GCE Report: Sunday Afternoon
May 15, 2011
Sunday PM Session: General Conference of Elders
After the opening prayer by Leonard Martin, the General Conference of Elders chairman, Melvin Rhodes, called the afternoon session to order.
Several very interesting items were on the agenda for this portion of the weekend. To begin, Mr. Rhodes led a combined international report that also included Oludare Akinbo from Lagos, Nigeria, and David Schreiber (who just returned from India and Sri Lanka). A question and answer session will be held later this evening, with elders able to ask the presenters questions about our successes in serving the brethren in these areas.
In Mr. Akinbo’s area, the brethren from several neighboring countries are now being served in a rather miraculous way, like never before. God appears to be blessing our efforts greatly in West Africa.
Mr. Schreiber, who had spent a lot of time using Skype and e-mail to communicate with the brethren in India and Sri Lanka from his home in the U.S.A., realized he needed to make a visit to their region to give the brethren the ministerial guidance and instruction in God’s word that they were craving. For the assembled GCE audience, Mr. Schreiber then showed a two-minute video clip that showed highlights of his trip to India.
Victor Kubik, operation manager for Ministerial and Member Services, followed up with a lecture that focused mostly on looking forward in our service to the brethren of the United Church of God. He showed how a concerted and very successful effort has been made to provide congregations, pastors and elders for God’s people across the United States and around the world. While the budget is less, the priorities are the same.
Peter Eddington, operation manager for Media and Communications Services, gave a visual presentation, accompanied by slides and video, that covered our new ucg.org website, an update about Beyond Today, and additional information about our Kingdom of God Bible Seminars.
Mr. Eddington added that our Media and Communications Services budget for 2011-2012, that we balloted on earlier today, is the same as it was for this fiscal year. We have not cut back on our priority to preach the gospel, for which we are very thankful to God the Father, Jesus Christ, our president and our treasurer. Necessary cuts were made elsewhere in order to give our proclamation efforts the best “shot in the arm” possible for at least the next 12 months.
After a 20-minute break, the ministry returned to hear two additional presentations. The first was by Bill Bradford, pastor in Brisbane, Australia, and the second was by Brian Shaw, a UCG pastor in Minnesota with considerable media experience, about our critical essence.
Mr. Bradford noted that the founding principles of the Church have been under assault in the past few years. The concepts of his presentation covered several needful things: 1) restoring confidence in Christ’s vision of the Church, 2) restoring confidence in our organization of the Church, including the principles of our structure, 3) addressing our failure to follow some foundational principles, and 4) creating a path for all to follow that will strengthen our purpose, our mission and our existence as a Church.
Mr. Shaw began his presentation by stating that the work of the Church of God has many media options for the preaching of the Gospel today, but these options bring with them much competing clutter that can veil our efforts. The United Church of God is also blessed with many contributors whose collaborative efforts provide our print and electronic media a diverse and wide perspective, but we are not always identified as one, recognizable voice, with a consistent, familiar persona.
He continued, cutting through the media clutter in a way that clearly distinguishes who we are and what we do as the very Church of God, grows to be more and more challenging every day. Our goal is to present the very essence of whom we are as God’s people in preaching the Gospel of His Kingdom as clearly as possible.
A question-and-answer session with the Council of Elders and the administration was announced to be held after dinner at 8 p.m. But first, the ballot results were announced by the GCE chairman, Melvin Rhodes, as follows:
- The 2011-2012 Strategic Plan was approved 226 yes to 8 no.
- The 2011-2012 Operation Plan was approved 226 yes to 7 no.
- The 2011-2012 Budget was approved 225 yes to 9 no.
- Roy Holladay was ratified to retain his seat on the Council of Elders 205 yes to 28 no.
- An amendment to Bylaws section 8.4.3 was adopted 205 yes to 28 no.
- An amendment to Bylaws section 9.1 and 9.2 was adopted 201 yes to 29 no.
- International nominee appointed to the Council of Elders was Bill Bradford.
- U.S. nominees appointed or returned to the Council of Elders were Darris McNeely, Don Ward and Robin Webber.
- The vacant council seat was filled by Gary Antion.
The day concluded with prayer by Braden Veller at 5:30 p.m.
Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services