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UCG Council of Elders Meeting Report – August 11 – 13, 2015

Report on UCG CoE meet of 11 Aug, 2015

Bolding in text is mine to highlight certain programs and issues.  I am not commenting on this in order to give brethren space to make their own determinations and comments.

United Church of God, an International AssociationCouncil of Elders Quarterly Meeting Report

Milford, Ohio

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chairman Robin Webber called the morning session to order at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, and the meeting was opened with prayer. Eleven Council of Elders (Council) members were present. Scott Ashley was not able to be at the meetings because of previous commitments, but he was able to join over teleconference in the afternoon.

Mr. Webber welcomed everyone and read through the Vision Statement and Mission Statement and read from Philippians 2:1-5 to establish the spiritual tone for the meetings.

The minutes from the previous meetings were asked to be edited by Mark Mickelson. The chairman asked for the Council secretary, Gerald Seelig, and Mr. Mickelson to go over the edits and to present them to the Council later in the week for approval.

There were no changes to the agenda for these meetings, so it was approved.

President’s Report—Victor Kubik              [All morning sessions were videoed.]

President Victor Kubik welcomed everyone. Mr. Kubik commented on how God is blessing the Church and how he looks at the blessings even when there are difficulties or challenges at times. God is very much in control, and He opens the doors.

Mr. Kubik went through describing various activities:

  • Ambassador Bible College (ABC): Classes start August 31 with about 25 students so far. We are closer to getting our SEVIS certification that will help international students acquire the F1 student visa.
  • Ministerial Trainees: Six men have been hired as ministerial trainees. Also a local elder was hired to be an assistant pastor. These seven will be serving in New England, Eastern Pennsylvania, Alabama, Phoenix, Dallas, East Texas and the home office.
  • Public Appearance Campaign (PAC) will be held in three locations in Texas: Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Brochures will be provided for members in those areas to give to friends to invite them to the PAC. Darris McNeely and Victor Kubik will promote the PAC by going down to that area over the Feast of Trumpets.
  • Labor in the Word is a 48-hour program of instruction to help improve skills in interpretation and effectively communicating the Bible to the brethren. It will be a requirement for all ministers and should go online next week.
  • Rotary Club: The home office hosted the Batavia, Ohio, Rotary Club, one of the oldest in the United States, for a breakfast club meeting last week. The guests included community and education leaders including the dean of the University of Cincinnati Clermont. The entire group was given a tour of the home office.
  • Home Office Grounds: A new playset for children was put up on our grounds. It was largely financed by LifeNets.

Operation Manager Reports:

Ministerial and Member Services (MMS)—Roy Holladay

Roy Holladay talked about the Church’s responsibility of preaching the gospel to the world and preparing a people. MMS has the responsibility to care for the sheep. MMS cares for the Church as a whole and makes sure the Church is healthy and our ministers are healthy, productive and serving God’s people. As Jesus Christ told Peter, feed My lambs, tend My sheep and feed My sheep. MMS is looking to the future to strengthen and build the Church.

There are two major projects right now:

  • Retirement and replacement of church pastors. When UCG started we promised to provide pastors for all congregations, and we are trying to stay with that responsibility. In the next four years we have about 30 men who might retire, so we are working on the process of training and working with younger men to serve in those areas.
  • Training, educating, and developing leadership in the Church. This goes from the ministry all the way down to our preteens. We are training new ministers, refreshing the current ones and bringing in new leadership.

MMS has a number of projects that are being worked on and coming up:

  • Information Coordinator for Ministerial Education Program—John Elliott came in last week to discuss his duties about this position.
  • Labor in the Word Project—Don Ward is coordinating this project. It will be a part of the online training program for the ministry. There will be 24 two-hour classes.
  • Area/Regional Conference and Leadership Conference—The conference in Rochester, Minnesota, is coming up next week on Aug. 16-18.
  • Pastoral Development Program—This will begin Aug. 24 with 11 couples (six trainee couples and five ministerial couples). It will be held for eight days.
  • Labor Day Leadership Conference—The conference will begin on Sept. 4. Presently there will be around 32 attending.
  • Holy Day Season—The festivals are approaching and preparation is being made for speaking at the Feast.
  • Camp Director Conference—Camp directors will meet Nov. 2-4.
  • Area/Regional Conference and Leadership Conference—The conference will be in Portland, Oregon, Nov. 8-10.

