Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Belleville COG through?

Al Buchanan, minister of the Belleville Church of God, almost universally considered one of the least oppressive ministers in the oppressive Worldwide Church of God splinter-groups, has announced his intention to step down from the ministry.
Depending on your point of view, this could be a black day in Armstrongism or a time to celebrate.

In his announcements given during Sabbath services on October 17th, he recounted how several members of his close family narrowly averted death in the Gulf of Mexico at the FOT 2009 in Panama City, Florida. (Praise God in the highest terms for this merciful Providence.) The event was so emotionally devastating, he realized he could no longer function in the role of minister.

In a message given on October 24, 2009, entitled "Loving One Another", Al laid out more details about his decision to step down. There apparently was a second family issue involved about which he will not divulge details. He also mentions that this is a decision he has been going back and forth on for several months. Thus, it would appear these family tragedies are the straw(s) that broke the camel's back.

If you are not immediately familiar with Al Buchanan, he was once closely tied with Ronald Weinland. They co-hosted a Feast of Teabernacles in Seveirville, Tennessee, in 1999, as Mike's timeline will plainly show over at the "False Prophet Ronald Weinland" blog. Al soon began to see through Weinland's illusion of friendliness, recognized his deceitfulness and love of power, and he severed ties with Weinland quickly. Al Buchanan was a pillar of support for the Church of God - Toledo, after Ron Weinland's seizure of the Church of God, Inc. in February 2000, where he disfellowshipped the Board and kicked out every voting member in Toledo who he thought might oppose his scheme to set himself up as sole ruler. Since then, the Belleville church and the Toledo church have been extraordinarily close. Al remains a critic of Ron Weinland.

Several people have written, called, and sent cards expressing their sympathies for his family. Regardless of what you may think about an Armstrongist minister, Al is a man, a fellow human being, who almost lost several cherished members of his close family. Understandably he would be shaken. I think he and his family deserve a degree of sympathy, understanding, and human compassion - even if the best you can do is to say nothing at all. Al was a good friend to me, as was his family, as were most of the Belleville congregation. I would personally appreciate it.

Whether they accept it or not, my heart goes out to them deeply. I am so thankful this didn't end much worse. Praise God for that.

He has also received some support for his decision to step down, and some calls for him to change his mind. This decision greatly affects the Belleville COG and the Church of God - Toledo. One, or maybe both, may cease to exist depending on how this turns out.
Nothing is set in stone yet! He may yet be convinced to change his mind. Keep an eyeball on this for further developments.


It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

Acts 17:11



Seeker Of Truth said...

Surely, his congregation is shaken by this news, and I must say that I have a lot of respect for a man who sits in front of his congregation to do his best to answer all their questions and let them voice their concerns... Armstrongism or not.

Mike (Don't Drink the Flavor Aid) said...

I've listened to part of it. A couple of interesting statements.

Al says that his CoGlet has contributed to the division within the CoGs. If he shuts down the Belleville CoG, it won't eliminate the division, but some of his flock may end up with fleecers like Pack.

He also said something to the effect that all groups had some good fruit, and then quickly amended that to say that most did. I imagine that Weinland came to mind at that point.

xHWA said...

Mike, I would not doubt in the least that you are right on about that. ;-)

Mike (Don't Drink the Flavor Aid) said...

Looks like Al made his swan song this weekend with a sermon titled "Be Still and Listen", ending with a statement that that's what he planned to do. Wonder which CoG(s) will scoop up his flock.

xHWA said...

Thanks for that update, Mike. I'll check it out.

My guess on where they'll end up -- the local UCG congregation. Some have been moving there for a while now.