COGW Ministry Fallout

"I'm angry. Waste always makes me angry,
 and that's what all this is, sheer waste." -Rhett Butler

Church of God, a Worldwide Association, has announced a total of 68 ministry assignments allocated on their website. These 68 men are divided amongst 97 reconstruction congregations in the COGW ministerial spoils system. That leaves 29 cities on divided circuits.

Most states are allocated one or two of the former UCG ministry for the entire state.  For example, Bruce Gore takes Atlanta, GA and travels to Jefferson, GA; while Don Waterhouse oversees Augusta, GA;  Columbia, SC; and Florence, SC.

Florida has highest number of UCG ministerial defections allocated- seven, with ten congregations formed: Rhodes, Haeffele, Greider, Thompson, Demarest, Trebig, and Hampton. 

Texas has six, but nine congregations listed: Franks, Horchak, Trebig, Taylor, Servidio, and Pierce. Servidio and Pierce split Houston North and South. 

Ohio has five: Meyers, Jahns, Moen, Welty and Johnson. Welty has Cincinnati and Columbus/Cambridge. 

The complete list of COGW ministers, cities, and phone numbers, is found here.


Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong Died Quarter-Century Ago Today

Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong died on the morning of January 16th, 1986 in Pasadena, California, on the campus of the College the high school dropout founded.

Born in the nineteenth century, on July 31, 1892,  he was in his 94th year. Mr. Armstrong would be 118 years old if alive today.

Just now, a Billy Joel song is playing on the radio, "Only The Good Die Young".

On this 25th anniversary of his passing, can Mr. Armstrong's gifts and positive contributions to humankind ever be forgotten?

Update: Redfox at Living delivers a very insightful piece on the religious significance of January 16th to the Church of God.  J at Shadows also has written a not to miss entry, "Would Anyone Have Believed It?" Thiel at Cogwriter is inexplicably ignoring the most momentous 25th anniversary  in world history. He usually has the posed picture of HWA smiling gleefully with his Second Class medal, an honor obtained in a quid pro quo deal with Japanese politicians, with thousands of dollars of your grocery money.  


COGaWA Hires McNeely and McNeely, Accountants

COGaWA has announced the hiring of McNeely and McNeely, a father and son Texas-licensed public accounting firm with offices located at 205 ET Petty Street, Hawkins, Texas 75765, 7 miles west of the former Ambassador campus in Big Sandy.  


Using virtual accounting, the firm offers secure, remote-access login accounting services by processing work on the client's computerized accounting systems. The firm also offers HR solutions, and tax services; and custom, scalable solutions in payroll, accounts payable, invoicing, cash receipts, and financial reporting. 

Could this choice of accounting services foreshadow a future move by COGaWA? No word yet from COGaWA on highest ministerial salaries and benefits, or on timed future disclosures of church balance sheet, cash flow and income statements. Where's the money?

Gone With The Wind - Or Ready For Takeoff? COGaWA

COGaWA published these canned press releases on the January 10 and 11th conferences today:

