UCG Statistics

Ruins of Ancient Laodicea


UCG just posted minutes of its May 3-4 Council meeting, as reported by its Mike Bennett:

General Conference of Elders Meeting Report – May 3-4, 2009

An outside auditing firm oversaw the ballot counting, and Mr. Dick read the preliminary ballot results at the end of the day.

The General Conference of Elders selected William Eddington (international), Scott Ashley, Melvin Rhodes and Richard Thompson to the Council of Elders.

The Strategic Plan was ratified with 253 votes yes and 46 no.

The Operation Plan was ratified with 243 yes and 51 no.

The budget was ratified with 235 yes and 54 no…

General Conference of Elders Meeting Report – May 3-4, 2009

International Reports

Five international reports were presented this year. (International regions present reports to the GCE on a rotating basis.)

Carmelo Anastasi reported on the work of the Church in Italy. He mentioned that as a cost-saving measure the Italian Good News is now mailed only four times a year. They also produce newsletters for members and coworkers. He said that now 35 percent of new subscribers come through the Internet, and the Web site is the main low-cost promotional tool. In order to be more effective with Web searchers, the Church in Italy has a new approach on its Web site. We call ourselves a community of believers, and only mention the Church at the end…

Mr. Anastasi explained the difficulty in following our doctrines in a society that is completely opposite of what we teach. He mentioned the strong move toward ecumenicalism in Italy. Those who don’t accept the Catholic Church’s overtures toward ecumenicalism are seen as sects. Mr. Anastasi said the Italian brethren are enduring, and they appreciate the prayers of the brethren around the world.

Saul Langarica reported on the work of the Church in 16 countries in Latin America. There are 19 ministers in the Spanish-speaking area (nine are employed by the Church) and 43 congregations. There are also 22 video and audio groups. Regional Director Leon Walker visits each area about twice a year.

There has been slow but constant growth in Latin America, from 865 baptized members in 1996 to 1,167 today. Attendance has gone from 1,754 in 1996 to 2,485 today. There were 44 baptisms in the region last year.

The Internet plays an important role for the Church in Latin America. Besides the Spanish Good News Web site, there is also a central Church Web site with local Web sites for each country with the same design and information as the central site, but with local information as well. There is also a site for the youth. They also use the Internet to transmit live services from Mexico and Chile. Our new elder from Argentina, Alfredo Arboleas, has introduced an innovative Web program that has made it possible for them in the same service to have a sermonette from Argentina, a sermon from Bolivia—or vice versa—while special music and the opening and closing prayers come from other areas!…

General Conference of Elders Meeting Report – May 3-4, 2009

Victor Kubik reported on Nordic/Baltic/Eastern European area. He called Johnnie Lambert, who volunteers his time to serve in the region, the “patron saint” of the area.

Mr. Kubik pointed out that Russian is the fifth-largest language in the world, so there is a large field in front of them. He gave a number of statistics. They send out 1,600 Good News magazines, including two articles in the local language with each magazine. So far 220 have finished the Estonian Bible Study Course, and 100 are taking the Bible Study Course in Russian. At this point there are no local congregations, since the members are scattered throughout the region…

General Conference of Elders Meeting Report – May 3-4, 2009

Bill Bradford reported on the work of the United Church of God in Australia. He said there are 14 elders and one ministerial trainee serving the country. Recently Grant Chick moved in from South Africa and Matt Sieff was hired as trainee. Steve Clark, who had been training with Mr. Bradford since 2002, took over Melbourne congregation and also travels to the growing area of Western Australia.

The Church in Australia has been growing. There are now 22 congregations (up from 16 with four video groups in 2004). Attendance is now 643 (up from 502 in 2004). The growth is like adding a small congregation of 28 people every year. There are now four Feast sites in Australia, and there has been a 28 percent increase in Festival attendance over last four years.

In the last 30 months there have been 55 baptisms, and of those, 62 percent have no Church of God background. Mr. Bradford also pointed out that that 69.1 percent of those were under age 50, and 52.7 percent were under age 35.