Some statistics and general information:

  • 369 total elders
  • 287 elders in U.S.
  • 82 international elders
  • 196 churches and Bible study groups (U.S.)
  • 96 baptisms so far this year (U.S.)
  • 5 new ordinations since May
  • Average U.S. Sabbath attendance is the same as a year ago.

Media and Communications Services—Peter Eddington

Peter Eddington thanked God for His blessings and went through some statistics:

  • United News circulation is the highest it’s been since Aug. 2010.
  • Coworker count is now the highest it’s ever been (43 percent higher than a year ago).
  • Our donor list now includes 8,306 people. That’s a 90 percent increase over the same time last year.
  • Combined with our coworkers, we now have more of our readers and viewers contributing to the work of the Church than the total number of members in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Pieces of mail containing donations for June 2015 were 7,033—the highest since December (8,233)—and the second highest in UCG’s history.
  • U.S. Good News subscribers are the highest they’ve been since November of 2013. The additional advertising is bringing very good results.
  • The Church’s Beyond Today YouTube channel has had 4.2 million views, has 10,120 subscribers, and hosts 1,425 videos (the most watched program being “The Next Superpower” with 195,000 views). www.youtube.com/user/BeyondTodayTV.

Some of the other items Mr. Eddington discussed were:

  • We expect to have Beyond Today magazine launched under its new name for the January-February 2016 issue.
  • The second test of free-standing newspaper insert ads, totaling 2.3 million pieces, occurred on Aug. 9, 2015 in 69 cities/countries in the East Central and Southeast U.S. regions.
  • New streaming technology is being developed for Beyond Today—taking advantage of a new method for preaching the gospel message to more of the world.
  •  Beyond Today is broadcast nationwide vie the Word Network to 85 million U.S. homes via cable and satellite, plus in dozens of other countries. In particular, we are noticing responses from the U.K. via the Word Network.
  • The media department has four out of six positions still open at present. So far they have selected two new hires to help with their ongoing needs: a website content editor and an editorial assistant.
  • Attempts to fill one of our most pressing hiring needs, for a Web programmer, has so far not been successful.

Rex Sexton asked if the new streaming technology being developed will tell when a program was played and if we would then have a cost per play for each one to see how productive it will be. Mr. Eddington said that this would be possible through online analytics.

Bill Bradford asked if we will look at new production formats for this kind of media to see if there are other methods for reaching this demographic. Mr. Eddington said that our most successful audience demographic will not necessarily change, but that it has the potential for reaching a much larger audience. Our message involves multiple messages including prophecy, doctrine and Christian living. We try lots of different methods.

Mr. Bradford asked if the media department has a think tank for this new media, so we can keep looking into this. Mr. Eddington explained that there are daily meetings and weekly meetings with 12 to 15 people talking about these things regarding trends and news. They are continually trying to learn and develop in this area for preaching the gospel.

Financial Services—Rick Shabi

With the fiscal year having ended June 30, Rick Shabi distributed reports and discussed some of the trends and financial highlights of the year just ended:

  • Throughout each month of the fiscal year, actual income was higher than budgeted income. Overall, income for the year was $2 million more than projected.  God is to be thanked and recognized for His provision for the work, as well as the members and coworkers who support the Church through their tithes and offerings.
  • Expenses ran along budgeted levels, resulting in a net “ordinary” income of over $1.8 million.
  • Cash and total asset balances are significantly higher than at the prior year end.
  • Because of higher than budgeted income, the Council was able to approve certain employee considerations and additional print advertising expense during the year.

So far, one month into the fiscal year that began July 1, 2015, income and expense is at budgeted levels.

The annual audit is scheduled for the week of Aug. 17. Audited financial statements will be published in United News later in the year.

Committee Chairman Reports:

Education Committee—Aaron Dean

This committee received the response for the Council recommendations for Ambassador Bible College (ABC) from Frank Dunkle, and they were passed out. The ABC faculty will keep the doctrinal integrity of the program and will look to continually improve the program in ways suggested by the Council. He mentioned all the work that the Schusters have done to help with the SEVIS certification.

