Thursday 31 December 2009

UCG letter, harbinger of a difficult year ahead

The following letter has been sent to elders in the United Church of God. While it's very long, it is reproduced here in its entirety.

Dec. 28, 2009

Dear Fellow Elders,

We would ask that you take this letter as a personal message of deepest spiritual concern. It is vital that each of you take time to read the entirety of its contents.

When the United Church of God began in 1995, we were all very humbled but guardedly optimistic about the future. We had the privilege and opportunity to carry on the legacy of preaching the gospel to the world and strengthening members within the Body of Christ.

It has been challenging as we strive to move forward in a form of church governance that has not been “the norm” for the Church of God community as a whole. But it was the approach, based upon biblical principles, that the General Conference of Elders ratified in 1995. At that time we were prompted to focus on the foundation of our organizational relationships and decision-making processes. Our collective attention became focused on the biblical principle spelled out in Proverbs 11:14, that “…in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Most importantly, we made a collective decision that, rather than simply looking to a man, we would focus on Jesus Christ being the Head of the Church; and we were determined to sense the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit in us as our guide.

God has never left us or forsaken us even though at times we all have fallen short of His perfect guidance. As the Council of Elders of the United Church of God, we believe the Spirit of God is once again guiding and stirring us up to share certain basic words that must be said and understood by each of us. The time for decisive actions has come.

Over the past few months many accusations have been leveled against the leadership of the United Church of God. The Council, which is the senior governing body of the Church, has especially come under attack and been accused of lying, deceit, covering up and unethical behavior. While we are all only men, and have made our share of mistakes along the way, we reject such accusations as being without evidence, slanderous in some cases, and effectively harming the preaching of the gospel by diverting the focus of the duly elected board members of the Church. The time has come for straight talk from our hearts to yours, as brothers in Christ.

Rather than condemning and accusing what we see around us with our human perceptions, let’s consider where God places His focus. Ephesians 6:11-12 states that our real enemies are not one another but wicked or evil spirits in high places: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

We are wrestling with an angry evil spirit that never rests in his focused attempt to destroy and scatter members of the Body of Christ. He tried to deliver a death blow in the 1990s, and now he is subtly striving to slowly but surely squeeze the life energy out of those who remain true to the gospel. We all realize that Satan knows he has but a short time left. Make no mistake about it: He hates, loathes and despises what we are called to stand for and perform by God’s grace, and this spiritual adversary will do anything and use anyone to frustrate our mission of preaching the gospel and preparing a people.

Much of our current situation goes back to 2007 through 2008 when a new makeup of membership began to emerge on the Council of Elders. A number of people have voiced the opinion that these men, all ministers with multiple decades of long-term service to the Church, could not have obtained a seat on the Council unless there had been “bloc voting” for nominees or candidates for the Council. (“Bloc voting” here means the formation of a group of individuals to support, promote or lobby for certain candidates for the Council in an effort to influence the ballot.) The suspected vehicle used to engineer such alleged bloc voting was an “alternate forum” (i.e., a private discussion group) comprised of a very small minority of members within the General Conference. Although no evidence of bloc voting has ever been produced for any candidate on any side of the issues, the opinion was expressed, and is still held by some elders today, that these are illegitimate Council members.

The Council’s position regarding private discussion groups involving elders is that they are not forbidden and violate no bylaw, resolution or scriptural principle. The Council has no oversight responsibility over such groups. Since they are private, unless there is proof that there is ministerial misconduct on such sites, it is not the Council’s (or the Church’s) responsibility. The Council will only act on substantiated reports of unchristian behavior by elders, whatever the context.

The detailed report on the alternate forum was officially approved by the Council as not only a statement regarding private forums (of which one or more likely exist at any given time), but was also created as a statement of what kind of fellowship we will be in respecting the rights of others while expecting the highest spiritual standard of all who hold the office of elder. The Council report included a statement from the forum’s administrator telling participants that it was not to be used for bloc voting or discussion of candidates, and the Council has since then received unequivocal statements from participants that it was not used for bloc voting. While some may not accept these statements or the conclusions of the Council in its report or its spiritual and philosophical thrust, the fact is that no actual evidence to the contrary has been forthcoming from anyone else.

