm the New Covenant with many; to show the way to salvation; to magnify the law and make it honorable; lifting it to a spiritual plane, so that it reaches into every nuance of human behavior; to qualify to become our daily High Priest; to deliver to His disciples prophecies concerning the events to take place prior to His return; to remain in the tomb exactly three days and three nights as proof of His messiahship; to be resurrected and ascend to His Father in heaven, there waiting until the ‘time of the restitution of all things.’”
He then showed how Christ had said “I will build my church — meaning “ekklesia,” or “assembly; called-out ones; students; disciples.” How Christ had said, The gates of Hades [the grave] will never prevail against it.” He said, “The gates of the grave have opened to receive my mother, my brother, my sister and my father. But you and I are ALIVE,” and showed how Christ promised His church would never die out.
He emphasized how CLOSE we are to major world upheavals; asked how long it will be before a “dirty bomb” explodes in Times Square or somewhere else; how long before rogue nations possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; how many years left to us before a huge, nuclear bomb World War III breaks out.
He said, “Anyone who does not know we are living in the last days is either ignorant, or in denial.” He said the US could attack Iraq within a month or two; that we are in the very beginning of the Great Tribulation or time of World Trouble prophesied by Jesus Christ.
After reading several scriptures about the church; the body of Christ, Mr. Armstrong returned to his opening question: “Who do we say we are? We are God’s children. We are branches attached to the Vine, which is Christ. We are members of Christ’s body. We are a part of God’s true church. We are fellow-laborers and co-workers together in the work of God. We are future members of Christ’s cabinet; mayors, judges, kings and priests. We are the Intercontinental Church of God.
“Thank God for all of you! Thank God for all of those around the world; from New Zealand to Canada; from the United States to Australia; in France, England, Germany, and South Africa, who are a part of God’s church!”
His sermon was met with enthusiastic applause, after which Mr. Tony Brazil led us in a concluding hymn, followed by the closing prayer by Mr. Frank Scherich, ordained minister and Area Coordinator of central states and Hawaii.
That evening, large numbers once again reassembled to find many tables set up, a large barbeque buffet set out, with barbequed brisket or chicken, potato salad, red beans, cole slaw and drinks. Later, following dinner, a large crowd enjoyed a wonderful evening of visiting, and of karaoke singing. Many from the audience submitted song requests, and all were amazed at the professional-sounding talent from many of the singers. It was a very happy, joyous evening of fellowship and celebration, as one could see by the wide smiles and enthusiastic applause.
All in all, it was a wonderful day of dedication, renewal, thanksgiving, love, and joy!