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Illegal Use of United Church of God Name and Logo

[The following was sent by president Dennis Luker to the United Church of God ministry December 16.]

Dear Fellow Elders,

Please read the following important memo from Media and Communications Services.

Thank you,

Denny.

====================================================================

December 16, 2010

Re: Illegal Use of United Church of God, an International Association Name and Logo

Fellow Elders,

You may be aware that a few anonymously prepared letters that are critical of the Council of Elders and/or other Church leaders have been posted online that appear under the letterhead of our trademarked United Church of God, an International Association (“UCGIA”) name and logo or seal. The use of our name and logo as contained in the letterhead from these anonymous writers falsely suggests that UCG leadership has endorsed such communications or that they in some fashion represent legitimate communication on behalf of the United Church of God.

By wrongly using these corporate symbols, the documents appear to be clearly intended to anonymously communicate, in what appears to be an official capacity, with the ministry and congregations of UCGIA. This wrong use of corporate logos and seals has caused some confusion as to the origin of these letters. As noted below, the Church has taken action to halt this inappropriate usage.

We would like to point out that the use of such anonymous tactics is not new to the Church of God. The apostle Paul warned ministers and members in ancient Greece about forgeries of church documents even in the first century: “Now we do implore you…to keep your heads and not be thrown off balance by any prediction or message or letter purporting to come from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Phi).

It remains a sad mystery as to how anonymous writings can hope to possess any degree of credibility, particularly when these writings also illegally use the Church’s letterhead (name and logo or seal) as a prop for legitimacy.

With regard to this wrongful use of the Church’s name and logo, the Church’s copyright attorney is sending letters to those who are helping to distribute these anonymous letters using the UCGIA Marks. The letter advises the parties concerned that doing so constitutes unlawful acts of trademark infringement, dilution and passing off, and the like, which are in clear violation of UCGIA’s incontestable federal registrations for the trademark, service mark and trade name UNITED CHURCH OF GOD and its associated (globe) logo.

The letter includes an appropriate legal demand that these parties cease and desist from allowing or promoting such usage. In the interim, please be aware if you or any one in your congregation should happen to come across such documents, they do not represent legitimate communication from UCGIA.

Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

December 16, 2010 - Posted by | Council of Elders, Media and Communications, President's Office |

39 Comments »

  1. The Son of man walks up and down among His Church – He will take care of the matter. I am so sorry some have taken this avenue of approach instead of pursuing true unity in the spirit of peace. Be strong and of good courage – the Son of man is with you.

    Comment by dwight s. stewart | December 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. After being referred to this online website, I’ve found it to contain numerous inaccuracies and full of one sided bias. When I saw the logo/letter head, I thought for a minute they were going to post something official. But finding no author by scrolling to the bottom, and then reading that the letter was anonymously written, I began having doubt as to its legitimacy. After thoroughly reading all three letters, I realized its fruit was rotten. I can only think of two words to these author(s). “Grow Up!”

    Comment by Jon G | December 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Be very careful with your choice of words, sir.

      Comment by Member in TX | December 16, 2010 | Reply

      • Thank you “Member in TX”, I will try to mince my words. Back in 1995 our WWCG Minister (in TX) chose to peacfully leave and resigned and is now a Minister in UCG, others chose to “rescue as many as possible from the former organization before leaving”. My respect goes to those who either peacfully stay or leave without causing division or “fishing for members from their former organization.” My former Minister (now serving in another State), is still in that category. Many of us formed/joined UCG and continue to peacfully do so. “We (UCG) welcome all who wish to peacefully attend.” However a minority number (less than 1/2 and maybe less than a 1/3) of Elders/Ministers/Members are forming a new group, which of and by itself is not a bad thing since they think differently. But some are “fishing for members” from UCG (soon to be their latest former organization) and resorting to bad behavior while still employed by UCG. Take for example this quote from the latest Director’s bio of the newly formed financial entity for the new group (which has been in existance for several Months). “He has been a ministerial advisor to IAO since its inception”. This latest director was a former UCG Minister until just a few weeks ago, and didn’t go quietly. Simply put, he should have peacefully resigned at IAO’s inception.

        Comment by Jon G | December 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Jon, maybe “Doug” will heed your admonition to grow up (he was listed in the document properties for one of the files).

