Friday, 17 November 2006
Okay, so there's this "confidential" email in the in-tray today. A COG insider - connected with either the LCG or UCG - who has some observations to share about the recent entente between the respective bodies. You'll recollect that the Latter-day Nehemiah came down to kiss Papa Smurf's papal ring in Charlotte a few weeks back. Considering all the subsequent blather intended to squelch rumors of merger, you'd have to wonder why it happened at all.
For what it's worth, here's the gist of it. Fact or fiction, you decide.
Dateline: "South of the Border" (we're talking tacos here.) A UCG minister is screwed around by the Ohio oligarchy. He thinks he's going to be honorably retired, but his alleged wrongdoings are spilled out from the pulpit while he and his family are right there in the congregation. Not a good look. Result? Unhappy campers.
Unhappy campers then forge contacts with local LCG as they're severely hacked off. Hiring a minister across the Siegfried Line of organizational borders is discussed. Members start turning up at LCG services. We're talking LEAKAGE brethren. "I think," says the source, "the UCG tried to head it off at the pass."
Yes, dear readers, if the report is accurate this was a boundary dispute. The UCG poodle wandered into the neighbours' back yard to water their cucumbers and sniff the back end of the crusty old fox terrier.
Again, that is simply my version of the tale told (the original was poodle-free), and I'm happy to hear from anyone in the UCG willing to "set the record straight." One can only observe that it makes a tad more sense than the prim press statements from UCG or the "nothin' ain't happ'nin'!" protestations from Charlotte.
Believe it - or not...
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Ok - I have no personal knowledge of this situation, but just making some guesses here. This UCG minister apparently has some problems. (Dare I say sins?) Who knows when these issues have come to the attention of Ohio. In any case, Ohio handles it badly - publicly in front of the local church. Of course, if they handle it privately and it comes out later, that would look bad too. (This seems a no-win scenario for Ohio no matter how they handle it?) In any case, UCG minister starts to scout out LCG and members who like this minister start to look as well.
RCM has said through Bob Thiel that there is an arrangement for communication between UCG & LCG if there is some sort of sexual pervert trying to go between the churches. This seems to point in the direction of the alleged issue/problem with UCG minister.
Of course, I do not know who is making the allegations. Recent media attention on cases like the Duke rape case show that some people are willing to lie about things like this just to get attnetion/money/or make trouble.
I do not know what due process has been accorded the UCG minister in this case. Hopefully there has been some sort of due diligence to verify any claims by Ohio. I don't know the minister either, so I have no idea of his reputation. Let's say for the sake of argument Ohio finds some of the allegations have merit.
Just from this posting and a lot of hearsay, it seems there really isn't enough information to draw any sort of conclusion fairly. I know a lot of people here assume that the ministry is always as fault, but really to be fair, you just can't jump to that conclusion.
My father was WCG paster and now UCG pastor. He has always followed church policy of not visiting people - especially women alone so that nothing untoward can be leveled as an accusation against him or church later.
In any case the meeting between the minds is to warn LCG about the allegations in the interest of disclosure and not facilitating more bad behavior if it actually exists. That would be a good thing right?
There's no dispute that LCG is bleeding members (the sharks are circling) to UCG and to a smaller degree RCG. I've not heard or seen of the reverse happen lately. They are becoming more like PCG in that more members are jumping ship than climbing onboard. They knows they can't stop the hemorrage so why not talk with UCG! But in the mean time they play up their numbers and boast growth. If you knows what questions to ask one can see that their numbers are not completely truthful. While they say there were no merge talks in this meeting, I say give it time. This meeting was more of a "meet and greet". Let RCM die and there would be a power struggle and LCG would be prime for a merge because so many people already want it. They are already watering down certain teachings so they're becoming more like UCG than most realize.
I am privy to certain information from inside LCG and The previous post is close to "dead on."
With RCM's recent health decline, (diabetes, vision, memory problems etc...) those close to RCM are "keeping the details" from him. This is being done under the guise of not wanting to upset him with all of the "day to day" problems of LCG.
Look at the men close to him and most trusted by him! They are simply sitting and waiting for RCM to be put out to pasture...by his ailing health.
In the meantime they are hoping he doesn't do, or say anything "over the top." In closed door meetings, without RCM's knowledge, the "leaders" next in line are maneuvering to divide the spoils.
It could be merger with UCG, or simply a new leader in LCG.
Ah, Church Corporate politics. Don't you just love it.
The Church Corporate has given up the quest of bringing the teachings of the Gentle Master to the masses in favor of adopting the worst of the corporate model and implementing it badly.
Except for the name on the door....