January 11, 2011 – The meetings began as Interim Board President Mike Hanisko called upon Kevin Epps for the opening prayer. Mr.Hanisko then announced the result of the ballot for our church name. Of the 118 ballots cast, 78 chose "Church of God, a Worldwide Association," making the temporary name official.
The first presentation of the day was given by Dave Myers on youth camp programs. We don't have a lot of definition yet but we can review the importance of it. One of our core values is to teach our children God's way of life. In Deuteronomy 6:6-7 we find a directive to do this. Additionally, in Luke 9:47-48 we see Christ telling us to receive little children. Receive means "to receive into one's family, to educate."
Numbers 32:24 speaks of a tribe of Israel taking care of its "little ones" and providing "sheepfolds" for its sheep. In a sense, we are taking care of our little ones via our camps. Matthew 18:10 also speaks of not despising (disdaining or thinking little of) "little ones."
Camp is effective because it takes youth away from their normal routines. It puts them in God's creation and away from electronics. We're familiar with the concept of the "Zone" and will continue to provide a godly environment.
We will also continue our pre-teen camp programs. We may be able to use the same location for both a pre-teen camp and a teen camp. Regarding staff, we have 11 trained teen camp directors, seven experienced pre-teen camp directors and two Challenger II directors. We have very talented people and we will take care of our young people. We intend to continue allowing people of other fellowships to attend as space is available.
We will begin with a demographic study to plan locations of camps and to determine the number of teens we will need to serve. The administration will need to appoint an overall Program Director and camp directors. An application process also needs to be developed. While respecting the rights of our previous organization, we have already made calls to find camps and it looks likely that we will have camps in California, Texas, Missouri, in Alabama or Georgia, and in Ohio or Pennsylvania.
Next, David Treybig gave a presentation on developing a literature base. Prior to speaking of possible ways to produce literature, he discussed the importance of reading. Coupling the second commandment that prohibits the worship of idols with Deuteronomy 6:9 which instructed the Israelites to write the commandments on their doorposts, Mr. Treybig said that it is obvious that God expected His people to be literate. True worship of God involves the intellect as opposed to worshipping an image.
Arthur W. Hunt III in his book The Vanishing Word wrote: "The Judeo-Christian heritage, which characteristically has been word-dependent, is contrasted with paganism, which typically has been image-dependent…A church cut from its word-based heritage and a nation stripped of word-based modes of learning do not have the rhetorical or mental resources to guard against despotism" (p. 26).
The importance of reading is also seen in Acts 17 where we note that many of the Bereans believed what they heard from Paul possibly because they "searched the Scriptures daily" (v. 11). Reading disciplines the mind and helps one retain information.
As for producing literature, our organization has many experienced writers and reviewers who know how to work remotely. Many of these talented people have indicated that they are ready to go to work.
Basic, first-contact literature could be produced first and posted online. More in-depth material could then be generated later. And instead of producing multiple booklets on closely related subjects, one booklet could suffice. Since the Internet is so cost effective, this may serve as our primary delivery tool, although we will certainly want some materials in hard copy, too.
Doug Horchak next discussed planning for the Feast of Tabernacles. He noted that Hebrews 11:13 speaks of our vision of the future. We keep the Feast because doing so reminds us that we are strangers and pilgrims here on earth who are convicted of and assured of the coming kingdom of God. We have 20 or more past Feast coordinators.
Last Friday, many of these men here at the conference met to discuss possible locations for observing the Feast. Of course, we will respect the contracts of our previous organization. At this time, we believe we will have four to six sites in the United States. We may also need to provide some satellite locations that receive webcasts of the services.
Starting from scratch is not something any of us like to do but there can be valuable lessons in doing so. In such a situation, we realize that we need to "seek first the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6:33) and that we need to work together in unity.
Andre Van Belkum, from New Zealand, presented the closing address. He began by thanking everyone for the positive, encouraging environment at this conference. He then told a story about a potential aircraft disaster in which the pilot focused on the systems that were functioning and successfully landed the plane. "How can we stay positively focused?" he asked.
The example of the trial the Macedonian churches faced is instructive. Facing this "great trial of affliction," the brethren "first gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). "First a willing mind" (verse 12) is also of critical importance.
Turning to James 1, Mr. Van Belkum then spoke of having joy when we face difficulties (verse 2) and asking for the wisdom of God (verse 5) to know how to move forward. He also cautioned that we must guard against pride and operate with humility.
The life of Elijah is also instructive. Though Elijah was discouraged, he came to realize that God was all powerful and fully capable of caring for His people. We have talented, capable men and we need to go to work. In Acts 14 we read that Paul was stoned. Yet we see that he rose up and went back to work preaching the gospel (verses 20, 21).
Christ has allowed all that has happened. He knows of this meeting. Let's pray for His direction. If we are faithful, we can be confident that God will finish His work in us (Philippians 1:6).
The conference came to an end with Todd Carey leading everyone in the hymn "All Things Work Together" and Greg Sargent giving a closing prayer. There were 876 English connections and 38 Spanish connections to today's meetings.

