UCG CoE Conference Report December 2016

LCG News: LCG has been distributing this press release:    We invite you to join us online on Saturday, December 24th, at 2 pm Eastern to hear a powerful, live message from Evangelist Roderick C. Meredith about “The Future of God’s Work”. We plan to stream this special Sabbath service from Charlotte, North Carolina, to thousands around the world. Click here for  Event Information and Free Registration.  
Comments from those who listen to Rod’s message are welcome here.


James NOTE:   Major changes to the UCG Rules of Association are being discussed as a way to attract other groups into associating with UCG; and an inordinately large part of this conference is about changes to the Rules of Association subject.  

The idea is to moderate the Rules of Association to attract other groups such as CGI, COG Angola and others and allowing them some independence under a UCG umbrella.  It was the people who left UCG to form COGWA who had played hardball in forcing Associated organizations to give up their independence and become a full part of UCG. 

The Kubik clique is anxious to change UCG’s official list of Fundamental Beliefs as part of the effort to remove any doctrinal impediments to attracting other organizations [including possibly many from Tkach’s Grace Communion International if that organization implodes] to associate with them, and is working hard to set up the mechanism to do so before revealing the substance of those changes.  

Besides the Kubik clique a handful on the Council have been deceived into thinking that new mechanisms to make changes in their List of Fundamental Beliefs is a good thing, while naively believing that no changes are contemplated, and the CoE has now approved the change of rules and sent it to the GCE for final approval.  

As I pointed out a year ago: they first made personnel changes in the GCE, then they are resetting the Beliefs change mechanism; and only then will any changes in the List of Fundamental Beliefs be proposed.

If this change is approved by the GCE, two or three people like Scott Ashley and Aaron Dean will have a huge surprise when subsequent submissions for actual changes in Beliefs are made.  

In the meantime – with exceptions by a few good elders – UCG has been changing the attitudes within the organization as well as watering down teachings as far as they can;   in exactly the same way that these very same men operated for Joe Tkach to change the WCG.  Principally by watering down Jesus Christ from a person passionately zealous for every Word of God into a tolerant of sin permissive, making grace a license to justify sin.

To understand what is going on see my 2014 post:

The Michael Snyder, Rick Warren Business Model Church


Council of Elders Meeting Report – December 5-8, 2016
United Church of God, an International Association
Council of Elders Quarterly Meeting Report
Milford, Ohio
Monday, December 5, 2016
Chairman Don Ward called the morning session to order at 9:02 a.m. Eastern, and the meeting was opened with prayer. Ten Council of Elders (Council) members were present. Scott Ashley joined about 90 minutes later because he was teaching an ABC class. Bill Bradford was absent for the day because of a canceled airline flight.

Chairman Ward welcomed everyone. The last Council meeting minutes were approved. The agenda for the week was discussed with a few edits and approved.

President’s Report—Victor Kubik
President Kubik greeted everyone. He then discussed some of the following major activities:

Ambassador Bible College (ABC) started its academic year Aug. 29 with 23 students. There will be three or four more students joining for the second semester.

The Ministerial Education Program is for identifying future leaders and training them. It coordinates the various educational courses we offer for the ministry. The team is Darris McNeely, Steve Myers, Chris Rowland and Victor Kubik.

The Labor Day Leadership Workshop was held on Sept. 2-5, 2016, with 31 attending from all over the U.S. and one couple from Canada.

The Pastoral Development Program was held Nov. 7-16, 2016. Attending were 12 men and their wives, which included three from international areas.

Regional conferences are to begin in Atlanta, Georgia, on Jan. 15-17, 2017. There will be a leadership workshop on Sunday, Jan. 15, with the ministerial regional conference to follow.

Church of God International: Accepting CGI’s invitation, Mr. Kubik gave the sermon at their services in Cleveland, Ohio, on Nov. 19.

Feast of Tabernacles 2016: The attendance was about the same as last year. There was an increase of 70, including the video sermons sent out to shut-ins.

Young Adult Leadership Initiative (YALI) will produce a video directed to and about young adults this year. At the Winter Family Weekend YALI will conduct a professional networking event. Our churches in Minnesota will host a young adult weekend on Jan. 14-16, 2017.