Ethics Committee—Mario Seiglie

This committee currently has no tasks before it.

Media and Communications Committee—Rex Sexton

This committee has met twice since June and have discussed the following:

  • The history of this committee to help give background and perspective.
  • Reviewed the Media Guiding Principles statement.
  • Discussion of the meaning and application of the UCG Constitution section 1.2.5, which provides for Council “oversight and guidance” of preaching the gospel efforts.
  • Review of the scopes and responsibilities statement.
  • Discussion of the “Tone and Voice” chart produced by the media department.
  • Highlighting what makes us distinctive on the UCG Web page.
  • Emphasizing the need for the committee to communicate early on with and interface with the media department on the development of new ideas or projects.
  • Need to maintain open communication and improve the working relationship with the media department.

Roles and Rules Committee—Rainer Salomaa

The committee had a videoconference on June 24, with Chris Rowland, also on-line.

At the May 20 meeting, Mr. Webber remanded to the Roles and Rules Committee to work with the administration in clarifying bylaw 8.7.2 in relationship to the HR manual regarding employment. At that meeting, several Council members raised questions about the hiring process and whether the administration was operating outside of our bylaws or procedures when several ministerial trainees were recently hired, specifically regarding whether they needed Council approval.

The committee has examined Bylaw 8.7.2 and the corresponding HR policy 2.1 “Recruitment and Hiring” and concluded that the administration was operating within our bylaws and procedures.

However, the HR policy states that “procedures for recruiting and hiring into the field ministry may need to differ slightly from this policy due to the ecclesiastical nature of ministerial job responsibilities.”

The committee was unable to find documentation of how the hiring procedure should differ for the field ministry. When the current policy was written, there was no job position for “Ministerial Trainee” and most of our hires at that time were not being made to the field ministry.

Therefore, after reviewing the current policy, approved by the Council in 2001, the recommendation of the Roles and Rules Committee is that the HR policy on “Recruitment and Hiring” be revised and examined in light of current hiring practices and the Council desire to provide additional input for hires to the field ministry. Specific steps for new hires to the field ministry should be developed and incorporated into the policy.

We also recommend that a revised policy should address the statement that approval for the hiring request must be given by the Council of Elders “and/or” the president—the revised policy should state more clearly when Council approval is required.

It has been left up to the administration to revise HR Policy 2.1 and to bring it for Council review.

Also, the committee recommends that a part of the president’s report include a HR update, much the same as Council receives legal updates.

Thirdly, we have looked at Bylaw 8.7.2, with input from our secretary, lawyer, HR manager and will bring a suggested amendment during this round of Council meetings

Other upcoming committee tasks are:

  • Standardizing procedures for selecting the chairman and vice chairman in mid-term.
  • Refine the process for selecting the president.

Strategic Planning and Finance Committee—Bill Bradford

Every year this committee verifies the Strategic Plan with an Operation Plan and a Budget. All these are prepared by the administration and then reviewed by the committee. Then they are all presented to the General Conference of Elders (GCE) each year for their approval.

The committee continues to monitor the Strategic Plan and then budgetary matters that are impacted by the plan.

There are two major transitions taking place in the work:

  • Suppling an effective ministry, who are proficient in their work with a program of retirement and hiring and training and developing leadership.
  • Transferring from TV airtime to an Internet platform; This is to give our programming greater exposure for less cost.

Part of the work of this committee is to continually monitor and review the following:

  • Internal and external trends that impact the Church’s ability to fulfill its mission
  • Budget implementation and financial procedures
  • The financial condition of the Church—including cash flow summaries and quarterly budget report
  • Evaluate trends that would bring opportunity or concern to the organization, and bring these to the attention of the Council for recommendations to management

Doctrine Committee (DC)—John Elliott

The scope and responsibilities of this committee states,

“Preservation of the truth is paramount to the mission of the United Church of God, an International Association (the Church). It is therefore necessary to ensure that all fundamental beliefs, established doctrines and teachings, and material produced by the Church for internal and external purposes are doctrinally sound.