January 10, 2011 – Mike Hanisko, president of the temporary Board of Directors opened the meetings at 8:30 a.m. by asking Tom Diaz to lead the group in prayer.
The first order of business was to ballot upon two proposals for selecting the Interim Governance Team. Dave Baker, of the short-term governance committee, walked everyone through the balloting process. He explained that both options presented to the conference would result in the governing body performing the same duties and he provided a new handout that showed this more clearly than the one distributed the previous day. The improved wording came about as a result of discussions in the Sunday breakout sessions with elders.
After explaining the options and the processes involved with each, Mr. Baker invited all elders (both those who had served as salaried elders and non-salaried elders in our previous organization) to mark and turn in their ballots to the interim Secretary's team.
Dave Johnson then updated everyone on the administrative committee's work. "We have attempted to label and categorize the tasks that need to be accomplished by the Interim Leadership Team." Continuing, he informed everyone that the decision has been made that, with a few exceptions because of financial or other limitations, all established policies that existed in our previous organization will remain in effect until changes are made. Those currently working on administrative needs believe we can begin with a virtual office—that is, an operation without a physical building. The temporary board has approved using McNeely and McNeely as our accounting firm.
The committee recommends that each congregation establish a bank account with an Employer Identification Number (EIN). We do not encourage areas to collect tithes locally, but at this point that remains a local option. To begin, we will provide operating funds for congregations on a monthly basis rather than a quarterly basis. Areas that have funds beyond local start-up needs are asked to send them to the central organization.
Additionally, Mr. Johnson announced that we will immediately begin taking care of those relying upon the Church for financial assistance, including people such as widows and retirees from the ministry. A stipend representing a partial salary will be offered to pastors and other formerly salaried ministers who recently resigned or were terminated. Adjustments will be considered for those with special needs. Mileage reimbursement will initially be 25 cents per mile with a maximum of $500 per month. Since there is no Internet technology department to help ministers with computer needs, the committee suggested that ministers contact fellow ministers who have these skills or local members who are able to help. Gary Black will make a directory of ministers who are willing to help others.
As for credentialing elders, Mr. Johnson said that electronic forms will soon be sent to all elders, but the exact process of credentialing must yet be determined by the Interim Governance Team. New ordination certificates will be issued as soon as the credentialing is completed. The administrative team recommends that one person be named to oversee the administrative needs of the ministry and a personal correspondence team. Mr. Johnson also announced that he and others are looking into establishing a corporate email system, gathering congregational data and coordinating special needs services. We also need people to oversee human resources, media efforts, and financial matters he said. Initially, he believes only one or two full time employees will be needed to handle administrative needs.
Bruce Gore, Chairman of the long-term governance committee, updated everyone on the work of this committee. He thanked everyone for the input that has been given, including over 60 papers on this subject that have come from members and ministers. He noted that the papers represented the widest possible range of ideas.
He shared with everyone that the committee plans to offer several options for governance to the organization. If possible, we want to avoid mistakes of the past. Answering the question, "Can you guarantee that this won't happen again?" he said, "No. But we all want to reduce politics and the turnover of administrators. We also want to minimize the amount of balloting." The committee will recommend options for choosing governance that will emphasize choosing leaders based upon spiritual character and that will minimize choosing by name recognition.
Covering a few biblical principles, Mr. Gore pointed out that "able men" who are "men of truth" (Exodus 18:21) need to be selected to provide leadership. Some may be men of character but not have the skills that are needed for a particular job. In closing, he cited Proverbs 29:2 which says, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice." Please continue praying for us that we will find a way to make this happen he said. Ministers then broke into small groups to further discuss governance.
When everyone reconvened, Mike Hanisko announced the results of balloting for the Interim Governance Team. Having given prayerful consideration to both options, 37 elders chose option one and 84 chose option two. Therefore, the men who served on the Temporary Leadership Team and those who served on the Temporary Board now become the Interim Governance Team. Those serving on the Interim Leadership Team are Jim Franks, Doug Horchak, Clyde Kilough, David Register and Richard Thompson. Those serving on the Interim Board are George Evans, Ken Giese, Mike Hanisko, Greg Sargent and Roger West.
Richard Pinelli next addressed the care of congregations. Mr. Pinelli reported that we have 54 pastors and administrators from the United States plus 14 international pastors who have resigned or been fired from our previous organization. He then reviewed biblical passages showing that the ministry should be remunerated so they might give their full attention to pastoral and/or administrative duties. Returning to the men that are with us, he noted that these men have many gifts and abilities ranging from editorial skills to directing summer camps to coordinating Feast sites. They have very ably worn many hats and fulfilled many responsibilities in addition to pastoring. He said that our new organization will need these men to continue doing the work they have previously done.
Of immediate concern, he spoke of the need for pastors to "comfort those who mourn" (Isaiah 61:1-3). Pastors are already in place where many congregations have formed, but in some cases, congregations are coming together where there is no pastor. We are committed to caring for all of the brethren. Some of these congregations may have to initially be connected on the Sabbath via webcasts and phone line connections, but it is our intention to provide each with a pastor as soon as possible.
The afternoon session began with prayer by Jim Haeffele. Jim Franks then gave a presentation on doctrinal integrity. He began by sharing some history of the Sabbatarians in New England. On December 23, 1671, the first Sabbath keeping church was formed with seven people. Eventually, this church became the largest church in Rhode Island with over 2,000 members. The original seven members of the first Sabbath keeping church reluctantly severed their relationship with the Baptist Church because they believed they needed to obey God rather than man. They understood that doctrine is more than belief. Doctrinal integrity also requires acting upon those beliefs.
In 1995 we left our former organization over doctrine. But doctrine apart from conduct is insufficient. In 1995 we noted that if we don't have correct doctrine, we don't have anything and if we don't practice correct doctrine, we also don't have anything. Paul charged Timothy and Titus to give attention to doctrine, to preach doctrine and to practice doctrine. In Matthew 5 we see that Christ taught His followers doctrine. He emphasized that we must practice what we teach. Christ had harsh words for the Pharisees—those who taught the truth but didn't practice it. Everyone fails to practice sound doctrine perfectly, but only by repenting of our sins and living properly can we expect to please God.
Mr. Franks then shared a document establishing our commitment to doctrinal integrity. This includes the following principles:
  1. We commit our support for the 20 fundamental beliefs as developed and approved by the elders in 1995.
  2. We commit to establishing a doctrinal review process for all publications that contain doctrinal material, whether posted on the Internet or printed. This process must involve levels of review and include senior ministers known for their doctrinal integrity.
  3. We commit to establishing a committee for doctrinal oversight, entrusted with the responsibility of resolving doctrinal conflict and answering doctrinal questions from within the organization, among the elders and among the membership.
  4. We commit to providing a process by which any elder or member may submit doctrinal questions and/or material for doctrinal review. This process will provide for several levels of review by senior ministers.
Ken Treybig then gave a presentation on preaching the gospel. We want to assure everyone that we are committed to doing this he said. Continuing, he noted that we must fulfill the commission Christ gave the Church. How we can do this with a smaller group? Perhaps it will have to be done in a measured way, most likely with an Internet focus, but also with print. We can use many strategies including print on demand and videos.
Continuing, Mr. Treybig said that he believes we have just as much passion for doing this as ever. He also noted that in 1995 many of us began working with the development of literature—something that he now has a great zeal for doing. He then shared a story of how a new person learned about the Church via the Internet. Asking how many in room had received contacts from people who found the Church on the web, almost every hand was raised.
Mr. Treybig then explained that a leading marketing firm recently stated that the Internet is the loudest, most pervasive tool available for reaching people. Using biblical symbolism, the Internet is the loudest "trumpet" today. Media expert Steve Rubel predicts that by January 2014 almost all forms of tangible media will either be in sharp decline or completely extinct. Of course, this doesn't mean that print will disappear but it will likely be in decline.
Mr. Treybig then explained that we've been advised to develop one mega portal website through which all of our anticipated websites can operate. We also have many young people who want to get involved. He showed the home page of a potential new website designed by Kelly Cunningham. Additionally, he noted that we can purchase an Internet television channel for $7 a month. He also mentioned that he had learned last week that software is being developed that will translate material into any language—something that could be another great tool for us. In closing, he cited part of 1 Corinthians 9:16 saying, "Woe to us if we don't preach the gospel."
Education programs were next covered by David Register. He began by joking, "I can cover this very quickly. We have none." Continuing, he said, "But we are making plans. At this point, I can confidently report that we expect to have summer camps for our young people." Referring to the Church's commission in Matthew 28:19-20, he explained that making disciples means making someone a student and that we will continue this process, which the Church of God has followed since the first century.
He then referred to Acts 14:21-23 where Paul and Barnabas "made many disciples" and "appointed elders" to continue educating those whom God had called. This was an ongoing, instructive process that begins with a person's calling and continues until a person becomes part of God's family—in other words, from before one becomes fully a member of the Church until the end of that person's life or the return of Christ. He also noted that Daniel 11:32-33 speaks of the people of God instructing many. Reflecting on this, he noted that we have many capable teachers in this room who are anxious to continue.
Balloting for the name of the new organization was then conducted by Jon Pinelli, who outlined the five choices and explained how the list had been narrowed to that number.
Saul Langarica then gave the first of two international reports. On behalf of the ministers in Latin America he thanked everyone for his or her part in organizing this conference. He recalled how the late Herbert Armstrong at times had to put the Church back on track and stated that he believes that we now collectively share this weighty responsibility. Ministers and members in Latin America have been fasting and praying for this conference to occur he said. While some individuals might have timed matters differently, Mr. Langarica said he was personally convinced that this was God's time and the right time.
He stated that he is grateful for the mind of God, the Spirit of God at work in this conference. It was scary to be alone for several months. None of us wanted to be independent. We believe it is a miracle from God for all of us to be together again. He wondered if perhaps God allowed this to help us grow in unity so we can do the work together more powerfully. We are also grateful that God allowed us to continue serving so many brethren in Latin America. Four other ministers from Latin America are here in addition to Mr. Walker. In Latin America, 15 ministers are serving 1900 brethren. He said that his prayer is that we would not have to face this kind of trial again and that God will bless our efforts.
Kambani Banda then gave a report on Zambia. There are seven churches in this country with a regular church attendance of about 210. Three hundred ten attended the 2010 Feast of Tabernacles and 70 attended the youth camp. He gave credit to God for a phenomenal rate of growth in financial income over the past several years. Although the growth was small in actual numbers compared to an area such as the United States, it was a huge percentage of increase. Members from that country asked him to tell the ministers gathered here that voting is not good because it invites politics. At least that is what they have observed in their country. We are all praying for unity he said.
Richard Thompson closed the meeting with prayer. There were 1141 English connections and 48 Spanish connections to today's meetings.
Another suggested name for COGaWA, that didn't make the final cut?
Ambassador Church of Apostolic ThunderJowls Worldwide, a Semi-Retired Association


