1/12/2009

Tamara's New Video, and Lunch with Jesus

A new video has been posted on the WCG website front page in the WCG Today series, starring WCG box office luminaries Tamara Tkach and Mike Feazell. Tamara deftly and demurely answers Feazell's scripted questions while regally clad in a rich maroon blouse and black pants, hair cascading down to her shoulder line, while adorned in gold jewelry, which suspends a large rock of some import centered beneath her neck.

[The video is now under WCG embargo, but AR has composed an advance review of the video for you: ;) ]

After a brief intro, Feazell begins to interview Tamara with a series of canned questions about her life in the WCG beginning at age 15, when she began listening to the broadcast and getting the PT magazine along with her father. They subsequently qualified themselves and were invited to visit the Denver WCG congregation for the first time, afterward attending their first Feast at the Big Sandy campus. Tamara then voted to attend AC to begin her career.

Viable, long-term career options in the WCG at the time were extremely limited for both men and women. What could Tamara possibly major in at Ambassador? As she laments in the video, AC majors and career options at that time were very limited to AC women - with a choice of home economics, theology, agriculture, or journalism. Tamara takes home ec and theology, graduates from Ambassador class of 1978, and moves to take a supervisory job at Intel in Phoenix.

[Ed.: For background clarification, Tkach Jr. and Mike Feazell, Pasadena Imperial High best buddies, both attended together and graduated from Ambassador in 1973. Tkach Jr. then married AC graduate Jill Hockwald, and began working at the local level as a WCG ministerial trainee for the church between 1973 and 1976, ending at the Phoenix East congregation. He was ordained a local elder in 1976, which due to budget cutting, became an unpaid position as assistant pastor for Phoenix East congregation. He was later removed as the Phoenix assistant pastor in July 1978, two months after getting divorced. At some point in Arizona, newly graduated Tamara meets a temperamental, divorced Joe Tkach Jr., and they wind up getting married two years later in 1980. Tkach Jr. then eked out a living as a social worker for the next four years employed by the government of Arizona, working with the retarded. In 1984, Joe Jr. switches careers to Intel also and takes a job in corporate training services. Things are starting to look up as Tkach Sr. helps put down the 1979 receivership and Armstrong uses Tkach Sr. to replace Roderick Meredith as head of WCG Church Administration. By the end of 1985, a severely weakened, near blind Armstrong, grateful to Tkach Sr. for his undying loyalty, knows he doesn't have much time left. Change was in the air, and the rest is history.

Tamara then glibly mentions how the "inaugurated women's ministry in 1995" began in the WCG. She remarks "when the changes happened the door was opened" to women's ministry. Mentioned are "changes" in doctrine, but exactly how these doctrinal changes came about over the years under the Tkachs is never directly addressed. Joe Junior's chief theological change advisor Feazell and Tammy dance around the issue of when, how, and on whose schedule the "changes" came about. Feazell supportively offers that historically women were the backbone of the church, when men really didn't want to go to church. (Reportedly, Joe Tkach Jr. and Feazell don't bother to attend WCG services locally on a regular basis anywhere anyway.) Feazell remarks about the first 2000 years of a male dominated church hierarchy, who he says depended on women for survival and growth of the church.

In the mid 1990s with the changes, Tamara says the WCG began to realize that women had gifts of value in the church. She remarks that women had always been serving in the WCG, but not in the sense of a designated women's ministry. She recounts the story of a women fully qualified to be a festival choir director, but that opportunity was formerly denied her.

Tamara brings in the influence of women's ministry coordinator Sheila Graham's, whose stint as a writer and PT editor influenced her thinking. A member of the WCG since 1962, Graham wrote PT articles on the role of women, women of the Bible, and the family. She obtained an M.A. from the Azusa Haggard School of Theology in Dec 1997; roughly the same time frame Tkach Sr., and Feazell surreptitiously began to attend Azusa Haggard classes, to complete their mutual Azusa doctoral degree plans.

Tamara began to write and speak to encourage WCG women to use their gifts, and the WCG women's ministry began to evolve. She acknowledges there was some early opposition, including those who she believes wrongly charged a "feminist" takeover of the WCG. Rather, she focused her elder wives newsletter on the needs of the wives of the ordained ministry. She believes the wives need ministry: they can feel isolated in a fishbowl, with a limited peer group to commiserate; critiqued under the spotlight, with their WCG pastor's kids held up to an impossibly high standard.

Feazell next asks Tamara out of the blue about her bowling ministry, when amusingly, they competitively exchange average bowling scores.

Finally, what is the future of the WCG women's ministry, if any? Tamara says that women's ministry is taken care of at a local level. Women's ministry coordinators provide support recommendations which can be implemented on a localized basis as desired.

To conclude the interview, Tamara says she thinks the church may have the wrong ideas about God. She says she wants to better know Jesus, but the church may have put "God in a box", and wants the church to think of God, outside of any limitations.


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Tamara's Lunch with Jesus


Tammy recently had lunch with Jesus. Read about it here.



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Give Tamara A Raise?: Female Solo Pastors Earn More Than Male Solo Pastors

Okay, so there aren't many female solo pastors in American churches. A recent salary survey had six percent of solo pastors responding were women. Yet female solo pastors reported 10.4 percent higher total compensation. Their average salary was 8.6 percent higher than men's ($49,219 compared to $45,259), and better housing and retirement benefits made up the rest of the difference. Why do female solo pastors earn $62,472 in total compensation (including health insurance, retirement, and continuing education) when their male counterparts earn only $56,558?

One hypothesis is that women stay in solo pastorates longer, and their longevity leads to higher pay. But that hypothesis doesn't hold up. Research shows that for solo pastors the number of years served makes next to no difference in pay.

The more-likely explanation is regional. We know that solo pastors receive the highest pay in the New England areas and west coast, with the higher cost of living in those regions. And these areas probably have the greatest cultural acceptance of women serving as solo pastors. Thus, women solo pastors tend to find work in regions with a high cost of living, and consequently, get a higher salary.

And before we assume that the church runs counter to the still-prevalent cultural practice of paying women less than men for comparable work, women were paid less than men in every other church position surveyed except church secretary. On average, females earned approximately 80 percent of the compensation of males. Or, in other words, males earned about 25 percent more than females.

Give Tamara a raise? At least Tammy is willing to give out her denominational email address to the worldwide membership, while the Pastor General of her WCG Association isn't. Nor is he willing to open his accounting books and secret funds for the slightest inspection by the congregations sending in more tithes to the WCG's bottomless pit.

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Video update: The video is now up and streaming at the wcg.org webpage.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I went to wcg.org and I can't get the video to work. Why not?

Stan said...

It may be there is a problem with streaming, or perhaps someone doesn't approve of the final cut of the edited down version....


Stan

Let's do lunch said...

If Tamara Tkach is having lunch with Jesus, who is Tkach Jr. having his lunches with?

Just a thought.

Byker Bob said...

Anybody happen to know HWA's address in Tucson? Was this the house left to Ramona, and could Ramona still be living there?

How old would Ramona be today? What would one find if one knocked on her door? Inquiring minds need to know such things!

BB