UCG May 2020 GCE and CoE Conference Reports

United Church of God, an International Association
Council of Elders Meeting Report
Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Chairman Len Martin called the videoconference session to order at 4:05 p.m. Eastern, and the meeting was opened with prayer. All 12 Council of Elders (Council) members were present online.

The Council unanimously approved the 2020-2021 Governing Documents Amendment Schedule.

Chairman Martin led the discussion of going through the process of populating the committees of the Council and selecting their respective chairs.

The following are the updated committees and their chairmen:

• Doctrine Committee: Scott Ashley, Jorge de Campos, Mario Seiglie (chair) and Randy Stiver.
• Education Committee: Aaron Dean (chair), Jorge de Campos, John Elliott and Tony Wasilkoff.
• Ethics Committee: Bob Dick, Darris McNeely, Mario Seiglie, Randy Stiver (chair) and Tony Wasilkoff.
• Executive Committee: Scott Ashley, Aaron Dean, Dan Dowd, Len Martin (chair) and Darris McNeely.
• Media and Communications Committee: Scott Ashley (chair), Jorge de Campos, Darris McNeely, John Miller and Tony Wasilkoff.
• Roles and Rules Committee: Dan Dowd, John Elliott (chair) and John Miller.
• Strategic Planning and Finance Committee: Aaron Dean, Bob Dick, Dan Dowd (chair), Darris McNeely and John Miller.

The Council went into scheduled executive session at 4:35 p.m. to discuss a personnel matter.

The Council adjourned at 5:21 p.m.
Council Reporter
Shawn Cortelyou

[The sending of this report was delayed while waiting for the selection of the committee chairs.]
[These are not the official minutes from the Council meeting. Elders can find those at the home office with the Council Secretary. Video recordings are posted for the elders on the UCG Ministerial Resource Site.]

© 2020 United Church of God, an International Association


GCE Conference Report on the May 3 Conference

This report mentions the subjects covered but provides almost no information of substance.

Address from the Chairman
Dr. Donald Ward’s was presented virtually. His address covered the Church’s raison d’être, our reason for being. He noted that this is the same as asking, “why were you born?” He also encouraged listeners to encourage each member to take his or her ownership of the truth and become a dispenser—one who is ready and willing with his or her feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Address from the President
Mr. Kubik remarked that the theme of the 2020 GCE, “Moving Forward with Conviction, Commitment and Courage” is a perfect theme for the 25th anniversary of UCG as we commemorate our conversion, commitment, convictions and the ability to show courage to the world. He also covered the strategic plan for 2020-2021, spending time on each of the three sections: congregational care, organizational stewardship and public proclamation.

Address from Ministerial and Member Services
Operation Manager Mark Welch presented a PowerPoint covering average U.S. attendance, the 36 baptisms so far in 2020, two ordinations since the February Council meeting and one recredentialed elder, with two full-time ministerial trainees. He also gave updates to the nine goals presented at the GCE last year.

Address from Media and Communication Services
Operation Manager Peter Eddington provided updates on the employees involved with mail processing, print, web and video. He mentioned that responses from programs recorded in the new studio continue to be above what we received with the old studio. He also covered results from the recent Beyond Today survey and plans going forward for the next year, which included working to ensure that the gospel message we preach is always relevant, compelling and motivational.

Address from the Treasurer
Treasurer Rick Shabi’s address was presented virtually from Florida. He noted that the current health crisis has become a financial crisis very quickly. However, on the morning of April 27 when his message was recorded, the budget was surpassed for April. Mr. Shabi gave a brief history of UCG’s income over the past 20 fiscal years and presented a slide explaining cash balances as of April 272020

Tribute to the Deceased Elders and Wives
Pastor Greg Thomas gave the tribute to those elders and wives who have died in the faith in the past year.

Ballot Results
Dr. Frank Dunkle presented the ballot results. He noted that we have had more ballot participation this year than in past years.