The scope of this committee’s work, as directed by the Council of Elders, extends to all matters relative to the fundamental beliefs, established doctrines and teachings of the Church.

Some of the recent work includes:

  • DC is considering the “Scope and Responsibility of the DC” (document). They will continue to assess the responsibilities therein and effective means by which the committee can fulfill them.
  • Concluded two-year review of “The Last Great Day/8th Day” study paper. The DC will be present their findings and recommendations to the Council.
  • DAC is continuing its study (one-year) review of calendar-related materials and issues.
  • Concluded our review of a member-submitted paper on who is the woman of Revelation 12. The DC informed the author that we did a thorough review and favor the identity that is stated in UCG’s booklet, Book of Revelation Unveiled.
  • DC is working on a short paper on marriage and what constitutes a marriage, which when finished will be submitted to the Council.
  • DC is reviewing the classification of UCG’s 40-some doctrinal and study papers. Once the review is completed they will submit their findings and recommendations to the Council.

The Council went into planned executive session after lunch for the rest of the afternoon. The Council adjourned at 6:10 p.m.

-end-

Council Reporter

Shawn Cortelyou

© 2015 United Church of God, an International Association

 
August 12 

United Church of God, an International Association

Council of Elders Quarterly Meeting Report

Milford, Ohio

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Chairman Robin Webber called the morning session to order at 8:39 a.m., and the meeting was opened with prayer. Eleven Council of Elders (Council) members were present. Scott Ashley was unable to be at the meetings because of previous editorial commitments, but he was able to join via videoconference in the afternoon.

Review of Ministerial and Member Services Employee Job Descriptions—Chris Rowland

Chris Rowland led the discussion regarding this human resources (HR) portion of the meeting. He asked if the Council needs to approve all employee positions. It was decided only the operation manager position description needed to be approved. Mr. Rowland did mention the other descriptions and answered any questions about them.

Mr. Rowland went through the updates and changes to the job description for the operation manager of Ministerial and Member Services. Edits and discussion were done regarding this job description.

Robin Webber moved, Rainer Salomaa seconded, and the quorum of the Council unanimously adopts the following (Scott Ashley was not online):

Whereas, the Council has been presented an edited job description for the Operation Manager of Ministerial and Member Services (MMS),

Now therefore, it is hereby resolved that, the revised job description for the Operation Manager of MMS, a copy of which is attached and made a part of this resolution, is approved.

Roy Holladay then led the discussion going through a new job description and responsibility for the title of information coordinator, Ministerial Education Program. It’s a position that will assist with the MMS education program classes and recordings.

Don Ward inquired about this new position since Ken Graham is the registrar of the new ministerial training program and Don Ward is organizing the Labor in the Word program. Now we have another position.

Victor Kubik said that they asked Dr. Ward to organize the program, but he isn’t expected to do the clerical work. Mr. Graham does the clerical work, but we have such a large amount of material that we are trying to standardize it all to one format and have someone manage the content.

Dr. Ward asked what is involved with managing content and if this new position has the final say on what goes out. Mr. Holladay said the editing is for opening remarks that pertain to the class. Mr. Kubik said it was more of the cosmetic and technical editing of the video that will be done.

Bob Dick asked about the salary category and recommended that it be moved up to a category 6. There was discussion and an agreement that it should be changed to the salary category of 6.

After further input and edits, the following was done. Mario Seiglie moved, Rainer Salomaa seconded, and the quorum of the Council of Elders, by a ballot of ten (10) for and one (1) abstention (John Elliott because this discussion pertained to his current position), adopts the following (Scott Ashley was not online):

Whereas, the Council has been presented with a job description for Information Coordinator, Ministerial Education Program,

Now therefore, it is hereby resolved that, the job description for Information Coordinator, Ministerial Education Program, a copy of which is attached and made a part of this resolution, is approved.

Approval of Budget Overage for MMS—Roy Holladay

Mr. Holladay discussed the current situation with MMS being over budget. The budget was approved in February 2015 by the Council and ratified by the GCE in May. This overage was because of the recent ministerial trainee hires. He stated that in February MMS did not comprehend the depth of the situation involving retirement, health considerations that have since arisen, and manpower distribution.

