The Tulsa Church of God
From Richard Gawith in Tulsa, Oklahoma:
“It is with a very sad heart that I send this note to let you know that our dear ‘Prayer Lines’ friend, Rosy Halley, has passed away.
I was informed that she died Friday morning, December 14, 2012.
Sadly, Rosy has died in hospital following a stroke and associated problems. She compiled ‘Prayer Lines’ – a weekly list of those seeking prayer support in various life challenges.
Please remember in your prayers her son Mike and daughter Kem and their families during this time of their pain and loss.
UCG BREAKING NEWS: The President on Cutbcks and More
Please think carefully on these details and their implications.
I am prologuing this Breaking News with the situation during the split of UCG from Tkach.
This is a breaking News post: Today’s regular post is below.
UPDATE on the Winter Weekend in Portland.
Dave Register has made the following announcement:
Bingo! We will be playing Bingo on Saturday night, December 22nd, after our chili and desert cook-off. Please DO NOT BRING any prizes. Everything you need to participate will be provided. This will be a fun event for all ages! So, plan to attend!
Excellent news Dave!
HOW TKACH FORCED THE ELDERS TO SPLIT AND FORM UCG
In the early years the very powerful personality of Herbert Armstrong was strongly felt and everyone knew who was the boss. Then after the death of his wife Loma Armstrong, HWA fell fully under the spell of sycophants and flatterers who convinced him to accept the Roman Catholic “Primacy of Peter” heresy and exalt himself above Almighty God, by insisting that he had the right to do whatever he wanted and God had to back him up. If you listened to the Doctrinal Committee video report by Bob Berendt you would have heard him admit that in the past they had thought they could do anything they wanted and God had to back them up. The actual words “Primacy of Peter” were seldom used but the doctrine was identical.
This arrogance offended Almighty God and he began to withdraw his blessings. A serious split took place in 1974 when Earnest Martin left with many brethren and a number of elders.
This split can be likened to the COGWA split in terms of a split causing the organization much difficulty, but is not similar in the doctrinal causes.
Martin had been peddling his anti British Israel, anti tithing, anti Holy Days and Sabbath ideas for some time and eventually left with a sizable group. Most of these folks had already stopped tithing and supporting the WCG anyway. Martin had made a sizable impact on the church’s finances. Some persons accepting his teachings stayed in the WCG.
This had an immediate effect leaving quite a dent in WCG income, at the same time Stan Rader was siphoning off large sums and the WCG began to experience financial difficulties from which they never fully recovered. Then came the loss of the speaking talent of Garner Ted in 1978, at the same time that HWA was becoming too old to have popular appeal any longer.
The income of the WCG was flat and actually falling in terms of real dollars as expenses rose.
With the death of HWA and a new administration it was decided that as a business the church was failing and a new tack needed to be taken.
After the COGWA split, UCG took a new Outreach attitude and approach towards doctrine, designed to entice the evangelicals as Tkach did; which is having exactly the same lack of success.
UCG is blaming their problems on the split, but they need to wake up and understand that, that is NOT the problem. In fact UCG lost over 80% of their need to subsidize international folks, while COGWA is doing that with no problem. WHY? Whatever the reason UCG has the exact problems of teh Tkach WCG.
The various threads of 1) Arrogance in thinking that they could set doctrine as they decided and God had to back them up, 2) the financial trials, and 3) the rise of doctrinal apostates to the leadership; led to a plan to appease potential followers in the evangelical community and turn away from teh true gospel of Warning and Repentance.
The Tkach plan entailed the changing of doctrine to an evangelical mainstream approach and also involved the cutting off of those who would not accept such changes, as well as the removal of those elders who they could no longer afford to maintain as employees.
This was a business plan to remove inefficient or unproductive elders and other employees, along with other belt tightening, and a change of doctrinal direction.
Over nine years the people were psychologically prepared to accept the coming changes through careful indoctrination into a false “love love” Gospel of a false Christ.
Finally in Dec 1994-Jan 1995 both shoes fell. First the new doctrines were presented to the brethren, shocking those who had insisted on keeping their eyes tightly shut and denying the reality around them.
Then financial shock treatment was applied to the ministry.
- The Jan. Pastor General Report indicated that the Pastors could not be guaranteed their jobs in the future and should now start evaluating their marketable skills.
- Over 40 ministers were handed “last chance” retirement packages.
