Paul Kieffer is highly regarded by his elder-colleagues in UCG, and has been elected as an international member of the COE (check out his profile.) Paul is also a keen contributor to the Elders' Forum, and not exactly stand-offish about putting radical ideas up for debate. Consider this example...
Paul Kieffer (Bonn, Germany)
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I appreciated the positive comments made re: the Living Church of God's media efforts. My father-in-law John Burquist is an elder in LCG. On several occasions my wife Monica and I have attended LCG services as guests, accompanying Mr. Burquist. Other than one time when brief mention was made in the sermon on LCG's understanding of New Testament governance, everything I heard was pretty much identical to what UCG teaches. The atmosphere at services was -- well, like at UCG services. :-)
"Chicago Bill" Bradford mentioned the potential synergy effect between our two organizations.
This topic may be especially interesting in the non-English language areas where there is considerable duplication of effort in producing materal [sic] with basically the same message. Via my good contacts in LCG, some years ago I inquired informally about the possibility of "joint publishing" a booklet in German where UCG's and LCG's beliefs are practically identical. For various reasons the idea went nowhere.
Personally I prefer the proactive approach, rather than inertia. I take comments seriously relayed to me from a fellow elder about what some young people say who fellowship across organizational boundaries. "Wait till the older generation dies off, then we'll get this impasse resolved," is what some of those young people think.
The recently revised guidelines for accepting an invitation to speak outside UCG have no effect on the policy re: required approval for non-UCG speakers being invited to speak at UCG.
I don't know how it could be worded, but I think a revision of that policy to exempt or to "soften" the required highest level approval for an LCG elder to speak at UCG would be a very positive signal toward LCG (without UCG expecting any reciprocal action being taken by LCG in return).
Is UCG "big" enough to take this first small step for CoG mankind? :-)
I think we are.
This is the bold new step... or at least one of the bold new steps (yes Mildred, there are others) that the UCG's leading lights are tossing around.
Of course, after years of "reading between the lines" in order to make sense of the machinations of the lads in Pasadena, it is possible to be just a tad cynical about this particular suggestion...
(Zweiter tiel to follow)