UCG TITANIC STRIKES ICEBERG - Just A Small Crack, Or Too Big To Go Under?

Update On The Kilough Resignations

Now that Clyde Kilough was forced to resign by the Council of Elders, interim (and next? or final?) UCG President Roy Holladay is putting the spin on with another member letter and video on the showdown in Cincinnati.

And just what was the unpardonable sin of the Kilough regime? According to Holladay:

"Matters finally came to a head with the introduction of a proposed resolution that was outside of the Church’s established means for proposing changes in the Church’s governing documents and structure. Without even the traditional review of the full Council and our legal counsel, the proposed resolution was placed in the formal mailing to all ministers with the idea that it would be voted on at the upcoming General Conference of Elders next month."

Next, the completed text of Captain Holladay's Titanic emergency damage control message:

April 13, 2010 - Letter from Interim President Roy Holladay

Dear Beloved Brethren,

In a few weeks we will be observing the Feast of Pentecost. Christ’s promise to His disciples is important as we prepare ourselves for the day: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth” (Acts:1:8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth., New International Version).

That is the primary purpose of the United Church of God today, which is made up of the most blessed people on earth. We are the ones specifically selected by God (John:6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.)—called to be holy and set apart for special training and service. As this present earthly cosmos plummets toward a dramatic end, we have an all-important mission.

With that as a backdrop, I want to address a few issues, past and future. You have heard that some key administrative changes have been made. To some these changes may have come as a surprise. As ministers of the gospel we are accountable to you, and I want to provide some details about what has developed recently and where we as a Church are going.

While it may not have been evident to the membership at large, in recent months a serious level of conflict existed about certain issues between the Council of Elders and some administrators. It is one thing to have simple disagreements that arise in the course of choosing a way of action. But when the levels of conflict and disagreement escalate to the point where the Church’s critical work begins to suffer from inaction and it becomes clear that the necessary working relationship and rapport between the Council and its management team has broken down, then it is the direct responsibility of the Council of Elders to act swiftly. That we have done.

During these past months, certain administrators severely disagreed with the oversight and direction that the Council was providing, even though they are bound by the bylaws of the Church to support it. During that same time, the basic work of the Church continued and the level of conflict was unseen by most of you. Given that latter fact I believe you deserve an explanation. However, as I explain where we have recently been, I don’t want to belabor any points because the past is the past. Reconciliation, unity and love are more important than organizational justification. For your review, here are some details.

As part of the General Conference of Elders meetings in 2008 and 2009, the ministers balloted in the established way for a number of new members of the Council of Elders, replacing several members who were part of the administration. As time went on it became apparent that the priorities and perspectives of the existing management team were quite different from those of the Council as chosen by the ministry of the United Church of God.

As collectively established in the beginning of our fellowship 15 years ago, the Council of Elders is directly and solely responsible for oversight and setting direction and policy for the Church. This is quite a different structure from the one we experienced in our former church affiliation where only one or two people at the top made all of the important decisions. We learned through painful experience where that led. The United Church of God, we collectively decided, would be different. We adopted as one of our primary governing principles Proverbs:24:6For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.: “In a multitude of counselors there is safety.”

To put in perspective the now-past situation, allow me to review a few more points of important history. Fifteen years ago we collectively chose a very different structure of governance on the physical level, emphasizing and recognizing of course that the living Head of the spiritual Church is Jesus Christ Himself. The highest authority in our physical organization is the General Conference of Elders, which is all of the nearly 500 elders of the United Church of God who choose to participate. This group is responsible for, among other things, authorizing changes to our governing documents, approving any doctrinal changes and selecting a 12-person Council of Elders. As our Constitution states and openly authorizes, the Council of Elders is to “provide oversight and guidance within the Church for the service and care of local congregations, the preaching of the gospel and the administration of God’s tithes and offerings,” making it “the duly appointed corporate board for the Church and [the] equivalent to a board of directors.”

Functioning under the direction of the Council of Elders is the management team comprised of certain officers (president, treasurer and secretary) and operation managers for finances, media and ministerial services, and a home office staff. These are “selected, approved and directed by the Council.” The Council of Elders is also specifically responsible “to provide direction and oversight to ensure the proper management of the day-to-day affairs of the Corporation, the United Church of God, an International Association.”

During the past few months, disagreements—however well-intentioned—among certain administrators and other ministers about the Council’s direction and priorities mounted up. Without getting into specifics of those disagreements, I will simply say that the situation and stalemate had grown very frustrating to all. Matters finally came to a head with the introduction of a proposed resolution that was outside of the Church’s established means for proposing changes in the Church’s governing documents and structure. Without even the traditional review of the full Council and our legal counsel, the proposed resolution was placed in the formal mailing to all ministers with the idea that it would be voted on at the upcoming General Conference of Elders next month.

As chairman, I can tell you that the Council intensely sought a variety of expert counsel to address our differences, including this issue. It was not taken lightly. Based on this variety of counsel, both from within and without, the Council determined that the resolution was harmful and against the protections and principles of this Church’s governing structure. To prevent potential harm to the Church, the Council determined that the resolution should be withdrawn.