      Comment by Paul | December 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you Jon. You are absolutely right. This is not only infantile, it shows the lack of morals others will stoop to, to achieve what they want. In all the controvsey I have asked just 1 thing: Show me from God’s Word that what you are doing is right. Those who oppose authority have not even bothered to respond.

      Comment by Keith Willis | December 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Webmaster, why did you leave this comment on this site considering its offensive language?

      Comment by Collin Naidoo | December 18, 2010 | Reply

  3. Good but I think the brethren should know of this. My husband was sent this by someone. We were upset and told our minister as well as some of minister friends in other areas.

    Comment by Marilyn | December 16, 2010 | Reply

  4. Being as I am a “little one” in the church…baptized in September 2009, I can only express my disappointment and sadness in regards to the current situation.

    I want “mommy and daddy to stop fighting” is how I feel.

    I would like to ask the 126 men who (did not sign) the last three letters using UCG letterhead…if you stand in the light, do you not want to be seen? Scripture says righteousness walks in light and wickedness walks in darkness. If you truly feel that you are in the “right” then why not sign your name? Why not claim authorship of the letter if you crafted it with a few others? Being anonymous or “one of the 126” to me…seems unlike what Christ taught. It has the “appearance” of evil…don’t you think?

    How we can even authenticate that all 126 men with names on a previous letter…have agreed to the wording of every letter after that?

    If they are all willing to abide by the system of governance in place…why not wait until the next election and vote for council members THEY want to have in office?

    What happened to the ideas of forgiveness, long-suffering, patience, faith and love…the very thing ALL those men who signed the letter have been preaching to the congregations over the years? Why can’t you “practice what you preach?”

    Patience and long-suffering and love really COUNTS…when you don’t get your way. That is sacrifice and truth of character. Even when you feel in your heart you are RIGHT…you give in to the other party out of love. Is that also not what Jesus taught?

    Again, I’m just a “little one” and my discernment isn’t as developed as all 126 men of past letters…but to me, I am seeing our leadership (on both sides) forgo the very values and “fruits of the spirit” that all you learned men have been teaching for many years.

    I wonder out loud if men on BOTH “sides” have asked God honestly, “Am I a wolf or am I a sheep?” Wolves don’t know they are wolves. (I am not accusing anyone of this, nor am I “picking sides” – I’m just asking.)

    How many times are we to forgive? Seven times? Or seven times seventy…?

    Are things so disagreeable…so terrible in the UCG leadership that we must take a stand…right now…voice opposition and write anonymous letters to make a point? Again, why not WAIT until the legal vote comes around again? — That, I do not understand.

    One thing that I find very confusing is why both sides have not LISTED YOUR DEMANDS?

    126 men…WHAT DO YOU WANT?
    Men in Latin America…WHAT DO YOU WANT?

    Why not spell these things out in a list…for all to see…and let Mr. Luker and the COE address the one at a time? Let all the congregations know WHAT YOU WANT.

    Both sides should be eager to offer forgiveness, reconciliation, and a spirit of love.

    The hardest thing in the world is to give up your position…when you KNOW you’re right. Jesus wants us to forgive and love when it’s difficult. Not just when it’s easy or when we agree. The strength of a man’s character shines with the Holy Spirit as a guide when, out of love, he steps aside for the benefit of his neighbor.

    I am not sure I am seeing this attitude on either side. And that makes me sad.

    But then again…what do I know. I’m just “a little one.”
    🙂

    Marc

    Comment by Marc Cebrian (Oakland Congregation) | December 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Marc,

      First let me say that I am sad that this mess is part of your introduction to being new in the body of Christ. I know it is a rough beginning because I came in in 1971 near the beginning of a decade long period of turmoil and division. My wife and I faced the uncertainity of strongly conflicting “sides”. A wiser and older man and his wife gave us on more than one occasion the wise council of standing fast and waiting to see how God will resolve this. And we followed his advise (to varying degrees at different times :o)) and over time God did exactly what He said He would in all the scriptures. He worked it out in His way . . . which was different than anything I had thought of. And when it was time, God cleaned out the ungodly His way. Meanwhile, we learned lessons which is the reason God allows these types of things to occur. These messes are here for you and I to learn from.

      You ask, “Are things so terrible
      …so terrible in the UCG leadership that we must take a stand…right now …”? An important question. No we are to patiently(?) watch both sides … and learn!

