This is a breaking news report on yesterday’s CoE Viodeoconference meeting . Bolding of clause titles and italics of points of interest mine. Today’s post is below.
United Church of God, an International Association
Council of Elders Videoconference
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Council chairman Robin Webber called the videoconference to order at 4:04 p.m. Eastern and asked Gary Antion to deliver the opening prayer. Mr. Webber then gave an overview of the meeting agenda.
Section 125 Plan for Employee Healthcare Program
Chris Rowland, who now administers the Church’s human resources and health benefits, was asked to address the procedure for establishing a plan for our healthcare program that meets Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code. The proposed resolution below would make Church employees’ healthcare premiums and Health Savings Account contributions pre-tax.
Resolution for IRC Section 125 Premium Only Plan
Whereas, the Council of Elders, functioning as the Board of Directors, of the United Church of God, an International Association, has determined that it is in the best interests of its employees to adopt a “Section 125 Premium Only Plan” allowing for pre-taxed medical benefit coverage, so-called,
Now therefore, it is hereby resolved that, the Council of Elders approves a so-called “Section 125 Premium Only Plan”, all in accordance with the “United Church of God, an International Association Premium Only Plan” Document, a copy of which is attached and made a part of this resolution, and was executed and deemed dated January 1, 2013, and
It is further resolved that, the President and/or Treasurer undertake all actions necessary to implement and administer said afore-referenced plan.
It was moved that the Council approve the procedure. Brief discussion ensued, and then the ballot was taken. It passed unanimously.
Proposal for Council Response to a Proposed Amendment
In reference to a recently submitted, proposed amendment to Article 3.1 of the Constitution, [Admin: This concerns a change in the stated purpose of the church, in the constitution of UCG.] some on the Council thought that a statement of concern was needed. On behalf of the Roles and Rules Committee Roc Corbett presented for Council’s consideration a proposed “statement of concern” as worded below.
Statement of Concern
Article 3.1 [Admin: This is in reference to a change in the wording of the propsed constitutional change of the “Purpose of the Church”] as currently worded does deserve some amending, and the Council agrees with the authors in this regard. We would like to thank the authors for bringing this to the attention of the Council and of the GCE. However, the wording in the proposed amendment is not a solution to the problem in the view of the Council. The proposal mixes concepts that are from the mission of the church rather than concisely defining the purpose for the church, therefore drifting from the intent of the Article as implied in the title.
The Council feels that the “Purpose of the Church” is such an important subject that it should be very well defined, and that the proposed amendment does not add clarity to this understanding.
Submitted by the Council of Elders
The statement of concern passed unanimously. [Admin: This is a statement of concern about the wording of the proposed constitutional change; which concern will probably be followed up by a rewording of the proposed constitutional change, before it is voted on at the May GCE conference.]
Administrative Officer Reviews
Gary Antion as chairman of the Roles and Rules Committee presented a proposal for the Council to use former Council member Bill Eddington to conduct the annual administration assessments. He would distribute the assessment forms and compile reviews to then present the results to the Council for their consideration. This would save the Church some hundreds of dollars in fees to a local accounting firm, which we have employed for that purpose in the past. The ballot was passed unanimously.
Future Council Meeting Details
Chairman Webber encouraged the Council to conduct their preliminary committee discussions via Web-conferencing, well ahead of the February face-to-face meeting in order to provide all Council members sufficient time to consider both the proposal and any accompanying information. This is so that all Council members will be able to render prudent and profitable decisions. All agreed, with the caveat that some items will require Committee meetings in person just before the Council meeting proper. The chairman expressed that even when that is the case, the Council would need adequate time during the meeting week to come to sound resolution on important items, or would need to postpone decisions until a future meeting.
He then asked the Council for discussion about setting dates for the August meeting. The consensus was that, all things being equal, the week of August 5-8 would work best.
The next item centered on the timing for evaluating administrative officers. President Luker recommended that the Council make sure the evaluations routinely take place during the Council’s February meetings to provide the necessary lead time for whatever changes may need to take place.