Mr. Kubik concluded by mentioning his thankfulness for the hard-working ministry, humility, love of the brethren and maintenance of unity in the Church to do the work God has given us to do. He also mentioned his thankfulness for the home office employees and the great environment with a spirit of peace and unity. He then read Romans:15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Operation Manager Reports
Ministerial and Member Services (MMS)—Chris Rowland
Chris Rowland summarized some manpower changes since the last meeting in August:

Randy Schreiber retired from the full-time ministry at the beginning of September.
Chuck Zimmerman retired last week as pastor of four congregations in Florida.
Stan Martin is now pastor of those four congregations in Florida.
Jay Ledbetter is now pastoring Mr. Martin’s former congregations in Knoxville and Kingsport, Tennessee, and London, Kentucky.
Frank McCrady retired on Nov. 1 as pastor of the congregations in Dayton and Cincinnati North.
Len Martin has been assigned to pastor the Dayton, Ohio, congregation, where he will be assisted by Ron Barker as a part-time assistant pastor.

Steve Myers has been assigned to pastor the Cincinnati North, Ohio, congregation, where he will be assisted by Gerald Seelig as an assistant pastor. Mr. Myers has also been appointed the regional pastor for the Northeast region.
Larry Walker retired as pastor of the congregations in Bend and Medford, Oregon, at the beginning of November.
Jeff Richards has become the full-time pastor serving in Bend and Medford, Oregon.
Tim Pebworth was appointed the part-time pastor of the Oakland and Santa Rosa, California, congregations on Nov. 1. Plans are for Mr. Pebworth to become a full-time employee in February 2017.
Wil Berg will be retiring from the salaried ministry on Jan. 1, 2017.

Four new ministerial trainee couples:
Doug and Dianne Collison in Lansing, Michigan
Mike and Laura Phelps in Cincinnati, Ohio
Devin and Tiffany Schulz in Springfield, Missouri
Dave and Carrie Wells in Troy, Illinois
Two elders have died since our last meeting:

Carl Hoffman of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri, congregation died on Sept. 19.
Joe Sheperd of the Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada, congregation died on Oct. 6.

Two elders’ wives and one widow have died since our last meeting:
Janice Foster, wife of Roger Foster of the San Antonio, Texas, congregation died on Nov. 27.
Amy Allwine, wife of Steve Allwine of the Twin Cities, Minnesota, congregation died on Nov. 13.
Evelyn Fahey, widow of Bob Fahey of the Chicago, Illinois, congregation died on Sept. 12.

There have been 10 elders ordained since our last meeting:
Jerry Burnhauser, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Aaron Creech, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Arthur Fisher, South Africa
Roy Gilos, Philippines
Roger Korthuis, Sedro-Woolley, Washington
Andy Lee, Cleveland, Ohio
Gem Nagtalon, Philippines
Len Parker, United Kingdom
James Presbitero, Philippines
Harvey Wierenga, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Mr. Rowland also mentioned the United Youth Camp (UYC) directors conference was held on Sept. 12-14. The UYC program has run 22 consecutive years, directed by committed and motivated leaders. The Christian living theme for the 2017 camps will be “Building Your Relationship with God.”

Current statistics include:
382 elders in the United Church of God (UCG)
94 are outside the U.S.
288 are in the U.S.
77 are church pastors
10 are associate or assistant pastors
7 ministerial trainees
195 churches and Bible study groups in the U.S. (new Bible Study group in Portsmouth, Virginia)
144 baptisms so far in 2016, which is 49 more than at the August meetings
Average U.S. Sabbath attendance for October 2016 was 7,271 (October is a low month due to travel for the Holy Days). Our average attendance is still fluctuating each month between 7,200 to 7,600. There still doesn’t appear to be a significant trend either upward or downward.

Financial Services—Rick Shabi
Rick Shabi updated the Council on significant financial activities and results of operations since the August Council meetings.

