August 17, 2010
The media department announced in early June that UCG.org was to be updated and revamped. So far the project has a slated completion date of May 1, 2011. This includes server transitions, programming changes and content conversion into the new format. To ensure that new users won’t get confused with new functionality, beta testing and debugging are also included in this estimated timeframe.
The Web team, with the help of the managing editors of various publications, has identified more than 120 topics that all of our content falls into. The topics cover a very broad spectrum. Some topics are lighter, such as entertainment and personal appearance. Some topics are heavier—sin, addictions, death and various other things that a Christian needs to face in his lifetime. When you go to a topic page you will be able to see all of our material on a certain subject—videos, commentaries, sermons, articles, FAQs and booklets.
Diligently adding archives
We have 5 part-time contract workers helping to categorize and optimize the estimated 15,000 items of content the Church has produced in the past 15 years. This is a tedious process that cannot be automated in any way—requiring converted people at the helm to determine if an article is better tagged with “Gospel” or “the Kingdom,” for example. The efforts of the team are extremely helpful in making the topic pages correct and useful for people trying to learn more about God’s way.
Finalizing Technology Decisions
Decisions on server technology are being finalized very soon. When this is completewe will be able to contract a server from a reliable hosting company that should fit our needs in the short and long term.
The entire team would like to thank you for your current prayers and ask for your continued prayers on the success of this project.
Senior Web Developer
May 28, 2010
[Melvin Rhodes, senior writer for the Church’s publications and new chairman of the Council of Elders beginning July 1, filed this report on important developments in Europe.]
For a century and a half Europe has constantly been faced with “the German Question.”
In the 1860s, Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck asserted his country’s growing military might by forcing wars with the Austrian Empire and, a few years later, the French Empire. Prussia won both wars and consequently annexed the 39 independent states of the German Confederation under its own leader, Kaiser Wilhelm I.
At the time, some people could still remember when Germany was actually 360 independent countries prior to the Napoleonic Wars. Now, suddenly, it was united and the dominant power in Europe. Continuing its economic rise, by 1914 it was in a strong enough position to go to war with the British Empire—then the biggest and most powerful empire in the world—while at the same time fighting France and Russia on two fronts. Germany, together with its German speaking ally, Austria, lost.
The German Question continued to dominate Europe in the years following the war as the new Weimar Republic struggled with internal problems and uncertainties.
Twenty years after World War I, Germany was able to provoke another conflict, pursuing Adolf Hitler’s dream of a revived 1,000 year Reich, a successor to the Holy Roman Empire that had lasted for a millennium. Following that defeat, the German Question was still to dominate Europe as Germany was divided between East and West, with the Soviet Union controlling the East and the Allies the West.
In 1957 five other European countries tried to resolve the German Question by forming the EEC (European Economic Community), now the 27 nation EU (European Union). This was an attempt to control Germany, also a member, to ensure that never again would Europe go to war. In 1991, with the end of the Cold War, Germany was united again and once again the dominant European power. Some, including Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, opposed German reunification, remembering the lessons of history.
The German Question is back again. The Greek financial crisis, which has spread to other countries in the eurozone, could not be solved without a major contribution from Germany, the chief financier of the EU. Germany’s finances are in a better state than any other member nations’, the result of decades of fear of a return of hyperinflation that contributed to the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler. As a result, the German constitution requires the country to balance its books, to live within its means. The result is that the nation is solvent, whereas many others, including the U.S. and the U.K., are really not.
So once again Germany is emerging as the dominant country in Europe. What will it do now?
Another way to ask that question is: How do we get from the 27 nation EU to the biblical “10 kings” that constitute the final revival of the Roman Empire (Rev 17:12-14)?
There has been a great deal of talk about the need for greater centralization in Europe—for all the countries to share one common fiscal policy—which would ensure nations like Greece cannot drag the others down again. If that happens, it cannot happen without Germany. Some other countries may pull out rather than lose their financial independence. What remains will be a solid hard core of countries (ten?) closely tied to Germany.
It’s a time of change in Europe. Even if the EU manages to resolve its current crisis, without a common fiscal policy there will be another crisis. The only solution is for the most committed members of the eurozone to commit to a tight fiscal union that would not allow over-spending, effectively embracing current German fiscal policy.
Inevitably, Germany would be the leader….
May 12, 2010
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Since assuming the interim job of president, Norma and I have traveled to Cincinnati on four occasions. We normally drive to Cincinnati on Sunday or Monday of each week, and return to the Cleveland, Tennessee, area on Thursday. This allows us Friday to prepare for the Sabbath, wash clothes, do announcements and prepare a sermon. Then we run the congregation circuit on the Sabbath and duplicate the effort again the next week! The home office staff has been very helpful to both Victor Kubik and me in our desire to serve the Church, which we really appreciate.
On Tuesday of this week I did another “About our Father’s Business” program on “God Preparing the Church.” It will be available online on our members Web site before the end of the week.
Today, Gary Petty, Steve Myers and Darris McNeely are in town to shoot three new Beyond Today television programs. It is exciting to watch our men expound biblical truths to a spiritually starved world.
The latest issues of the Good News, World News and Prophecy, and United News have been finalized and distributed. In other news, many new possible opportunities for use of our Web sites are in the discussion phase as well as opportunities for involvement of the local congregations.
Please stay tune for more details as time marches on. May all go well for you as we finish up the work week.
Roy Holladay, Interim President
April 29, 2010
Robin Webber and Darris McNeely conducted separate World News and Prophecy seminars last weekend in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The meetings were well attended by United Church of God members and Good News magazine subscribers.
Topics covered this weekend were: “Europe: A Rising Superpower,” “Prophetic Decline and Fall of Nations,” and “Who Are the Two Witnesses?” A total of 19 new people attended both seminars. You can view videos of these and other topics on our Web site too.
Canada has hosted four such seminars since last September. Members have commented on the balanced approach and the timely topics presented. The support of the Canadian national office in making these seminars available is very much appreciated. We pray the seeds sown will bear fruit for the congregations.
Managing Editor, World News and Prophecy
Managing Editor, World News and Prophecy