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Letter to Ministry from Chairman/President

April 23, 2010

[The following letter was sent to the United Church of God ministry by Roy Holladay yesterday, April 22.]

Dear Fellow Ministers,

Are we today properly prioritizing the work that God has directed His Church to do? If not, how can we refocus our efforts to better achieve this?

Since the Council of Elders effected a change in the Church’s administration a few weeks ago, I and other Council members have received numerous letters, e-mails and phone calls. Most of them are civil with honest questions, but some are hostile, containing false allegations. Further, many of our young people and others have taken to online resources to put forth their views, some helpful, some destructive. A considerable amount of time has been taken to review these.

Most of these communications, to one degree or another, essentially reflect these two questions—how are we prioritizing the work to be done and how can we best focus our efforts? These are fair questions, and ones that certainly deserve answers.

As the Council of Elders moves to achieve the dual objectives of the Church—preaching the gospel and preparing a people—the answers to those questions are paramount. In providing those answers, I’ll touch on a number of points here, both past and present.

Some people and administrators in the past have thought that we ought to essentially reverse the order of our dual stated purposes. Clearly there is a growing need for younger ministers as our current pastors continue to age and move into a time when they should be considering retirement. One thought is that if we have more ministers, then we will have the capacity to serve more people as God calls them into the Church. If we have to train more new ministers, then some have thought that we need a formal physical facility like what we had in our former fellowship.

But what’s most important? Preaching the gospel to all nations or constructing buildings to train new ministers and young people? Toward what objectives should the Church devote its physical resources now in order to quickly achieve results?

These are complex questions. Over the past 15 years the Council has tried to balance the means to advance on both fronts, all with a fraction of the physical and financial resources that we had in our former fellowship. It’s a classic dilemma, and one that Council members since 1995 have sought answers to urgently.

If we use the New Testament and the first-century Church as a guide, we quickly see that the preaching of the gospel is first and foremost. There is virtually no mention of building programs or physical church construction in any of the activities recorded about the early Church. There is considerable mention of supporting members, particularly, for example, as Paul canvassed congregations in several areas to raise funds for Church members and believers suffering from a famine in Judea.

After we began our current fellowship some 15 years ago, we had to rebuild key assets. We set about codifying our precious spiritual beliefs and setting in place firm standards that would prevent them from being hijacked in the future. We had to rebuild and recreate our literature portfolio. We had to recreate the means to serve our members at the Feast of Tabernacles. In addition, we set a priority on educating our youth in God’s way and established United Youth Camps in our very first year. It was all a mammoth undertaking.

Through God’s mighty and merciful power, we have done all of that.

As we were in the process of recreating all of these necessary standards and materials, some major changes took place. The Internet—completely unknown and unanticipated in past generations of the Church—took a global hold and dramatically changed how people of all nations communicate and receive information. Further, the widespread fragmentation of traditional electronic and print media rendered previously used means of preaching the gospel less effective than in decades past. The rules of effective communication changed. We as a Church had to thus change many of our previous ways of distributing God’s truth to match how people prefer to receive information.

Beyond Today TV Program

And so, to complement traditional print and electronic media (which are still the preferred platforms for multiple millions of people), the Church has now invested much in the way of human and financial resources toward a growing and increasingly strategic Internet presence.

Now, in a related realm of the Internet, advances in broadband speed and capacity have led many universities and training programs to create and offer sophisticated distance learning options. For example, the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) now offers many of its highly regarded college courses for free on its wiki: MIT OpenCourseWare (see http://ocw.mit.edu). Could the Church also use the Internet to achieve both of its objectives?

While all of these developments were taking place, the United Church of God had to wrestle with numerous key decisions. When we started, we didn’t have a permanent facility to conduct the operations of the Church. Many were divided even then as to where the Church’s main operations should be located. Since we were starting with a clean slate, the Church commissioned a formal independent study, which ultimately recommended that the physical home office of the Church be located either in the Cincinnati or Los Angeles areas. Among other benefits, Cincinnati is located near to the median center of the U.S. population, and it was ultimately chosen.

United Church of God Home Office, Cincinnati, Ohio

That decision was not held in favor by many, even though a small numerical majority wanted it. The decision led to division and high emotions. A similar issue came up in 2007 and 2008 (although this time a site in Texas was proposed), and some remain agitated over the way it was either proposed or dealt with. As you well know, movement was actually started toward that objective a few years ago, even though our current facilities in Cincinnati (which are debt free) are presently more than adequate to serve the needs of the Church.

Based on the letters and e-mails we’ve received, some obviously think that a multi-million dollar building program and a move of the home office to Denton, Texas, is still what the Church should do. To that specific topic, I would like to remind you of a few important points.