The annual audit report has been issued by our independent accounting firm. Again, they offered an “unqualified” opinion on our financial statements, meaning that as a result of their review, their opinion is that our financial reports present fairly the financial position of the Church. Highlights of the report and included financial statements were discussed with the Council. The full audit report will be published in the January 2017 United News.

Next, details of the offerings from the four fall festivals and financial results of the first five months of the fiscal year (July through November) were presented and discussed.
Overall, Holy Day offerings are about $150,000 over budget, and are above last year’s totals.

For the fiscal year to date, general income and overall income is running slightly higher than last year.

Cash balances at the end of November are healthy and are significantly higher than last year at this time. “Cash” includes certificates of deposit, as are disclosed in the audited financial statements.

Since the August Council meetings, the purchase of the Portsmouth, Ohio, church building has been completed, as well as the donation of land in London, Kentucky, which land is used for the benefit of the local church. UCGIA now owns a total of eight local church buildings, not including the home office building.

To conclude the financial presentation, key operating statistics, including the “source” of donations to the Church, were presented and discussed.

Media and Communications Services—Peter Eddington
Peter Eddington went through some of the following statistics as of Nov. 30 this year:
United News circulation is the highest it’s been since July 2010 at 15,382.

Our coworker count is now the highest it’s ever been, 5,978 (75 percent higher than two years ago).

Our donor list now includes 9,072 people. That’s an 11 perent increase over the same time last year.

With donors combined with our coworkers (15,050), we continue to have more of our U.S. readers and viewers contributing to the work of the Church than the entire number of members in the U.S. and abroad.

Total Beyond Today (BT) magazine subscribers are the highest they’ve been since March of 2013 at 303,430. U.S. magazine subscribers are the highest they have been since September of 2012.

The December subscriber development letter from Victor Kubik was sent to 189,642 subscribers. It offers the Beyond Today study aid, Christ’s Reign on Earth: What It Will Be Like. Responses are now starting to come in. This December letter is also designed to encourage end-of-year, tax-deductible donations.

Those people on our file associated with the Church (teens, members, associated) are the highest since February of 2012 at 12,173.

Some other items Mr. Eddington talked about were:
BT Streaming Apps Now Completed: Float Left Interactive has finished developing our BT apps and they are now working on the UCG versions. So, please note, we will have two versions of our apps: one that is branded for BT content, and one that is branded for UCG content (like sermons from our congregations and webcasts where available). The Roku UCG app is almost ready to relaunch.

New Streaming App Advertising for BT: We are now running BT TV advertising on our Roku app, and we have Deep Linking built into our channel. In the case where the TV user does not have our application installed, it will link to the Channel Store for channel installation. After just 1.5 weeks of advertising, we are seeing the following results:
Our cost-per-click on the Roku advertising campaign is about $.006. These are people who respond to a Roku ad, which opens right into a program.

We reached over 15,032 people, who watched 17,242 videos.

In the first 1.5 weeks of our Roku advertising campaign we’ve had over 11,043 new Beyond Today channel installs.

The average time spent on our channel is 24.5 minutes, so our users are watching at least an entire episode, on average.

So we are off to a strong start—about 1,500 people watching per day. By now, if you have a Roku device, you have no doubt seen our ads running. We will monitor our results and fine-tune our advertising campaigns accordingly.

Media and Communications Services Employee Updates:
Rachael Boise—hired as mail processing clerk/warehouse assistant
Matthew Hernandez, who has been working from North Carolina as a graphic designer and illustrator, will be moving to the home office to continue his work for us with video graphics, website illustrations and print publication layout.

One or the most pressing hiring needs, for a Web programmer, has so far not been successful.

Recent Beyond Today Live Events:
Raleigh, North Carolina—27 new guests
Greensboro, North Carolina—26 new guests
Charlotte, North Carolina—23 new guests

Committee Chairman Reports:
Education Committee—Aaron Dean

ABC was denied for their SEVIS application, but there are other options that are being looked at to help with international students being able to attend ABC.

