UCG Reports Statistics, Etc.


In its announcement dated 12/09/11, related to its latest Council of Elders meeting, the United Church of God (UCG) reported the following from its Chairman Melvin Rhodes:

Our average U.S. attendance in October was 7,621, with an additional 4,500 worldwide. The number of people attending UCG services each week around the world is in excess of 12,000…

Aaron Dean, operation manager for Financial Services, reported that our finances are better than expected…Our “faith line” was bolstered in the first six months of the current fiscal year by two estate donations…

The Council of Elders and the administration are working together, in a spirit of unity and cooperation, to take a far-reaching look at the guiding principles of the Strategic Plan to make sure the plan accurately reflects the spiritual mission of the church—which is to preach the gospel and make disciples…

As we strive toward our goals, the administration requested the Council consider plans to expand the home office…There are many needs, including a larger and more effective television studio and a bigger meeting hall (which could double up as a permanent Feast site, allowing 500 people to meet). There is also a need to provide additional space for our young adults and ministerial education programs. Initial plans would enhance this area, as well as our media department.Some Council members expressed caution on taking on a loan at a time of economic uncertainty. So after a great deal of discussion, a decision was made to go ahead and hire an architect to draw up plans to give us a more accurate estimate of costs. After seeing more concrete costs, and if the project is approved by the Council in February, the money for it will be included in the 2012-2013 budget for approval by the General Conference of Elders in May. This will also give us time to raise the funds in order to move forward in a measured way. We would appreciate input from you and from our members, and are open to a collaborative approach as we move forward. More information will be forthcoming. We estimate that the final cost will be about two million dollars.

UCG mentioned its telecast in the above, which I left out.   Why?  Well, I, for one, am more interested in its actual received responses or conversions as the result of public proclamation as opposed to the potential reach of its broadcast (which was in the report). Received responses or conversions were not alluded to in the report, though perhaps it will be out in an upcoming edition of the United News.

For those unfamiliar with UCG, it formed as a collection of ministers in 1995 who left the old Worldwide Church of God.  UCG recently lost over 1/2 of its paid USA ministry in 2010/2011, when a former president and certain other leaders left to form a group known as Church of God a Worldwide Association (COGWA).  UCG has had two major  (and several minor) defections in it history, the first major one involving former UCG President David Hulme’s COGaIC in 1998 and then the COGWA split. Both the COGaIC and COGWA splits were claimed to be related to issues of church governance and direction.

Considering how many left UCG in 2010 and early 2011, it has seemingly done reasonably well.  I still await the release of its financial statements for its fiscal year ending 6/30/11 as that may give more statistics related to income, etc.  Normally, like in past years, this would have been out some time ago, and the financial statements may be released soon.

As far as UCG’s direction, UCG has a history of having strategic committees attempting to figure that out.  Thus, having it also occurring now is not a surprise.   UCG, while not making a tremendous amount of new disciples, does not seem to have done any worse in this area since the COGWA split–but I historically would not characterize UCG’s evangelical approach as hot or public proclamation of the gospel as truly a top priority.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Polycarp, Herbert W. Armstrong, and Roderick C. Meredith on Church Government What form of governance did the early church have? Was it hierarchical? 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?
Unity: Which COG for You? Why so many groups? Why is there lack of unity in the Churches of God? Has it always been this way? What can/should be done about it?
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.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG/GCI members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.
Concerns about Church of God, a Worldwide Association This seems to be the largest group that came out of the United Church of God. Here is some history and concerns about it.
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?
The Laodicean Church Era has been predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. These are non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.

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