A full-scale relocation is a very expensive proposition. The limited financial resources that God has presently blessed the Church with are not well-suited to undertake and sustain the kind of financial commitment required for such a move. Very optimistic formal forecasts of income and debt service projections were made a few years ago that appeared to demonstrate how the United Church of God might do this. These optimistic projections tried to show how the Church would service the debt required to embark on a full-scale, multi-million dollar building project.

Let me speak plainly here. Based on what has happened to the global economy over the last 18 months, it is basically nothing short of a God-given miracle that we did not have to service the magnitude of debt that such a building project would have required. We have not come close to achieving the income projections that were forecast back then. Certainly they were well-meaning, but as recent history confirms, they were inaccurate. That’s not conjecture or speculation. That’s real data.

Now today some might say that the recession is ending and better times are ahead—and that from a spiritual perspective, “the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save” (Isaiah 59:1)—and so we should move forward in faith with a building plan. These are well-intentioned thoughts, but do they answer the two questions that were posed at the beginning of this message? Are we truly doing the work that God has directed us to do and, if not, how can we refocus our efforts to better achieve this?

When we left our prior fellowship, we took only two things with us. Those two things are priceless: the precious truth and understanding of God’s purpose for us today, and the experience we collectively gained. We must use that experience to avoid the mistakes of the past. We know what God allowed with the destruction of the ancient first and second temples in Jerusalem, and in recent times the sale to others of the contemporary facilities of our former fellowship across the globe.

As we contemplate those first two questions, here’s an important consideration: When we go about fulfilling what we understand as the dual mission given to the Church, summarized in the statement of preaching the gospel and preparing a people, we are largely dealing with things invisible and physically unseen in this present age. Indeed, after the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples, He said to a future apostle: “Thomas, because you have seen Me [physically], you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

That underscores our main challenge and presents the answer to our two questions. The Church preaches a message that concerns things that are invisible. It preaches this message in an environment that is cluttered and full of disinformation about the real truth of the gospel. As we on the Council and the home office staff—and indeed all of you—look at this challenge, we all wonder how can we even make a start toward achieving this. Compared to Fortune 500 media companies, our entire financial resources—much less our current media budget—are less than a drop in the proverbial bucket.

United Church of God Members in Australia

Fortunately, we have the unbreakable promise that “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). We rely on this promise that God will grant us wisdom to discern what direction He desires us to take in using the resources that He gives us. We also have the priceless resource of the living examples of Church members. In the course of being a part of the Church of God, what Church member has not been asked, “Why do you do that?” In addition to supporting the Church physically, Church members have the far more important role of preaching the gospel through their example. As He says directly to all of us: “You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16).

That vision and focus is what guides the leadership of the Church. When we made the recent administrative change, we wanted to advance the Church according to what we understand to be the direction Christ wants us to take—as the loving and living Head of the Church. We endeavored to treat the former administrators with great respect—despite allegations to the contrary—and our conscience is clear.

Fellow ministers, the examples and directions given by Jesus, Paul and others all state that we are to be wise stewards of the resources God has given us. I think that I can speak for the entire Council that we are perfectly willing to both live by faith and step out on faith, but that faith must be grounded in wisdom and accompanied by a sincere willingness to yield and be led by God.

The leadership of the Church is committed to seeking the best balance in which to apply our resources, both physical and—most importantly—spiritual. To achieve this, we daily seek a multitude of counselors. We lay our plans before God that we may be in alignment with His divine will. Even as God told the Jewish captives in Babylon, the same holds true for us today: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11, New International Version).

Fellow ministers, let us not frustrate those plans. We are doing the work of the living God! Let us now go forward, actively seeking His will and the plans that He has in store for us.

May God and Jesus Christ—the living Head of this Church—continue to inspire and lead you as you serve our precious members.

All the best for a memorable and profitable Sabbath.

In deepest Christian love,

Roy Holladay

Interim President, Chairman, Council of Elders

April 23, 2010 - Posted by | Council of Elders, President's Office |

56 Comments »

  1. Thank you Mr. Holladay, and thanks to all of the men serving on the council of Elders. May God give us all the wisdom to serve Him and Jesus Christ by putting their will first in our lives.

    Comment by michael joseph | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. I know the church has problems but when men run it there will be problems Paul had to deal with and Christ revealed to John in Rev.2 on what he had against the church as I know you will work it out and I hope the church comes out much stronger in the mean time I have learned a lot from the church and this out ways the mistakes the church makes in the mean time I love going to Sabbath services when I feel good as I feel that I miss a lot information when I not there anyway keep up the good works and may God keep blessing his church .