The resolution to rescind the move to Texas was also passed in 2008 and created strong feelings on both sides of the debate that arose.

As a result of these differences and others, we have allowed Satan, as well as ourselves and our human nature that so easily besets us, to divide us into rigid camps. We have trouble accepting that others can have strong opinions contrary to our own and still have the best interests of the Church at heart. Satan has created an atmosphere of distrust. There has been a pattern now for some time of members of the same body demonizing (and we don’t use that term lightly) one another.

This spiritual malady of cancerous proportions has now seeped into our general membership with individuals (both within the ministry and membership) who now feel they have some mission to cleanse the Church and who have fallen prey to a spirit that desires to “reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries” (Jude 8). They openly feel they have a godly duty to send out mass-circulated letters to undermine the Council of Elders and overturn determinations of the General Conference of Elders as to whom they chose to place on the Council. Knowingly or unknowingly, “confidential” or seditious information is being spread like wildfire. Such individuals have assumed a mantle of judge and jury in matters in which they have neither the full facts, nor the total context, nor the collective benefit of wide counsel. Rather, they have chosen to reject the sound principle found in Proverbs 18:17: “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.”

Can we learn to work together without vilifying one another? This is an ageless proposition that confronts every generation of the Church as to how we will relate with one another. The apostle Paul in Galatians 5:15 states, “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” The New Century Version translates this verse as, “If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful, or you will completely destroy each other.”

Paul’s heartfelt concern and admonition is needed more than ever! The reputations of ministers who have served God and the Church faithfully for 30, 40 or 50 years are being undermined and destroyed—whisper by whisper, phone call by phone call, e-mail by e-mail, private meeting by private meeting by members and ministry. We seem free to “bite and devour one another” without talking to the parties involved, but based only on comments from others. Case in point: We have had ministers, called to be stewards of the gospel, who have posted messages on the Elder’s Forum, at one time or another that have lacked the basic Christian civility of knowing how to speak directly with grace or with full knowledge and context of matters on a forum designed to edify their fellow ministers.

Why do ministers who should know better sow discord? We have been granted the high calling of preparing and guiding others in spiritual preparation to be “kings and priests to our God” (Revelation 5:10). Why do some reject the clear admonition of Proverbs 6:16-19? “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him,” we read. Then seven activities are listed that God hates. Verse 19 states that two of these are “a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”

Due to this negative spiritual incursion into our fellowship, for more than two years we have been forced to focus our Church’s time, energy and resources inwardly, rather than focus outwardly to a dying world and the very real needs of God’s flock. When the Council states that it would like to see increased emphasis placed on preaching the gospel, an outward focus that has always been a driving force in the mission of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Council is accused of neglecting the local congregations, the youth in the Church or the responsibility of preparing the next generation of pastors.

While the Council strives to move forward with collective boldness and optimism, there has emerged a not-so-subtle negative spin or counter opinion on many actions of the Council. Allow us to speak plainly: This has been expressed in communications by some elders and members alike. Thus, the Church, notably in the United States, has not been allowed to move beyond the alternate forum, fears (not facts) about bloc voting, the rescind resolution and alleged ethical problems on the Council.

For example, the chairman of the Council has been unjustly and falsely accused of lying about the reasons for the replacement of the previous Council reporter and, then again, when a mistake made by the new Council reporter was not corrected before a particular report was distributed. Please understand, a Council reporter does not have a defined term of service. The replacement of our last reporter was based on financial savings and convenience as the new reporter is an employee at the home office (with long experience working with the Council as corporate secretary). Other supposed inappropriate reasons for doing so are simply not true.

The Council even gets criticized for conducting some meetings in “closed session,” a practice that is recommended by experts on nonprofit governance and which has been used by the Council since 1996 to discuss important issues of a private and confidential nature in a more candid manner. No law or bylaw bars this long-standing practice, but it is now being given a sinister spin.

