Mr. Hulme attends Globe opening
BASINGSTOKE, England-The president of the United Church of God, an International Association, was on hand for the gala reopening of the Globe Theatre in London last month. The theater, officially called Shakespeare's Globe, is a recent reconstruction of the theater that was originally built in 1599.
Mr. Hulme reportedly also visited the Netherlands as well as England during his travels in Europe.
Mr. Hulme spoke at the United congregation here the Sabbath of June 14.
The UCG president said the trip to England had been "scheduled" previously in that he had promised to visit around the time of Pentecost, which most Churches of God observed this year on June 15.
"One of the things we were able to do while we were here also is attend a function that I've been looking forward to for a long time," he said. "When I was still working with Ambassador Foundation, a lot of you will remember we were able to give some money to the Globe Theatre's reconstruction."
Mr. Hulme, who has served as president of the UCG since its founding in 1995, is the former director of the Ambassador International Cultural Foundation, later renamed Ambassador Foundation, a branch of the Worldwide Church of God that sponsored cultural events in the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif., and at other locations.
"Some felt that [the funding of Ambassador Foundation projects] was a terrible waste of money, and why was the church spending money in that way; that wasn't preaching the gospel? A good deal of disinformation, I believe, or even misinformation, perhaps, went out at that time."
Mr. Hulme related to the Basingstoke brethren that he fully supported the Ambassador Foundation's activities, specifically in this case its part in funding the Globe project.
"A commitment was made by the foundation to do that," he said. "It was an agreement, a very clear agreement, during a meeting at which I was present and presented the idea of supporting [the Globe] as an education outreach."
Foundation projects, he said, fit well with the WCG's sponsorship of an educational institution, Ambassador University. And members of the WCG who didn't agree with that perspective were "shortsighted."
"We were, after all, engaged as a college and later a university in the subject very broadly of education," he said. "It seemed to be not an unwise thing, therefore, to be connected with probably the foremost exponent of the English language, and I felt it was rather shortsighted that people couldn't see a connection between the work of the church and that particular venture."
Mr. Hulme announced that two days earlier, during his visit to London, he had met Queen Elizabeth II.
"My wife and I, as a result of that [his former activities with the Ambassador Foundation and the Globe Theatre], met just about everybody in the royal family at one time or another with the exception of perhaps Charles and Diana. But I think we met just about everybody else.
"And this Thursday evening [June 12] we had the pleasure of being presented to the queen, which was a very pleasant surprise, despite the fact, of course, I'd not been involved in supporting the Globe financially for quite a number of years now."
The original Globe burned in 1613 but was rebuilt, then closed in 1642 by Oliver Cromwell's Puritan government and later dismantled.
The new theater is a reproduction of the 400-year-old "sacred shrine of English theater" (as Newsweek magazine called it) that includes benches in three covered galleries and room for several hundred theatergoers to stand in front of the stage.
The theater is open to the sky and enclosed by a 20-sided polygon of green oak, plastered with ground limestone and goat's hair. Newsweek said it boasts the first thatched roof in London since the Great Fire of 1666.
The reconstruction took four years and cost a reported $13 million.
The recreated Globe's first productions were Henry V and The Winter's Tale. Present during the gala opening week were Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
Mr. Hulme continued: "But when I, what shall I say, I retired from the foundation, the people at the Globe Theatre in the U.S.A. asked me to continue on the board, in fact asked me to continue as chairman of the Western Region fund-raising board, which I did.
"That led to being on the national board in the U.S., and that led to being invited to this event this week.
"So some of our connections from the past have remained. In fact, most of them have."
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