    Comment by steve stolzenburg | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. Thank You Mr Holladay,I don’t know what else to say, this is why I joined with and support the United Church of God,the whole thing is very humbling. Despite all the “drama” Mr Kubik called me yesterday….to see how I was doing.
    have a wonderful Sabbath and thanks for all you and the council do, it is inspiring.
    Paul Spenser UCG member sweden (although I am Manx)

    Comment by paul spenser | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  4. ahhhhh-men

    Comment by David Alan Jutson | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  5. I would like to offer my support to the Council of Elders regarding the stated commission of God’s church: to preach the gospel and to prepare God’s people.Our world grows more troubling by leaps and bounds today. People need to know what the causes of that are;what the future holds, both the bad and the good.This requires us to stay focused,and to strive to work together to do the work we are all called to participate in together. May God help us all to do just that.

    Comment by Becky Swope | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  6. Through the spirit of our Father and His Holy One, they will lead us on to perfection to accomplish their will in us as our garments begin to smell of myrhh, and aloes and cassia which will make our hearts glad as they anoint us with the oil of gladness, just as the Father anointed His Holy One Jesus with the oil of gladness above His companions (the church brethren)whom our Father has called and placed within His Church. Just as Jesus did, our focus must be on Truth, Meekness and Righteousness and we must hate Wickedness and our lips must be full of Grace, as His was, which was given to Him by our Father, which He will give to us. PSALM 45 IS A POWERFUL WITNESS AND TESTIMONY OF THE LOVE OUR FATHER HAS FOR HIS CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH, THE SPIRITUAL VIRGINS – WE WILL BE MADE PRINCES OVER THE EARTH UNDER THE SON OF MAN AS WE TOO GROW IN THE SPIRITUAL QUALITIES WHICH HE POSSESSES THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND WE TOO, IN OUR MAJESTY, WILL RIDE PROSPEROUSLY AS HE DOES, AND OUR RIGHT HAND WILL TEACH US AWESOME THINGS. WE MUST BE ABOUT OUR FATHER’S BUSINESS.

    Comment by dwight stanley stewart | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  7. I have not always agreed with some of the churches decisions. But I stand faithful to God’s church and his leaderhip. I was all for the Denton move, but maybe it was good it didn’t happen because of the state of the economy. I love the church and support it in everyway. But I would like to see us began to put more effort toward financial assistance for our brethren here and especially overseas. Peter was expressly told by Christ three times to take care of his flock. I feel more money should be generated in that area as opposed to the media. It is God who calls people so no matter how much we advertise etc., if God doesn’t call they aren’t going to answer.

    Comment by Kathleen Hansen | April 23, 2010 | Reply

    • We feel very much the same as you Kathleen..staying faithful.We too would have love to see a move to Denton, but it was from an emotional state of mind, We knew that it would be a high risk if the economy kept plummeting. So that is how we prayed about it.That Gods will would be done
      We also agree that we need more personal aid but we are not willing to give up what our camps and activities provide for our youth in teaching them, and preparing them in Gods way of life. We have really seen the fruit in the results of our people, and Youth in that United is a very God fearing and orientated Church. Filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit There is Much Love and respect One to another as well as to the brethren and fellow man out side the church….So we will continue with you to fast and pray that our leadership will have doors opened to various ways to preach the Gospel to a needy world, because right now we are a healthy body, to bring those he calls into, to be nourished and fed.
      Yes God does the calling, Thats Gods work and all of this is. One of the purpose’s of us be an organization is that of the Preaching His word that they may hear. That we be Christian in our fellowship that he can bring them, home

      Comment by Dean and Sherry Burns | April 24, 2010 | Reply

  8. Thanks so much to the Council of Elders for making sound, wise decisions. Many of us fully support you. I’m excited and happy about the direction United is going…thanks again!

    Comment by Doug Collison | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  9. Last Sunday, the BT was aired for the first time on commercial TV markets in Boise, Peoria, Indianapolis, Springfield or Cincinnati. Presumably, this is only the start of a paradigm shift in doing “about our Father’s business” and will eventually reach out to countries around the world and not be confined within the TV markets of America.

    And for clarification, the need for newly trained ministers and cultivate our young people falls under the Church mission of “preparing the people,” for the very purpose of preaching the gospel to the people of God which Christ instructed Peter to “feed my lamb.”

    Shouldn’t the question be phased this way to avoid obscurity,” What is most important ? Preaching the gospel to the people of God or to the Gentiles? This to me is a more valid question since preaching has always been equated to feeding God’s people.