Tony Wasilkoff inquired if this was a one-time oversight or if this would occur again. Mr. Holladay said that they would account for this increase in the budget next fiscal budget year as an ongoing strategic need to seek out and hire ministerial trainees in a systematic manner.

Bill Bradford moved, Aaron Dean seconded, and the quorum of the Council unanimously adopts the following (Scott Ashley was not online):

Whereas, Ministerial and Member Services (MMS) has requested $393,097 additional funds to the 2015-2016 fiscal budget,

Now therefore, it is hereby resolved that, the MMS budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year is increased by $393,097, as per the document, “Additions to US Ministry budget”, a copy of which is attached and made a part of this resolution.

The Council then went into planned executive session.

Doctrine Committee Presentations—John Elliott

The Great Day / Eighth Day Statement was posted and discussed yesterday. See this link: UCG New Doctrinal Statement: The Last Great Day / Eighth Day

The Doctrine Committee (DC) presentation began in executive session,   [They go from other doctrinal issues in secret to an open discussion of the Eighth Day Statement, making the transition in the report slickly  giving the impression that the secret discussion was also about the Eighth Day].   but then came into open session to discuss the topic of “The Last Great Day / Eighth Day” study paper. The DC and the Council as a whole has been reviewing and discussing this paper for over two years. It emerged that in the DC there were different strengths of belief concerning whether John:7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. referred to the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles or not, but all agreed that the current paper contained no conclusive proof either way  [Here we come to the extent of their actual “two year” study, which was to read the existing Doctrinal Paper without any other research.  They then support that deeply flawed Doctrinal paper without any further study, while removing that Study Paper so it cannot be subjected to examination by the brethren.  Here it is: Critique of UCG Last Great Day Doctrinal Paper.]. Consequently, it is the recommendation of the DC that the current study paper, “Last Great Day / Eighth Day” be withdrawn and replaced by a doctrinal statement by the Council. The teaching regarding this specific festival remains the same. 

Mr. Webber emphasized that this is not a sudden decision, but something the DC has been reviewing for two years, and the meaning of this day remains the same. There was discussion back and forth among the Council on the doctrinal statement.

Mr. Holladay asked how the conclusion of this doctrinal statement differs from the study paper. Mr. Elliott replied that the current study paper favored the timing of John:7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. as happening on the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles. However, the paper could not fully substantiate that position and it consequently advocates utilizing both terms, which is our current practice. The newly drafted doctrinal statement explains the situation more succinctly while giving equal weight to discussions concerning the timing of John:7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink..

Mr. Webber commented that there is no conclusive proof either way in the scripture regarding John:7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.. He stated, “Well intentioned people on both sides of this issue with strong viewpoints regarding the setting of John:7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. and the accompanying terminology have at the end of the day agreed among themselves there is no rock solid proof one way on this issue.”

Mr. Kubik was impressed that we admit that there is no clear statement in the scriptures. This allows the “Last Great Day” terminology to be used as well. The Last Great Day is a term we have used traditionally and is acceptable. We should respect those traditions. We wouldn’t want this to divide anyone.

Aaron Dean mentioned that when the original study paper was being adopted in 2002, he didn’t vote for it because there was no conclusive proof back then either.

A proposal was made to accept the doctrinal statement, but with several edits some asked for a clean copy to see what the final statement would look like. It was agreed to have the DC finish up the edits and present it again the next day.

The DC discussion went back into executive session to discuss other items. They came back into open session for Mr. Webber to make the following statement:

“Recently the Council was sent notice from multiple GCE members requesting a review and removal of the study paper ‘Voting and Involvement in Politics.’ Based upon this request the chairman has remanded to the Doctrine Committee as a high priority for the study and review of this study paper and to present to the Council their findings, not only because the current study paper deals with issues of outside voting regarding individuals and civic projects, but also with matters of internal voting (balloting) for issues affecting the Church.”

Mr. Webber concluded this section dealing with doctrine by stating that all of our doctrinal study papers’ conclusions must be consistent with their preceding content to properly edify our members regarding a given subject. Thus the recent review of the Last Great Day/Eighth Day matter and others as they may arise.