      You identify an important question. The actions of those in disagreement with the Council, how does that demonstrate walking in the light? Are the fruit of their actions matching what the scriptures say to do? Study and meditate on John 3:19-21. In those scriptures are many treasures of understanding.

      Let me add one area for your thought and consideration. Some would say the Council considers itself under attack. Was Jesus Christ ever under attack? Of course? How did he handle it? What were his patterns of response? After he responded, what was the reponse of those who attacked him?

      Read both sides carefully. See how they are responding. God judges us by our actions and heart as well as our words…and our actions show.

      My friend, walk carefully and keep your feet in the path of faith REGARDLESS of what you see going on around you!

      Comment by Gary | December 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Marc,
      Examine the fruits. Stay in the Bible. Trust God to direct your path. Proverbs 3:5-6

      Comment by E. Joyce | December 17, 2010 | Reply

  5. hermano MARC CEBRIAN hay muchos como tu pequeños … hace pocos bautizados y otros bautizados en la ultima fiesta de tabernaculos muchos de ambos lados. tu crees que DIOS LOS ABONDANARA sigue edelante …ya pusistes las manos en el arado. el zurco hay piedras rocas etc etc sigue DIOS no desamparara a nadie que haga las cosas bien saludos

    Comment by danieldel | December 16, 2010 | Reply

  6. Are the members of the GCE able to use the logo and letterhead? If so, if the authors came from the GCE, wouldn’t they – by extension – be able to use the logo and letterhead?

    Comment by Mike | December 16, 2010 | Reply

    • Mike, the Church logo and seal may be used for official Church business. This obviously includes communications from the Council of Elders and the home office administration. It would also include local congregations using the logo for church bulletins and local announcements. It would permit pastors using the letterhead to write to prospective members and subscribers in their area too.

      What it would not include is correspondence posted in the public realm that is in opposition to the Church’s leadership. In this case, using the Church’s letterhead gave the appearance of official statements when they were not. The avenue for grievance is to be through the established grievance process or privately to Church leaders. Use of the Church’s registered Mark does not include airing grievances with the public on Church letterhead to make the correspondence appear official.

      Comment by United Church of God | December 17, 2010 | Reply

      • Thank you for your response and clarification.

        Comment by Mike | December 17, 2010 | Reply

      • May I ask if your response is a legal opinion based on trademark law?

        Comment by anona ningun | December 17, 2010 | Reply

        • The above response to Mike is based upon “permissive use” of the registered UCGIA Mark.

          Comment by United Church of God | December 18, 2010

  7. It is obvious that UCG (AIA) is one of the true Churches and Satan is trying to destroy this true church in anyway he can do by using the members, some ministers, and some other churches that call themselves COG that always mentioned Mr. Armstrong’s name and trying to persuade our members to join them. Please do update us about the latest situation so that we can protect ourselves and the church from the potential attacks to the Church. Thanks.

    Comment by Thomas Ko | December 17, 2010 | Reply

  8. I was one of the ones that really thought it was official communications sent out by the COE or something… I then said “this doesn’t sound right” but I kept looking at the letterhead, and saying “but it is official?” When it took me about 30 minutes to understand what happened I felt so sick in my stomach. Before I thought “well, maybe both sides misunderstand eachother” but NOW I AM 100% in understanding that one side is PURPOSELY trying to deceive others. for them to pretend otherwise is either deceiving to others OR there is huge denial of true self present. I am truly disgusted.

    Comment by UCG member | December 17, 2010 | Reply

  9. Is the intent of this asking that the pastors read this in their congregations, or just read it in general. Seems to me the pastors need to be specifically told to read it at church services tomorrow. The brethren need to hear this, and if some pastors choose not to read it, then that alone will tell you a lot as they blatantly disobey their employer and authority under Jesus Christ.