    And by the way, living an unadulterated Christian way of life is the most effective gospel preaching to church members and to the world in general (John 13:35). Furthermore, brotherly love, servant leadership and self-sacrifice of Christians are more availing, edifying and acceptable to God than internal strife and dissimulation.

    Comment by Carlota Guzman | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  10. This letter was very encouraging. It made me very grateful and honored that I am apart of the work and apart of the Home Office staff.

    Thanks to the council for being wise stewards of the tithes and offerings that people send in. That you are aware of the times we are living in, and the great hardship that many members have had to face these last few months.

    Many people have been hit by this present economy and has also had to take steps to cut their on budgets in order to make ends meet. My own husband has had his hours cut and did not receive a cost of living raise this year, and he barely escaped a permanent lay off, which still could be in the future.

    It is encouraging to know that COE is aware of the great sacrifice of every member, who sends in their tiths and offerings when you make you decisions. The members tithe in faith, knowing that God will bless them and will help them when they face paying their own bills.

    I do remember the days when we first started with United. We had nothing and look what God has blessed us with, a beautiful Home Office, that is paid for, along with many other blessings, that you have already mentioned.

    Thanks Mr. Holladay for all your hard work and sacrifice and thanks again for this very encouraging letter.God will bless us! Thanks so much and keep up the good work. You and COE have my gratitude, prayers and support!

    Janet Treadway

    Comment by Janet Treadway | April 23, 2010 | Reply

    • How did you feel when Mr. Kilough was President? Was it the same? Has it changed?

      Do you have any thanks for Mr.Kilough and all the work he did?

      Just wondering. Dedication to people goes a lot deeper than the tide of the power structure at any given time.

      Comment by Linda French | April 23, 2010 | Reply

      • We absolutely Feel God blessed us under Mr Kilough’s time as President!
        We heard and were taught some of the most God Inspired Sermons and lessons ..Words that Changed our heart to desire to be the children God has called us to be.
        We believe a very good work was done in the over all growth of the Church.
        This is not about a spiritual conflict in that way at all ..It it is about differences of opinions, in Spirit led people, that does not get resolved and someone on either side of the issue makes a call, right or wrong, that forces a decision….While he was their we loved him and all of our Ministers and supported them the same as we do today.
        This is about brotherly love, loyalty to a higher power, and Peace and Unity. To what ever leadership God has placed us under.
        Who being the head, is our “King” Our Lord Jesus Christ
        Much Thanks goes to Mr Kilough, and all of the People working together at head quarters while he was President.

        Comment by Dean and Sherry Burns | April 24, 2010 | Reply

      • Amen, Thanks Linda

        Comment by Kenneth Bounds | April 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Janet, it has to be said you are also appreciated by us out here (and in there) for what you do in the “engine room”. It was a pleasure to work that day with you in 99 and also to pass through the mailing room in 04 and see you and Lina(spelling) and her husband. In fact it was great to see all the office staff. God has blessed us with a great team.
      Paul

      Comment by paul spenser | April 24, 2010 | Reply

  11. I think it is vitally important to place a high priority on preaching the gospel and the Ezekiel warning to the public through whatever means is most effective. We have to be willing to sacrifice to get God’s truth out to others who need it, recognizing that we would not have God’s truth if it were not for the sacrifices of those who were before us.

    Going all out to give our nations a warning and the hope of the gospel while there is still time for them to repent is an expression of love towards our neighbors.

    Comment by ptgauthor | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  12. Thank you for being open in sharing with the membership the workings of all of this .. I am confident that those that are in a position of governance in our organization are seeking God’s guidance, and as such, He has given it .. and so we will follow where He leads, to the best of our human ability. And, I know that, though they have left the ranks of the administration, that God will continue to use the Kiloughs, the Franks and the others to do His work, as they have so faithfully done up to now .. my love and prayers to you all for serving in this capacity .. it is no small thing.

    Comment by Robin Wojcik | April 23, 2010 | Reply

    • We pray for God to use them as He sees fit. God’s Church is the body of people in it, every one. Without all its members a body is lame. God give us strength. AMEN

      Comment by Kenneth Bounds | April 25, 2010 | Reply

  13. Please join April 25 – A Day of Fasting for UCG Unity.
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=102376486472276&ref=nf

    Comment by kjc | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  14. Thanks Mr. Holladay! I appreciate this letter. As others have stated, I feel that the council is working with great wisdom and restraint. Down through time Satan has always tried to attack God’s authority, now is no different and it will always be this way until Christ removes him! Our current trouble is just that, a challenge to authority motivated by Satan.
    Once again our constitution and bylaws are working!
    Our prayers are with you, be strong and continue God’s work of preaching the gospel and preparing the people of God!