Facilities Policy Review—Aaron Dean [this session was videoed]

Aaron Dean went through updating “Local Church Building Policy” with the Council. The original policy had some issues that weren’t addressed. The Council went through the edits and asked for a cleaned up version with all the updates to review before approval.

Review of Presidential Selection Process—Rainer Salomaa [this session was videoed]

Rainer Salomaa led the discussion of updating the “Process and Timeline for Selection of President.” There were several edits and wordsmithing to help better explain this process.

HR Policies Update on Council Approval of Employees—Rainer Salomaa [this session was videoed]

Rainer Salomaa also went through edits to the proposed Amendment to Bylaw 8.7.2 (1), which deals with appointing and removing officers. It will be looked at again in the meetings in December, but the Council took the time to look it over and suggest edits at this time.

The Council also looked at Section 2.1 regarding recruiting and hiring that is in the HR manual. If there is any input they were told to give the input to Chris Rowland.

Meeting Dates Established—Robin Webber

The chairman then went through the agenda for the next day.

Peter Eddington then mentioned potential dates for the 2017 GCE. The Council and chairman approved May 7-8 (with the May 6 Sabbath) for 2017 dates for the GCE.

A reminder was also given that for 2016 the dates are May 15-16 (with the May 14 Sabbath) for the 2016 dates for the GCE. Both 2016 and 2017 will be at the Holiday Inn Eastgate.

The chairman then confirmed the dates for the December 2015 Council meetings. Dec. 7-10 will be the formal meetings and Dec. 6 will be the Council retreat.

Facilities Policy Review—Aaron Dean

The new edits for the “Local Church Building Policy” were handed out. There were no questions. Mr. Dean proposed that the old policy be rescinded and this new policy be accepted. Rex Sexton seconded, and the Council unanimously accepted it.

The Council adjourned at 6:00 p.m.

 

 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Chairman Robin Webber called the morning session to order at 8:42 a.m., and the meeting was opened with prayer. All 12 Council of Elders (Council) members were present. Scott Ashley was on teleconference.

After edits to the minutes from the previous meetings in May and June, the minutes were approved unanimously.

 

Last Great Day/Eighth Day Statement—John Elliott

The Doctrine Committee carried on from the previous day in the recommendations for the doctrinal statement on the Last Great Day/Eighth Day. There were more edits and clarification needed. After about 15 minutes of discussion, the chairman asked that the Council be provided with an updated copy with all the edits for further consideration.

The Council then went into scheduled executive session for about an hour.

Media and Communications Proposal—Rex Sexton

Rex Sexton moved, Aaron Dean, seconded and the Council of Elders unanimously adopts the following:

Whereas, Media and Communications has proposed authorizing Float Left to develop “Apps” for Beyond Today,

Now therefore it is hereby resolved that, the president is authorized to sign the contract with Float Left to develop “Apps” for Roku, Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Android TV and Smart TV Alliance platforms for Beyond Today.

Again the Great Day / Eighth Day Statement was posted and discussed yesterday. See this link: UCG New Doctrinal Statement: The Last Great Day / Eighth Day  They seem to be trying to make a big point of spending two years on this pathetic non study.  I would be embarrassed to spend more than two days on such a Statement.

Last Great Day/Eighth Day Statement—John Elliott

The final copy of the doctrinal statement was presented. There were some more edits and improvements. Once again the chairman emphasized this doesn’t change the meaning ascribed to this festival. We are continuing to teach its incredible significance regarding God’s ultimate desire and purposes toward all humanity.

The motion left on table from yesterday is addressed, and the Council of Elders unanimously adopts the following:

Whereas, the Church has posted a study paper, “The Last Great Day/Eighth Day”, and

Whereas, that aforementioned study paper reaches an inconclusive position concerning a biblically mandated formal name for the festival that occurs “on the eighth day”,

Now therefore, it is hereby resolved that, the Council withdraws the study paper, “The Last Great Day/Eighth Day” and replaces it with the “Eighth Day/Last Great Day-Doctrinal Statement”, a copy of which is attached and made a part of this resolution.

The Last Great Day/Eighth Day—Doctrinal Statement:

The Church believes and teaches that we should observe the annual festivals with their meanings as commanded by God in the Bible and as explained in our literature.

