In his letter Mr. Kilough said the continuing discussions are designed to find the best way to fulfill the goals of the church, which include plans for an "infrastructure" that apparently could better be carried out in a different geographical area.
"We have held many hours of discussion between administration and the Council of Elders at the last two Council meetings regarding how to best develop an infrastructure," he wrote.
Also in his letter to the elders, Mr. Kilough explained that he had told the headquarters staff the news before telling the GCE because the proposal "directly affects the lives of all the staff at the Home Office."
But Mr. Kilough also mentioned that he knew the proposal would need approval by the GCE.
"You, as the decision-making body in this matter, are at the top of the list in importance, but second to hear the news," he wrote.
According to the bylaws of the UCG, the GCE must approve any changes in the location of the church's headquarters facilities.
Although the GCE was not involved with the establishment of the location of United's first home (in California), it was instrumental in the move of the home office to Ohio nine years ago.
At the founding conference in Indianapolis, Ind., in the spring of 1995, church officials announced an Arcadia, Calif., mailing address for the new church (as was reported in the May 5, 1995, issue of John Robinson's newspaper, In Transition, in an article titled "United Church Posts Address.")
Two years later, one of the main items on the agenda for the GCE in Louisville, Ky., March 8-10, 1997, was a vote on the site of the home office. (See "Elders Get Ready to Make Decision on Home Office, The Journal, Feb. 26, 1997.)
Possible locations listed in 1997 were Atlanta, Ga.; Cincinnati, Ohio; the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas in Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; and St. Louis, Mo.
At the 1997 conference in Louisville, the elders voted to change the location of the home office to Ohio. (See "UCG Elders Vote to Move to Cincinnati," The Journal, March 26, 1997.)
Mr. Hulme's resistance
Although many of the details about a power struggle in 1997-98 between David Hulme, the church's first president, and the council of elders remained behind closed doors, news about Mr. Hulme's reluctance to follow the decision of the GCE began to surface in the congregations.
Some congregations made plans to help with the decision to move by raising the money to accomplish the move. (See "Terre Haute Announces Home-Office-Relocation Funds," The Journal, Sept. 25, 1997.)
When the council of elders removed Mr. Hulme as president on Jan. 20, 1998, one of the main reasons for his removal (according to sources who spoke to The Journal) was his resistance to the GCE's decision to relocate the home office. (See "Why Would Council of Elders of United Remove David Hulme From Presidency?," The Journal, Jan. 30, 1998.)
Although the GCE chose the Cincinnati suburb of Milford over Dallas-Fort Worth in 1997, the elders will have the opportunity to reconsider that decision in 2007. Whether the proposal to relocate to Texas passes or fails, the atmosphere surrounding the proposed move should be far less unsettling than back in 1997.
As Mr. Kilough wrote recently to UCG elders: "This is obviously a big decision, and we respectfully ask that you prayerfully and seriously consider the explanation and rationale for such a move."
Read more about the United Church of God at www.ucg.org.