    Comment by Bart Bornhorst | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  15. Well said, Mr. Holladay! Just what we needed to hear! Thank you for pointing out that God’s work isn’t about where a church is located, but how we preach the gospel in word and deed.

    Comment by Susan Durnil | April 23, 2010 | Reply

  16. Thank you, Mr. Holladay, and the Council of Elders for emphasising using wisdom and sound decision-making when considering the future direction of the United Church of God. I appreciate this blog because it helps to keep me, and all members informed. Personally, I identify with many of the things that you have said, Mr. Holladay. Having been in God’s church 35 years, I have seen many of these things before, and I am confident that ‘God will see us thru”. I will continue to pray for you, the Council of Elders, and the ministry and members, daily. Thank you!

    Comment by Dean Hardester | April 24, 2010 | Reply

  17. I don’t know why, but there seems to be so much anxiety in the membership of the church these last few weeks. Everyone I have asked said that the President resigned. But why? No one seemed to know and the statements from the council have previously been so unspecific.

    At last, some answers. It’s because everyone is so concerned about prioritizing the work and refocusing our efforts to preach the gospel. After so much uncertainty and unrest, it is refreshing to have all my questions answered. Thanks so much Mr. Holladay!

    Comment by Sally Abernathy | April 24, 2010 | Reply

  18. Personally, I can’t figure out what all the hostility is about. If the council says that the President was trying to harm the church then we should simply believe them and not ask any more questions. I mean, if God is leading the church, then if there were any bad actors, God would never let them win. I certainly can’t think of an example where that has ever happened before. I think Mr. Holladay’s right that we should not let such little things distract us when the work of God is so important.

    Comment by Simon Bilbao | April 24, 2010 | Reply

    • if God is leading the church, then if there were any bad actors, God would never let them win.

      Did the ministers who organized United think this way between 1985-95?

      If God was leading that other group all along, they would have stayed.

      If God doesn’t let “bad actors” win, how do we explain the overrun of Israel and Judah long ago? Much less Jerusalem in 70 AD?

      Comment by Richard | April 25, 2010 | Reply

      • Richard,
        You referred to Israel and Judah. You referred to Jerusalem in 70 AD. Remember Moses? God did not let him enter the promised land because he smote the rock to hard to get water instead of following what God told him to do, he smote the rock out of anger. Even though it was anger at the children of Israel, it displeased God. Yet Moses still led Israel to the promised land.
        Remember King David? Samuel was commanded by God to anoint David King over Israel. Now David was a soldier and fought many battles. David also had his own problems. We know by God’s Word that David had many wives and concubines and don’t forget he had a man sent into battle to die so he could be with another man’s wife. Yet David prayed three times a day and even with all his faults, our Eternal God is the only one who truly knows the heart of each man. God says that King David was a man after His own heart. When this man realized when he was wrong, he would repent and God watched this.
        Sir, men are men, not gods. We are responsible for our own actions just the same way the ministers are responsible for theirs. God watches and commands us to do the same. Watch therefore that you may be accounted worthy to escape. We are not to condemn anyone and we are to love our brothers, but we are to judge and be wise. God did not want us to become puppets to follow others. We are to become Sons of God; and our future is bright. As I said in the beginning men are men now and we have human nature now and we must continually strive to perfection by seeking first the Kingdom of God. Don’t ever assume anything. Prove all things and hold fast that which is good.

        Comment by Kenneth Bounds | April 25, 2010 | Reply

      • Dear Richard,

        Thank you so much for NOTICING and being AWAKE enough to recognize that there is something totally wrong with what what I wrote despite its palatability within current church leadership.

        I didn’t want it to get deleted, so I camouflaged it, sort of as an experiment to investigate our current groupthink.

        Kudos.
        Simon

        Comment by Simon Bilbao | May 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Mr. Bilboa
      Sir I respect your views but I wish for you to think about something. I don’t know how long you have been going to Church here, but I do know men are still men and enjoy leadership roles making themselves to be wise and in charge. I am not saying that is all that is going on here, but I have been around long enough to know that even God’s Church with God at the head still is on this earth run by men. At one time, I too thought that God must be controlling everything that went on in His Church and blindly followed what I was told without question. My faith was strong and my beliefs in God’s ministers was that they could do no wrong because they were after all, God’s Ministers. Kinda like when your a child believing your parents can do no wrong. As we mature both in life and in God’s Church, we learn that like our parents whom God allows us to be trained by, our Ministers whom God has allowed to teach us are men also. They have human nature with faults like our parents. God says for us to prove them now herewith. It is also our job to learn and study and pray for understanding. Take that understanding that our God has given and put it to use. Take that wisdom that our Creator has allowed us to gain and wisely discern whether those things be true. In order to do this, we must judge even the smallest matters. Therefore in order to judge wisely, we must know ALL the facts from both sides.
      A minister from long ago, Mr. Howard Clark, told us to beware and remember that we must be ready to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling before God. Now we have come to another time of having to beware and pay close attention to exactly what is going on and not be mislead. I am not saying that anyone is being mislead now. I am however saying pray, fast, study and pray some more. God is Ruler over His Church. Men are not.

