December 7th might be the “day that shall live in infamy”, but December 17th was when Joseph Tkach Sr dropped a bombshell on the Worldwide Church of God. Known as the “Christmas Eve Sermon”, it was taped and played in all congregations on 7 January 1995. Thus, the exodus trickle that existed prior to that became a flood.
Maybe 12/17 was when the news hit CA? I was in the audience for the "Christmas Eve sermon" and it actually was 12/24/94 in Big Sandy, TX. That was the infamous sermon where JWT said, among other things, that it was okay to play golf on the Sabbath. When the tape was played on 1/7/95 that comment was no longer there and people who weren't even there appeared in footage of the audience.
To clear up the confusion: Mr. Tkach first gave that sermon 12/17/94 in suburban Atlanta, to a packed crowd of combined congregations.
I was there — and Mr. Tkach never really finished the message. It ran so long he was cut off in mid-sentence by another minister, because the time for renting the hall ran out! Another event had the theatre booked that evening.
The next Sabbath Mr. Tkach was in Big Sandy on WCG property, so he had all day to talk if he wished.
Well Atlanta, GA heard Joe Tkach Sr.'s sermon before it hit Big Sandy and it went over like a lead balloon. My family and I were living in the Atlanta area at the time and we were left in shock from the events of that day. It split the church into various groups. Of course, Atlanta had already been getting a load of things from Earl Williams long before Tkach came to Atlanta.
Interesting history; I don't share that 'Kennedy' moment because mine had already occurred earlier in 1994. I don't remember if it was a video or live feed but it was the sermon where Mr. Tkach took a letter of criticism from a member and tore into the member belittling him like no healthy minister would. After Mr. T revealed himself with this nonsense a wave of thought came over me and I said to myself: Mr. Tkach, you are fired.