Gone With The Wind - Or Ready For Takeoff? COGaWA

COGaWA- Ready For Takeoff?
This morning in Louisville, the results of the vote for the name of the new COG sect were announced.  Of 118 total ballots cast yesterday, a majority, or 78 ballots were in favor of naming the new splinter, “Church of God, a Worldwide Association”

Also yesterday, the option to extend the terms of the leadership team and directors of the Florida corporation, until a permanent corporate and church association governance was approved. As a result, corporate directors and officers, and “temporary” leadership COGaWA are:

The Church of God, a Worldwide Association, Inc., Initial Directors and Officers of the Florida Corporation:

Michael Hanisko - President, Ken Giese; Secretary, Greg Sargeant;  Treasurer, George Evans; Roger West

COGaWA incorporation filing in Florida (link)

COGaWA “Temporary” Leadership Team:

Jim Franks, Doug Horchak, Clyde Kilough, David Register and Richard Thompson

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2011 marks the last scheduled half-day for the Lousiville, KY COGaWA conference proceedings.

Tuesday morning, Dave Meyers spoke about potential youth camps development. Depending on geographical distribution of COGaWA membership, areas were being drawn up in which to hold future youth and teen camps. He said youth camps were critical to fostering further religious development,  preferably starting in the early formative years.

Dave Trebig outlined future publications development from an editorial services perspective. Because of church development in 1995 and beyond, he said the church should have no problems producing new literature, due to having been on “The Apprentice” program for the last fifteen years.  The COGaWA  has the ability to create a “virtual office”.  It could, for example, teleconference to plan out a magazine, with  review  conducted throughout the stages of the production process. Edits and graphics could be incorporated into the writing process. This virtual collaboration could produce a much better work product. It could then be sent it to a printer to print,  in whatever form or format desired.

He said one way to start the process might be for COGaWA to begin producing what is designed as “first contact” literature- the very first information packet that is sent out in response to inquiries.

He recalled that in the aftermath of 1995, proving that doctrines still stood was of primary consideration, but not today. One possible idea, he said, would be to combine booklets together. One  booklet could be done for both baptism and conversion; another booklet made  for holidays and holy days, leading from milk to meat in an “orderly process”.

The trend in most major denominations is to no longer have a magazine. The internet will likely be the primary COGaWA delivery tool. More international areas are getting net connections. Internet access is continuing to grow. Another prospective idea put forth would be to incentivize co-workers who donated money with printed literature, or by other means.  He reminded the audience that Armstrong wanted material that wasn’t stale, so he updated and modernized his material every few years,  keeping it fresh for the greatest possible impact.