      Comment by Kenneth Bounds | April 25, 2010 | Reply

      • Dear Ken

        I am in complete agreement with you.

        Prove all things and hold fast that which actually IS good. Not that which sounds nice. If it is not true, it is not good, no matter how nice it may sound.

        Kudos to you too.
        Simon

        Comment by Simon Bilbao | May 2, 2010 | Reply

    • Satan who is the sworn enemy to God and to His people is described in chapter 2 of the book of Job to be pushing forward his malicious prosecution of Job whom he hated because God loved him for he was a blameless & upright man – one who feared God and shunned evil.
      Job’s afflictions began from the restless malice of Satan, by the Lord’s permission for wise and HOLY purposes. Satan is the Father of evil spirit – the enemy of God and the accuser of all brethren who is continually seeking to distress, lead astray and if possible to destroy those who love God.
      We learned how Satan critically censures Job. This is the common way of slanderers – to suggest or impute that which they have no reason to think is true. There is nothing men should fear more than being guilty of this sin and to sow discord among brethren.
      Those that slander and denigrate good people are permitted to have their ‘sayings’ but NOT without divine retribution. Just as God suffered Job to be tried, as well as He suffered Peter to be sifted, God is allowing some of the UCG ministers to suffer insults, defamation and persecutions for a divine purpose.
      Take note that Satan has no power to afflict godly men beyond what is given him from above. And uses people as instruments for his evil plan and execution. Let us pray in earnest that we may be delivered from our accuser in this regard.

      Comment by Carlota Guzman | April 26, 2010 | Reply

      • This is in response to the posting of Mr. Simon Bilbao with no honest intention to afflict but to put things to his remembrance, because men are well known to be forgetful.

        Comment by Carlota Guzman | April 26, 2010 | Reply

      • Carlota-

        Trust me, absolutely no offense is taken. I should have been more careful in constructing my snarky criticism of Mr. Holladay’s letter. I feel like this whole church drama is dragging Mr. Kilough’s reputation through the mud needlessly. The way this whole thing has been handled makes me very sad.

        Kudos
        Simon

        Comment by Simon Bilbao | May 2, 2010 | Reply

  19. After the breakup fifteen years ago I was left confused and wondering where to go. I chose United because it was the most open and honest place. Even though there’s been some problems recently, which are to be expected every so often, I think it’s great that we have leadership that is so willing to speak openly and honestly, diligently following the admonition of 1 Thessalonians 5:22 to avoid all appearance of evil, after what has happened. I felt so encouraged and uplifted by the sincerity of this letter that reflects the spirit of United so well.

    Comment by Billy Ferntooth | April 24, 2010 | Reply

  20. Thank you, Mr. Holladay, for giving us confidence that Satan is not going to be allowed to disrupt the important work the church is doing. I have been so troubled by recent events, even fearing that we were nearing a split! Now I feel once again the loving hand of God guiding our leadership who are allowing the light of his glorious truth to shine into the inner workings of the church. Once again, Satan’s hand has been stayed from harming us. We should all put the past behind us now and go on to preach the gospel!

    Comment by Barbara Renata | April 24, 2010 | Reply

  21. I was so encouraged by this letter. Thank you so much for being an example of Godly leadership during difficult times. The thing that is so inspiring about the true church is how we all try to practice what we preach from the leadership all the way down to the membership, and how we are all so focused on the things of God that even in times of trouble we will not be distracted from what is most important-doing the work of God. I am so grateful to both Mr. Holladay and the council for being such stable examples for us all.

    Comment by Jimmy Treadle | April 24, 2010 | Reply

    • I feel so much the same way Jimmy. I feel as though there have been so many allegations that I am simply not interested in. I trust the leadership of the church completely and know that God is always making everything work out for the best. I for one do not want to become sucked into such pointless distractions. We all know everyone at the home office is a selfless servant and has the best interests of the church at heart, so we should focus on the work at hand.