- 30 more ministers were scheduled for lay-off with a 150 additional lay-off by the end of 1995
- Contracts for the entire fleet of ministerial rental cars were canceled.
- Many local churches throughout the US merged for services.
- All subsidies to the International work have been discontinued.
This was BEFORE most of the brethren had left; and was PLANNED well before the announcement in the PGR.
This was a very carefully prepared corporate move to divest of potential dissidents and financial burdens.
In additional news:
- The WCG airplane was put up for sale.
- Hundreds of regular employees were laid off.
- Imperial School closed as of July 1st.
- 1/2 of the editorial staff was dismissed.
- Major cuts abound at the Festival Office, and the Feast of Tabernacles `95 (now known as the celebration of Jesus Christ) looks questionable.
- Seven evangelists were offered healthy severance packages [only if they agree to never preach again and to keep quiet about their WCG experience] including Debar Appertain, David Hulme, Dean Wilson, Leroy Neff and the famous Gerald Waterhouse.
First the faithful [to past doctrine] brethren left or were forced out, and then the departure of many in the ministry was FORCED on them by Joseph Tkach as a financial cost cutting move.
Some elders left because of doctrine! Others left to get and hold a job! Still others left to continue the effort to apostatize the brethren! In most cases they did NOT leave of their own will, but were FORCED OUT!
Most senior elders did NOT leave over doctrine! They left to have a job! And to try and take over the new UCG from the faithful!
These men were FORCED out; and the later meeting led by Denny Luker, etc, to form a new entity was done with the knowledge and tacit approval of Joseph Tkach! Most of these men did not leave voluntarily; they were forced out by Tkach for economic reasons, or as part of stripping away of the potential dissidents to his new doctrine.
Today we see the very same dual track of doctrinal drift and financial collapse in UCG that took place in the Tkach WCG.
How will this end? Probably with more watering down of the Outreach so as to try and attract even more unconverted hangers on; to maintain numbers and income; until finally those faithful to God are Called Out of that organization.
I have never and I am not calling on anyone to leave yet. That call will come from God’s Two servants just before the tribulation begins. That call for all the faithful to leave the faithless organizations and go out to the place God has prepared, will come from the true Two Witnesses of God in the very near future; perhaps in the next year or two.
I am NOT one of these two witnesses; they have not yet been sanctified by God and have not yet begun their job. Who they will be, is known ONLY to God, and even God may not have made his final choice at this time.
I am preparing the way for those two, by giving an Early Warning to the elect. The two will be recognized by their zeal for God and his commandments, and by the backing and power that God gives them. The scriptural sackcloth symbolizes humility before God and a mourning over the extant evils.
God will NOT leave his people ignorant of when they are to leave, and the faithfully zealous will leave leaving behind the lax, lukewarm and toleraters of sin for correction.
From the President: Details About the Cutbacks ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear fellow elders and wives, deacons and deaconesses, and staff members,
Thank you for your prayerful support and service to God’s people in United! Thank you also for your dedication to God with fasting for His guidance as we work through the financial challenge that we face. By now you will have read the recent letter from Robin Webber, Chairman of the Council of Elders.
As the administration, we presented the Council with an initial proposal to balance the Church’s budget to be in line with the income that Christ continues to provide which is right at $16 million a year. After extensive and healthy discussion during the Council meetings here at the home office last week we ended up with a good, workable, financial plan going forward.
As my president’s report to the Council explained, the cost of recovery from the church split two years ago, and other factors, required us to cut close to $2.5 million from our operating budget. The special offering requested in our recent letter–which is now over $500,000 and growing–is enabling us to carry on preaching the gospel and building the Church while replenishing much needed operational reserves. Coupled with that wonderful and generous offering, we must also work leaner for the greater good. Here are some of the details of budget cuts so you can be more informed and praying for God’s blessing.