    Comment by Member in North Carolina | December 17, 2010 | Reply

  10. We all must understand something.
    God is looking at the heart this time. If you examine the various crises that have happened for at least the last 40 years, it’s obvious that God had a very specific objective in mind in purifying the body of Christ. Each time, the “current crisis” of the time caused a little more purification.
    In 95, it was the question, when boiled down, about the Sabbath. Once it happened, the many that I spoke with afterward who stayed with our former affiliation all mentioned the exact same thing. They all spoke of the “Sabbath burden”. Nothing else. Just the Sabbath being a burden, and now they did not have to worry about that Stupid sabbath anymore. Now they could do whatever they wanted on Saturday like everyone else. In light of all of the other changes, that is the only one they would talk about.
    Obviously, God knew the hearts of men and knew this was a problem. People were playing church by doing what had become a tradition or custom to them, NOT because they truly LOVED GOD and wanted to serve Him from the heart. So, the falling away was great.
    One has to step back and look at this crisis with spiritual discernment and you begin to see something. This crisis is becoming obvious. This crisis is NOT one of doctrine like the last one (especially the changing of the Sabbath since that is a sign of God’s true people) but when one takes a look at it, it is a crisis of revealing men’s hearts. Now, if you were God, and you read the hearts of the people of the body of Christ and saw a problem that not all hearts were true, how as a member of the God family would you handle this problem? Yes, these are things to truly need to consider. For we (should we make it into the family of God at this time) WILL be judging men’s hearts and hopefully correcting them. So, how do you reveal the hearts? As you can see, this crisis has done exactly that. It has and will continue to reveal men’s hearts. Hearts are being revealed in the letters (also false letters), the comments and all of men’s hearts.
    The last crisis was a rather easy choice, keep the Sabbath (and by extension the doctrines of God or not?).
    This crisis is a little more difficult. It requires that 1st you have a TRUE relationship with God and KNOW His word to DIVINE a proper choice to make. To reveal your heart to God in your choice. It must be made with conviction that you stand by your choice. You can no longer sit on the fence with this decision. There must be a DEFINITE reason for your “choice”. I say choice because there is a schism that is forming. So, a choice does have to be made.
    Schism: division or disunion, esp. into mutually opposed parties. (dictionary.com)
    So, one must reveal your heart in this choice. If you “ride on the coat tails of someone else” with your choice on this decision, I don’t even want to imagine how God will push those last remaining few off the fence. Read about the last church era. He would rather they make a choice so He would know if they were cold or hot, because He says if you won’t make a choice He will SPEW YOU OUT OF HIS MOUTH! That does not sound good.
    Again, there is only one answer and I’ll keep saying it over and over….

    2Ch 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin…

    Comment by Randall R. Foshee | December 17, 2010 | Reply

  11. This matter leads me to ask a related question. Whatever happened to the program to put a new “brand” on UCG — whether it meant keeping that logo or not?

    Did the Council of Elders decide to scuttle that, with this year’s change in administration?

    Comment by Richard | December 17, 2010 | Reply

    • I’d say we’ve been rebranded. Wouldn’t you?

      Comment by Concerned | December 18, 2010 | Reply

    • Richard, the branding study led to some very helpful conclusions, and it is still a work in progress. It has not been scuttled by the Council of Elders or the administration.

      Comment by United Church of God | December 18, 2010 | Reply

  12. I thought in all fairness that the readers of this post should be aware that the letterhead has been removed from the letters. This is my 3rd time making this post, but in my previous two posts I included a link with the proof. In this post, I will leave out the link in hopes that at least the comment will remain.

    Comment by Brett | December 18, 2010 | Reply

  13. Initially,I concurred with Mr Eddington on the wrong use of the letterhead & logo,however I deferred posting an opinion on this page until I could make a more informed opinion.I have since read a simple explanation from those that posted those letters. It’s honest and has a ring of truth to it.
    I believe that this saga will only end when the last words of King David on governance is internalized:

    2Sa 23:2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
    2Sa 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
    2Sa 23:4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.

    Comment by Collin Naidoo | December 18, 2010 | Reply

    • I too have read the explanation of those who perumably wrote the letters. I also read the letters and they required a careful reading to discern they were not “official”. Several others have posted here saying they had the same problem.

      I have a few questions.

      Why should we trust their explanation because it appears “honest and has a ring of truth to it” when their very use of the logo was for the purpose of deception?

      What is honest about that?

      What successful deception does not have a ring of truth to it?

      Where do the scriptures plainly say to trust someone who starts out by trying to deceive you?

      Where do we see Jesus Christ start by trying to deceive people?

      Where is the reward in the Kingdom for those claiming to worship God by deceiving others?