These accusations against the leadership have taken on a life of their own and are spreading rapidly. Do we realize that this approach is destabilizing the ministry and beginning to destabilize the Church? We have a toxic atmosphere in the Church where innuendos (“it looks like...”) and whispers are creating an unrestrained chorus of misinformation put forth by minds and hearts lacking sound judgment. Some in the ministry appear to be getting together and “roasting” the Council based upon second- third- or fourth-hand hearsay or rumors. Some claim their “information” came from confidential executive session information that they feel they have the “right” to place in the public domain. Such “information” is biased, imputes evil motives and is often completely wrong and not designed to help or bring peace to the Church of God, but is spread by those who presume they are “in the know.” We constantly hear that information comes from a reliable source, but no one is willing to reveal that source. Is this because the source may have an agenda? Why are some willing to risk their all and the well-being of a Church dedicated to God’s service simply on anonymous accusations?

We would never have allowed this in our former association! We would never allow it in the congregations that we pastor. In what some of our members like to call the “real world” in which they work, such breaches of confidentiality, slander and lack of organizational cohesiveness would be dealt with immediately by appropriate disciplinary action for those responsible. Why should we be different and why should the unity once a hallmark of God’s people be different now?

Please consider these scriptures that focus on this topic.

Proverbs 26:20-21: “Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; and where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”

Proverbs 16:27: “An ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire.”

What is the solution that has been suggested to the Council by more than one individual? For the Council to resign en masse and hold a new election for all Council seats! Such a solution is not even possible under our governing documents! The real solution is that, accompanied by much prayer and fasting, we all individually need to turn the mirror around and look at ourselves. As the book of James explains, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (James 1:26).

Allow the following statement to be clear and understood by each of you who read it. This letter is designed and designated for the specific purpose of being a direct intervention action by the Council of Elders for the spiritual well-being and organizational stability of the United Church of God. In 1995 the United Church of God established a system of governance that gave the Council of Elders the responsibility to provide direction, oversight and guidance within the Church. Allow us to be blunt and to the point. The present atmosphere among some in the ministry, and now increasingly filtering into our general membership, is spiritually damaging. Such conditions impede our ability to spiritually and organizationally function. The situation is neither worthy of the high calling by God the Father nor the devotion of His Son, our Savior.

In 1995 the United Church of God established a system of governance that gave the Council the responsibility to provide oversight and guidance within the Church. In 1995, as a duly constituted General Conference of Elders, we all approved the following:

1) The General Conference of Elders would have the ultimate authority in the sense that it can select new Council members, approve amendments and responsibly guard the doctrinal integrity of the Church.

2) The Council of Elders would have authority as a collective body to govern the Church.

3) The administration headed by a president would carry out the daily operations of the Church, based on the directives and guidelines of the Council.

Apparently many do not understand or have forgotten or chosen to ignore this constitutional reality, but this is the binding agreement of our organizational form of governance. The Council is the primary governing body of United, and we all must learn to work together. How can we expect to be kings and priests if we cannot deliberately decide to walk and work together? Shouldn’t we expect the ministry of the Church to set an example of how to work together? Do we expect God to bless an organization in which even the leaders cannot walk together?

Many have said, as has the Council in public and private deliberations, that what separates us is not doctrine, but philosophical and administrational perspectives. We all validate the oneness expressed by Paul in Ephesians 4:4-6: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Beyond this, we all agree on the scriptural revelations regarding the Ten Commandments, God’s plan as revealed through the Holy Days, the approach of the literal Kingdom of God and so much more.

What divides us are not matters of biblical information and truth, but spiritual application of some of the most basic of Christian principles. Jesus Christ implored those who would follow Him to worship in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24). The reality is, even though we have been strong in the truth of what we know, we have been weak in those matters of “the spirit”—of who and what we are to be.

Yes, matters of “the spirit”—like going to your brother (Matthew 18:15-16), evaluating your own spiritual moorings before correcting another (Galatians 6:1-2), avoiding following people and saying “I am of” this man or that man (1 Corinthians 1:12-13), focusing on the positive (Philippians 4:8), leaving our worries with God in prayer and fasting (Philippians 4:6-8) and, yes, forgiveness! How can we effectively preach a message of repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation of our fellow human beings to our Heavenly Father if we cannot be reconciled ourselves? Such talk is cheap and falls on shallow ground if we do not show proof of Christ living in us.