Roles and Rules Committee (RRC)—Jorge de Campos

There are three main items being addressed at this time:

Rules of Association is going through review

Amendment to governing doc 5.1.1 bylaw

Annual assessment of the treasurer

Ethics Committee—Mark Mickelson

In good times it is easy to forget about the ethics committee. Each committee operates differently. The ethics committee simply operates as items are remanded to it. And since no items have been remanded to it then maybe these are the good times.  

[James]  NOTE:  In light of his flagrant defiance of UCG ethics in teaching his rank heresy contrary to UCG doctrine, Mark Mikelson heading the Ethics Committee is putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.  See the YHVH Revealed” article.  

The fact that Mark has not been removed from the CoE – or at least from the Ethics committee – for his defiance of the UCG code of ethics in teaching contrary to UCG doctrine consistently for over two years; is stark evidence of their lack of loyalty to the UCG List of Beliefs, and reveals the rotten corruption of the UCG CoE in regards to their lack of concern about the ethics of their own behavior.

Doctrine Committee—John Elliott

The doctrine committee (DC) works behind the scenes for the Council. Bob Dick explained how the DC has changed through the years from writing papers to reviewing what was submitted. The DC respectfully assesses submitted papers and decides if a paper rises to the attention of the Council. There are currently 53 projects at various levels of completion.

The DC is preparing to send responses to two submitted papers that we have concluded our work on. One was speculative about the association of a Church era in the past. Another suggested a different custom regarding gatherings during an annual festival. The DC continues to examine calendar-related papers. A study paper reclassification initiative should conclude soon.

Media and Communications Committee (MCC)—Scott Ashley

The MCC interfaces with the administration a lot. The MCC went through time to evaluate the cost and benefit of the personal appearance campaigns for BT Live. There has been a fair amount of money spent on this, which is a small percentage of the overall media budget.

Mr. Ashley mentioned a production error in the November/December 2016 issue of BT magazine, with a missing page. The online issue is corrected. Also the DC discussed the cover of the last issue of the BT.

Strategic Planning and Finance Committee (SPFC)—Bill Bradford

Mr. Bradford was delayed by the snow storm in Chicago. He later flew in later Monday evening. Robin Webber briefly mentioned that the SPFC has been finalizing the survey to go out next year (2017). Chairman Don Ward mention the surveys are important in helping with the strategic and finance planning.

Guest Lodging Policy Proposal—Chris Rowland

Mr. Rowland went through a proposal to formalize a written policy in how the Church reimburses those who house employees. The Church recognizes a cost savings for those who host employees and help save the Church in hotel and food expenses. This policy helps to establish the amount per night to help those host families.

The Council discussed this policy. Dr. Ward and Mark Mickelson expressed the desire for it to be increased from the proposed amount because of the expenses that are incurred by the host. After much discussion it was decided to increase the amount to $25 per night per room. The quorum of the Council unanimously accepted the new policy. The policy can be found on the employees’ website.

External Audit Report—Rick Shabi, Kerry Roe (auditor)

Following lunch Rick Shabi introduced Kerry Roe, who is a partner with Clark Schaefer Hackett, the independent accounting firm the Church engages to perform the annual audit. Mr. Roe made a presentation to the Council on financial highlights from the recent audit and commented on the Church’s favorable cash balances and how assets have grown for the fourth straight year and very little change in liabilities. The financial health of the Church has continued to increase, and he was optimistic on the growth that he sees. He answered the few questions that were asked by the Council.

RRC Review of Proposed Amended Rules of Association—Jorge de Campos

[James] NOTE:  The CoE is  still trying to change from needing the  approval of 75% of all elders in UCG, to needing only 75% approval of the  balloting elders to change the UCG list of Fundamental Beliefs.  When they say “doctrine” they mean their list of Beliefs and are NOT referring directly to the doctrines of scriptures.

With the new ordinations and change in the GCE dynamic, this change in majorities needed to change the List of Beliefs in UCG may now be approved by the GCE next May.  

This change in the majorities needed to change the List of Fundamental Beliefs is also important for making the desired by UCG changes to the Rules of Association.

Jorge de Campos led the discussion going through the proposed amendment to the Constitution article 5.1.1, Majorities Required for Amending the Governing Documents. The proposed amendment was discussed for about 30 minutes.