      Comment by Gary Jacques | December 19, 2010 | Reply

      • I have read their explanation again, and see it has honest and truthful. However, you see it has deceptive.It’s strange that people can read the same information and come to different conclusions? One day we would know as to how our Lord saw it because he is able to discern the ‘heart’.

        Comment by Colin Naidoo (UCG, South Africa) | December 20, 2010 | Reply

        • correction…’is honest & truthful.However, you see it as deceptive.

          Comment by Colin Naidoo (UCG, South Africa) | December 20, 2010

        • I am concerned. Please carefully reread my post again. Your response appears to totally miss the point I was making. Myself and a number of others found the use of the logo and presentation of the material deceptive becasue it projected the image of being an offical communication from the church. It was not. It took us varying lengths of time to discover that. The plain, clear proof of that is posted right here in this flow of comments. Those letters failed to make it clear and plain that they were not an offical church communication. Regardless of their content, that is what we find deceptive, not how the letters themselves read. That is what multiple people have independently observed and stated.

          I then asked 6 questions to seek clarification as to why you think others should trust those writing these letters given the impression of deception they project. Three of them clearly call for the backing of scripture.

          You did not answer even one of them. Why?

          I can appreciate your choice to believe the content of those letters on whatever basis you choose to. However, scripture is clear that we should not believe all that we read but should “try the spirits” before trusting them. I am trying to find out if I am missing something on which I should place my trust.

          Comment by Gary Jacques | December 21, 2010

        • Thanks Gary for seeking clarification.
          My reasoning at that time was and still is, that your questions where tangential, built on a false premise of seeing it as deceptive, thus did not require an answer. I originally looked at it as information from an official source. ( In simple terms : from those who had rights to the use of the Logo and letterhead.) I can write more on this but this post would then be deleted.

          Comment by Colin Naidoo (UCG, South Africa) | December 22, 2010

  14. I’m curious what’s the criteria for posts being deleted? I can’t seem to post a scripture without it being deleted.

    Comment by Nathan Wetmore | December 18, 2010 | Reply

    • Nathan,Pray about it first before posting it. We will need our Lord’s help in respect to this.Don’t stop trying though.Your love, for God’s will on earth for this time to be fulfilled ,will prevail.
      The language we use though must depict our Lord living in our hearts.

      Comment by Colin Naidoo | December 19, 2010 | Reply

      • It’s clear they don’t want 1 Cor 6 posted. I feel compelled to keep posting it.

        Comment by Nathan Wetmore | December 19, 2010 | Reply

        • It’s not ‘us’ & ‘they’, though;it’s only ‘us’, because we are family.Family members may not see ‘eye to eye’ at times, and there will be disagreements but our common love for God’s will on earth to be done will prevail.I know that I am repeating this point, however it’s worth repeating.

          Comment by Colin Naidoo (UCG, South Africa) | December 20, 2010

  15. Since the General Conference of Elders is the ultimate legal authority in UCGAI, and we have a situation where not all members of the GCE are in agreement on a number of issues, it seems necessary to have clarity as to what is the GCE. Is it 51% or 75% of the members of the GCE?

    I felt compelled to check the defintion of the GCE in the constitution of the UCGAI. Clause 3.2.2.3 states ” Every ordained minister in good standing of the United Church of God an International Association is an elder of the UCG and is a member of the General Conference of Elders. The general assemby of all such members is the ‘General Conference of Elders'”

    What I seek clarification on is – what is this ‘General Assembly of all such members’? Please help. We just wish we did not have to agonize over such matters.

    Comment by Mike Mukarati | December 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you Mike for posting this. This is a good question & needs clarification.It would be greatly appreciated if a paper could be written on the office, duties, responsibilities’ etc of the GCE in simple laymen’s language for the Church membership to understand.

      Comment by Colin Naidoo (UCG, South Africa) | December 20, 2010 | Reply

  16. Pro 29:1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

    Joh 9:41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

    Comment by A.G. | December 21, 2010 | Reply

  17. In regards to the posted update written by Mr. Eddington…

    Though not an attorney, I deal with intellectual property on a weekly basis. The action described here by Mr. Eddington is only right and proper. From the one document I have seen, it occurs to me that one could even make a case for identity theft.

    Remember just like Patents, Copyrighted material can be stolen if they are not defended.

    Comment by D Ashley | December 23, 2010 | Reply


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