The Council of Elders is concerned for the preservation of the United Church of God.

This is not simply another letter to merely encourage us to consider “getting along.” This is not only a new day, but a new way of moving forward. There is a collective need and responsibility for every officer of the Church, every level of management, every employee and every minister to support the direction and resolutions of the Council and the General Conference of Elders. Some of those resolutions you may not personally agree with, but they will have been arrived at within the governance structure that we have all accepted. All should support them in a manner consistent with Christian principles and communication, while at the same time exercising our privilege as individuals to contribute to the ongoing discussion concerning the welfare of the Church. Those matters that have been formally reviewed over an extended period of time and approved by the Council (for example, the Council’s conclusion that no evidence has been presented that “bloc voting” for candidates via an “alternate” discussion group occurred) will not be revisited unless new and extraordinary circumstances dictate otherwise. We must move on from here with those who desire to move forward.

The Council will rely upon all employees, elders and members to act upon this basis of assurance and Christian goodwill.

With this resolve established, are we saying that Church leadership should simply be followed and never questioned? Absolutely not! There are a number of responsible communication and governance mechanisms in place to assure a wide level of input. But once a decision is made, we need to move forward and quit rehashing the same issues, objections or opinions of detractors over and over again.

We fully understand that every Council, past, present and future, will not be perfect. The members of this Council have been diligent and merciful, knowing we have men with strong feelings on opposite sides of issues such as relocation. In attending to Council responsibilities, we accept that actions on issues of the past three years may have not been as well considered as they might have been. But they have been mistakes of procedure, not of the heart. Beyond that we eagerly look forward to working with a duly appointed administration that works and serves at the pleasure of the Council on behalf of the General Conference of Elders.

As an organization, United has so much going for it. We are on the cusp of so many dynamic dynamicopportunities. Our ways and means of preaching the gospel via the Internet, commercial television and publishing are just now crystallizing in a way that will hopefully merit God’s blessing and be used toward His glory. We are seriously looking at remodeling our home office facility in a way that will facilitate the needs for an expanded effort by a growing Church. Always behind this are the faithful members, trained and dedicated pastors, elders who go above and beyond the call of duty, skilled and experienced employees carrying out important functions, and numerous volunteers serving in our Church youth and educational programs. Yes, good things are happening that should allow us to move forward with great confidence that the work God has given us to do will be done well.

We have laid out where we have been, where we are, what we expect and where we are headed. It is our eager hope that you will desire to be a part of a unified effort based on these shared heartfelt words. We realize this letter will be received by different individuals in different ways. One individual might describe these words as long overdue, while at the same time another might be challenged by its implications. Please know that we are all being challenged at this time to move forward in a godly manner. It is our deepest desire that you will continue to support the efforts of the Council as it guides the United Church of God toward fulfilling God’s purposes.

As we move forward, we are going to advance by not only focusing on the word “united,” but focusing on a key attribute of the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) and whose Spirit brings us peace (John 14:27). Beyond that, “united” does not mean merely external conformity to rules, bylaws and policies. True unity comes from God’s Spirit working in us. It is your personal gift to God and to others that your life’s confession and its fruit by word of mouth and deed is “not my will, but Your will be done.”

With these stated goals in mind, we are encouraging the entire ministry to devote time during the month of January specifically for prayer and fasting in seeking God’s guidance and perfect will toward us as individuals and as a collective body of believers.

Dear friends and fellow servants of the Living God, we need to work together with a common purpose—not divided by our differences, but strengthened by our commitment to the far greater things that unite us.

In deep respect,
Council of Elders


        AMERICAN KABUKI said...

They are in for an interesting year!

Kind of like the cop standing next to the chalk outline of a body, "move along folks, nothing to see here!"

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

UCG Letter reads: “This is not simply another letter to merely encourage us to consider “getting along.”

Later, the UCG letter concludes: “Dear friends and fellow servants of the Living God, we need to work together with a common purpose—not divided by our differences, but strengthened by our commitment to the far greater things that unite us”.