      Comment by Susan Jones | April 24, 2010 | Reply

      • I agree with you that God would never let anything bad happen within His church. Even when we all left WCG to form United, it was always clear to me that God was leading and guiding His church. I always knew that God was guiding the leadership of the church under WCG, and I feel exactly the same way now. Just like we didn’t let such trivial matters as church leadership distract us then, we shouldn’t be distracted by it now either.

        Comment by Anthony Bergstrom | April 24, 2010 | Reply

      • It is true that we must stay focued on doing God’s will and not be distracted by who has done what. It is also true that we need godly leadership in the church. Church leadership is not a trivial matter. It is very important. But, we should not put our trust in man (Proverbs 29:25). Men will rise and fall. So, let us put our trust in God. He is in charge and He will not forsake us as long as we do not forsake Him.

        Comment by Steve Diggins | April 25, 2010 | Reply

      • Dear Steve-

        Thank you for noticing that maybe we shouldn’t necessarily trust ministers with authority any more than we should trust civil servants. I love those oxymorons, don’t you?

        -Susan

        Comment by Susan Jones | May 2, 2010 | Reply

  22. Thank you Paul, It was a pleasure having you there.

    Comment by Janet Treadway | April 24, 2010 | Reply

  23. In regards to Simon Balbio s comment above . . . i wish that his comment was at least corrected , especially being that so many displeased comments regarding recent changes in office , have actually been deleted on this blog . Simon- no one ever said that mr kilough was ‘trying to harm the church’ ! So no . That should not just be accepted as fact !

    Comment by Sarah Dean | April 25, 2010 | Reply

    • I too could not see any evidence for the greater issue, that neither Mr. Kilough nor Mr. Holladay were standing up like Joseph Tkach Sr. and harming the people by slowly teaching another gospel.

      It did however show that the governing documents that the UCG has, shares a similiar weakness as the former WCG experienced under that form of church government. Which is a form of government a fair number of members of the CoG still share in the LCG.

      Either way, wether it’s UCG or LCG, Kenneth’s last two sentences below is good advice because, “…even as THERE WILL BE false teachers among you” (2 Pe 2:1)

      However I believe in being watchful a person should look at David’s example and how he handled Saul. So rather than looking for heresy hunts, I try to know Jesus Christ who can and actively removes men who He doesn’t want there. Even large numbers of people for His purpose as was experienced shortly after the death of Mr. Armstrong.

      Comment by Norbert | April 25, 2010 | Reply

      • Thank you Norbet

        Comment by Kenneth Bounds | April 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you Ms Dean

      Comment by Kenneth Bounds | April 25, 2010 | Reply

  24. I agree that we all knew that God was leading His Church in WCG. This makes me wonder how the leadership changes in WCG could ever have strayed from preaching what had been preached for many years, had been proven over and over by millions of people, both in governance and members, which are all part of the Body of the Church, turn so drastically away from what had been taught and preached. We must remember, we must work out our own salvation in fear and trembling before God. We must study, fast and pray for guidance, understanding and wisdom concerning the truth of God and understand at the same time that men are in positions of authority in God’s Church. As long as “men” have human nature, we must be watchful and not get complacent concerning what they are telling us and NOT just believe what ever we are told without question. We must prove all things and hold fast that which is good.

    Comment by Kenneth Bounds | April 25, 2010 | Reply

  25. I posted yesterday and due to another view point, my comment was deleted. What is UCG afraid of now? If they are doing good, then nothing will stop them. If not, then all know what will occur. The letter is not informative and lacks honesty. Outlining the good, when something is rotten inside does not generate confidence nor any hope for the future of this group.

    Comment by Mary Veronica Burke | April 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Dear Mary Burke,
      It is easy for me to understand stress. It is easy for me to understand anger. I even admit I don’t know many things and have much to learn. I do hope that the Eternal Creator, will continue to teach me with compassion and mercy. God is the High Priest and Ruler. He is the Husbandman of His Church. Remember to search for truth. Don’t condemn and don’t hate. Watch and pray constantly. God will show us the right thing to do and He shall be our God and we shall be His people.

      Comment by Kenneth Bounds | April 25, 2010 | Reply

      • Hello, Why do many believe that someone has hate and anger when they need clarity? One can certainly be profoundly disappointed in someone without hating them.