The sequence of the annual festivals concludes with a sacred assembly that occurs “on the eighth day” following the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus:23:36Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein., 39). This festival, unlike the other festivals, is given no formal name in Scripture, such as the Feast of Unleavened Bread or Feast of Trumpets. Therefore we have referred to it as the Eighth Day.

John:7:37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. records an event happening “on the last day, that great day of the Feast,” in which Jesus Christ beckons those who hear Him, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” Historically during the 20th century the Church called this festival “The Last Great Day” due to a belief that Jesus spoke these words on the day after the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles—on this last and separate festival that Scripture places “on the eighth day.” But some believe that the events and words of John:7:37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. occurred on the final or seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Ambiguities in John:7:37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. have been disputed throughout Christian history.

After substantial review of Scripture and available historical evidence by the Doctrine Committee and the Council of Elders, it has been determined that at this time we do not have conclusive evidence as to the timing of these events.

Consequently, it has been and will continue to be our practice to refer to the concluding annual festival either as the “Eighth Day” or “Last Great Day.” \

Approved by the Council of Elders—August 13, 2015

It can also be found on the following website: http://members.ucg.org/content/study-papers.

Mario Seiglie mentioned that other study papers may need to be considered and edited to reflect this new statement and maintain consistency throughout our documents.

Chairman Webber remanded to the Doctrine Committee to be sure all of our documents and papers are in alignment with this statement.

Focus of Retreat in December—Robin Webber

The Council went through a discussion regarding what their focus and topics might be for the upcoming Council retreat designated to discuss spiritual matters and related issues. It’s scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6, at nearby offsite facility.

The Council adjourned at 11:15 a.m.

-end-

Council Reporter

Shawn Cortelyou

© 2015 United Church of God, an International Association

UCG Aug 2015 CoE Meet Evaluation

 

The conference was primarily concerned with the ministry and doctrine. 

Background

To understand what is happening it is important to remember the Tkach UCG split.  Joe Tkach had been changing WCG teachings for years while denying making any changes.  Then finally in the mid nineties he clearly announced a change in teachings.  This resulted in a flood of about one third of the WCG members and some elders leaving, and also brought a dramatic decline in the Tkach income, which in turn required him to lay off many elders who had supported him. 

These elders decided to found UCG which organization was a marriage of convenience between the Armstrong business model loyalists and the evangelical  Tkachies without a job.. 

Here is what happened behind the scenes in the WCG UCG split: 

Tkach WCG History: UCG to be Re-Educated

 

 

From that time the misnamed United Church of God has been deeply divided between the Armstrong faction and the Tkachite evangelical faction.  In 2009 it was decided to remedy that situation by splitting the two factions that made up UCG and the COGWA split came in Dec 2010.  I covered that process from spring 2010 and was called a liar and false witness even by people who knew better. My reports were correct.

Yet in spite of this COGWA split off many elders and brethren who refused to believe the spin of the Jim Franks crowd and remained with UCG, now being in the minority and not realizing that the UCG had been effectively taken over by the Tkach crowd, and as in WCG believing the lies that no changes were underway. 

In fact the Webber Kubik gang now controlling UCG has made huge foundational changes in UCG teachings since the COGWA split.

The UCG changes during the past five years, include:
1. The changing of “Grace” from merciful forgiveness for sincerely repented past sins, into a license for a lack of zeal to keep the whole Word of God [as Jude warned against];

2.   The change from a Jesus, zealous for God the Father’s Word; into a weak tolerant of sin Jesus;

3.   The change from the law defining love, into an adversarial relationship  between the law and love, with an emotional good time false “love” replacing any zeal to keep the whole Word of God;

4. Giving up all organizational guidelines on Sabbath observance to permit the local ministers to decide for themselves on what they will permit on the Sabbath;

While these dramatic changes have been going on in  the name of a false and ungodly  “love” the present leadership has been denying any doctrinal change and calling me a liar again.  They feel justified in doing that because they have made no changes to their list of Fundamental Beliefs; while I define doctrine as the true teachings of the WHOLE Word of God.  They ARE changing their positions about biblical doctrine, just not changing the labels on their list of Fundamental Beliefs. 

