Chairman and President Announce Ministerial Conference
January 5, 2011
Dear Fellow Ministers in Christ,
The Council of Elders and the home office administration would like to express their heartfelt appreciation for your love and support during this time of challenge we are collectively navigating in the United Church of God. Words alone cannot express the spiritual encouragement that has come from your prayers and messages of support. We deeply appreciate our devoted elders standing in the gap to hold our congregations together.
Your love and courage is reminiscent of the opening chapter of the United Church of God in 1995 when pastors, elders and members stood together to move forward with the precious truths of God. At that momentous time, we plainly stated our goals: 1) We would establish church services, care for the brethren and preach the biblical truths of God, 2) We would preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God as God granted the resources, 3) We would establish festival sites, and 4) We would establish youth programs to help mold the future of our Church. By God’s grace, we have kept our word and we plan to continue these programs.
We are being refined by trial but we continue to focus on the biblical reality that it is “‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). Many elders and brethren have asked where do we go from here? How can we help? Let us know what we can do!
The Council of Elders is inviting all elders and their wives for a special conference from Monday, January 31, through Tuesday, February 1, to answer these questions. It will be held at the Holiday Inn Eastgate in Cincinnati, Ohio, the site of our annual GCE meetings. Sunday, January 30 will be a travel day. The Council of Elders will have a one-day follow-up meeting on February 2. Please note, this unique conference does not replace the upcoming General Conference of Elders meetings scheduled for May 15 and 16.
We believe it is needful to come together at this time as we face this current challenge. We are mindful of the biblical principle spoken of in Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” While indeed we are a spiritual work, we are also human beings. We need one another and we need to see and hear from one another. We ask that you not only come to this conference to listen, but to share and give input.
We also encourage wives to come if they are able. At the beginning of the United Church of God, our ladies were right there with us. We value their input and perspectives as sisters in Christ. All of us have a stake in moving forward as we remain vigilant about our Father’s business.
Many congregations have local funds and may be able to help their elders with their expenses to attend. We encourage use of those funds to help defray travel costs if adequate funds are available. Also, please keep in mind that you may be able to use accrued airline points for your travel. However, for those elders unable to attend in person due to financial challenges or who are currently part of a smaller congregation, please contact us and we will do our very best to assist you in getting to the conference. Webcast services will be provided for those unable to attend.
Charles Melear, our meeting coordinator, has provided details regarding travel and accommodation. Please register as soon as possible if you will be attending.
We thank you for your faithful support and loyal service. We need to come together and strengthen one another to greater love and good works. The firm principle of the importance of assembly is given by the author of Hebrews who reminds us: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Please announce our meeting plans to the brethren, and we ask that all of us, ministers and members alike, set aside a day of fasting between now and then, to humble ourselves before God and seek His will in our lives and at this conference.
Let us be fully confident as we move forward that our Heavenly Father will provide our every need. We look forward to seeing you later this month.
Sincerely, in Christ’s service,
Melvin Rhodes, Chairman Dennis Luker, President