Saturday 7 July 2007

Give generously

The Good Lord takes care of His own, and He's certainly taking care of Greg Albrecht.

Brother Greg is being blessed to the tune of $160,000 clams every year. Hallelujah!

That information comes from The Journal online, you can check out the details yourself.

I have no idea how that stacks up against the average ministerial salary in the US. How much does your average Seventh-day Adventist pastor get for example? Or what about a mainline minister with a degree (a real one)? You know, the sort of minister who visits the sick, volunteers on community committees, supports the parishoners in time of need. Does Greg do any of that stuff?

Y'know, it must take a lot of donations from little old ladies to cover Greg's generous stipend. The kind of people who give to ministries like Greg's aren't usually among the wealthy. For every dollar sent to PTM how many cents go straight into his paycheck? And that's before we factor in Monte Wolverton's $98,000.

These seem to be 2005 figures. You've got to wonder how much of an increase the lads have garnered since then. Not that I begrudge Monte his 98k, all artists - and especially cartoonists - deserve to be paid so well. Dear old Ron Dart only gets 92k: truly a paragon of self-control (and remember, he has his NRA subscription to keep up!)

We're not privileged to know how much Rod Meredith pays himself, let alone Gerry Flurry or Big Dave Pack, but I'm guessing it's over the existing Albrecht high-water mark in each case. Such talented servants of the Lord indubitably deserve a double portion, don't you think? Dig deep brethren, the Lord loves a cheerful giver.


DennisDiehl said...

I will calmly and with grace, in the spirit of "letting it be" and not blowing all the progress my soul hath made, abstain from comment on this topic...and it's not easy...I know, I'll call a fast on myself

Breathe Dennis.....ommmmmm.

Anonymous said...

I remember our minister complaining in a sermon that he had just done his taxes, and his income was BELOW the poverty level. Was it, really?

He lived in a beautiful house in an upscale neighborhood; an area where none of the members could afford to live.

As members expressed their concern after service for the minister's pitiful wages, I quietly reminded a few that there are different colors of money. He failed to factor in his housing allowance, free car, festival assistance, not to mention the money from the fundraisers where no one could ever figure out exactly where the proceeds went (although his kids always had the latest high-tech gadgets and they enjoyed some pricy vacations). He never had the exorbitant expense of purchasing and maintaining a car, or health insurance. He was exempt from social security taxes taxes. His wife dressed magnificently. How does one afford such a wardrobe if one is living below the poverty level?

While not begrudging someone who earns a livable wage, reported wages on a 1040 doesn't accurately portray the whole picture.

Lussenheide said...


In my humble opinion, in any army, (and I have heard many a Christian leader refer to the mission as a "war", and the brethren as the "christian soldiers") the leaders MUST be eating the same food as the troops.

Both Patton and Rommel had this philosophy. In Patton's case, he actually used his own families fortune to buy socks by the thousands for his troops, so that they would avoid "trench foot".

At best, these leaders, if relying on their "brothers" for support, should have no higher than the average median supporters income, and be living in the same "average square footage hooch" and "average 5 year old car" as his "beloved flock".

Somewhere in COG thinking was the idea that "corporate standards" from the carnal business world were the standards for management and compensation in a spiritual realm.

I dare any to find New Testament Biblical support for such thinking.


camfinch said...

"Somewhere in COG thinking was the idea that "corporate standards" from the carnal business world were the standards for management and compensation in a spiritual realm.

I dare any to find New Testament Biblical support for such thinking."

Right on. And you know what? I can't find anything in N.T. scripture that requires lay members to refer to ministers and their wives as "Mr." and "Mrs.".

What about not being a respecter of persons?

Douglas Becker said...

What about not being a respecter of persons?

An idea rejected by Scripture in that those who serve in the ministry are "worthy of double honor" whatever that means -- which has been loosely interpreted as getting double the dough above the top paid troops in the troupe.

Is the terrible example of the XXcoGxxS or even the WCG any different from, say the Billy Graham crusade? You could check on that somewhere on the great Internet.

There are protestant churches and even the Catholics where the ministry lives below the poverty level even today and must have additional support from the parishioners to keep life and soul together. Some even have second jobs because the ministry doesn't pay that well and they are dedicated to spreading the Word of God and helping their people -- and not just their people, but pretty much anyone who comes to them in need.