The Good News circulation has grown from 20,830 in 2004 to 37,017 this year…

General Conference of Elders Meeting Report – May 3-4, 2009

Tony Levy reported on the work of the Church in the eight countries of Southern Africa (currently we have no members in two of those, Namibia and Swaziland).

Morgen Kriedemann serves Johannesburg, South Africa, as well as Malawi and scattered members. André van Belkum serves Durban, South Africa, but will soon be moving to New Zealand. He is assisted by Neville Smith. Neil Becker serves East London, South Africa, and handles the office. Stan Botha serves Cape Town, South Africa.

We have two congregations in Malawi, the third-poorest country in world. We are helping with grants to help with education to improve the members’ lives.

Attendance in Zambia is now about 300. They are served by Kambani Banda, who is assisted by Jerrison Shachoongo and Derrick Pringle.

Mr. Levy mentioned that there are no elders or deacons in Zimbabwe now, but three capable men help look after the 43 members in this very troubled country.

In Southern Africa there are a total of nine elders (six full-time) and 19 leading men (nine in South Africa and 10 in rest of Southern Africa). Leaders are being trained through a monthly standardized leadership training program…

General Conference of Elders Meeting Report – May 3-4, 2009

Treasurer’s Address

Treasurer Jason Lovelady talked about “aligning people, technology and strategy.” He reported on the four primary categories of expenses: programs (mission specific), facilities, management and general, and legacy (insurance and benefits). Programs were by far the largest budgetary items…

General Conference of Elders Meeting Report – May 3-4, 2009

He said that the United States in many ways faces the greatest economic crisis since the Depression, which will lead to at the very least a weakening of the dollar and high inflation in the future.

Mr. Lovelady pointed out that U.S. attendance figures over the last six years have increased 1.9 percent, while income over the same time period increased 33.3 percent. Can we expect income to continue to increase with little or no increase in attendance?…

General Conference of Elders Meeting Report – May 3-4, 2009

Ministerial Services

Jim Franks, Ministerial Services operation manager, thanked all the elders for their service and gave a snapshot of Ministerial Services as UCG enters its 15th year.

Average U.S. attendance has increased from 11,346 in 2006 to 11,522 in 2009. This is about a half percent increase per year, or less than one person per congregation.

The demographics of the Church (from U.S. Festival registration in 2008):

  • Under age 30, 35 percent (4,699).
  • Over 60, 28 percent (3,663).
  • Ages 30 to 60, 37 percent (4,878).

New people who contacted U.S. pastors, by quarter:

  • 398 in the third quarter of last year.
  • 354 in the fourth quarter.
  • 515 in the first quarter this year (Mr. Franks mentioned this was a very encouraging increase).

Baptisms from 2003 to 2008 have been fairly consistent, with a range from 163 to 196.

Currently Ministerial Services employs 87 pastors, three associate pastors and three assistant pastors, for a total of 93. From 2001 to now, 20 men have been hired.

Altogether, there are 253 elders, and 247 of these have their ages on file.

  • Over 80, 11 percent.
  • 70-79, 30 percent.
  • 60-69, 32 percent.
  • 50-59, 20 percent.
  • 40-49, 7 percent.

Mr. Franks also mentioned that 83 percent of the Ministerial Services budget goes directly to the pastors and local congregations.

This was a fairly extensive statistical report from UCG. Although I would like to see its total number of attendees and ministers, as opposed to the USA only.  Television, etc. responses were also not reported.

Another question I had, that was not addressed, is how its current income is doing, but that will be known shortly as UCG’s fiscal year ends on June 30th (though it may not report those results until the Fall).

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

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.
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?
Should a Christian Vote? This article gives some of the Biblical rationale on this subject. Would Jesus vote for president? Is voting in the Bible? This is a subject Christians need to understand.
6. The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now basically the Living Church of God.
7. The Laodicean Church Era was predominant circa 1986 A.D. to present. Non-Philadelphians who mainly descended from the old WCG.
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 members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.

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