MY COMMENT: This is simply another letter to encourage the dumb sheep of United COG to consider “getting along.”

Oh, yawn! It’s hard to take anything seriously in the splintered circus of Herbert Armstrong’s business empire.

My read of the UCG letter is that the market for Armstrong’s "fear religion" message is declining further which means less tithe revenue to chase among the decreasing Armstrong Church of God religious market. Therefore, UCG cannot afford a significant membership split.


Anonymous said...

HHHMMM....seems like they are trying to do the impossible, unite the 2 camps in United!! Good luck on that one!!

Linda Pratt said...

This is a very well written letter! I certainly agree with most of it.

But (you knew there would be a "but") it's too bad UCG didn't follow their own advice years ago, before firing some really great ministers. This, after falsely accusing them! Ministers who are great leaders and God fearing men. Their only "sin" was thinking outside the box and being opened minded to the direction God's Holy Spirit was leading them.

No worries though, the "independents" are far better off knowing "freedom". Freedom from corporations and politics that bog us down and squelch the Holy Spirit, as individuals and collectively.

In the life cycle of all things, if it's not growing, it decays. Seems like UCG slid faster than most organizations. Sad that men got in the way of the work God was doing. I think we all understand, now, that WWCG needed to be brought down when men simply followed men and no longer God. UCG started out with great ideas to "unite" the brethren, but slowly slid back into what was comfortable. Men following men.

The saying, "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got" comes to mind.

We pray that our UCG brothers spirits are not destroyed in the current conflict. The independent congregations are alive and well in the COG community all over the country! We will be the soft place for them to fall.

May God bless us all as we await the return of Jesus Christ, our elder brother and put an end the to divisions!

Anonymous said...

It seems that the Council is accusing others of doing what they are doing in this very letter! Not citing sources, accusing ministers of having secret "roasts," saying people are under the influence etc.

From what I hear from around is that John Foster has proof of why he was let go.... maybe no one on the Council wants to find any "proof."

Hope those guys over there can work it out...

bridgebuilder said...

As an original member and former supporter of UCG I say: "Here we go again". Nothing NEW to see here is a bit more accurate. This is a power struggle that has existed from the beginning of UCG. The two camps in the general conference of "elders" (includes a mixture paid and unpaid ministers in both). Control of the council has been the goal of the two camps in the ministry from the beginning. The paid ministry wants to protect their paychecks pure and simple. The unpaid ministry want to protect their titles and position in "leadership" that strokes many of their egos. They view themselves as above the general members who support UCG with their tithes and offerings. They will never admit any of this but that is why denial is so dangerous. The members really do have a say in UCG but they will have to realize they can only exercise it by with holding their tithes. Most of them feel they can't do that. God doesn't support the UCG system and that is why this continues. Instead of admitting they are the cause (the ministry) of all their problems, they label anyone in the opposite camp as a tool of Satan. This goes back and forth, back and forth because unfortunately neither side will ever admit they are the cause. An interesting year? I guess so if they consider their behavior "interesting". It is unGodly leadership plain and simple and they will continue until they can no longer tolerate each other. Then a split will happen as has happened in so many groups who have gone down this path. God's people don't need these men to stand between them and God. Shame on them!!!

larry said...

Linda Pratt said,

"I think we all understand, now, that the WWCG needed to be brought down when men simply followed men and no longer God."

As a matter of fact, we do NOT understand any such thing! Those of us in the GCI are and have been devout servants of The Almighty God, and have every intention of staying that way.

You folks who persist in saying that the WWCG "does not follow God anymore" are just clueless. I suggest you refrain from opining on subjects about which you apparently know nothing.

Mickey said...

Do you wonder how many long for the "good old days" when there was only one dictator in charge?

Anonymous said...

I can't make heads or tails of it, and to be honest, can't make myself read the whole thing (someone want to post a synopsis?), but one thing shines: The tried and true Armstrong method of demonizing your opponent as a tool of Satan, no less.

First, dish out out some syrupy humble pie, we are all men who make mistakes, we really love each other, we sometimes go astray, blah, blah.

Second, blame the general trouble on evil supernatural beings.