This is a far cry from the WCG and some of the xCoGs. The leaders milk it for all it is worth and leave the people to fend for themselves even spiritually. The membership becomes a cash machine or better yet, a cash cow which is milked for all it is worth.

This is always especially true of those religions whose focus is the Old Testament. They have this silly belief that if they are spreading the Word of God they can treat people any way they want because they are serving God and not man. As long as you serve God and publicize His name and works [such as the coming destruction of the United States], the fun continues forever and you will be blessed. Never mind the poor, downtrodden and the utter victims of such a venue. As long as you are for the Lord, nothing much else matters.

And the money is just a perk.

Douglas Becker said...

$4,850,295 per year?

That's just the PTM as we note that Tkach & Co make nothing off this deal.

Better we should get the facts about the booty contributed to the WCG these days.

I'm with Dennis, but I've already blown all the progress I've made and it's too late to abstain from comment.


Anonymous said...

Dennis here:

just had lunch here at the hospital and going back to my fast....taping my mouth with duct tape on this one!

Anonymous said...

Dennis.....Dennis.....Greg is wallowing in 160K a year....doesn't it make you angry? Feel the anger within you! Gooooood. I can feel your anger....release your anger and your journey towards the Dark Side will be complete!

Darth Paul

Anonymous said...

DennisSkywalker here:

DarthPaul...lunch is over and I am fasting can't draw me into the darkside, even if you grab me by the throat and lift me off the ground...I won't crack...well if you put me down I won't crack...

Stan said...

"$4,850,295 per year?
That's just the PTM (income) as we note that Tkach & Co make nothing off this deal."

Four million was coming in the PTM front door might have been a reality back in 1997, but that's a distant ten years ago. Since then, PTM has shrunk. Considerably.

Yet in 2005, WCG subsidized PTM to the tune of $633,967. Plain Truth subscriptions are at 14,688, which tells us something about the numbers of members left in the WCG willing to subscribe to the Plain Truth.

Tkach's WCG continued to subsidize the PTM operation with $201,245 of welfare assistance in 1998. (Just to pick one year of Tkach's assistance to Albrecht. Besides, 100% of the PTM assets came from the WCG originally, anyway.)

PTM has reported a total of $1,329,363 (2004 pdf) as "reimbursed expenses from a related entity". And just whom might be that related entity reimbursing PTM expenses? One guess. It's not the AICF, either.

Alas, since then Greg has fallen on increasingly hard times as the downward trend continues. PTM was lucky to pull in a measly $1,069,324 in income last year.

It spent $1,069,706, a lot of which went for employee salaries and bennies. That means PTM went $382 dollars (in the hole! gasp) last year, which should make for some good coworker letters requesting more and greater donations from Greg with the latest crisis in his Work.

Poor Greg is now sitting on $854,000 free, clear, and spendable cash in the bank after all PTM bills and liabilities are paid, should the PTM front doors be closed. Where does the cash in that event likely boomerang - back to Tkach?

The Journal table Gavin refers to has Greg's salary as reported in 2005, which is out of date.

Since then, Albrecht has greatly tightened his belt and reduced his 2006 salary to $101,899 with Wolverton getting a $72,266 compensation as PTM's illustrious Treasurer.

What the Journal's reporting left out is that the pdf for that very same year gave us one brief look at Tkach and Schnippert's questionable salaries - Joe Tkach - $101,348; and B. Schnippert - $116,879.

Revealing their WCG salaries for once on this PTM document was not an accident. It was more of a public relations stunt. Now they are free to appoint a compensation committee to set their salaries back up to Herbert W. Armstrong levels. Instead of B. Schnippert signing these tax and financial reports as in the past, cartoonist Monte Wolverton will now be signing these as the Secretary and Treasurer of PTM ministries.This maneuver will allow Tkach to again conceal his embarrassing WCG salary.

Musical composer Ross Jutsum and J. Michael Peterson are now serving as Greg's outside directors. Interesting.


Anonymous said...

Still fasting 'til supper...I"m just quoting Landover Baptist Church...I'm not commenting.

"If You've Got Something In Your Pocket That Says, "In God We Trust" On It, Please Send It To Your Local Church Where It Belongs, Before It's Too Late!"

Douglas Becker said...

Those interested in more details may investigate the
Ambassador Reports Blog.

Anonymous said...

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Douglas Becker said...