John Elliott – International representative on the Council
Aaron Dean, Dan Dowd, and John Miller – U.S. representatives on the Council

• 2020-2021 Strategic Plan— Approved (Y-248; N-13)
• 2020-2021 Operation Plan—Approved (Y-241; N-19)
• 2020-2021 Budget—Approved (Y-231; N-29)
• Proposed Amendment to Constitution 4.7—Approved (Y-227; N-27)
• Proposed Amendment to Bylaws 8.4.1—Rejected (Y-109; N-150)
• Proposed Manner of Approving Mergers with Other Religious Organizations—Approved (Y-216; N-41)
• Proposed Amendment to Constitution 4.1 (6); and Amendment to Bylaws 7.5.3; and Amendment to Bylaws 8.7.2 (7)—Approved (Y-222; N-36
• Council of Elders Nomination Process; Election Process for the Council of Elders of the United Church of God An International Association; and Absentee Balloting Procedure—Approved (Y-237; N-20)


The CoE Report is extremely vague and lacking in information

John Elliott and John Miller were chosen as new CoE members, Aaron Dean and Dan Dowd were reelected to the Council. 

The new Council Chairman for 2020-2022 is Len Martin. The Deputy Chairman for 2020-2022 is Aaron Dean.

Council of Elders Videoconference Report – May 4 – 5, 2020

United Church of God, an International Association

Council of Elders Quarterly Meeting Report


Monday, May 4, 2020

Chairman Don Ward called the morning session to order at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, and the meeting was opened with prayer. All 12 Council of Elders (Council) members were present online. This Council quarterly meeting was done by videoconference because of the coronavirus.

Chairman Ward welcomed everyone online, including the new incoming Council members, John Elliott and John Miller. The last Council meeting minutes were approved from the February meetings. The agenda for the week was also approved.

President’s Report—Victor Kubik

President Victor Kubik greeted everyone and answered submitted questions from Council members through this section of the meetings. President Kubik commented on the coronavirus health issues and also the concern for the economy. We need to be aware of this and prepare for possible consequences as a Church.

How is the United Church of God (UCG) reacting to the coronavirus crisis? The safety of our brethren has been our number one priority and we are striving to keep our members from danger.

Here are some of the questions submitted to President Kubik:

What has the administration seen during the coronavirus that the UCG should give more attention to?

Answer: We have done well canceling services when we did. We had a meeting with pastors and are staying in tune with government officials in regards to reopening.

What is the UCG doing well during this coronavirus?

Answer: We are doing well in communication.

What can the UCG do better?

Answer: We can have better contact with the community.

What are some opportunities during this time?

Answer: We can preach the gospel in a more stressed environment which is usually more effective. We need to preach all aspects of the gospel message that are seen in Acts:3:19-26.

We cannot have a studio audience for the Beyond Today episodes at this point, so it may be a good time to look at a different format to point to God’s truth. We shouldn’t waste this opportunity. We know God is leading His Church.

We need to look at ways to cut finances when and where possible for best case and worse case scenarios.

President Kubik concluded by mentioning that the home office continues to function effectively during this time even though only a few were there in person.

Committee Chairman Reports:

Media and Communications Committee—Scott Ashley

This committee previewed Peter Eddington’s media report before it was given at the General Conference of Elders (GCE) meetings on Sunday, May 3. The committee was encouraged by Mr. Eddington’s statistics.

Education Committee—Aaron Dean

Ambassador Bible College (ABC) had to go to webcasting classes. They were prepared for webcasting because each year ABC has a session prior to winter for the students to connect online for any snow days that could cancel travel to the home office classroom.

The only item assigned to the Education Committee (EC) is an article on our hymnal for the United News, which was remanded to the EC in the December 2019 meetings.

Jorge de Campos asked how the progress has been for putting the correspondence courses and quizzes online that was discussed from the February 2020 meetings. Peter Eddington mentioned the first lesson and first quiz are almost finalized.

Len Martin asked what the status is of the online Bible commentary for the New Testament. Many members have asked about it and enjoyed the Old Testament commentary from years ago. Peter Eddington said formatting is a big question right now. Tom Robinson has been busy working on this project.

Scott Ashley said he is working on a harmony of the Gospels that can be posted online and used for studying the Gospels side-by-side in the Bible reading program. He is about one-third of the way through this project. The owner of the publishing rights for the New King James Version (NKJV) has refused permission for us to use the NKJV in this way, so we will likely be using the New English Translation (NET) for this project.

Mr. de Campos asked how accurate the New English Translation is because it is not based on the Majority Text.

