United Church of God Council comes calling on
Big Sandy's congregation and board of trustees. (Part 4 of 4)
Brian Bettes: I've been quietly trying to mediate without saying anything. I'm going to make one comment, Doug, directed to you. I was in Austin when it all blew apart before. In fact, I made the first phone call that started the whole thing.
I was in Waco when it happened.
I'll tell you for a fact, sir, there are lots of things you still don't know about what happened there. So please don't stand up there and act like there's some big secret thing going on that you know all the facts and we don't. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. There's a lot of facts that you don't know, either.
And you didn't know a lot about here. So I think until we all start to recognize the fact that we don't know a lot and we have a responsibility to go to and learn from each other, there's no way we can resolve this--till we stand up and accept the fact that we need to work together in gathering the information instead of saying we've got information that y'all don't have. That's not going to work.
Laura Radtke: A little change of pace. First of all, I probably have a different opinion than a lot of you, but I have no qualms with Mr. Havir being transferred. AIA pays his paycheck, and I think he would do a wonderful job no matter where he went. He did a good job here, and he's helped a lot of people, and I have no doubt that he would help others if he went to another area.
And there's already been an admission that the procedure was not correct. Is there going to be a policy established for making transfers, either requests or how they're precipitated, how they're going to be carried out, and who's going to establish that policy?
That's one question and, secondly, I don't have any qualms with any other minister coming in, either, because I think that we can learn from anybody. I think that this congregation has learned to confront heresy, so that if someone says something that isn't according to the truth that people would confront them and make sure it balances back to the Bible.
But in light of the financial situation, with so many ordained men in this area, would it be wise to use those ordained men to serve this area instead of bringing in another salaried position? Two questions.
Doug Horchak: Well, I'll answer what I can, which is probably not a whole lot. As far as policy regarding transfers is concerned, we have no written policy right now. And we've been--at least I'm aware of, unless the council's adopted some in the last couple of months. We have generally been operating under the policy that we don't transfer somebody unless it's deemed necessary. In Worldwide, as many of the men including Mr. Havir know, oftentimes we went through kind of a cycle of being transferred whether it was needed or not. And one of the things that United has--we've committed to in the interim is not transferring unless it's a necessity.
Obviously there's some subjectivity involved in that. I have no doubt that there will be a policy regarding that, because we've discussed it, but it has never been brought to the fore. You have another question or two?
Laura Radtke: Yes, the second question was in light of the financial constraints of the church and the number of ordained men in this area: Wouldn't it be wise to use the ordained men in this area to--?
Doug Horchak: Well, absolutely, there's no question about that. I think the idea or the thought over the last couple of years has been the fact that Mr. Havir has been responsible for one of the largest congregations in United and yet at the same time had one of the largest contingents of elders. And I don't think that he ever necessarily begged for help; he had a lot of it here. I think he used it to some degree.
And so absolutely. But the financial constraints of the church are something that sometimes gets lost in all of this, the church meaning United Church of God, an International Association.
I think it's lost because issues of a certain person being transferred, a person being terminated or whatever, is a very sensitive subject to be sure. It may be that some of our elders may end up going on partial salary in some of the congregations that are relatively small, because we as an organization can't afford to pay men the salaries that we have in the past.
In the past the ratio between members served and pastors was about 225 to 235 to each employed minister in the field. In the United Church of God it's less than half that. And, when you look at that in perspective of our efforts to be able to have programs in local church, there is a larger amount of funds, whether they are accepted locally or whether they're repatriated from the home office, we spend more money in local churches than we spent in Worldwide by a long shot, by anybody's evaluation.
Then you couple that along with the preaching of the gospel and the council of elders is faced with a very difficult decisions, and they have over the last year. Implementing those decisions is very difficult. I have a feeling that even though people on paper will say, yes, we need to cut back and trim back the money spent on the field ministry based on the work load per se, they may agree with that but when it comes to implementing it it's a very difficult decision.
Laura Radtke: Why would you bring somebody in if you have somebody ordained? I guess that was my question.
Doug Horchak: Well, you know, let's put it this way, you have a number of ordained elders [approximately 15], that's to be sure. There are a number of men here who don't work for the church. Could they in the future? Yes. I don't make that decision. Please understand that. But the percentage of elders who are not in the employ in Big Sandy is probably the highest of any congregation in United. And the work load on paper of the pastor would be the highest as well.
You're asking the question why would you bring somebody else in. Well, we have men that are in relatively small congregations, and like Mr. Holladay. Of course, he's had his plate full the past three years being the regional pastor and serving on the council and board as well. So in an effort to redistribute--sometimes you have to redistribute the manpower and in doing that, after a decision has been made as to how many you can employ or not, it requires some movement sometimes.