The proposal was to strengthen the ability of amending our Fundamental Beliefs (FB) by 3/4 of all ballots cast.

Bob Dick mentioned that he didn’t agree with the change from 3/4 of all elders balloting [NOTE:  This is confusing wording and should say a change from 3/4 of all elders in UCG to 3/4 of elders casting ballots] to 3/4 of all balloting elders. The argument has been made that nothing can get passed because not enough elders will ballot, but we have had a few times in our history when almost every elder balloted. It is possible to change significant proposals by majority. If an item is changed by ballots cast then the minority can change these things. The same argument for this change can be turned back around on the argument itself.

Mr. Kubik agreed that this was a major change to take it from 3/4 of all elders balloting to 3/4 of all balloting elders, but we also haven’t been able to change a single word of our FB. We are stuck with not being able to change any of our FB, which could be a lesson to us.

We want the safety of 3/4 of all balloting elders without being stuck with 3/4 of all elders.

Rex Sexton feels this proposed amendment needs to go before the GCE. We have to put something before them very simply and clearly so they can decide.

The RRC will work on the edits proposed and will present it again to the Council later in the meetings with the wording change.

RRC Review of Proposed Amended Rules of Association—Jorge de Campos

Jorge de Campos went through the proposed edits to the Rules of Association. The Council spent an hour going through edits and suggestions which were continued later in the day and on other days of the week to complete the review.

[James]  NOTE:  The Rules of Association are being reviewed and “edited”  to ease the way for some kind of association with other groups bringing them under the UCG umbrella.  It was the people who left UCG to form COGWA who had played hardball in forcing Associated organizations to give up their independence and become a full part of UCG. 

Feast of Tabernacles Review—Charles Melear

Charles Melear gave the presentation reviewing the 2016 Feast of Tabernacles. The total attendance for all sites sponsored by the United Church of God for 2016 was 13,430. There were 68 sites kept around the world. Total attendance was down half a percent from last year or a decrease of 75 attendees.

Peter Eddington mentioned that the UN actually reported an increase in attendance because it included the DVDs that were passed out to shut-ins unable to go to the Feast.

Each year there are increases in those unable to attend for health. There were at least 100 more DVDs passed out. Last year the attendance for the Feast was 13,505, and there were 69 sites. Attendance for the U.S. and Canada is up by 29 people.

At the 2016 Feast the high attendance was on the first day of the Feast at the afternoon service. Last year the Sabbath during the Feast was the day with the high attendance.
Mr. Melear then went through the updates for the 2017 Feast sites.

Dr. Ward recommended that the offertory be moved to the end of the sermonette as it used to be. On the first day of the Feast he has seen so much time taken away from the sermon time.

Chris Rowland mentioned the current policy is in the Pastor’s Manual (section 3.4.6). It was passed in 2008.

There was discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of the current policy. Dr. Ward remanded this to a committee to look at two options that the Council can look at later this week.

The Council went into planned executive session for about an hour.

RRC Review of Proposed Amended Rules of Association—Jorge de Campos

Jorge de Campos continued to go through proposed edits to the Rules of Association. The Council spent about 45 minutes going through edits and suggestions which were continued on other days of the week to complete the review.
The Council adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Chairman Don Ward called the morning session to order at 9:02 a.m. Eastern, and the meeting was opened with prayer. Eleven Council of Elders (Council) members were present. Scott Ashley joined about 90 minutes later because he was teaching an ABC class.
Strategic Exercise: Review of Surveys and Other Items—Bill Bradford

Bill Bradford as the chair of the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee led the discussion going through the proposed survey questions for the members and employees. There were no more edits suggested. The survey will be sent out sometime in the first two months in 2017.

Mr. Bradford then mentioned that in the employees’ healthcare plan there is an annual preventative health screening that is provided. Also a proposal is put forward to provide a basic health screening with a blood test at the GCE in May 2017 to assist all of the employees in managing their own health. He introduced Chris Rowland to present and describe the proposal to the Council. It was discussed for about 30 minutes. It was decided to get more detail to find out how extensive the blood test would be and to bring it back to the Council at a future date for further discussion.