Third, now that you have in the mind of the reader, associated the "trouble" with evil supernatural beings, blame your opponent with specific actions.

Voila! Without ever directly accusing your opponent of being influenced by the devil, the laysheep certainly make the connection. And once the laysheep believe the opposition are influenced by the devil, they will ignore them out of hand. You win! And you come out smelling like roses.

The Apostate Paul

Anonymous said...

Whew! You would think that the United Church of God was actually important on some cosmic level, as opposed to being an increasingly inconsequential splinter of a fading movement. It was not founded on any biblical ideal at all—and everyone involved knows it. It was founded on the same ideal as any organized crime family—the ideal being that each don would respect the other’s territory. As long as we don’t filch each other’s flocks, we can claim to be something along the lines of treaty organization. Church? Yeah, there are certainly some things we can share, as long as the split is even.

“We would never have allowed this in our former association! We would never allow it in the congregations that we pastor. In what some of our members like to call the “real world” in which they work, such breaches of confidentiality, slander and lack of organizational cohesiveness would be dealt with immediately by appropriate disciplinary action for those responsible.”

They sound like a group of escaped SS officers.

There is a fundamental difference between a church or a club or a regular game of cards and the ‘real world’—and it’s pretty obvious to those of us in that world. For most of the people involved, church is a voluntary organization. People don’t like it, they go elsewhere. In most churches as small as UCG, the congregations pay the minister and decide how much to kick back to the mother ship.

If UCG insists on playing denomination, then they need to do exactly what they are proposing that they not do: Hold another election of board members. Second, going forward, NEVER EVER HOLD ANY CLOSED BUSINESS MEETINGS. All of your problems are now over.

The next time I have to correct you, there will be a charge.

Mark Lax
Pastor General Supreme
Of all of Armstrongism.

Schits and splizms said...

Splits and schizms

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Larry said: "You folks who persist in saying that the WWCG "does not follow God anymore" are just clueless. I suggest you refrain from opining on subjects about which you apparently know nothing".

MY COMMENT - Agreed! The WWCG does not follow Herbert Armstrong anymore.


Mr. T said...

Fracture and break apart, you who pimp Christ for a profit! You will need a strong arm from somewhere.

May I suggest the church return to its roots and embrace an Stalinist way of governance once again.

But who to chose? Decisions, decisions! I know who...........

Anonymous said...

John Foster was let go? When did this happen? And for what reason?

Anonymous said...

A shot from the progressives across the bow of the conservatives. Amusing.

I think it's funny that UCG quotes the Bible throughout this letter where it suits them, but ignores it where it doesn't. I'm speaking specifically about their practice of holding secret "executive sessions", which they justify because apparently other non-profits do the same and as such that makes it all ok and perfectly acceptable.

Yet the Bible exhorts believers to avoid the appearance of evil. Holding closed-door meetings, whose outcomes affect not only the livelihoods but the very reputations of individuals who are often not present to defend themselves, certainly constitutes "the appearance of evil."

We all know these executive sessions have been used to steamroll members and ministers alike in the past. What proof is there this is going to change anytime soon? None.

SusanC said...

Larry said ... "You folks who persist in saying that the WWCG "does not follow God anymore" are just clueless. I suggest you refrain from opining on subjects about which you apparently know nothing."

Well said, Larry. We in the CGI are deeply committed to the way of God. And we appreciate true Christians in other Churches who are so committed. I'm proud of the people of the CGI and its courageous leadership, naysayers not withstanding. CGI rocks!

Anonymous said...

Mickey said...
Do you wonder how many long for the "good old days" when there was only one dictator in charge?

Of yes, "the good old days," just like the current administration of UCG would like to see, "top down goverment."

I applaud the current, new council, for taking charge and stopping the men who would take the church back to those "good old days."

So why have we not heard from the President of UCG? Should he not also be sending out a letter encouraging the church/ministers/members to support the decisions made from the GCE and the council for the sake of unity? Or is he part of the problem of fanning the flames? All the church has seen from Kilough is stepping down from the new council.

Let's hope for the sake of the church that all the adiministration will be removed from their jobs and that would start with removing Kilough.

Let them form their own church if they want a one man, top down dictatorship.