The UCG Ministry 

The agenda of the Webber, Kubik gang of UCG leaders is the same as it was for them in teh Tkach WCG.  Which is to0implement the Tkach evangelical position that the sacrifice of Christ has done away with the need to keep the “Old Covenant” laws, and only the TWO big laws of love are salvational. According to them, laws like the Festivals, clean and unclean, Sabbath etc.,  etc. are done away as salvational necessities, although they are of interest and good to keep; they are no longer salvational and we do not have to be concerned with any zeal to keep them.

At present about one half to two thirds of the UCG ministry are evangelical types or organizational loyalists who will support any changes that the leadership chooses to make; while about one half of the brethren and perhaps a third of the ministry  are closing their eyes to what is going on. 

This is a big problem for these evangelicals who want to make changes.  Which is why they have tried to change the need for a high percentage of elders to agree to any doctrinal change to a percentage of those actually attending the GCE conference.  It is also why they are trying to change the process to avoid having to inform the brethren about any proposed changes.  A battle is ongoing as some do see the writing on the wall and are fighting these administrative changes that will make any doctrinal change much easier for the Webber Kubik gang. 

The Webber Kubik gang are responding to this by ordaining about two dozen men in the past few years who will be loyal to them and their agenda.  They are also starting a ministerial training program to train up people in their way of thinking for future ordination; while up-training the ministry in their tolerant of sin philosophy. 

The statement that 30 men will reach retirement age in the next four years is misleading since most elders continue their service well past the age of 65.  This statement is intended to justify the training and addition of new elders who will support the new UCG teachings. 

None of these Tkach men are getting any younger themselves and they are now getting desperate to achieve their agenda. They are using a plausible need for more elders to bring in more elders of their own stripe to further their agenda.  That is the reason for a big push to bring in new men at this time. 

Doctrine 

At present they have changed nearly all that they can without official sanction by the GCE.  The new Last Great Day / Eighth Day Statement was a palliative to keep the brethren thinking they are supporting the Armstrong traditions, the same is true of the coming Calendar Statement.  This while they make preparations and craft future changes when the time is right. 

Right now there are certain people on the CoE who are adamantly loyal to the present list of Fundamental Beliefs.  The terms of Scott Ashley and Mark Mickleson expire in 2016 and it will be interesting to see if there are any new faces on the CoE next year.  Right now the Webber Kubik gang needs to keep cool until they have packed the Ministry with supporters.

The date for submission of changes to the list of Fundamental Beliefs for the 2016 GCE Conference has  passed.  Any official changes to the list of Fundamental Beliefs to be voted on by the GCE in May 2017 must be submitted by July of 2016.  This does not mean that any changes will be coming in 2017, only that 2017 is the earliest possible date.  They can however make changes before that date by re-writing for “clarification,” the meanings of the labels on that list, effectively changing the meanings without changing the names on the list. 

When the day comes that the Armstrong doctrinal loyalists wake up, which could take a few years yet; there will be another split in UCG.  UCG will become another Grace Communion Fellowship, and the Armstrong supports will either form another organization, or scatter to other existing organizations. 

It is this obviously coming split in UCG that is motivating Dave Pack to think that a big rush of brethren will be joining with him. 

I have been writing about the Webber Kubik  evangelical faction and the Armstrong loyalists.  The really important question is:  Who is for God?  Who will turn to a zeal to grow in godliness by proving all things, rejecting error and embracing the truth of the whole Word of God? 

1 Cor 1:12  Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13 Is Christ divided? was Paul [Herbert Armstrong] crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul [or Armstrong, or Franks, or Meredith or Kubik]

Who will turn to a zeal to keep our baptismal commitment to the Husband of our calling, Jesus Christ; and follow HIM to learn and to keep the whole Word of God with passionate dedicated zeal?  

1 Kings 18:21  And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal [any idol including idols of men] , then follow him. 

Herbert Armstong was a man who had very much wrong, because much was sealed until the very end, Dan 12; Joe Tkach was FAR FAR WORSE, a man who had much more wrong!  It is time to turn to the whole Word of God and embrace it with passionate zeal, rejecting all past false traditions of men for the truth of God. 

For the truth about HWA please link through to our article on him.

Herbert W Armstrong

 

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