        The differences cannot be determined or judged because they are not known. I don’t know what is up or down and hope to have some clarity to make an informed decision. God is, of course, in charge, if we don’t know that by now we are walking the wrong path. However, the day hasn’t come where all sit around and wait for Him to do something. Kenneth are you going to just sit and wait for something good to happen after you have prayed? Just watch? Is that what you have learned? Somehow you have mistakenly connected wanting a real resolution and not cover-up as being an incorrect course. It is not. Compassion and mercy are shown in being upfront and stop beating about the bushes with side bars. Humans made the mess and it needs to be resolved before all those good works of the organization can turn into a viable home for people looking for hope. How the organization resolves this longstand issue of two faces (or more) will demonstrate where we move forward. Until that happens, sorry we are going to go nowhere fast. Those who have supported UCG deserve some intense and direct responses to questions and not continual avoidance. That is not possible at this point so far. That, is a shame.

        Comment by Mary Veronica Burke | April 25, 2010 | Reply

    • Have you gone to your brother (Mr. Holladay) and told him his fault (lack of honesty) between you and him alone?Please see Matthew 18:15-17.

      Comment by Steve Diggins | April 25, 2010 | Reply

      • My brother has made himself known by his fruits. What upsets you so much? Do you really know what is occuring? To have an “official letter” that is less than totally honest is not showing brotherly love. The fruits are obvious unless your mind is set. Mine is not. Willingly the understanding of the situation should reveal itself when those who have information share that and do not obscure the truth. Steve, this is not between Mr. Holladay and me. It is a larger issue and you know that.

        Comment by Mary Veronica Burke | April 25, 2010 | Reply

      • It is obvious to me that your mind is set.

        Comment by Steve Diggins | April 26, 2010 | Reply

      • Ms Burke,
        I believe you have not read the rest of my comments concerning this matter. I don’t think we can or should make any decisions without all the facts. Do You? Yes we support God’s Church. Who are they? The people God has Chosen. Should we do anything before we know all the truth? We must pray for God’s people and keep in mind that God will continue to lead His People, “Church”. You shall know them by theirs fruits. It takes time for fruit to grow. Watch therefore to be accounted worthy to escape what we all know is coming.

        Comment by Kenneth Bounds | April 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Please consider this old saying. There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth.

      Comment by Steve Diggins | April 26, 2010 | Reply

    • Dear Mary-

      Thank you for being honest enough within your own mind to notice how this letter is basically one long obfuscation, as all communications to the brethren have been since he took over as president.

      Since when do people who want the truth have to also be angry or bitter? Since when did God use spin and information control?

      Since I knew that responses that simply stated the truth were being deleted, I wondered if it was possible to state my dissatisfaction in more subtle form that would not get deleted.

      So I crafted a response that fits the organizational narrative we like to tell ourselves, but lacked honesty and contained internal contradictions. Basically I just did the same thing Mr. Holladay did. Or in other words, I conducted a little “experiment.”

      Sincerely, I commend you Mary for wanting clarity and telling the truth, and basically, just being AWAKE. At least it seems they’ve stopped censoring the brethren for now.

      Kudos to you too
      -Simon

      Comment by Simon Bilbao | May 2, 2010 | Reply

  26. It is incredibly VITAL and CRITICAL for our continual prayers, as well as fasting on a regular basis, for the wisdom and guidance of our council, administrators, ministers, and fellow members. This is a very crucial task for us to spiritually support our family. We help serve the membership in all capacities by our fervent contact with our Father to help us continue with His plan, and to not be distracted. We CANNOT be distracted during these final days. We must get on our knees and ask for guidance, and not allow Satan to stir the pot. It’s time, past time, to rally around and follow the instructions that were given to us – we as the humble elect ARE striving for the same thing.

    Comment by Karen Deaton | April 26, 2010 | Reply

  27. Dear Mary Veronica Burke–

    Your questions and statements were both reasoned and reasonable. Your willingness to answer accusation (implied or stated) with careful clarification shows both maturity on your part and some possible misogynist tendencies on the part of some of your critics.

    If it is any encouragement to you at least those banished from their high offices have not been banished from fellowshipping with the brethren which once upon a time not to very long ago was standard operating procedure.

    That it is finally dawning on our “teachers” that dissent does not necessarily equal disloyalty is indeed progress albeit achingly slow and incrementally tiny. Surely that is how our Heavenly Father must view our own progress on the road of repentance at times, no?

    Tim McCaulley
    Jacksonville FL

    Dear Simon Bilbao–

    Your smarter by a half ruse to generate comments gives me the impression that you have, in effect, become what you profess to dislike (obfuscating and distracting). That your clever explanation has been posted and allowed to remain indicates that maybe the current adminstration of the UCGIA Inc. isn’t quite as devious as you suppose.

    Tim McCaulley
    Jacksonville FL

    Comment by Tim McCaulley | May 14, 2010 | Reply


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