Letter to UCG Ministry from Chairman Rhodes
November 30, 2011
Dear fellow ministers,
Once again, we are just a few days away from our quarterly Council of Elders meetings, which begin at the home office on Monday, December 5. They will finish on Thursday, December 8.
Our meetings this time will be somewhat different, with the first day devoted to a “retreat” style discussion on our Strategic Plan, led by the chairman of the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee, Robin Webber, assisted by Bill Eddington, chairman of the Roles and Rules Committee.
After the retreat, we will be meeting in open session on Tuesday to formally discuss the Strategic Plan for the General Conference of Elders to consider and approve in May of 2012.
What is going to be truly helpful in guiding us during these two days of deliberations will be the surveys that were sent to members, ministers and employees. We’ve received very meaningful input from church members, which will help us with our planning. Our thanks goes to Julie Zutz, who did an excellent job compiling the results of the survey, in her own time. An article is scheduled for United News soon to report on the survey results.
Continuing in a renewed spirit of unity and peace, the Council will be deciding on how best we can move forward as a church, to more effectively and efficiently preach the gospel to the world. We will also discuss how we can constantly strive to improve our service to those whom God has called, following the example of service set by our Elder Brother and Head of the Church, Jesus Christ. Our greatest desire as a church is to develop much spiritual fruit. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8).
After the two days devoted to strategic planning, we will turn our attention to a very full agenda, beginning with the regular quarterly reports from the president and the three operation managers.
Amongst other things, we will be discussing plans for the expansion of the home office to enable the building of a new recording and production studio to increase our broadcasting effectiveness. Also, attention will be given to the annual international reports submitted from every region of the world. These will be particularly interesting this year as we hear of the progress that has been made in different areas following the challenges we faced a year ago.
The Council agenda is attached for those who appreciate more detail. You may share the contents of the agenda and this letter with members this week.
I would like to take a moment to explain item number 2.7, which is a discussion of “Doctrinal Matters.” At a time when we still hear of websites erroneously claiming that we are about to change doctrine, I want to reassure you that this is not the case. The Doctrine Committee, under the chairmanship of Bob Berendt, spends its time defending doctrine, not discussing changes to doctrine. Thanks to the committee, members of the Church may request a review or clarification of a doctrinal issue. They can also submit study papers on a biblical topic for further study by members of the committee. The Doctrine Committee has consistently upheld the traditional teachings of the Church, proving once again the truths we all believe and share.
Please pray for us as we meet. The United Church of God has a unique opportunity to significantly move forward at a time of peace and unity. Let us seek inspiration from Jesus Christ, the living Head of the Church, and then follow where He leads us.
In Christian love and service,