President’s Report Focusing on Church Finances—Dennis Luker
He explained that this report will focus on the financial outlook and reported these encouraging key financial statistics:
* For the calendar year of 2012 first tithe and offering income was up 5.3 percent.
* For the calendar year of 2012 total donations, including the special offering, were up 8.0 percent.
* Fiscal year-to-date (July through December 2012) first tithe and offering income is up 9.7 percent.
* Fiscal year-to-date (July through December 2012) total donations including the special offering are up 14.5 percent.
Mr. Luker emphasized that God is mercifully blessing us with good income so that our bank balances are currently $2.1 million. He also reported that the expense cutbacks we have made are bringing the budget into balance. He also pointed out that our new donor and co-worker contributions are also positively increasing this past year.
He went on to explain that Florida pastor (and past businessman) Rick Shabi has been added to the Church’s financial management team. Mr. Shabi visited the home office last week to consult with treasurer Aaron Dean and all those involved in finances to fully familiarize himself with the current procedures. He worked with Mr. Dean to develop the most effective reporting systems that will keep the Council clearly informed about critical elements of income vs. expenditures so that the Council can provide responsible oversight of the Church.
Mr. Luker then turned the discussion of the shape and volume of the future reports over to Mr. Dean and Mr. Shabi.
Chairman Webber asked how many weeks the current bank balance translates into. The answer was seven weeks.
Mr. Dean then began a review of the financial report he had provided to the Council for this meeting. In addition to the calendar and fiscal year report was a monthly report broken down into the various operations expenditures. He also provided a weekly report of bank balances. The figures show expenses trending down while income is holding strong. He reminded the Council that time will tell how much the government will raise taxes. But at this point we are being very blessed by God income-wise.
Mr. Shabi helped answer Council questions and suggested useful alterations the make the reports even more readable. As chairman of the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee, Bill Bradford requested the complete set of reports on a regular basis for all on the Committee. Other Council members requested the same.
Mr. Webber asked for clarification about Florida elder Gordon Hannaway’s duties on the financial management team. Mr. Dean explained that he is consulting with us on employee benefits for our healthcare, life, dental and vision insurance plans. Our human resources administrator Chris Rowland will assume the bulk of the work that Chris Anderson did when he was in our employ, and will work closely with Mr. Hannaway as we make future changes. Mr. Rowland will travel next week to the Los Angeles area to meet with our current insurance brokers and administrators and consult with Mr. Anderson about necessary transition details.
Chairman Webber then requested that Council enter executive session for the remainder of the meeting.
The meeting ended at 6:45 p.m.
© 2013 United Church of God, an International Association
The amendments changing the UCG constitution were discussed at the last CoE meet on Dec 12 at 10 am and set out new definitions for the Purpose and the Mission of UCG. Since then, Melvin Ehodes is gone and Roc Corbett has come in and re-tabled the changes in wording. This is an important change from what was decided by Rhodes and supporters.
Please noticed the huge swing [after Rhodes] in the politics of this. Under Rhodes only two [out of 12] members wanted changes in the amendment; now support for changing the amendment is unanimous. The anti Rhodes faction has its way.
Here are the Dec 12 Conference minutes: I have gone back to the minutes and highlighted this section in blue there as well.
The Council then shifted to the proposed amendment about the purpose statement for the Church
(Article 3.1). Several Council members expressed the need for amending its wording. To
advance the amendment to the annual conference ballot requires the support of at least four
Council members, but it received only two. This amendment will now be sent to the GCE [Admin: As is], where it will need at least 25 percent support to be placed on the annual conference ballot.
They will now change the wording of the proposed amendment to the constitution on the purpose of UCG. This seems to be very important to them and I wonder why.
The presently existing constitution article which thety want to change.
3.1 PURPOSE FOR THE CHURCH
God’s purpose for His Church is to prepare those willing to live His way of righteousness and self-control to function as His instruments in the administration of salvation to humanity, and to demonstrate His wisdom to His spiritual creation.