Mr. Bradford then discussed some of the confusion of how retirement works with our employees and how the process works. Mr. Rowland was introduced to explain in detail how the process works. The explanation is found fully on the video done.

The Council went into planned executive session for the rest of the day.
The Council adjourned at 5:21 p.m.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Chairman Don Ward called the morning session to order at 9:05 a.m. Eastern, and the meeting was opened with prayer. Ten Council of Elders (Council) members were present. Scott Ashley joined about 90 minutes later because he was teaching an ABC class. Rex Sexton was absent.

Review of Income Sources and Future Projections—Rick Shabi

Rick Shabi was introduced to present to the Council income trends and sources, in preparation for determining a revenue budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 (fiscal year ends June 30) will be presented to the Council at the February meeting.

He presented details of income, by category, for the past three years in a variety of ways, to show the general trend of how things are going. Income has been trending slightly downward in comparison to last year, but it is beginning to stabilize with little growth in the last several months. He noted the downward trend is very slight. He then presented statistics and demographics of the Church membership and donors and coworkers that show the same trend.

The Council discussed the presentation and a possible revenue budget for fiscal 2017-2018, based on the trends and historical data presented.

Beyond Today Studio Proposal—Victor Kubik and Peter Eddington

President Victor Kubik discussed the proposal for an expansion of the home office facilities. There is a need for new video recording facilities for the media department. The main studio was a makeshift facility constructed more than a decade ago (2004). Mr. Kubik introduced Peter Eddington to explain the proposal.

Mr. Eddington mentioned that they have been brainstorming how to get more space for a Beyond Today video recording studio. When we have eight to 10 people recording on a program the space becomes very crowded. So the goal is to build an addition on to the home office building. The zoning only allows one building per parcel, so this addition has to be attached to the existing building. He passed out an extremely preliminary plan for the Council to look at and offer suggestions. This proposal would be about a 1/5 the size of a home office expansion plan discussed over a year ago.

There was much discussion and positive comments for moving forward and seeing what interest there is for establishing a building fund for this purpose.

Bill Bradford asked what more space will do for the BT program itself. Mr. Eddington said it will give them more flexibility in what they can show on screen and raise production value. Right now they are limited on space for lighting and there is no room to move around and have different camera angles. The expansion would make the program more engaging and exciting and make the program literally move. It would make it more documentary style in how we present our information.

Mr. Kubik thanked everyone for their overwhelming support. He asked if a letter could be sent out asking for donations for the project before the end the year.
Dr. Ward asked for a proposal to be drafted to be brought before the Council.
After a break a proposed resolution was brought before the Council. There were some discussion and edits to it.

A quorum of the Council unanimously adopts the following (Rex Sexton was absent):
Whereas, the Church desires to expand the home office building by adding an adequate video recording facility to further develop electronic media efforts,
Now therefore, it is hereby resolved that, the Council of Elders establishes a restricted Home Office Video Recording Studio Fund to be administered by the home office for receipt of donations for the construction and expansion of the Media and Communications Services video recording area, and that complete details of this fund be communicated to the membership of UCGIA, and

It is further resolved that, it will be communicated to the membership that donations to the Home Office Video Recording Studio Fund are to be above and beyond regular tithes and offerings, and

It is further resolved that, the membership will be informed, when construction and equipment costs (estimated to be between $550,000 to $600,000) are reached, any overage received beyond that amount shall be allocated to further media efforts.
The video recording facility funds will come from donations and not from operating funds. There has already been one donor that has pledged $300,000.

The Council went into scheduled executive session for about 30 minutes.

RRC Review of Proposed Amended Rules of Association—Jorge de Campos

Jorge de Campos continued to go through proposed edits to the Rules of Association. Mr. de Campos mentioned that the Governing Documents Review Team (GDRT) members are: Bill Eddington (Chair), Gerald Seelig, Roc Corbett, Bart Bornhorst, David Payne, Larry Darden and Jorge de Campos. The Council spent about 30 minutes going through edits and suggestions which were continued on the next day to complete the review.
After lunch there was an executive session until 2:43 p.m.

