UCG Reports On Its Council Meeting

The Main Street of Ancient Laodicea (Taken 5/12/08)


The June 2008 edition of United News is now available.  The following is mainly from its lead article (and some related articles in the same issue) (bolding mine):

The General Conference of Elders repealed its 2007 approval of the move of the home office to Texas and selected Paul Kieffer (international) and Aaron Dean, Darris McNeely and Robin Webber to the Council of Elders.

The new Strategic Plan, Operation Plan and budget were all approved, and one of five proposed amendments was approved…

After the balloting, Mr. Dick gave the keynote address…

Mr. Dick mentioned the problem identified early in United’s history, “We have not always treated one another in a godly manner.” He commented on some of United’s successes, including creating appeals processes, the peaceful transitions of power in UCG offices, teen summer camp program, the long-range planning for retiree care and the relations with those of other churches

Mr. Lovelady listed the following areas of emphasis: Conservative budgeting, strategic planning, managerial reporting and human resources and information services.

He pointed out that even after the purchase of the land in Texas, we still have more than the required 10 weeks of income in reserve. Mr. Lovelady also gave a handout of the May 9 cash flow report and listed the salary ranges for U.S. Church employees…

Mr. Franks also gave the following statistics: There has been a 1.5 percent increase in U.S. church attendance for the year (about 200 more people). Average attendance is 11,430. High attendance was 13,374 for the First Day of Unleavened Bread. There’s been a decrease of two pastors (89 to 87), and the number will likely drop to 85 soon because of retirements. At the high, United had 125 pastors.

Mr. Franks also reported on education programs such as Ambassador Bible Center, which is expanding to a nine-month program and will be featured in a video in the next few weeks…Mr. Franks also discussed the United Youth Corps and the ministerial development programs.

Mr. Franks concluded that we are seeing real growth, even if not large, and that we face an aging ministry.

Our goal is maximum impact/maximum exposure, Mr. Salyer said, and that can only be achieved with optimism and zeal…

May 19 elders and wives were able to attend a number of workshops based on the theme of going on to perfection. All participants and home office staff members were invited to a lively, interactive presentation on “What Strategic Planning Is All About” by Michael Wilkinson of Leadership Strategies, the company that facilitated the Council in developing the new Strategic Plan.

Other workshops were “The Spiritually Mature Congregation,” “Pitfalls to Godly Wisdom,” “Ministerial Calling—Maturing Relationships,” “Planning for Loss,” “Computers: The Basics and Beyond” and “Elder’s Wives Workshop.”…

The resolution to rescind the 2007 GCE vote to relocate the home office to Texas was approved with 187 yes and 175 no…

At the Council meeting May 22, Chairman Robert Dick recognized and thanked departing Council members Leon Walker, Jim Franks and Larry Salyer.

As I reported yesterday (LCG Publishes Financial Statements), as well as previously (UCG Reports on Its COE Meeting), UCG’s emphasis has always tended to be more inward and less on the outward focus of proclaiming the gospel.  And notice that the bolded comments suggest that its leadership continues, to a great degree, with that emphasis.

However, UCG did in another article attempt to discuss what it should do next, the following is from an article titled Council Discusses “Where Do We Go From Here?“:

“This announcement is to update you regarding the proposed home office relocation to Texas. As you know, a resolution to rescind last year’s ballot approving the move was placed on this year’s agenda. This resolution passed by 187 in favor and 175 opposed. It is clear that the two ballots on the relocation of the home office demonstrate that we are not united on this issue.

“So how do we proceed now?

“All of us who serve on the Council of Elders and in administration want you to know that we remain dedicated to our primary purposes of preaching the gospel and preparing a people. We must not allow our differences over the relocation issue to undermine our commitment to do the work that God has called us to do. All of us want the facilities which will best serve our needs.

“The initial reason for proposing the move was to address the needs of the Church, both short term and long term. The administration has the task of bringing to the Council recommendations on how we should now proceed. We will keep you informed of decisions and progress on this important aspect of God’s work.

“Thank you for your continued prayers and faithful support.”

Resolution to Move Forward

This announcement, read in UCG congregations May 24, was the culmination of a discussion of “where do we go from here?” after the GCE reversal of the decision on relocation to Texas. The Council also asked President Clyde Kilough to present a resolution as to how he would proceed from here.

The following resolution was approved May 22 by 11 in favor (Richard Thompson was not present due to teaching an Ambassador Bible Center class).

“Whereas, in light of the passage of the resolution to rescind the 2007 relocation decision, the United Church of God must yet address the strategic issues and questions that led to the 2007 proposal,

“Therefore, it is hereby resolved that the President bring recommendations for determining how to proceed from this point in addressing these issues and questions and,

“It is further resolved that this report will be presented to the Council of Elders at the August 2008 meeting for Council review and approval.”

Masterful Meetings Workshop

Following the annual General Conference of Elders meetings, the Council members and the U.S. regional pastors met on May 20 for an all-day workshop on meeting facilitation with Michael Wilkinson of Leadership Strategies.

During the Council meetings May 21 and 22, Paul Kieffer, Darris McNeely and Robin Webber were in attendance, having been selected by the GCE to serve on the Council beginning July 1, 2008.

So UCG’s plan is to have more meetings, while reporting that it has meetings on strategic planning and how to have meetings.

Of course, if UCG had not rejected biblical Philadelphia-era governance (such as what the following article discusses Herbert W. Armstrong and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government) it would not have the problems that it does.

Instead, UCG apparently will spend more money for more meetings to try to figure out what to do about its own voting practices (see also Should a Christian Vote?)–but since it figures it has enough money for that, it seems content.

This is basically what happens when vast amounts of money is accumulated for purposes other than proclaiming the gospel–it somehow gets spent on something else (for how it spent its money last year, please see LCG Publishes Financial Statements which compares UCG’s and LCG’s spending priorities).

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

The Laodicean Church Era was predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. The Laodiceans are basically non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
Differences between the Living Church of God and United Church of God This article provides quotes information from the two largest groups which had their origins in WCG as well as commentary.
Herbert W. Armstrong and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government Which form of governance would one expect to have in the Philadelphia remnant? The people decide and/or committee forms, odd dictatorships, or the same type that the Philadelphia era itself had?
What is a True Philadelphian? Many claim to be part of the Philadelphia era of the Church, but is claiming enough? This article has biblical and historical evidence about who really are the Philadelphians.
Are the Laodiceans the Modern Sadducees and Pharisees? Discusses similarities of the Sadducees and Pharisees to various COGs in this end-time.
Should the Church Still Try to Place its Top Priority on Proclaiming the Gospel or Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change that Priority for the Work? Some say the Church should mainly feed the flock now as that is what Herbert W. Armstrong reportedly said. Is that what he said? Is that what the Bible says? What did Paul and Herbert W. Armstrong expect from evangelists?

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