First, from Ministerial and Member Services, Victor Kubik and Chris Rowland list the following budget reductions. This includes reductions in international areas serviced from the U.S. These cuts total approximately $750,000: •Reduce mileage reimbursement by 20% •Reduce subsidies overall for U.S. congregations by 16% •Reduce subsidies overall for international areas by 16% •Use online ministerial training in lieu of a ministerial development conference •Postpone area ministerial conferences •Conduct Senior Pastor and UYC Camp director conferences by video conference •Reduce travel reimbursement by limiting travel outside of church circuits •Reduce travel budget to international areas by 44%
Next, Peter Eddington and his team in Media and Communications Services were able to trim $1.4 million from the $5.4 million annual media budget. We believe this reduction is manageable and will not drastically affect our ability to preach the gospel over the short term. As the Church’s finances stabilize and increase, the plan is to bring back various aspects of our public proclamation. Here are the media reductions: •Reduce The Good News (GN) magazine from 48 pages to 40 •Renew GN subscriptions more often to reduce the print run and related costs over time (as well as consolidate the mailing list with more motivated subscribers) •Curtail direct mail card packs and outside magazine print advertising for The Good News and our booklets •Drop World Harvest Network for televising the Beyond Today program while maintaining coverage on WGN America and the Word Network •Suspend home office paid Internet advertising for our literature in all areas outside of the United States to reduce GN and booklet circulation costs to those areas •Publish United News six times a year instead of ten •Move Vertical Thought, our teen and young adult magazine, from print to a solely online production for the time being •Publish the United Youth Camps brochure in the February issue of United News rather than as a separate item •Reduce the Spanish and Portuguese publishing budgets •Reduce funding for bulk literature sent to our international offices
Finally, our treasurer Aaron Dean identified other ways we will be able to economize: •Modify the healthcare program by adding employee premiums and raising deductibles •Transfer funding of international ministers’ travel to the annual meeting of the General Conference of Elders from home office to each international region •Conduct at least one video conference for the Council of Elders each year, and more when appropriate, to save travel costs •Visiting ministers will stay with home office employees during conferences and be served economical lunches and dinners at the home office to save hotel and restaurant expenses
As we reflect on the impact of our “belt tightening,” I think it’s good to remember the other times in our history when we went through a very similar process. In every instance, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was completely true to His word:
“…All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).
We need to draw strength and encouragement from what Christ said, as much today as our brethren did 2000 years ago. He has all authority–and that includes the final authority over United’s income and our opportunities to proclaim His Word and build the Church. We have often said, when our ways please God, He will bless us. So when Christ promises that He will always be with us even to the end of age that means He is with us now. We will keep striving to make sure that our ways please Him.
If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know. We need honest and open communication all the time, but especially during trying times like this. Let us stay close to each other and keep the brethren close as well. And please, feel free to share the information in this letter with them too–we are all in this together.
Some years ago, one of our ministers attended a lecture about the major crises the world faced then–and faces now. The speaker, a former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, proposed his best ideas for solutions. Of course, leaving Jesus Christ out of the picture, his solutions would fall short. However, the title of his speech was very interesting: “Crisis Spells Opportunity.”
The budget tightening that we face now in United provides us the opportunity to see how we can do God’s work more efficiently, as well as effectively. As our operation managers sorted carefully through all expenditures, they found a number of obvious and some not-so-obvious ways to save funds and stretch our reach in preaching the gospel and making disciples. As we put our minds and prayers to thinking more frugally and creatively we will all find better ways to get the job done. The added benefit from that inspired, creative thinking is that our preaching, writing and counseling skills will be sharpened.
Having gone through this difficult task of pruning and trimming our expenses, when God does grant us increased income in the coming years, we will be better poised to use those resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. We will–with Christ’s leadership and blessing–come through this challenge as a spiritually and financially stronger, more “faith-filled” church.
I hope this letter helps you see more clearly what we face and how we are working our way forward. We deeply appreciate the encouragement from all of you and from all our dear brethren. Please thank the brethren for their generous support in the special offering we have received. May God richly bless you all.
With love in Christ,
From Roy Holladay: Need for New Festival Coordinators ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Fellow Elders,
Much work has been going on behind the scenes in preparation for the Feast of Tabernacles in 2013. This year there will be 10 USA Feast sites and at least 6 satellite or regional sites. We know that four of our Feast Coordinators will be transferring to other sites this year. We are considering different ministers to replace those transferring Feast Coordinators this year. Also, wise planning dictates the need to train additional Coordinators who will be able to step into that responsibility in the future. We would like to begin on-the-job training of Assistant Coordinators this year who would be able to step into those duties in upcoming years. It would be great to have a pool of trained and dedicated men who would be prepared for future opportunities. As time goes on, we may have more regional sites to coordinate. Our manpower will be stretched thinner.