GCE Theme Planning—Charles Melear

Mr. Melear, as chair of the GCE planning task force, presented proposals for the theme of the GCE in May 2017. Potential themes were presented with the names removed of those who presented them. The themes were discussed and the majority of the Council approved the theme: “Judgment, Mercy and Faith.”

It was also mentioned that there are two openings on the GCE planning task force, so if there are any volunteers who would like to serve in that area please e-mail Charles Melear by the February Council meetings (CRMelear@aol.com).

RRC Review of Proposed Amended Rules of Association—Jorge de Campos

Jorge de Campos led the discussion going through the proposed amendment to the Constitution 5.1.1, Majorities Required for Amending the Governing Documents.

This discussion had begun on Monday. The purpose of this proposal clarifies there can be no changes to the fundamental beliefs unless there are 3/4 of valid ballots cast. The updated proposal was presented to the Council for further input.

It was approved to go before the GCE in May of 2017 by 10 Council members voting for it, 1 opposed (Bob Dick), 1 absent (Rex Sexton).

The statement of justification for the amendment was discussed and edited. It was approved to go along with the amendment to the GCE in May of 2017 by 10 Council members voting for it, 1 abstained (Bob Dick), 1 absent (Rex Sexton).

The Council then went into scheduled executive session for the remainder of the day.
The Council adjourned at 5:43 p.m.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Chairman Don Ward called the morning session to order at 9:01 a.m. Eastern, and the meeting was opened with prayer. Eleven Council of Elders (Council) members were present. Scott Ashley joined about 90 minutes later because he was teaching an ABC class.

Term Limit Discussion Amendment—Don Ward

Gerald Seelig, as Council secretary, read the proposed amendment. It proposes an amendment to 8.3 and 8.4.2, which deals with current Council term limits. The proposal states that no Council member may serve longer than three terms. The rationale behind the proposal was to create diversity on the Council.

It was discussed by all the Council members. They understood the meaning behind it, but simply having a high turnover on the Council would not guarantee diversity. It was pointed out that in the past five years there are already six new Council members, so there is turnover. Simply removing a majority on the current Council would weaken a well working system already. 

None of the Council members supported the amendment. A statement of concern from the Council will be sent to the GCE by the secretary. If it receives 1/4 of GCE approval to move forward, then it will be included in the items for balloting by the GCE in May.
Executive Committee Approval—Gerald Seelig

The Executive Committee (EC) of the Council conducted a videoconference meeting on Nov. 14, 2016, to discuss a proposal from the Columbus, Ohio, congregation requesting permission to purchase land and build a church building. After discussion with the pastor and deliberation amongst the EC, a resolution by the committee granted permission for the proposal, subject to zoning approval. The resolution was now brought before the entire Council for ratification.

In attendance from the Columbus, Ohio, congregation to answer any questions were Len Martin, the pastor, and John Seifert, a deacon. Some general questions were asked and discussed. Mr. Martin updated the Council on the fact that the zoning board did approve their request for rezoning to allow the construction of a church building.

Aaron Dean mentioned that this congregation has done a commendable job. He commended them on what they have done and how they have done it. Others also commented on a well thought-out plan and how well they followed the building policy.

A quorum of the Council unanimously accepted the action of the Executive Committee’s decision on Nov. 14. (Scott Ashley was absent).

RRC Review of Proposed Amended Rules of Association—Jorge de Campos

Jorge de Campos continued to go through proposed edits to the Rules of Association. The Council spent about 20 minutes going through the final edits and suggestions to complete the review.

Conducting Offertory Discussion—Don Ward

Chairman Don Ward led the discussion of the timing of the offertory on the Holy Days. The proposal was read, and suggestions were edited. It was approved to not have a separate time for the offertory, but to include it at the end of the sermonette.
The Council unanimously adopted the principle.

Future Council Meetings—Don Ward
The next scheduled Council meetings will be Feb. 27-March 2, 2017.
The Council went into executive session for 18 minutes.
The Council adjourned at 11:18 a.m.
Council Reporter
Shawn Cortelyou
© 2016 United Church of God, an International Association

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