ACH stands for
Automated Clearing House
, not Armstrongist's Cash Huxterism.

Save 15%? That sounds familiar... Is this process so easy a caveman could use it?

Douglas Becker said...

With the high cost of supporting religion, it might be time to consider Home Churching as
described in The Onion

Home-churchers create their own services, emphasizing close readings of Old Testament books led by a parent, and sermons that often exceed two hours. Proponents of home-churching argue that, when handed down by family members, biblical teachings take on a more direct, personal meaning. Additionally, they say home-churching reinforces familial bonds.

"My kids don't have to understand everything in the Bible—I don't claim to," Beebe said. "But it ain't my place to question God's will. As long as my Caleb grows up understanding pestilence, sin, massacres, and to eternally fear the wrath of our Lord—and not this warm and fuzzy 'universal brotherhood' crap—then I've done right by Jesus."

Critics of the home-churching movement argue that its practitioners deprive children of a well-rounded religious education.

"An untrained theologian is not equipped to address the thornier questions of morality," said Rev. Lawrence Case of Grace Methodist Church in Homestead, FL. "Home-churchers often make their own interpretations of complicated biblical instruction such as 'knowing' daughters, or whether eating a rock-badger is as sinful as eating a regular one."

Stan said...

"Save 15%? That sounds familiar... Is this process so easy a caveman could use it?"

WCG congregations could immediately save up to 15% or more by eliminating the payments to toady, bloated, secretive, and unresponsive HQ by keeping it for themselves...

Caveat Emptor

Douglas Becker said...

WCG congregations could immediately save up to 15% or more by eliminating the payments to toady, bloated, secretive, and unresponsive HQ by keeping it for themselves...

Here at Progressive Church of God, we allow prospective members to compare our rates with other churches with online instant quotes. It makes a big difference if you tithe on net or gross and how often you take the annual offerings. Potential members will be pleased that we only ask for three offerings a year instead of the traditional seven and we give liberal allowances for deductions off the net 10% owed to God.

If you can find a cheaper church than Progressive, we'll help you contact our competition for a ministerial visit to screen you for membership.

Anonymous said...

Skip Church...Save 10-30%

Anonymous said...

Has anyone fotografed Meredith's new east coast mansion ? It must be spectacular. I know you couldn't get near Garner Ted's Tyler mansion because he wisely located in a gated community to keep the riff-raff away.

Douglas Becker said...

Here at e-inchurchchance we keep overhead low by eliminating high maintenance offices and personnel and providing our services entirely over the Internet.

If you want services, come to us because we can insure that no CoG can beat our rates.

So forget the other guys: e-inchurchchance is the best services money can buy with your tithes and offerings at a low low price.

Anonymous said...

Internet COG Hymn Number One and Two

"Blessed and Happy is the Scam
That doth never go away
Flipping 'or to Internet
Blesses us to Prey

All We does, prospers well
But the Brethren are not sooo
They are sheep before the snips
Shorn from head to toe

We shall be a tree that grows
Planted on the Internet
If you think you've had enough
Weee just aren't done yet.

All we does, prospers well
And we will until we die
Keep your bucks a flowin here
Jesus in three to five......

aaaaaaaaaaaaaa.ahhhh ahhhhhhh meeeennnnnn.................

or how 'bout

Praise me the Lordo
Praise me the Lordo
Praise in Ohio and Praise in the Heights.
Praise Me ye Brethren
Praise me ye Deacons
And praise me no matter how badly I frights.

Praise me the Lordo
Praise me the Lordo
Praise me in Charlotte above all the rest.
They do a small work, we dews a big one
Oh Praise me presiding 'or all I surveeeey

Praise me Generalissimo
Praise me Generalissimo
Praise for my cunning and reckless delight
Praise me all pastors
Praise me all splinters
Without me you'd not have a work overnight!

Arranged by M. T. Hall

Anonymous said...

I know what my pastor is paid because I'm on the session (Which approves these sorts of things). $47k plus $3k in an annuity. He also gets $0.48 per mile reimbursement for gas / wear & tear. Fringe benefits: Health insurance, and the manse to live in on church grounds.

That's it...and he does have real degrees from a real university and a seminary.

$47k is not very much money in NJ and he works his butt off for every penny of it too.

He also never started off a pastor's report at a session meeting with: "...and there I was 8 miles over the Pacific ocean in my G3."

