Inside United: Realtime

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Mario Seiglie Gives Update From Chile

[The following update was written by Mario Seiglie, who was sent to Chile to examine the state of the Church in Latin America. This letter was written by him to the Latin American brethren of the United Church of God.]

July 1, 2010

Dear brethren,

Greetings from Santiago, Chile! It’s an honor to address you as the representative of the President and interim Regional Coordinator of the Spanish areas, Dennis Luker, and the Council of Elders.

This past Sabbath, June 26, we met with 135 brethren in Santiago and the next Monday, with 28 brethren in Temuco. We had an opportunity to clear up many questions people had. It’s always very important to get the information at its source. I was sent to Latin America to explain some administrative changes that have happened in the Spanish region. Leon Walker had been replaced as Regional Coordinator of the Latin American area by the then president, Roy Holladay, and he did so with the backing of the Council of Elders.

Then, the new president, Dennis Luker, was appointed to be the interim Regional Coordinator of the Spanish area, which is all done according to our Constitution, Bylaws and Rules of Association of the United Church of God, an International Association. Mr. Walker is an employee of this Church and receives his salary from the home office in Cincinnati, Ohio. His superior is the president of the United Church of God, and there has never been any doubt about it.

I can inform you that when United began in 1995, I was the pastor and president of the churches in Chile. Back then, we unanimously decided among the pastors and ministers of the Latin region that we didn’t want to establish an inter-american council, but just have national councils in some areas, and that we would be administered from the home office in the United States. Mr. Walker agreed and he was accepted to the position of Regional Coordinator over the Spanish area by the then president of the United Church of God in the U.S., David Hulme.

Mr. Walker began to receive his salary from the home office in the U.S. He was never chosen by the pastors of the different regions—as now a document has appeared where an inter-american organization is said to exist. I was the president and pastor of the Chilean churches for the first six years of United’s history and I have never heard of such a document. We can’t find any such document at the home office nor is there any knowledge of such a document in Chile.

In Chile, the official Constitution of the United Church of God established in 2002 mentions in its article 30 that the pastor and president shall be appointed by the Regional Coordinator of the United Church of God, an International Association. Here is Article #30 translated into English: “Article 30 – The directory will consist of the president, secretary, treasurer and directors. The president, who will also be the director of the entity and the directory, is not elected. He is the pastor of the congregations in Chile and as such, is appointed by the Director of the Spanish Area of the United Church of God, an International Association.”

Nowhere in the document is there any mention of the pastor having the right to elect or remove the Regional Coordinator over him. This supposed “Latin Constitution” that all of a sudden has appeared from nowhere, where it says the pastors of the Spanish region have the right to elect or remove their own Regional Director, doesn’t even have a date on it! So, according to the Chilean law, it has no value until it has been duly registered.

What I can tell you is that our official UCG Web site for Latin America was taken over by the person in charge and it was used to propagate information about a group of ministers in Latin America that are now following Mr. Walker. The organization is being called on the Web site “The Latin American United Church of God.” We are very saddened by what has happened and things are slowly normalizing. These are the facts.

I can also notify you that President Dennis Luker, as interim Regional Coorinator of the Spanish area has replaced Saul Langarica, the pastor and president in Chile, with Jaime Gallardo, a veteran Chilean minister who is now the new pastor and president of the United Church of God in Chile.

We understand, brethren, that this has been very difficult for all of us and we know God has a purpose for it that he will eventually reveal. Stay strong and remember the words of the apostle Paul, “No one wins an athletic contest without obeying the rules” (2 Tim. 2:5, CEV).

This Sabbath we will again meet on the 13th floor of the Panamerican Hotel in downtown Santiago, Calle Teatinos with Huerfanos, at 2:30 p.m., and later, at 6:00 p.m., we will have a question and answer session.

Warmest regards,

Mario Seiglie

July 1, 2010 - Posted by | Council of Elders, Home Office, President's Office |

11 Comments »

  1. Thank you for clearing this up for everyone. It is good when the church openly explains such things instead of letting things run rampant, as they often do.

    Comment by Lorelei Nettles | July 1, 2010 | Reply

  2. Que triste.

    To borrow from a popular protest chant in Latin America: “The church united can never be defeated.”

    May all ministers and members carefully review I Corinthians 1 — and focus on the One who matters most.

    Comment by Richard | July 1, 2010 | Reply

  3. It is imperative that we put our differences behind us and move forward, united in love for one another! Let’s reach out with a reconciliatory hand to all of our Father’s children! We shall by no means take any action that will instantly sever relationships that have been built and cultivated over many years and decades! Let’s put any ‘selfish ambition’ behind us and embrace one another with brotherly love!

    Greetings from Minnesota!

    Comment by David W. Morker | July 1, 2010 | Reply

  4. Thank you for explaining what has been going on. I’m looking forward to hear Mr. Luker’s Sermon this Sabbath. Christ is the Head of the Church. That is the directive from the Father from the beginning of time. We need to understand this more fully and obediently live it.Creating an atmosphere of transparency helps to magnify this principle further. Onward, we go!

    Comment by David Alan Jutson | July 1, 2010 | Reply

  5. Thanks Mario for all your sacrifice.

    Comment by Janet Treadway | July 1, 2010 | Reply

  6. It is a sad time in the COG when ambition takes precedence over our duty to serve the people of God. It is a time to focus on the One that is the Head–Christ–and reflect on the example He set for us to emulate. I previewed Mr. Luker’s sermon. It is heartfelt, puts Jesus Christ front and center and should be an encouragement to the Church at this critical time.

    Comment by John Miller | July 1, 2010 | Reply

    • Well stated John!
      Glen

      Comment by Glen White | July 2, 2010 | Reply

  7. Hello Mario,
    Thank you for your obvious dedication to the Brethren and your report on Chile.
    I too appreciate the openess so we can all clearly see the facts.
    Please pass on our highest regards and promise of supporting prayers to Jaime Gallardo. Christ always supplies the needs for His people.
    Warmest,
    Glen

    Comment by Glen White | July 2, 2010 | Reply

  8. Thank you, Mr. Seigile, for presenting the facts and helping to put a stop to any rumors that might be spreading around Latin America. I hope that everyone in Latin America remains with God’s Truth and isn’t driven away by the actions of a few men.

    I hope those few men see where they need to change and come back to God’s truth and His church united.

    Susan Durnil

    Comment by Susan Durnil | July 2, 2010 | Reply

    • We all need to search for true understanding! See and read both sides of an issue and pray before for understanding and discernment from God above to see where His spirit lies. It is not always where one would think.

      Comment by Animal Lover | August 26, 2010 | Reply

  9. Many of us deeply appreciate the faithful and humble service of Mr. Seiglie and so many other COG ministers and their wives; the continued encouragement, direction and focus God provides to us through them. I especially appreciate the example set by the men who recently, respectfully, stepped down from their administrative positions. Despite the differences of thought and opinion that led to those recent moves, they exhibited obvious care and concern to the rest of the congregation by their subsequent attitude and actions. They exemplified a servant’s heart, and that has surely earned them even more love and respect for their office and service.
    Many of us are also well aware that it must be a hard balance to strike for the UCG leadership not to divulge too much right off regarding specific matters in order to give individuals a chance to make changes / allow a matter to come to fruition, or to divulge too little and then be castigated for doing so. May the words of Paul to Timothy in 1 Tim 6:11-12 be applied daily in prayer for the ministry and our brethren everywhere, and that God grants us godly love, wisdom, direction, and patience in these increasingly difficult times.

    Comment by T Briley | July 3, 2010 | Reply


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