Doug Horchak talked about some logistical considerations for future sites for the COGaWA Feast of Tabernacles. Nine different regions of the country are designated as festival areas. It is widely known if rooms are booked in advance at a given hotel, the hotel will usually throw in the meeting space completely free, or at a heavily discounted rate. However, members don’t want to spend their entire feast inside a hotel, so that factor must be taken into consideration. Also, satellite links or internet web casting possibly might be utilized for those that can’t travel.

After the break, a speaker remarked it wasn’t about the move to Texas or other issues. The present split  came about, he said,  because of the “abusive way” elders and members were treated, and unethical behavior of the the leadership.

Concluding the ministerial conference,  Andre van Belkum’s remarks tended to bolster the troops. Recalling the recent Qantas A380 mid-flight emergency engine failure, he made the point that the pilot focused not on what wasn’t working, but on what was working - which can make the difference to an outcome.

He mentioned the governance committee he attended is considering many possible forms of church governance which might take shape in COGaWa. Many suggested forms of church governance were put up for discussion on the white board. Additional suggestions were taken for various governance scenarios under consideration, and the process was started over again.

Regardless of the final governance outcome, any church government will not work “no matter what it is”, if pride overrules.  “Humility is needed to make it work”, he said.

COGaWA 2011 Louisville conference proceedings were then concluded.






Make Your Vote, Take Your Pick

Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar at the Galt House, Louisville

Monday, January 10, 2011 - The COGaWA elders today voted to extend the terms of the temporary leadership team and the temporary Board of Directors that have been serving prior to and during the conference, until the permanent form of governance is selected

In the morning, Jim Franks did a slide presentation on the home of Stephen Mumford, the first seventh day Sabbath keeping congregation founded in New Port, Rhode Island.

Ken Trebig talked about a worldwide web media effort. After radio and television, the loudest "trumpet" in the 21st century, he said, would be web based media. A small group can make a very big impact with a strong internet presence, he argued.  He said the young adults were very eager to help in this regard. Printed information, production runs of printed booklets, DVDs, and boxed software are becoming obsolete more and more- it's fast becoming a 24/7 anywhere, digital world. 
The church already has a mock-up created of a centralized COGaWa "internet portal" website, he said. The portal "website window" would direct to other areas designed for more specific market groups, using uncluttered, visual merchandising techniques, better suited for today's high-speed internet. 

David Register asked the rhetorical question what was the COGaWa's education program, facetiously answering, "There is none". 

Jon Pinelli began the next round of the "Name that Church" game. Pink sheets - 1 ballot per elder- got handed out. He suggested there were several ways for the ballots to become invalidated, as already happened in the short term governance ballot that morning. Out of 411 suggestions, there were five names left on today's ballot: "Covenant Church of God," Church of God, Ambassadors for Christ," "Church of God, a Worldwide Association," "Faithful Church of God" and "Church of God, a Christian Association."

Saul Longarica and Kambani Banda gave area updates.  

Mike Hanisko in announcements suggested that besides the football game scheduled for tonight at 8:00, and fellowship room, a large selection of a variety of bourbons would be made available on the second floor.  

(Ed.:The Jockey Silks Bourbon Bar at the Galt House claims to offer the country’s largest selection of Kentucky Bourbon, with over 150 bourbons to pick from. Jockey Silks reminds that if you can’t decide on a bourbon, you can ask for a memorable flight of bourbons, or try one of their unforgettable signature bourbon drinks. 

Thousands of dollars worth of vintage Dom Perignon, flowing free of charge? That was only for the Pasadena "country club" ministry, bub. Now why didn't they mention that at Winter Family Weekend?)

The following is the condensed version of the Jan 9 meeting:

January 9, 2011 – The organizing conference of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association was opened at 1:00 p.m. by Mike Hanisko, president of the temporary Board of Directors.

Clyde Kilough then gave an opening address in which he responded to a question that he had been asked. Were ministers just jumping on the bandwagon with those who were exiting our previous organization? Considering that those who recently resigned willingly accepted unemployment, a loss of benefits, etc., he noted that it seems unlikely that what transpired was capricious in nature.
Continuing, he observed that while we had committed 15 years to making another organization work, those years weren't wasted. Even though we are older, he said, we have learned important lessons through those years and that experience can often trump the energy of youth. He also noted that we have many younger people who are also desirous of helping do the work.
As for how we got here, he mentioned that via a teleconference, a temporary leadership was established to plan the meetings that have now begun. Continuing, he noted that this team realized that we will still be operating with an interim government after this conference. Committees were then formed on short-term administration, long-term administration, short-term governance and long-term governance.
He then reminded everyone of the "storming, forming, norming and performing" steps through which new organizations go.

Jon Pinelli on proposed church names. There were 411 names suggested. After considering the names in terms of identity, mission and legal availability, five potential names were selected: "Covenant Church of God," Church of God, Ambassadors for Christ," "Church of God, a Worldwide Association," "Faithful Church of God" and "Church of God, a Christian Association." Balloting to select one of these five names will take place on Monday afternoon.
Both Mr. Pinelli and Mr. Kilough noted that the choice of a church name is often intimately personal. They said that a word might bring comfort and strength to the mind of one person, while the same word stirs a strong negative reaction in the thinking of another.

Dave Baker then spoke on interim governance—noting that it was not the intention of this committee to set a precedent for what would be chosen for a long term government, nor how choices would be made, process-wise. The first proposal was to have the assembled ministers, following public prayer, each nominate five men. The names of the top 14 men would be placed in a box and then following another public prayer, seven of the 14 names would be drawn by the interim secretary. These seven men thus chosen would comprise the Interim Governance Team.