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Flurry.

I think that many WCG ministers found out real quick after things fell apart, just what is was like to be poor and nothing in the bank. Many deserved such a reckoning, some didn't.

Douglas Becker said...


Live the fantasy.

Anonymous said...

The massive transfers to PTM in previous years appear to be for the purpose of SBS (Siphoning by Salaries)

Anonymous said...

...formerly known as Dennis

Had I attended Westminister Theological Seminary or Calvin College associated with my upbringing, instead of treaking off to WCG, which seemed right from a distance, I probably would have realized a lot sooner that the Bible is not generally quite as any local congregation imagines, and either gone on to teach new wannabe's more of the truth of the matter, or pastored selectively hoping certain topics did not come up.

My very well theologically educated friends, always have, "but I'll loose my job if I tell them what I really know and have come to believe..." in their bag of coping skills.

A highly educated fundamentalist is ignorant in a quality way.

camfinch said...

Former Dennis, that is exactly what was told to me some years ago by a fellow student in a Religious Studies class. He had been quite a devout Presbyterian, and then his church got a new assistant pastor, being near to my fellow student's age. Since the student (who was in his thirties at the time) was going for a B.A. in Religious Studies, the asst. pastor "opened up" about a lot of things, and told him that what he learned and discovered in seminary very often was in sharp contrast to what Presbyterians were supposed to hear from the pulpit. So he gave the expected spiel on Sundays to the congregation, but frankly disagreed with a good bit of what he said!

Douglas Becker said...

So he gave the expected spiel on Sundays to the congregation, but frankly disagreed with a good bit of what he said!

As the doctrine of the Trinity gained ascendancy in the WCG after Herbert Armstrong's death, it appears that many ministers preached what they disagreed with on Saturday. The rest who did not understand at all what they were preaching and didn't have a clue continued with the WCG, even to this day.

One group blathering hypocrites for believing something different from what they taught and the other group blathering idiots for not understanding it.

And there was the other group that left or was dismissed.

Anonymous said...

formerly known as Dennis

I know it's so. I grew up Presbyterian long before I ever heard of WCG. Now at the hospital where I work, I have pastor "friends" who know my background and they have excellent credentials along with massive doubts about how to handle what they really feel about the errancy and historicity issues of the Bible. They are good men, just as MOST of my WCG minister friends were. Very sincere, hard working and not in it for the money one bit. The money was going to the ranked at the top above WCG "pastor rank" level it seems. I was ordained an LE six mos out of college, a Preaching Elder one year out of college and never again. I wasn't in the budget..ha. I had to ask Joe Tkach for a bit of help to go on the dig I won from Biblical Archaeology Magazine in 96 to dig at Megiddo for three weeks. I didn't ahve the money for the extras. He gave it to me from AICF I believe. BAR paid for everything. It was the greatest trip of my life for a ten minute essay and I sat for three weeks with Israel Finkelstein as he explain the non bible history of his cultic people in search of a grand illusion, mostly in the form of David and Solomon for which he could find precious little archaelogical history. Baruch Halpern, also at the dig, swooshed down a few too many and told me the OT was concoted to give an insignificant bunch of people an amazing history that never happened in space and time.

After than, I read Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism, and the rest is history, thank my lucky goddess...

Anonymous said...

gotta close up shop here at hospital. Have answered as many calls and questions as I can stand today! :)

Anonymous said...

formerly known as Dennis

PS but it's all good 'cause I'm paying getting my just reward for being such a bastard pastard :)

Douglas Becker said...

Ironically, it is the ones who left or were dismissed who came away with the most honor left over.

Anonymous said...

Formerly Known as Mr. Diehl

"One group blathering hypocrites for believing something different from what they taught and the other group blathering idiots for not understanding it."

It was a freaking mess. Every minister I knew was in personal turmoil over what was happening, much less why. The idea that the Tkaches could move to change in months, what a real church would never change or would change in generations, it seemed, was spiritual thuggary at it's worst.

I remember sitting and hearing Joe Tkach Sr. yelling in a sermon if he was wrong, "may God strike me dead." Very dramatic. I guess we were all supposed to think how brave and how right he must be to say that. Normally I would not make a connection and chalk it up to coincidence, but I remember thinking to myself, "I wouldn't have said that..."

