Inside United: Realtime

Exciting News & Updates from UCGIA

Update From Victor Kubik

February 8, 2011

[The following update contains material from a report sent to the United Church of God ministry by Victor Kubik on February 4.]

What a wonderful and energized conference we just held in Cincinnati! Several of you commented about our new beginning, energy and enthusiasm to preach the gospel, as well as to serve the churches. More than 330 of you were present. Many elders who were not able to come listened to the conference via webcast. You can access much of what was covered in the meetings at Please encourage our members to visit this link, as well.

Also, please make our brethren aware of the very latest news from the Church on our Inside United: Realtime blog at From here they can automatically sign up for updates to come to their e-mail every time a post is added, which is usually a few times a week, at minimum.

Victor Kubik addresses the conference

The focus of the conference was not only on ministerial service in the churches but also continuing the momentum we’ve achieved in publicly proclaiming the gospel. Our media services department has come through this crisis virtually intact and their personnel made strong presentations on Tuesday afternoon.

The conference also provided important time for social interaction. We were able to meet with many of you to discuss your areas and future plans. We were also able to interview a few of our elders for further service as pastors. We were heartened by the optimistic spirit of moving on. We have come through a serious separation, yet we are optimistic for a strong recovery.

Here is a listing of our most recent hires to the ministry since December, in alphabetical order:

  • Roc Corbett (pastor): Salt Lake City, Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Joe Horchak (associate): Sacramento, California and Reno, Nevada
  • Mike Joseph (pastor, half-time): Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, Michigan
  • Rick Shabi (pastor): Jacksonville, Orlando, Ocala, and Tallahassee, Florida
  • Greg Thomas (pastor, half-time): Cleveland, Ohio
  • Braden Veller (associate): St. Petersburg, Tampa, Ft. Myers, Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Herb Vierra (associate, half-time): Red Bluff, Eureka, California
  • Chuck Zimmerman (pastor): St. Petersburg, Tampa, Ft. Myers, Miami and West Palm Beach, Florida

We have also asked associate pastor Brian Shaw who has been working with Bob Fahey in Chicago to move to the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, area and become pastor there. We are all happy about this move for him and his wife RaNae and four daughters.

We still have quite a number of critical locations to fill and are working hard to fill the pastoral needs.

Melvin Rhodes discusses laying the right foundation, which is Jesus Christ.

For your information, in early 2010, there were 492 credentialed elders in the United Church of God, an International Association. Of that number, 323 (66%) are still with UCG. Of that total, we have retained 62 of 131 salaried field ministers (47%); 15 of 20 elders salaried by the home office (75%); 9 of 14 retired elders (64%); and 237 of 327 non-salaried elders (73%).

In the United States, we have retained 250 of 382 elders (65%). Of that total, we have retained 46 of 100 salaried field ministers and 180 of 248 non-salaried elders (73%).

In our breakout sessions at the ministerial conference we talked about various ways local churches can do more to serve. We will be sharing the results of those sessions with you soon.

For those asking, I have made a very good recovery from my accident in Zambia. Thank you so much for all the prayers and the many, many cards from individuals and churches around the world. I was overwhelmed at the outpouring of well-wishes that I know helped in the recovery process. May God bless you!

In Christ’s service,

Victor Kubik—Operation Manager, Ministerial and Member Services

February 8, 2011 Posted by | General Conference of Elders, Ministerial Services | , | 9 Comments

Video Available: Ministerial Conference

February 2, 2011

Video recordings from the Jan. 31 – Feb. 1, 2011, ministerial conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, are now available on the Council of Elders Web site under the “Council Videos” tab. As of this writing, three presentations from the first day have been uploaded, and over the next 24 hours the remaining lectures and presentations will be available.

Peter Eddington


Melvin Rhodes discusses laying the right foundation, Jesus Christ.

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Council of Elders, General Conference of Elders, President's Office | , | 8 Comments

Brief Report: Second Day of Ministerial Conference

February 2, 2011

Monday, Feb. 1: Leadership and Advancing the Work

Victor Kubik addresses the conference

The second day of meetings began by tackling the subject of leadership by “Looking to Christ.” Dennis Luker (president), Roy Holladay, Gary Antion and Victor Kubik addressed various facets of the definition of Christ-centered servant leadership. Following the example of Jesus Christ as He led by serving, and cultivating the heart and character of a true servant, was greatly expounded upon. Discussion ensued on the traits needed as we identify and develop spiritual gifts among the elders and members for the service of the Body of Christ.

During regional breakout sessions elders and wives shared ways to promote service among the congregations in the United States and around the world. Stories of the ways in which God has provided leadership, speakers, translation skills, funds and other necessities in all of these regions were encouraging. The positive and spiritually energizing atmosphere of the first day of meetings was carried through to the second day. The unity of purpose at this conference was present and palpable.

The second part of the conference theme, “Advancing the Work,” filled the second half of the day. Melvin Rhodes, chairman, set the spiritual tone for proclamation efforts by drawing attention to Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come”—emphasizing our commitment to do whatever it takes to proclaim God’s message to the world.

Elders and wives, numbering 340, listen to Roy Holladay

Following his address were presentations by Media and Communications Services operation manager Peter Eddington, and many of the department’s personnel—including Internet manager Aaron Booth and the editors of several United Church of God publications. The presentations covered our progress and future plans for television, the Internet and print. The redesigned UCG Web site was previewed, and an exciting plan to hold public lectures this year in church areas across the United States was discussed. The brethren are specifically asked to pray for this project and all proclamation efforts.

President Dennis Luker drew the day to a close with an admonition to look to Jesus Christ as the leader of the Church—focusing on the theme of Philippians 4:13, “that we may be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.”

Peter Eddington and Amanda Stiver—Media and Communications Services

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Beyond Today, Council of Elders, General Conference of Elders, Media and Communications, President's Office | , , , , | 4 Comments

First Day: Ministerial Conference

February 1, 2011

Update on Ministerial Conference: Setting the Tone

Over 330 elders and wives were present on Monday, Jan. 31, to begin this special ministerial conference titled: Look to Christ: Advance the Work. On this cool, crisp January day, president Dennis Luker set the tenor for the meeting with a commission to the eldership to grow in humility and godly love in order to build upon the Rock that is Jesus Christ and finish the work He has given us to do.

The feeling of reassurance and gratitude that permeated the atmosphere as attendees greeted each other on Sunday night beforehand, continued unabated throughout Monday’s meetings. The invigorating fellowship was evident by the ceaseless buzz of joyful and earnest conversation during breaks and meals.

The instructions in Philippians 2:3-5 were emphasized repeatedly by the day’s speakers: for “each to esteem others better than himself,” and to “look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

During the day’s breakout sessions, assessing the experiences and health of each region of the United Church of God in the United States and around the world, a sense of deep concern and care for the brethren was clear. Ideas flowed on ways to better support, care for and defend each congregation as well as train, mentor and develop both pastoral and local leadership.

More detailed reports will follow soon, including links to copies of the archived live webcasts.

Amanda Stiver and Peter Eddington—Media and Communications Services

February 1, 2011 Posted by | Council of Elders, General Conference of Elders | , , | 18 Comments

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

January 5, 2011 Posted by | Council of Elders, President's Office | | 22 Comments