The second proposal was to extend the terms of the temporary leadership team and the temporary Board of Directors that have been serving prior to and during the conference until the permanent form of governance is selected and established. These two entities would become the Interim Governance Team. The meeting then recessed for ministers to further discuss these options in smaller groups with members of the short-term governance committee that authored these proposals.
There were 774 web connections to today's meeting.
What name do you think was voted in today? Some think the "Church of God, a Worldwide Association" sounds too Jewish. Less ambiguous positioning between the old and new performance contracts is the consideration, "Church of God, a Christian Association".  

Or, you might comment on your own suggestion. My suggested name is, "United Church of God, ABS" - Anything But Spanky. :)

The "Oh Dear, Not Again Church"

The Know-Nothing Lads in Louisville: I heard Nothing, I said Nothing, and I read Nothing

The "Oh Dear, Not Again Church"- that's what someone jokingly suggested COGaWA should be named in Louisville this morning. 

Now that it is known that publisher Dixon Cartwright was Banned! from reporting at the COGaWA Conference, maybe the next edition of The Journal should include a one inch black border around the edges, to fittingly protest such an Orwellian move by the lads in Louisville. Censoring the press - have they no honor, no decency, no sense of shame?


Cold Kentucky Rain

At the opening of the Louisville conference, it's cold in Kentucky, with precipitation in the forecast.

Elders' Conference Webcast - January 9-10, 2011

The links below connect to the live Elder' Conference. COGaWA Internet webcasting scheduled to resume Monday morning Jan 10, 2011 @ 8:30 a.m. EST.

And now, a short Kentucky musical interlude from the King:


Rousing Patriot Passion: Propaganda

Herbert Armstrong was a master at mass media propaganda - on the radio, delivering his messages, and in the written word. His autobiography and Mystery of the Ages are full of it. He learned the principles of advertising, and began to sell his product - religion. Advertising can be considered a form of propaganda- it doesn't play fair. It plays for keeps. Advertisers want you to buy as much of their product as you can, as often as you can, again and again and again. It makes them money.

Not that, according to mass media communications theory, propaganda is always inherently bad. Our own government used propaganda in WWII to bolster morale, discourage  dissent, and rouse the patriot passions in support of the cause against the opposition.

Now, on the previous post, someone commented, "I notice Dunkle's wife's name contains "Ward"; is that connected to past church royalty, thus mitigating his claims of being "just a lay member". 

While I don't personally know either of the Dunkles, that comment really did get me thinking. How did Sue Ward Dunkle just happen to post an "open letter" to the  UCG pastors from her husband, who claimed to be "just a lay member" on the tightly controlled UCG: Resolving Issues. Who was the intended audience, and what was the open letter intended to accomplish?

Another poster there commented:  "I sent a copy of the letter to loyal UCG minister Dr. Ward. He in turn just sent it to all the Houston UCG brethren on the reminders list! He and Don Hooser know your husband by the way." 

In a telephone interview with Ambassador Reports this morning, Mr. Dunkle said he wrote the open letter, and serves as a deacon in the Columbus, OH church.  

Besides Frank Dunkle, how many just "lay members" are out there speaking and writing as UCG lay members, who also happened to have graduated from Ambassador College? That also serve as UCG local deacons? Who also preach on a regular basis to their UCG congregations, and claim to be lay members? Not many, I suspect.

Looking at the UCG Columbus, OH website, a series of five mp3 sermons are being offered, given by Frank Dunkle over the last few months.  One given on the anniversary of D-Day, June 6th was interspersed with vivid historical sketches of the Battle of Dunkirk, French resistance movement, and Gen. "Monty" Montgomery. All that history was thrown together with the Second Coming, of course. Another Dunkle sermon takes over a solid hour to go into great detail into how animal sacrifices were conducted in the book of Leviticus. 

So Frank Dunkle is not exactly some average, "just a lay member" bloke sitting his bum on the hard, cheap seats, dozing off to sleep at the back of the church service. He is someone speaking from the lectern hour after hour, communicating messages to the congregation. 

Frank Edgar Dunkle, married to Sue Ward Dunkle, is a graduate of Ambassador  (attending at both Pasadena and Big Sandy). He followed that up by attending UT in Tyler and then took graduate history at Texas A &M as he notes on his resume here. He teaches as an adjunct professor of history at Columbus State Community College and is Program Officer for the Ohio Humanities Council. In fact, according to the website, "Frank Dunkle’s historical research has focused on early American biography and military history.  Serving a number of years as Road Manager for Ohio Chautauqua helped Dr. Dunkle see the effectiveness of living history as a form of education and entertainment.  He has spent several years studying the life of John Brown and developing this realistic portrayal.
The War on Slavery: An Evening with John Brown
John Brown is best known for his failed raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia in 1859, and rightly so. That event was a major step towards secession and the Civil War." 

Click this link to see a picture of UCG's Frank Dunkle portraying radical abolitionist John Brown.

And what did Frank Dunkle write about for his Phd. at Texas A & M University in 2007? Why, he wrote about rousing the passions - with propaganda!

Frank Edgar Dunkle, “Rousing Patriot Passion: Propaganda in the Boston Press, 1754-1756,” History (May 1997). 

and that's how you came to read the "open letter" written by Dr. Frank Edgar Dunkle, Phd., so passionately constructed by "just a lay member" in the UCG.