NO2HWA said...

Typical Armstrongite blubbering.

Satan is the blame for everything. Satan is the all powerful, omnipotent, all know god of Armstrongism. Armstrongites believe that Satan is much more powerful than Jesus. Old JC only gets a little lip service one or two times in the blubberfest. Yet Satan is a busy little demon stirring a general stink ALL THE TIME!

It is no wonder Armstrongism is dying off. It has nothing to offer the world except a pesky old serpent called Satan.

Jesus is not a priority in Armstrongite scatology and is glaringly absent in UCG elder letter.

Corky said...

larry said...
Those of us in the GCI are and have been devout servants of The Almighty God, and have every intention of staying that way.

You folks who persist in saying that the WWCG "does not follow God anymore" are just clueless. I suggest you refrain from opining on subjects about which you apparently know nothing

Those of us who were members of the WCG know for a fact that GCI is not one and the same church as the Armstrong cult. Somewhere along the line you lost connection.

I could suggest that is you who should have no opinion, because apparently you don't have a clue about the changes made from the WCG of our days to the GCI of today.

I don't know if you had your head in the sand or up your a** but it must have been somewhere besides on your shoulders.

That aside, keep on posting, I love to use your snippets as email forwarding jokes.

Anonymous said...

The UCG letter reads "When the Council states that it would like to see increased emphasis placed on preaching the gospel, an outward focus that has always been a driving force in the mission of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, the Council is accused of neglecting the local congregations....."
A primary reason for this is that the UCG doesn't understand that the mission of preparing a people is to facilitate the local congregations to 1) take care of themselves and 2) reach out to others. The UCG is all about controlling both aspects with the unbiblical idea that the God actually desires the kind of corporate structure that excludes His people from the actual work. The UCG people are isolated from the mission having practically no part outside of financing it. All they are being prepared for is seat warming.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm..... does this mean Joel Meeker is going to be fired?

Anonymous said...

"I'm proud of the people of the CGI and its courageous leadership, naysayers not withstanding. CGI rocks!"

Larry is still in Gracie's cultic clutches, Susan, he's not a member of Dropped Dead Ted's little coven.....

Anonymous said...

First of all, thank you Gavin for posting this letter. This is why I (a UCG member) appreciate you keeping up AW, and hope you'll continue to do so -- to "keep it real," as they say at TMZ.

I frankly have my doubts about whether this letter will be read at UCG services. So I'm glad it was posted here. The membership needs to know what's really going on -- if only so it can pray for the healing of the church body.

I personally was surprised that Clyde Kilough received another term as UCG President, given the way the "move to Texas" was handled. Perhaps others can analyze (in a measured and serious way, please) what that means in the overall scheme of things.

Brian said...

UCG is as fractured internally as the hundreds of COG splits at large? How can this be?

How can it not be?

Anonymous said...

Why am I not surprised? The leadership of United operates and thinks inside the box built by WWCG. This is the only way they know how to think and operate. A real blast from the past. Maybe they should hire Dana Carvey for some "church lady" counselling.

JIM (Masters Degree in the obvious) said...

I hope they can get this straightened out in time to "clean up" (sic) for The Days of Unleavened Bread!!!!!!

Wow A group of people that has to contend with inuendos and "false accusations" that meet behind closed doors!!!!!! Remember a leopard can't change his spots!!!!!Vee have vays of making you listen!!!!

Anonymous said...

Larry said ... "You folks who persist in saying that the WWCG "does not follow God anymore" are just clueless. I suggest you refrain from opining on subjects about which you apparently know nothing."

Thank you Larry!

Anonymous said...

From what little I know about what's going on in UCG it is interesting the Council is asking the people and ministers to support them for the sake of unity. Didn't most of these Council members get there by opposing the actions of the former Council and the administration? Interesting how submission and unity is good when it is convenient for them.

Mel said...

Just a bit from one paragraph of the letter-

"We have a toxic atmosphere in the Church where innuendos (“it looks like...”)"

And then, the letter says-

"Some in the ministry appear to be getting together and “roasting” the Council based upon second- third- or fourth-hand hearsay or rumors."