Mr. Ashley said he has not seen any significant differences from the NET and the NKJV in the Gospels so far. If there are any significant differences they will be noted in the commentary of those sections.

Ethics Committee—Dan Dowd

There are no pending matters before this committee since the February meetings, so there has been no need to have a committee meeting.

Roles and Rules Committee—Rainer Salomaa

This committee has completed all the tasks for this Council year. The GCE approved documents will be posted online.

Doctrine Committee—Mario Seiglie

The Doctrine Committee (DC) is presently involved in reviewing the last four doctrinal projects on the docket and no new projects have come in. There are no projects ready to be presented to the Council at this time. Some of the remaining projects are lengthy and will take some time to completely review.

In the last few months, all the vacancies for the Doctrinal Advisory Committee and the Prophecy Advisory Committee were filled with alternates from the GCE that were approved by the Council.

Strategic Planning and Finance Committee—Bob Dick

One of the items since the February meetings to review is the retirement policy, but this has been put on hold for now with the recent coronavirus.

Reviewing Current Council Guidelines—Rainer Salomaa

Rainer Salomaa led the review with the Council of the guidelines and process for nominating and electing the Council Chairman and Deputy Chairman in years when regular terms expire. Mr. Salomaa went through the current documents to help clarify any questions.

The Council discussed how this would be done over videoconferencing. The Council along with the Secretary unanimously decided the best procedure for this unique situation.

The Council took a break at 1:15 p.m. for lunch for 45 minutes.

Criteria to be an International Nominee or Representative for the Council—Rainer Salomaa

Mr. Salomaa went through the proposed criteria to be an International Nominee or Representative for the Council. The proposed document was discussed with some minor edits for grammar. The criteria are to determine whether the elder’s primary work is in the United States or in international areas. The Secretary of the Council, in consultation with the Chairman of the Council, the President and Operation Manager for MMS, will make the decision together. If all four don’t agree then it will be brought to the Council to decide. The document was discussed and unanimously approved by the Council. The document will be posted in the online GCE library.

Amendment Committee Vacancies—Rainer Salomaa

Mr. Salomaa went through the recommendations for filling the Amendment Committee and alternates after two terms expire on June 30, 2020. The Council discussed them and unanimously approved the recommendations for the Amendment Committee. [Those on the Amendment Committee: Matthew Fenchel, Gerhard Marx, Scott Moss, Don Turgeon and Keith Wilson (chair). Alternates: Scott Delameter and Harvey Wierenga]

Doctrine Committee Update—Mario Seiglie

Mario Seiglie briefly reviewed the last four projects that are still being reviewed by the DC. There are currently no papers ready to present to the Council.

Updated HR Policy 2.14—Chris Rowland

Chris Rowland presented to the Council an updated HR Policy based on a recommendation from our liability insurance company for a policy to address drug and alcohol testing. The updated HR Policy 2.14 “Zero Tolerance Policy on Alcohol Abuse, Drugs and Smoking” was discussed for about 20 minutes with edits. The Council unanimously approved the updated HR Policy, which will be posted in the Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual on the Employee website. Mr. Rowland will provide the updated policy to our insurance carrier.

The Council went into to executive session at 3:06 p.m. for the annual review of the secretary and the annual review of the president.

The Council adjourned at 5:32 p.m.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Chairman Don Ward called the morning session to order at 11:12 a.m. Eastern, and the meeting was opened with prayer. All 12 Council of Elders (Council) members were present online. This Council quarterly meeting was done by videoconference because of the coronavirus.

The Council began in executive session to go through the legal updates from Larry Darden.

The Council came into open session at 11:48 a.m.

Honoring Council Members and Chairman for Services Rendered—Bob Dick

Those presented with a token of appreciation:

Rainer and Claudia Salomaa

Don and Wanda Ward

Chairman Don Ward was also thanked for his four years as chairman

Deputy Chair Bob Dick expressed the Council’s appreciation for the service they had all rendered, which was followed by personal comments by each of those receiving the honors.

The 2019-2020 Council adjourned.

Selection of the Council Chairman and Deputy Chairman for 2020-2022—Frank Dunkle

The new Council was called to order with John Elliott and John Miller added to the roster.