Dr. Dunkle specifically disavows that anyone on the UCG Council of Elders had any prior knowledge, or that anyone in the UCG caused him to write the open letter. It was "entirely my idea" to write the open letter, he said. 


Gone With The Wind: Frank Dunkle's Open Letter

Wars over keeping control over loyal tithe-slaves, such as in the current crisis, stirred-up and driven by the overseer, tithe-farming ministry class, often wind up tearing the congregations apart. 

Frank Dunkle, UCG member in Columbus, OH, writes an open letter to UCG pastors resigning, from a very rarely heard perspective about the current crisis.  The letter is from the congregational perspective of an average,  lay member of UCG, simply caught in the crossfire.

Dunkle takes issue with the ministry forcing the members to make an extremely difficult and painful choice—all because the ministers have become offended. He responds by saying the stance the ministry has taken, into forcing the members to choose, in turn offends him as a member.

He says such issues involving Leon Walker, ministerial re-assignments, and the Sabbath could and should be looked at in another way.

Dunkle raises and answers the question of whether or not the government of UCG is broken, or fundamentally flawed when it was formed 15 years ago in Indianapolis, and what the church must do to “move forward”:

An Open Letter to Pastors Leaving UCG

Dear Mr. Pastor (generic for any and all of the many
                    pastors I’ve known over the years)

As many of you have thought it fitting to distribute open letters to the administration of the United Church of God about various errors you believe committed by church leadership, and explaining the reasons for your resignation, I hope you will understand that for similar reasons I am writing this letter to you--all of you--about your conduct. I am a lay member of UCG, not an elder and no one of any special standing or reputation.  However, I believe that my views and feelings represent those of many church members that have not been heard during this crisis.  While some of them may disagree with this letter, I believe that it represents the views of a great many of us.  As a large number of us have been members of the church longer than you have been pastors, please give our views some of your attention now.  After all, properly caring for church members is why you were called by God into the ministry and hired by the church as a pastor.

From the perspective of us members, it seems that many of you Elders are upset at each other over what you think other Elders have said or done, and now you are having trouble doing your jobs because of it.  Some of you are angry about the way certain men have treated various other men.  I have not read or heard any resigning pastor say that he himself was mistreated or forced to do something immoral.  Rather, many keep saying what sounds to me like, “someone else was done wrong, so I must resign!”  In doing this, you are forcing the members of your congregation to make an extremely difficult and painful choice—all because you have become offended.  Well, the stance you are taking offends me somewhat, but that does not justify me leaving my congregation or inflicting wrong upon any other person.  More than once over the years, we members have watched our pastors occasionally make mistakes, such as: giving advice to members of our congregations that turned out to be bad; instructing members to refrain from attending services because of a sin that it tuned out they actually didn’t commit; affording preferential treatment to some members over others; and so on.  Collectively you pastors always acknowledged that you sometimes made mistakes, and you taught us members to wait and to trust that God would correct such errors.   This was the correct thing to teach; we believed you and bore with your errors, (which have fortunately been rare).  Isn’t that exactly what you should be doing now?

We, as members of the church have been taught for years that we should not base our commitment to be a part of God’s church upon the actions of other people.  You ministers reminded us that the church consists of human beings who are in the process of being converted but who are certainly not perfect yet.  Should not that same standard apply to Elders and even to leaders of the church?  In particular, many have raised an outcry over Mr. Leon Walker being removed from his position over the Latin American region.  Yet, clearly the government structure of UCG gives the Council of Elders full discretion over whom to put in such job assignments.    The Council may or may not have been mistaken about misconduct by him, but still, the Council genuinely possessed the authority to reassign him at will--even if for no other reason than that they believed it was time for a change.  Why then did so many of you pastors take offense at this, when throughout your careers, you have been similarly re-assigned many times to different congregations—often causing considerable heart-ache among your congregations?  We often didn’t like the way such things were done, but you told us that it needed to be done and that we should accept and welcome ministerial reassignments.  Shouldn’t you accept the same advice you have given to us many times?

I understand that many who are leaving believe that the leadership of UCG is enacting a secret plan to change the teaching of how and when to keep the Sabbath.  Have you personally been told to teach something different about the Sabbath than before?  I haven’t heard one single Elder say that the Council or administration of UCG directed him to change the way he taught the members of his congregation to keep the Sabbath.  The booklets and articles that the church publishes on the subject of the Sabbath are still the same as before.  Isn’t it true that the only way a church doctrine can be changed in UCG is if three-quarters of all the Elders in the church vote to approve such a change?         If that is the case, true teachings will be safeguarded considerably more by you remaining a part of UCG--teaching the truth to us members, and casting your ballots correctly at the General Conference of Elders--than they will by you leaving.  I don’t know how the question was resolved about that family that runs a business in South America, but I trust that you wouldn’t teach me that I should operate a business on the Sabbath.  If and when you receive a directive from the Home Office instructing you to do so, please let us members of your congregation know so that we can join you in resisting heresy.  But please don’t raise alarm over mere suspicions and fears.  I may or may not agree with the decisions that other people make about how they keep the Sabbath—face it, we’ve had disagreements about things like whether or not to eat in restaurants or to watch the TV news on the Sabbath, for as long as I can remember—but you always taught us that such differences of opinion are not good reasons for leaving our congregation.   Shouldn’t you follow that same advice now concerning membership of this organization?