Doesn't "appear to be" fall into the same category as the "it looks like...", which the letter has just demonized?

I suppose they(the ones behind the letter) figure if they do it, it's ok, but if anyone else does it, they ought to be demonized.

To take the logic further, those who wrote the letter are saying that they themselves are Satan's pawns!

Former UCG member said...

And here I thought they had gotten rid of all the "troublemakers". The majority of those "troublemakers" that have left UCG over the years were usually, actually the whistleblowers on less than ethical behavior on the part of pastors, regional pastors, administration, or COE members. These would be some of the same folks that the COE is now writing about. Some (most?) RP's and some in administration, and some local pastors are the old school hard heads who are causing the current COE the consternation they now feel which prompted them to write this letter. I won't say I like the letter, because I don't agree with the premise that God is necessarily endorsing UCG in some way.

It's too bad UCG won't do what is REALLY necessary to make it work...GET RID OF THE HIERARCHY. Some of us independents have discovered the joy of working together in peace...and NO ONE is in charge to make it happen. Of course any group is going to have bumps in the road, but our little group of about 35 have learned that we have to work together and use everyone's talents to make the congregation work. Yes, we all have our roles and responsibilities, and we do have organizational meetings, but when everyone has a humble attitude, it all just works!!

But this would be way too radical for most UCG folks. There has since the beginning been a clash between the COE and aministration. It represents the larger problem of the 2 camps in UCG. It is a constant power struggle. And will continue to be. This letter is going to irritate the "other side". It is not going to help. Whether the hierarchy is led by an individual or a is the concept that there should be a hierarchy at all that goes against what was advocated in Indy. I was there...I received copies of the papers telling the local congregations to set up boards and collect tithes locally and that TRUST was going to be placed in the local congregations. Instead of building on that quickly returned to what we were told are the "normal, traditional way of doing things". This meant from the top down. It is why we left UCG. It wasn't what we had signed up for. It was bait and switch. The idea of a COE was in itself ill conceived. There should have been a board of a mixture of folks. Members (men AND women) and some ministers, and ALL members (and here I mean church members, not the legal corporate members) should have had a voice in who those folks would be. But most folks in UCG don't have a mentality to be able to do that. I mean to look around objectively and see who would be a good that I mean who would do a good job of Christ did.

When I look around at folks in the independent world...they are most often the folks who had been doing A LOT of the serving in their UCG congregations. They are the ones who had initiative and would get things done.

As an example of squelching enthusiasm...and I could give MANY, MANY examples....our UCG congregation had become sister congregations with a congregation in Nigeria. We were sending money over for them for Feast Days, etc, so they could have some special meals. When Home Office found this out...suddenly no one would take our contributions over when they went. We had to send any funds to the HO...and they would decide to whom and where the funds would go.

see part 2

Former UCG member said...

Part 2
That is but ONE SMALL example. It happened to us over and over in different ways, and I know of many, many other congregations where the same type of things happened. In other words, even doing good things for others was not only discouraged it was forbidden and often stopped. Yet even today, they don't seem to get it that as long as the local congregations are ruled over like that and all they want is funding from the members...there is not going to be unity, there is not going to be enthusiasm (they squelch it), there is not going to be joy (serving is discouraged)...I could go on and on.

But like the letter said...this is the way it was set up...with the COE in charge. Now maybe this group of guys want to loosen it up a bit, but I am quite sure neither they, nor the CGE as a whole is willing to overhaul the system into one of inclusion of the church members.

Pay and pray (and shut up) is NOT the way.

Anonymous said...

Check out the UCG bloggers trying to keep the sheeple in line!

John Carmack: "DAVID SINNED TOO!!" *waves hands frantically to distract people*

Mike Bennett: "DO NOT BE STIFF-NECKED AND REBELLIOUS PEONS!!!" *cracks whip like an Egyptian*

Anonymous said...

Oh my, the "David sinned too" quote that is most often used for GTA's antics!! I always answer that David's example is there so we know what NOT to do...not use it as an excuse to sin. The NT gives guidelines for ministers conduct...if a person cannot follow those guidelines it is simple...he shouldn't be a minister.