By Linda Moll Smith
The mishandling of relationships and responsibilities
has resulted in a crisis of trust in the United Church of God, according
to a UCG spokesman who is also a member of the UCG council of elders.
"What are we as a church all about? It all
comes down to relationships," said Jim Franks of Houston, Texas, after
the council's recent bimonthly meeting.
Mr. Franks was describing the conclusions reached
in a problem-solving process undertaken by the council during a meeting
April 29 through May 2 in Birmingham, Ala.
The UCG's 12-man council of elders spent a day
and a half of its four days identifying and resolving problems as a part
of its strategic planning for the United Church of God, an International
"In discussing the problems at hand and the
difficulties facing the church, we came to see that we as members of the
Church of God have not always handled our relationships and responsibilities
in a godly manner," said Mr. Franks. "The result of this problem
has been lack of trust at all levels within the church."
The council explored solutions to the problem,
listing areas for study including human nature, relationships with God and
neighbor, administrative styles, understanding and teaching, and trust.
The council also tackled another lingering concern
of members of the UCG: Where will the home office relocate?
"Preliminary studies from an outside consultant,
as well as input from the home-office staff, has, as you know, already been
given to us," said Mr. Franks. "After listening to all that information,
no mandate emerged.