Secretary Frank Dunkle led the special meeting with the selection of the chairman and deputy chairman.

The Council Chairman for 2020-2022 is Len Martin.

The Deputy Chairman for 2020-2022 is Aaron Dean.

This is the only set of business to be engaged in during this specific May meeting. The Council will meet via videoconference in a couple of weeks to populate its committees and choose chairmen for those committees.

The Council adjourned at 4:11 p.m.


Council Reporter

Shawn Cortelyou

[These are not the official minutes from the Council meeting. Elders can find those at the Home Office with the Council Secretary. Video recordings are posted for the elders on the UCG Ministerial Resource Site.]

© 2020 United Church of God, an International Association


Add a Comment
  1. Nothing says “count the cost” more than UCG’s “Bible Reading Program” project (the original name for it). It was promised as a three-year study of the Bible when it was launched. That was in February 2002.

    This commenter has informed me that his comment “count the cost” refers to UCG starting off writing commentary through the Bible which they claimed they could do in three years. It is now 18 years later and they are still not done the New Testament. During that time I have done commentary through every Word of scripture and then revised and updated it three more times. This seems to show the strength of UCG’s, with its hundreds of elders, commitment to the scriptures. James

  2. The decision by UCG to alter the commandment “Thou shalt do no work” to you shall do no customary work should be a deal breaker for the members. After all these years of talking about “watering down” of the word of God, people have just swallowed this awful lie hook, line and sinker. It is appalling. Don’t they bother reading the bible anymore. I have looked at all the translations of the sabbath commandment, and not one of them uses the term “customary”. Every translation says “no work”. If a person contradicts the word of God, that is contradicts God then they are doing the work of the adversary. The adversary has been contradicting what God has said from the very beginning. Wake up people!

  3. When UCG first started out it was focused on strengthening and including the members after the trauma of the apostasy. They were open to correspondence, and, provided detailed reports of Council meetings etc. All of this slowly died out because the members did not care and chose to let the professionals handle it all rather than participate as the 1st century church did as revealed in Acts 15. Thus the management of UCG slowly shut down the information flow…and the sleep and slumber of the church became even more pronounced. Thus you now have the condition as described, “…provides almost no information of substance.” How well Revelation 3:14-22 applies.

    An article is coming after Pentecost which will shock most of you. I am holding this bombshell back so as not to let it distract from Pentecost. James

  4. The members of UCG aren’t allowed to discuss the doctrines that have been decided for them by those at the top. Everyone must toe the line and conform to the wishes of H Q. Victor Kubik demands that there be no discussion- he calls that going against unity. It’s a farce.

    That seems to vary with some congregations.

    I have an absolute bombshell scheduled for 3 June, an expose which proves with links to literally dozens of experts which have been misquoted by these folks in their Doctrinal Calendar Papers and sources. I have sent a copy of this document to Aaron Dean of UCG, and to COGWA and LCG. I will be posting Aaron’s response in my post.

    Every person will be judged by God as to whether they want to cleave to a compilation of lies [Satan is the father of lies] or hunger and thirst after the truth [God is Truth]. James

  5. Tessa, the latest letter from Pres. Kubik seems designed to stop “conspiracy theory” thinking in UCG regarding COVID-19. I applaud him for that.

    But at the same time, he writes that UCG believes “being immunized is a medical matter and is not sin….” People who “because of conscience, choose not to be immunized” (as he puts it) no longer have a religious exemption to fall back on.

    Be careful about generalizing, the term Conspiracy Theory has become a phrase used to lump together genuine concerns with some crazy ideas and so discredit anything that is different from the official line and dismiss it as nonsense. James

  6. Why does a group ‘need’ a council of elders? There was mutual agreement on the Acts 15 issue and James took the lead, not Peter. Is not Jesus the ‘Pastor General’ of his church and if not what do you have?

  7. Owen, you asked: “Why does a group ‘need’ a council of elders?…”

    At the Indianapolis Conference of 1995, it was evident that the group gathered had no faith that God could/would lead through one man ever again as was done with HWA.

    What was not considered at that time was this: if God could no longer be trusted to work through one man, then how could/would God ever be able to work through a council composed of many men?

    What was the fruit of their faith in some council? We have the history: one split after another, factions over and over again to this day!


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