EDMOND—The Philadelphia Church of God’s first personal appearance campaign in the United Kingdom took place on October 21–22 in London. The two lectures attracted a total of 112 Philadelphia Trumpet subscribers, in addition to dozens of Church members.
In the weeks leading up to the campaign, staff members at the Church’s United Kingdom-Europe office researched meeting space, negotiated prices and booked a room at the London Hilton Euston. They mailed 2,407 invitation letters in three waves to Trumpet subscribers in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Western Europe, with about five volunteers spending six hours to hand-pack each mailing. Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry also promoted the campaign on his Trumpet Daily Radio Show and in the Trumpet Brief e-mail newsletter.
The office staff received two tablet computers and two handheld scanners from the headquarters campaign department. But it ordered the rest of the materials itself to use in London and in future campaigns: a backdrop, banners, display stands, brochures, reserved signs, staff badges and other supplies. The pac.theTrumpet.com site was adapted to pac.theTrumpet.co.uk.
Day one of the campaign began at 7:30 Sunday morning as United Kingdom-Europe regional office staff, Herbert W. Armstrong College students and Church member volunteers loaded equipment and made the two-hour drive from Henley-in-Arden to London. The team unloaded and set up the room with a stage, lectern, backdrop, flowers, literature and display tables, and audio-video equipment.
Prior to the 4 p.m. start time, guests began arriving in the room as soft classical music played in the background. They viewed literature tables and displays, including photos of Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry and Israeli archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, pictorials of Armstrong Auditorium, and copies of the Herbert W. Armstrong College Envoy and Royal Vision magazine.
A total of 138 Trumpet subscribers attended, including 91 who are not already associated with the Church. The presentation began with a five-minute video that introduced the work of the late Herbert W. Armstrong and its continuation by the Philadelphia Church of God. Mr. Stephen Flurry then presented a lecture focusing on Bible prophecy concerning Europe.
Mr. Flurry said that human beings are equipped not only with Bible prophecy but also with history. He highlighted the October edition of the Trumpet and editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “The Holy Roman Empire Goes Public—Big Time!” The article focuses on Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s promotion of museum exhibits featuring ninth-century Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. Austrians have highlighted Europe’s medieval Catholic heritage as a source of inspiration for dealing with its current crises, Mr. Flurry said, but Charlemagne’s legacy includes massive bloodshed and is one that Europeans should not want to resurrect.
Mr. Flurry discussed the biblical prophecies of four major world-ruling empires, symbolized by a great statue described in Daniel 2; further details of these empires recorded in Daniel 7, where they are symbolized by beasts; and the related prophecies of Revelation 13 and 17, which prophesied the Roman Empire and the seven iterations of the Holy Roman Empire. He highlighted Daniel 7:8 as the “single most revealing verse in Daniel.” He said that the seventh Holy Roman Empire is currently rising, and that it will destroy the modern nations that descended from ancient Israel, including the United Kingdom, the United States and the Jewish nation of Israel.
“Everyone was very attentive during the 90-minute lecture, and we conversed afterward for about two hours,” Mr. Flurry said. “I am so glad that each of them made the effort to attend, and it was a thrill for me to speak to them and to know that God might be working in their lives.”
Following the lecture, many guests remained in the hall, conversing with Mr. Flurry, Church members and each other. Some attendees had previously been members of the Worldwide Church of God during the time it was led by Mr. Armstrong, and some encountered people at the campaign whom they had not seen since that time.
One guest said, “This evening was an eye-opening event. It taught us so much that we didn’t know before, and things we’ve been taking for granted. So it was a very good evening. I wish more of these can be organized.”
“I really enjoyed this evening,” another guest said. “I just love the way the world’s crisis is merged with the Bible and the teaching. And I think a lot of the churches out there are not giving the correct teaching and leading the flock astray.”
At the end of the evening, the campaign crew and volunteers packed up the equipment and drove back to Henley-in-Arden, arriving home around midnight. Mr. Flurry and his family stayed at the Hilton Euston, as did audio-video technician Samuel Livingston, who helped Mr. Flurry broadcast his first live Trumpet Daily Radio Show outside of the Church’s United Kingdom-Europe regional office or headquarters campus in Edmond, Oklahoma. In episode #835, Mr. Flurry discussed the first night of the campaign and the heritage of Mr. Armstrong’s public Bible lectures in the United Kingdom.
On Monday, the campaign crew left the regional office at Edstone at 1 p.m. for London to set up. Organizers had worked with the hotel to adjust the meeting time and space and reduce costs, saving well over $1,000. But this meant that they would have only one hour to set up. However, they later received word from the hotel that two and a half hours of setup time would be granted at no extra cost.
The second lecture attracted 105 guests, including 54 who were not associated with the Church. Mr. Flurry’s second 90-minute lecture answered the question that the Apostle Peter was asked by his listeners in Acts 2: “What shall we do? A portion of the lecture appeared on the October 31 Trumpet Daily television program “Repent You and Believe the Gospel.”
Mr. Flurry said in a Trumpet Brief e-mail, “These campaigns are aimed at stirring [Trumpet readers] to conviction and action.”
Between the two evenings, guests traveled from England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man, Germany and the Netherlands. Some members who had traveled to England to keep the Feast of Tabernacles were still in the country, one of whom was assigned to usher on the spot when the need arose.
A few challenges arose for some of the guests traveling to the campaign. Some who traveled by the London Underground were delayed on Sunday, the primary day of the week for construction work, and arrived after the lecture had started. Members’ prayers regarding parking and seating room were answered, as no significant parking issues were encountered and enough seats were available for all non-Church members and even most members.
Personal Appearance Campaigns manager Edwin Trebels said that setup was efficient and that packing up the second night took less than an hour, partially because those involved are used to working together. “This is great,” he said, “because we are going to do it more often with the same team. It was great preparation for future campaigns.”
The majority of the crew returned home a little prior to 2 a.m. Schedules for staff and students were tweaked to allow for some rest after the all-hands-on-deck effort was over. But more campaigns are ahead. Mr. Flurry announced soon afterward that the regional office is planning campaigns in Belfast (on Saturday night, January 19, and Sunday, January 20) in Glasgow (mid-March) and in Manchester (sometime after April).
A total of 31 non-members signed up to attend follow-up Bible Studies. United Kingdom-Europe Regional Director Brad Macdonald delivered a 90-minute Bible study at the Hilton Euston on October 28: 20 non-members and 20 members attended. He spoke about the purpose of the Church and about keeping the Sabbath.
“I thought the first follow-up Bible lecture went really, really well,” Mr. Macdonald said. “Not only did the majority of people come, but virtually all seemed to be really absorbed in the message about the Church and why it exists. We even had some ‘amens’ and ‘hallelujahs.’ Every single person signed up to attend the next lecture in two weeks.”
At the November 11 study, with 21 non-members, Mr. Macdonald focused on the Gospel and man’s incredible human potential: to be born into God’s Family.
Regional office staff members are now preparing for the Belfast campaign in January. Trebels said that initially the staff was only expecting eight non-member Trumpet subscribers, but 20 non-members have already registered and they are hoping to attract a few more by promoting literature and the Philadelphia Trumpet magazine in newspapers in Northern Ireland and digital marketing in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.