By Dixon Cartwright
Ministers meeting en masse for the 13th time since the founding in 1995 of the United Church of God an International Association (UCG) voted by a slim margin May 6 to move the church's headquarters from the Cincinnati, Ohio, area to Texas.
During the 2007 general conference of elders in a Holiday Inn in Cincinnati, 213 men, many accompanied by their wives to the annual gathering, made some surprising decisions that altered the governing 12-man council of elders.
During balloting on the Sunday during the meetings, the ministers decided by only a seven-vote margin, 202-195, to move the home office from Milford, Ohio, to Denton, Texas, about 40 miles north of Dallas.
(A total of 397 men voted in that election, most while attending the meetings in Cincinnati, but others voting via telephone and Internet hookups that spanned the borders of several countries.)
The surprise, for some observers, wasn't that the general conference voted to accept the move that had been approved by the 12-man governing council of elders.
The surprise was that the measure almost lost. If only four men had voted the other way, the proposal to move would have died, at least for the time being.
The other surprise concerned the decision by the elders not to keep longtime Church of God elders Les McCullough and Leon Walker, both of Big Sandy, Texas, on the council.
Though neither man is a founding member of the church, which began in the spring of 1995 in Indianapolis, Ind., they both have been members of the UCG for more than a decade.
Other council members elected or reelected in the current voting: Roy Holladay, a former council member and former UCG president; Clyde Kilough, current president and council member; Victor Kubik, current council member; and Canadian Robert Berendt, new member of the council.