Need to economize
The Global Church of God, which has a gross income
of about $7 million in the United States, is seeking a $1.2 million loan,
necessitating the cutbacks.
Larry Salyer, the church's editorial director and
spokesman, spoke of the need to economize:
"It's a twofold effect. We need to reduce
our shortfall as well as take out a loan so we can level out our income
and have some cash reserves. This work was started with almost nothing,
so we're still playing catch-up, in a sense.
"We announced to Global churches and hosts
before the Feast that we would be seeking a loan, and we explained that
it would be equivalent to a $30,000 household taking out a $5,000 loan for
the next five years.
"It's not that our income is downit's showing
25 percent growth year to datebut we've stepped out in television and we're
doing everything we can to be efficient and remain effective."
Mr. Salyer said subscriptions to The World Ahead
have skyrocketed. "Placing our telecast [also called The World Ahead]
on WGN [In Transition, Oct. 28] has been a factor. It has almost
doubled our previous responses."
Mr. Salyer said another factor was that actual
income has not measuring up to projected income.
"Three years ago our growth was 116 percent.
Two years ago it was 93 percent. We thought 48 percent would be fair for
this year, and, as you know, in this business all you can go on are projections.
But so far we haven't reached that level of growth."
People are staying at home
Mr. Salyer felt the smaller increase in the rate
of growth was partially because of the so-called living-room Church of God.
"We believe some of the members who might
have joined Global have simply not made the decision to be part of a church
organization," he said.
Carl McNair, director of church administration,
Edwin Pope, chief financial officer, and Mr. Salyer "were responsible
for talking to the ones being laid off, and it was horrendous laying off
dedicated, loyal, faithful employees," said Mr. Salyer. "It was
a tough job, but all of them are trying hard to keep their spirits up and
help us make the necessary transition."
Mr. Salyer encouraged observers of the church's
financial situation to keep it in perspective:
"To be fair, you have to appraise these layoffs
from an overall view. They are part of us doing our best to trim back. It's
like in a family where Dad gets a raise but they still can't make ends meet."
Conference plans may change
Mr. Salyer said department managers are discussing
ways to further adjust the budget and noted that the annual ministerial
conference, usually held at church headquarters in San Diego, will probably
be revamped into a satellite teleconference or multiple smaller conferences.
"We'd rather pour our money into keeping up
our front-line work," he said.
Presiding evangelist Roderick C. Meredith wrote
about the terminations in an Oct. 28 letter to members. He labeled response
to The World Ahead on Chicago-based WGN as "terrific,"
but then wrote, "Unfortunately, in order to balance the budget, we
are going to have to lay off several employees right here in our San Diego
Dr. Meredith asked for people on the church's mailing
list to pray for the unemployed personnel and their families.
He invoked the memory of the late Herbert W. Armstrong,
founder of the Worldwide Church of God, which the Global president left
in December, 1992, because of doctrinal differences: "As Mr. Armstrong
used to say, `Every setback is like the cocking of a trigger so that the
Work can go forward even faster."
"We are grateful that more and brand `new'
brethren are beginning to attend [the GCG] and a number are already asking
for baptism. So as we continue to do the Work and to `sow the seed,' thousands
of new brethren from all over the globe will join our ranks in years to