Roy Holladay has made it official: Clyde Kilough and Thompson have walked. They're no longer on the COE for "personal reasons." That's a term that covers a multitude of possibilities, so those who are garden-variety UCG members are none the wiser.
How exactly, though, does Bonnie Prince Clyde expect to continue functioning as president when he won't talk to his COE?
Holladay is obviously trying to calm the troops with soothing reassurances, and fair enough, that's his job, though walking on water might be an easier task. If "personal reasons" meant nothing too disturbing, wouldn't you have thought Clyde might have written that letter himself?
The real question now is can this situation really continue? Next step - given that Kilough and Thompson appear to have burned their bridges beyond repair, is to find two new councilors to take their places. Those in the know will be paying close attention.
Out on the fringes there are the expected expostulations and cries of conspiracy. In the unlikely event that Aaron Dean is indeed the mastermind behind some nefarious plot, then we may need to redefine the term "mastermind" in a southerly direction. Perhaps, now the resignations have been outed, those of us not in UCG can instead settle down and breathe slowly through our noses while the stage is set for the next act.
On the other hand, those of you who are in UCG should be making it clear that you are not silent partners in your own church. You have a voice and should be using it. If there are contentious issues behind the current developments, and it seems there are, they should be getting an airing out in the open, not hidden away where only a few are privy to the debate.
Here's the Holladay epistle:
July 31, 2009.
Dear Fellow Elders,
Serving on the Council of Elders represents a high-profile responsibility that is demanding and rewarding at the same time. This responsibility is demanding in the sense that most of our Council members are also church pastors or work full-time in other positions, which makes additional demands on a Council member’s limited time. It is rewarding in the fact that we on the Council have a humbling opportunity to render service in a unique way.
As a result of the last General Conference of Elders annual meeting, the Council has undergone some changes with new members being added. After serving on the Council for the previous two years, I was named as the Council’s new chairman. It is in that role as chairman that I am writing to you to openly inform you of two additional changes.
Effective Monday, July 27, Richard Thompson resigned from the Council for personal reasons. On Tuesday, July 28, Clyde Kilough, who of course serves as the president of the United Church of God, resigned from the Council for personal reasons. Clyde will continue in his role as president, and Richard will continue serving as a pastor for the United Church of God and as a member of the Church’s Ministerial Services Team.
Both men have served faithfully and well on the Council in a multitude of responsibilities. There is no question that they have made and will continue to make important contributions to the work of the Church. Both contributed directly to the development of the Church’s strategic planning process, and that plan will go forward.
Knowing firsthand of the workload and commitment required to serve on the Council, we respect both their past contributions and their current decisions to step away and focus on other duties within the Church.
A natural question now arises: Who will replace them in the now-open positions on the Council? Thankfully, the United Church of God has an orderly process in place for such an occasion. The Church’s Bylaws stipulate that the next in line (as selected in the last General Conference of Elders’ ballot) be notified of their opportunity to serve. Given the weighty responsibilities that a Council member bears, it is logical that time be allowed for the potential new members to consider this new role before they agree to accept. This process is now being followed.
This is not the first time a Council member has resigned while still serving a term, and the orderly process of bringing in a new member has worked well. We believe that this time will be no different.
I should also point out that it was the Council’s original intent to announce both the resignations of the two men and the two new Council members at the same time. To rightly accommodate the required and wise process of notification and reflection by the potential new members, the Council thought it best to openly communicate these changes in a timely manner. It is said that nature abhors a vacuum, and I have found that the same can be true of speculative comments filling an information void. Hence this communication to you now.
For those of you who follow the Council reports, I might point out that the Council reporter was unaware of the resignations when he prepared the traditional report earlier this week. In his official report, he thus erroneously (albeit honestly in the absence of the current information) listed the two former Council members as not being in attendance. That honest error will be corrected.
I am personally grateful that the Church has in place an orderly process that addresses developments such as these. The United Church of God is growing and we will continue to execute on the formal Strategic Plan to which so many have made worthy contributions. We will notify you of the new Council members once the process is complete and they are confirmed. You of course are welcome to share news of this development with our members.