How is this any different from the machinations going on in the boardrooms of any misfortune 500 company -- the best of which was the stories of HP and Carly Fiorina. The only difference there is that there are no women allowed above the glass ceiling in the chambers of the Council of Elite.
This slow unfolding of events as described by rachael and anonymous is fascinating to me, not just because of my long-ago membership in the old WCG, my time spent as a student at AC-Pasadena, and the fact that four members of my family, including my elderly parents, are in Living. It is likewise interesting as a sociological phenomenon, i.e., what happens to a new religious tradition after the founder's death, especially when the founder was such a strong personal authoritarian figure, as religious founders most often are. Considering that HWA crafted an eclectic blend of various fringe ideas into a compelling new mix, one area of interest is to see how each of the splinter groups uses and/or alters these fringe ideas, and also the various approaches to ministerial authority. The relatively moderate UCG, if anonymous and others are correct, is a recipient of LCG member bleeding. That is, perhaps more of the Armstrongist remnant are opting for less authoritarianism--again, relatively speaking.
Rod Meredith is just about the last remaining evangelist from the original batch ordained in the early 1950's. His decline will force a new approach from the top LCG leaders, and I think that anonymous is correct: this recent meeting in Charlotte was an initial testing of the waters. Perhaps an eventual merger will be structured with a UCG-type governance but with an LCG focus on "getting out the gospel".
Interesting times for those of us who understand the inside view but are now blessed to be "outside" observers.
COGL's latest weekly update shows their Feast attendance this year was in the 5,000's -- total.
Don't know how that compares with other years.
"I am privy to certain information from inside LCG.."
"COGL's latest weekly update shows their Feast attendance this year was in the 5,000's -- total."
If you are referring to LCG (since it has a website www.cogl.org) the update for 9 November actually shows FoT attendance at 7120; a slight increase on last year. Please try to at least reproduce published figures accurately.
Mahia ... "yeah right" what else would you like to know ?
"Mahia ... "yeah right" what else would you like to know ?"
I think it was Stan Freyberg (sp?) who, in a comedy skethch, used the line "Just the facts, Ma'am." Since your previous post contains, not facts but scuttlebutt, I will answer your offer of more information with "No thank you, Ma'am".
"The update for 9 November actually shows FoT attendance at 7120; a slight increase on last year."
If you read the announcement carefully it said the 7120 in attendance included shut-ins. Shut-ins, as far as I can tell, are people who CAN'T attend. 7120 did not travel to a LCG site. I've heard US FOT attendance was down 6-10% from last year and overall attendance was down as well. Add the shut-ins, who could be anyone and there you go, you have an increase! The bleeding is here in the US, not so much in the international areas.
Yet another anonymous wrote,
"If you read the announcement carefully it said the 7120 in attendance included shut-ins. Shut-ins, as far as I can tell, are people who CAN'T attend. 7120 did not travel to a LCG site. I've heard US FOT attendance was down 6-10% from last year and overall attendance was down as well. Add the shut-ins, who could be anyone and there you go, you have an increase! The bleeding is here in the US, not so much in the international areas."
Let's note the weasel-words (and then ignore them).
"as far as I can tell"
"who could be anyone"
Shut-ins are those who cannot attend for stated, good reasons and are provided with packs of FoT sermons on CD or DVD.
Shut-ins were included in figures both this year and last.
I repeat, the attendance (in person and as shut-ins, to keep you happy) showed a slight increase this year over last year. The figure in your original posting of -in the 5000s- was, let's be honest, a guess.
I know these are inconvenient facts to those who are hoping for the demise of LCG.
"Shut-ins are those who cannot attend for stated, good reasons and are provided with packs of FoT sermons on CD or DVD.
Shut-ins were included in figures both this year and last."
True enough, as evidenced by both LCG and UCG reports on FOT totals
(http://www.ucg.org/un/un0611/un0611.pdf), but one could argue that the totals presented don't represent the actual number of registrants at the individual sites, which is where I believe anonymous was going. Looking back 30-40 years,
I don't recall if shut-ins were ever counted in the old WCG, maybe someone else remembers. IMO, they should be counted "somewhere". It reminds me of the old controversy surrounding offering envelopes: should we base offerings on individual envelope totals or people totals? Accounting vs Marketing & Sales.
Another issue would be the number of folks who just show up at a site from the various COGs, for whatever reason. We'll never know for sure, in any case. :-)
BTW, Richard posted the original 5K figure, not anonymous.
I absolutely love how Rachael, herself the daughter of a UCG minister, makes the statement that she has "no personal knowledge of this situation", and then proceeds to declare the former minister guilty by saying "The UCG minister apparently has some problems."
Guilty until proven innocent. I love it.
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