It was very confusing and I'd at least like to say from experience, that when one would ask "Are we changing to Sunday?" are we doing away with clean and unclean, are we going to give up holydays and keep christmas? 100 % of the time they said "oh no," and 100% of it was lies to the faces of men who had no clue what was true anymore or not. I sat in meetings that in hindsite were pure lies. I kept thinking the foolishness would stop.

I will go to my grave saying that the Tkaches should have quit if they were that convinced it was all wrong. There were PLENTY of places to park their sorry asses in a church that would not care who they were. Maybe that was the problem. It is not a matter of who was right or wrong. WCG is more wrong now than it ever was. Instead of forcing everyone to see it one way, they had an obligation to simply leave and let those of OLD WCG persuasion take it from there without them. Some of my friends would still be alive if they had not forced such reckless foolishness on the deeply held spirituality, no matter how accurate or not, on the majority.

A real board would have put the Tkaches out to pasture and on the street, instead of yielding to the artificial bullying that no doubt went on. They used the "Mr. Armstrong appointed me.." for as long as it served them in securing themselves a place, a pension and something to keep them busy until they die.

The fact that Joe Tkach Jr. is STILL there is testimony of the good ol boy network that frankly was born out of the Imperial Schools buddy system.

There are hundreds of former ministers...where are they? Where are the MILLIONS of dollars realized by Tkach, Schnippert, and Co? In the bank is not good enough. They raped the church and because we did not cry out loud enough, we must have given the impression we enjoyed it so got stoned and they got Jesus.

When Ron Kelly told me there can be no retirement because of Jesus great miracle in WCG, I asked him to his face why Jesus could not have backed up one miracle and insired the right doctrine and belief in the first place and save us all the heartache. Does Jesus like to play games and fool us first time around? answer.

I guess that is a real miracle after all.

PS I'll regret submitting this but I have a sore spot over "you ministers," "real education" "payback time" "hypocrites" and all the other easy to dump labels on "the ministers." WCG ministers AND MEMBERS of old had a better grasp of many things, if you take the text literally and in the Jewish origins of Christianity context than any of these Bob Jones clones up the street.

The theological problem WCG could never resolve nor can fundamentalists today is that the Early Church under James and Paul were NOT friends. They did not agree with each other and all the confusion of law and grace stems from trying make a silk purse for James out of Paul's sows ears. It's why one can never quite nail down if Paul is for the law or against it. The answer is "yes." It's why every side of every issue can claim Paul as their champion. Just remember a man who can be "all thing to all men," has no soul or center. He's a salesman.

Dennis shut up...:)

Douglas Becker said...

No, no. Excellent post, and...

Joe Tkach Sr. yelling in a sermon if he was wrong, "may God strike me dead."

It should be pointed out that Senior did die shy of seven years and from painful [brain?] cancer. It was lies right up to the end.

Yes, some of us saw the infamous tape where Tkach said, "Sometimes I lie...".

No empathy. No conscience. Only games.

Dennis your post was right on the mark. Well said.

Gavin said...

Dennis, NEVER shut up!


Anonymous said...

Dennis..formerly known as Mr. Diehl

well... ok. My counselor says it's good therapy. This is the same guy who noted when I first met him..."hmmmmm, you got got fired by God..this will be interesting.." :) (For which I'm eternally grateful by the way.)

Anonymous said...

"I remember sitting and hearing Joe Tkach Sr. yelling in a sermon if he was wrong, "may God strike me dead." "

A case of being careful what you ask for

Anonymous said...


God does indeed love a cheerful giver.

So does Spanky,Dave Albrecht,Gerry Flurry.

Here in good old NZ on one occasion,then Senior Pastor,now Bishop Brian Tamaki of Destiny Church was being interviewed on TV One's "Good Morning" programme hosted by Mary Lambie.

She commented about his swish sartorial getup and questioned how a clergyman could afford such expensive threads.

Brian replied," The Lord has Blessed Me".

Hallelujah,brother,I wonder how many people went in need

Truly,it is a world-wide phenomenon.

Bless 'em all.


KScribe said...


Off subject.....
I thought this idea was excellent!

        AMERICAN KABUKI said...

At least Monte can draw! That alone is worth a salary...but I really wish he'd take that great talent and put it to work in a real job, like Drawing Cartoons! Hey, its honorable work!

Greg's call to fame is arranging bad marriages among AC Seniors and intimidating underclassmen.
Like that is worth $160K?