However, the larger matter that remained was the underlying differences that gave rise to that improper resolution in the first place. As is pointed out in Amos:3:3Can two walk together, except they be agreed?, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” To end this long stalemate and achieve a fresh start with a Council and administration working together, I and other Council members met with the president, one of the sponsors of this resolution that we were obliged to withdraw. The differences that had led up to this situation were well known by all in the meeting, even though they were not well known to the general membership or most of the ministry of the Church. He agreed to resign his position at the Council’s request. In a spirit of harmony, he also openly agreed to help effect an orderly transition. Shortly after the meeting with the president, the operation managers for the Church’s ministry and media both offered to resign. All of the resignations were accepted.

I should point out here that it is possible to have different viewpoints and still be unified. As the Proverb states, “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs:27:17Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.). But when things get so hot that the “iron” starts melting, no one benefits. To achieve our mission as a Church, the time comes to lay aside any differences and work together for a common goal in accordance with the governance structure we have agreed to. Given what has transpired over the past eight months, the Council believes that a change was needed in administration. This change in administration is expected to better reflect the Council’s priorities and perspectives.

The Church’s work is continuing. Indeed, the Constitution and Bylaws of the United Church of God were written to provide for the smooth and orderly transition of personnel to and from various administrative and oversight positions within the Church such as those we are now experiencing. Also, the Church’s present Strategic Plan provides us with the framework of continuity that transcends personalities and places spiritual principles at the height of what we collectively do as a Church organization.

So, what’s next? First, I would like to take the opportunity to quote a man who was quite acquainted with both human division and the critical healing required to overcome that situation: America’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. In his second inaugural address he declared:

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.”

Accordingly, in a renewed spirit of reconciliation and unity, let us thus move forward and not dwell on the past.

Second, what do we as a Church possess to develop real unity of purpose and focus? Consider these ancient powerful words that echo across to us today: “O LORD God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?” (2 Chronicles:20:6And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?)

Brethren, it is this mighty Divine power that must drive and sustain us as a Church at all levels. In many instances the New Testament is quite clear about the differences the Church experienced in the first century. It is also quite clear that God did not generally call the wise, the noble or the mighty, then or now. We are and must be dependent on Him for guidance, direction and strength. We must surrender our own will and align ourselves with His perfect will in order to achieve any measure of true success.

The Church is prepared to grow. Much work has already gone into exploring and now entering the commercial television market to proclaim God’s truth. This new media effort will be integrated into our already strong global outreach on the Internet and in our publications. We have a new interactive Bible study platform and other means in preparation to allow people in this darkened world to see the light of God’s awe-inspiring instruction. You have already received information about planning for the 2010 Feast of Tabernacles and the opportunities to send your children to Church camps around the world, and those well-established critical activities of the Church remain in full swing.

To keep you informed, we are in the process of establishing a daily online “blog” that I and others will participate in. You can view it online at http://realtimeunited.wordpress.com. Also, many updates will be posted on our members’ Web site at http://members.ucg.org.

Soon the Council will announce the process and plans for appointing a new president, and during that time I’ll be communicating regularly. In conclusion, as we approach the precious renewal inherent in the Day of Pentecost, I would invite you to consider the prayer attributed to Moses (a man also well-acquainted with the challenges of leadership) as a 21st-century prayer for the United Church of God:

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm:90:17And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it., NIV, emphasis added).

Brethren, let’s be about doing the work of our Father!

In deep Christian love,

Roy Holladay
Interim President
Chairman of the Council of Elders

Also, in a newly released video to intended to calm the troops, Holladay tries to minimize the Kilough resignations by trying to put them into a greater context of expected UCG administrative changes - in other words, business as usual.

UCG headquarters is in the process of starting a Twitter feed and a new UCG headquarters management blog. These latest HQ internet plays are no doubt intended to occupy the heads of UCG membership, in lockstep unity, tweeting 24/7 the approved Milford melodies between Sabbaths, sundowns and marathon-length sermons.
Holladay says about these new Internet forays, " I’d like to bring those to your attention so that you can contact or go to those on a regular basis to keep up with any changes and updates within the Church."

Really, Mr. Holladay! Would that mean to not read or voice opinion anything other than for members  to swallow whole - and repeat like a Polly parrot - your official Council of Elders take on this Titanic crisis - hook, line, and sinker? 

Like David Pack (who has been roundly roasted on a spit in the blogosphere)  Holladay doesn't want UCG rank and file tithe-money paying members expressing their true thoughts and feelings on the Internet about their UCG experience. Blogs such as Mike Bennett's UCG blog, who pulled an entry with UCG member comments on the current leadership crisis, are heavily censored, and kept behind UCG's ministerial  'iron curtain'.

UCG's Twitter feed is “ucgmedia” and the address is twitter.com/ucgmedia.

The new HQ blog is “Inside United: Realtime.” The address for that is realtimeunited.wordpress.com.

While the band plays on, UCG members may need to keep their life vests handy, should the unsinkable UCG Titanic go down into the icy gurgler. 

Update: J at Shadows of WCG: Next Gen has written an infomative summary of the power struggles of the last three years within the UCG ministry's ruling class elite,  based upon Gavin Rumney's Ambassador Watch articles. Next up: In a new Shadows poll, UCG members may cast their ballots and make their real opinions known.


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