I have heard that some pastors have concluded that the government structure of UCG is broken and can’t be fixed. I wonder, when did it become broken—was it when the Council of Elders and Mr. Kilough disagreed on how much money to spend on a television program?  Was it when the Council of Elders removed Mr. Kilough from the office of president—or perhaps when it   previously removed Mr. Holiday from that position, or maybe when he replaced Mr. McCullough?   Why did you not feel the need to leave UCG at any of those earlier times?  Was the government broken already when you met in Indianapolis fifteen years ago to form it?

Certainly, you ministers (remember, we members had no say in the matter) established a form of church government that is somewhat inefficient and can be slow to enact new policies.  I am fairly certain that you formed, and we all accepted, this type of government purposely because it makes it impossible for one or a few ministers to ever force upon UCG the kind of doctrinal heresies that were enacted in WCG.  If you leave and form some new church organization, are you sure you will have the same safeguards from your new employer?  You are asking members like me to join you in leaving UCG, but I am not at all sure that you are going to form a structure that will protect me from the type of false teaching that came in WCG.  The fact that you are leaving an organization that makes it nearly impossible to introduce doctrinal change to go to a new one that is a blank slate makes me suspicious of both it and of you.  I’ve trusted you for years, but the experience I had fifteen to twenty years ago prevents me from giving any minister that kind of blind trust again.  Wouldn’t you feel the same if you were in my position?

I’ve also heard it said that we can’t move forward with the organization and/or the leadership UCG now has.  Different people seem to disagree on what “moving forward” really means.  As a member of the church, I’ve seen UCG move forward in accomplishing several things that seem quite positive.  The Good News magazine, World News & Prophecy, and dozens of booklets preach the gospel through the print medium, free of charge to whomever requests them.  Different websites make the same material—and much more—available to literally billions of people around the world.  The weekly Beyond Today television program now airs across the U.S., preaching the gospel in yet another medium, reaching different audiences.  To meet the responsibility of educating and developing members of the Church, UCG has maintained and provided pastors for congregations across the U.S. and the world. Young men (well, younger men) have been hired and trained as pastors; youth camps and family weekends serve our children; ABC provides advanced academic training in God’s Word.  I should admit that as an Ambassador College, graduate, I was not convinced at first that ABC would work, but I later had to admit that it has done very well.  So what is it that the church needs to “move forward” in doing, that UCG cannot do?  The only item in that area that seems to be a sticking point is building a campus in Texas.

Rather than write yet another argument about whether or not moving to Texas was a good idea, let me just share with you the attitude of many church members.  We stopped caring so much about the logistics concerning buildings and moving long ago, and became alarmed that many of you could not seem to stop arguing about it.  How many times over the years has our congregation had to meet for weekly Sabbath services in a hall that many of us hated?  And then, when you put in considerable hard work to find a new hall for us to meet in, some of us griped and complained about the new one.  Didn’t you tell some of us privately—and sometimes say from the lectern—that no meeting hall would be perfect? that we should stop murmuring and instead focus on serving the church?  The whole moving the Home Office debacle seems to us common church members to be little more than the same thing on a larger scale.  As such, we advise you, our pastors to quit the murmuring and to accept what we have now for what any building or campus will be:  a necessarily temporary facility that we should make the best of while we have it.  You taught us that the energy we could spend grumbling would be much better employed in active service to our fellow Christians.  Should you not have accepted this advice yourselves years ago?

Surely I have not addressed all of the issues.  Perhaps I’ve missed entirely whatever particular offense has driven you to the point of resignation.  Hopefully, though, you see my primary point.  You as the Elders of the church have problems that you need to deal with in a way that does not tear apart the church to which we members have devoted ourselves these many years.  Please note that by addressing this to the pastors who are resigning, I am not at all excusing those who remain of any fault.  They may have committed some wrongs—but they are not doing harm to me and my fellow members by disrupting what has become our spiritual home.  If and where they have been in error, you have all the more moral duty to remain with us members and be sure that you are an Elder who isnot doing wrong.  I say this partly because, if a similar problem existed in our local congregation, you would give us the same advice.  You know this is true, because you have done so before; if you continue to serve as a pastor, you’ll surely have occasion to do so again.

So then, you, Mr. Pastor, should you not—will you not—please, please accept and follow the same teaching you have given to us church members over the years?  You always taught us not to take offense and leave the church because of the sins of others—even when the others were ordained Elders.  This is not to imply that I believe that the leaders of UCG have sinned—just that even if they have, it does NOT justify your current actions.  You taught us that God called us to His church and that we should look to Him, and not let any man push us away from Him and the church that He established.  I believed what you told me then, and I still believe it is true today.  Should you not believe your own teaching and follow it—for the sake of us, lowly church members?

Frank Dunkle, Columbus, Ohio

Neil McIver, pastor of the Big Sandy Church of God (largest congregational split-off from UCG, 1998) responds to Dunkle's open letter. McIver sees the real UCG crisis as a question of deciding who is going to have the power:

It was a great letter to the "elders". The biggest problem with those that left United do not know one of the real problems was who was going to be in POWER. Those that worked over the past 8 to 12 months to pull this off are those that lost their power in United over the past year. They do not care who gets hurt in all this as long as they have their power back and their county club life. I think God is allowing all this to TEST the "elders" to see who are wolfs and who are true servants of the members. Mr Luker and those on the COEs have shown they are true servants. Most of those "elders" that left have shown that they are not true servants...they want the members that they took with them to serve them. There are many members in United that serve their areas better than the "elders" that left. Seek to serve the Body of Christ and let those that left serve their lust for power.