If you would like to volunteer to coordinate a Feast site this year, or to be trained, please communicate with the Feast Ministerial team of Vic Kubik, Charles Melear, Chris Rowland and Roy Holladay. Our desire is to have at least one Assistant Coordinator at each major USA Feast site this year. Thank you in advance for your willingness to serve the flock of God.
Vietnam Veterans – from Mark Mickelson and Fredd Newbern
Vietnam veterans (veterans that had “boots on the ground” in Vietnam) have available to them free medical care and cash benefits through the VA. If you have diabetes 2, heart disease, eye problems (from diabetes), hearing problems and other things, you would be eligible to receive these benefits. All you would need to do is go to the VA hospital nearest you and tell them that you want to see if you would be qualified for the “Agent Orange” benefits for when you served in Vietnam. This could be a blessing for a lot of our members.
From Peter Eddington: KOG Bible Seminars – First Series Report ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A report on the first series of our Kingdom of God Bible Seminars was delivered to the Council of Elders on December 12. Peter Eddington gave the Council a handout that showed a total of 5,680 seminar guests were in attendance at more than 200 locations around the globe.
Here is a breakdown on guest attendance for each round of the series:
Below is a listing of cities with the top five guest attendance figures for each round. As you will note, the developing areas of the world most often showed the highest interest in the gospel of the Kingdom of God:
Round 1 1.52 San Antonio, TX 2.50 Santiago, Chile 3.35 Davao City, Philippines 4.33 Got Kachola, Kenya 5.33 Ogembo-Rianyamwamu, Kenya
Round 2 1.110 Manila, Philippines 2.57 Davao City, Philippines 3.42 Bacolod, Philippines 4.42 Melbourne, Australia 5.40 Sydney, Australia
Round 3 1.117 Manila, Philippines 2.58 Bacolod City, Philippines 3.43 Mexico City, Mexico 4.34 San Carlos City, Philippines 5.32 Bolivia
Round 4 1.125 San Carlos City, Philippines 2.108 Johannesburg, South Africa 3.96 Manila, Philippines 4.76 Capetown, South Africa 5.49 Davao City, Philippines
We have people now regularly attending Sabbath services with us as a result of the seminars, and a number of baptisms have stemmed from the seminars too. It can be considered a success if even just one or two guests graced our congregation’s doorstep who otherwise would not have attended. We were successful in getting them out of their homes to come and hear the gospel of the Kingdom.
Jesus Christ, as the Head of His Church, has a plan for each person. While numbers are not everything, results do help us measure our efforts. And, while God’s Church will be a small flock (Luke 12:32), there was a very encouraging number of guests in many cities.
Recommendations for Next Series
Dennis Luker, president of the United Church of God, an International Association, gave his support to the Kingdom of God Bible Seminars program moving forward. The Council of Elders agreed with the approach put forth. Here are a few details on the next series: •We will keep the “Kingdom of God Bible Seminars” brand and theme, but offer a specific topic under the title. For example: “The Sabbath: A Key to the Kingdom of God.” •Rather than produce a detailed script for each new seminar, we may choose a relevant UCG booklet to use as core material. For example, Sunset to Sunset: God’s Sabbath Rest. The presenters can choose which section or chapter of the booklet they’d like to focus on. The ucg.org website also provides a valuable resource for presenters to use in developing their presentations. •Have two seminars per year, instead of three. •Choose the months of June and November each year for seminars, with pastors having the flexibility to work as they see best within this timeline. •Due to budget constraints, use regular Sabbath service halls to avoid additional hall rental. And use local funding for seminar advertising (letters, postcards, etc.) that is not part of the home office budget subsidy. •Format: •Opening Prayer •1 Seminar (60 minutes) •Closing Prayer •Proposed Topics:
June 2013 – The Sabbath: A Key to the Kingdom of God November 2013 – God’s Festivals: Your Roadmap to the Kingdom •If desired, abbreviated 60-minute Sabbath service either before or afterwards with hymns, prayers and one sermon or split sermon.
We are looking forward very much to our next round of seminars and are asking pastors to choose their seminar dates as soon as possible and get them listed on our website. A number of our readers and viewers are already looking for the next seminar to be held in their city–and they check our website regularly hoping to sign up to attend. So the sooner our presenters get their seminar dates listed the better.
Thank you for your prayers for the ongoing success and God’s blessing on this part of our work to preach the gospel of God’s Kingdom.
Peter Eddington, Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services