Church of God Big Sandy Reports Board Problem

Downtown Big Sandy, Texas 


In its January 26, 2008 announcements, the Church of God Big Sandy, Texas reported the following:

The following synopsis of the special board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22, was submitted by secretary Neil McIver.

This special meeting was originally scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 10. The meeting was postponed due to an alleged technicality in the procedure for calling the meeting. Even though I as secretary “caused” the meeting to occur, other board members suggested that we go above and beyond in rescheduling the meeting.

The agenda item remained the same for the new meeting. The agenda item was the potential removal of a trustee. John Warren contacted the board members and instructed us that he would be out of town during the rescheduled time period. Mr.Warren informed President Monsalvo that he had asked Arlon Tomes to make a statement on his behalf.

According to the bylaws, a trustee in such a situation has a right to be heard by the board before the vote. On behalf of President Monsalvo, I, as secretary, informed Mr.Warren that the board would not be accepting any statements from Mr. Tomes. I also informed Mr. Warren that we would have a telephone in the room awaiting his call. I reminded him of the start time of 7:30 p.m. and gave him the telephone number to call.

When President Monsalvo began addressing the audience at 7:30 p.m., he read a lengthy statement. At 7:54 p.m., Mr. Monsalvo called the meeting to order. He asked Mr. Havir to give the opening prayer. (During the prayer, many of the guests who have stopped attending our congregation and who have begun attending a new church service in Mineola/Lindale, chose not to bow their heads during Mr. Havir’s prayer.)

Mr. Monsalvo then read a motion to call for the removal of Mr. Warren as a trustee. The motion was seconded.

President Monsalvo asked if there was any discussion. Karl Wilson questioned me as secretary whether the procedure for calling this meeting was correct. After I gave him the paperwork, he thanked me for the information. Karl Wilson also made some comments from books discussing Robert’s Rules of Order.

The board was prepared and willing to hear any statement from Mr.Warren over the telephone, as per the bylaw that says the trustee has a right to be heard. He chose not to call.

The motion passed 4-2. Voting for the motion were myself, Don Mischnick, Bernie Monsalvo and Jim Wilkins. Voting against the motion were Ron Avey and Karl Wilson.

Sadly, board splits and other problems often happen in various churches.

The AW site reported the following:

Things have not been going smoothly of late for members of the Church of God, Big Sandy.

If any independent COG congregation … Minister Dave Havir is well respected. If the Worldwide Church of God is to have an enduring legacy, it will be among people like these rather than the Glendora-based organization that has inherited the name…

All that is now at risk. One local has described the situation, perhaps with a feel for the dramatic, as “war.” Some 30 – 40 brethren are now meeting separately, and a board member has been dumped. Details of the story are likely to appear in the upcoming issue of The Journal.

I did contact Dixon Cartwright, editor of The Journal who also attends (and plays the piano at) the Church of God Big Sandy, about the AW claim.  Dixon stated:

The “30-40 meeting” separately is a little misleading because, as is the practice with a lot of people in Big Sandy, at least some of those folks are meeting in both locations.

David Havir, perhaps it should be noted, has long had a tendency to take shots against hierarchical governance in articles that he writes for The Journal–hence in that area he has not had my respect.

However, church splits are sad and they do happen.  Even in organizations that teach against hierarchical church governance.  Church of God Big Sandy was once, itself, affiliated with the United Church of God, but split from it several years back.

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