So again I'm giving you a short answer to sometimes a very complicated question.
Loynell Hooper: I was listening to comments in the back earlier, and I wish someone would just answer the question why is Dave Havir being transferred. I'm not asking for specifics. Is it a job-performance program? Is it because of the local board, the building, the philosophical reasons? One minister's wife here said the other day that, well, don't you think it's time for a change? Is it because you think it's time for a change?
Why can't somebody just answer the question you're here to answer? Why is Dave Havir being transferred?
No specifics. General terms. That's a question.
I for one am willing to stand up and say I subscribe to The Journal. I read The Journal. I don't have any confusion about whether I subscribe to it or whether I read it. Some of you up here can't decide whether you read it or subscribe to it or even know what it is. Thank you, Dixon Cartwright. I've been watching him behind the scenes, behind these men that have had titles always. Thank you, Dixon Cartwright. And I'm sorry I wasn't there, because I would have gotten up with you [during an incident at the United Church of God -AIA general conference in Louisville, Ky., March 8].
And I think there are several of these gentlemen up here sitting on the stage who should have gotten up and walked out with you as you were leaving. That's a comment.
I want to know why Richard Pinelli's not here. He's the one that wrote the letter. Has he resigned? I would like to know the answer to those questions.
Mr. McCullough, I want to know who Dave Havir's boss is. Does Dave Havir have a boss? Then who is he?
Les McCullough: Well, as far as who his boss is, I suppose there are different levels, but if you want to say who is the ultimate boss, I guess ministerial services is the one with responsibility of supervising the ministry. If we come down and say, well, then, who else? I guess I am. I do not give him responsibilities; I do not correspond with him and ask various questions and check up on the clock and so on. I'm just saying that from the point of view that since I've been given the responsibility that I have, which is over the employees of United Church of God AIA, I guess in that sense I am.
Loynell Hooper: Ken Giese told me Monday night in a telephone conversation that Doug Horchak was Dave Havir's boss.
Les McCullough: As I said, it depends on the level you want to talk about. Ministerial services has three men working on the team. They are those giving counsel and advice--
Loynell Hooper: Would you consider changing any of the people working in ministerial services?
Les McCullough: I'm sorry.
Loynell Hooper: Would you consider relieving some of these men that work in ministerial services of their duties? Maybe someone could do their job better. Would you consider that?
Les McCullough: Given the circumstance, if I considered that there was someone better to do the job, yeah. Doug Horchak doesn't think his job's inviolate.
Loynell Hooper: Good.
Les McCullough: And I'm sure if I were to have his boss, Richard Pinelli, call him or go to him and say, Doug, the decision has been made; you're no longer on the ministerial-services team, he'd say fine. I have just told the council in the last meeting we had, made a recommendation in terms of regional pastors that I feel certain changes need to be made there.
Loynell Hooper: Has Mr. Pinelli resigned?
Les McCullough: No.
Loynell Hooper: Okay. We've heard a lot of comments up here, and I've heard a lot of "I don't know a lot," "I can't talk about a lot." For people who don't know a lot and who can't talk about a lot, somebody made some pretty tall decisions. And I do hope that the people that are on the council, president and otherwise, learn a lot more about what's going on or what your jobs are.
The reason that most of us are upset here is because we have lived in this area a long time. We've all had experiences with, yes, some of you gentlemen on the stage. We see you skirt issues. We see you not answer questions directly. We see you defensive when confronted, etc.
What I have seen from Dave Havir is he cares about people. He considers himself a shepherd of a flock. He was the only one willing to stick with the people here and do damage control [in 1995]. Do you have any idea how hard his job was, doing damage control?
Les McCullough: Sure. You bet.
Loynell Hooper: He is a peacemaker. He is willing to counsel people, even though they take him to task sometimes. I've never seen the man defensive. That to me is a man of God. You can confront him, and he will figure out a way to handle the situation peacefully. He's prayed for my family. He anointed me prior to major surgery last year. And I can tell you by the way that man prayed in my anointing I know he has direct communication with God every day.
He was there at the hospital before I had surgery. He was at the hospital after I had surgery. I have never had a minister care enough to have been there for me. I've had them void my baptism, threaten me with expulsion, etc., etc. I have never had one care for me like Mr. Havir has shown care for me, everybody else in this room. He has cared for my family. My father is here because he drives two and a half hours to come to church because the minister in Shreveport [Roy Dove] has run everybody off.
Ken Giese knows it, but Ken Giese hasn't done a thing about it. Neither has ministerial services. They just let it ride, because--you know what?--that minister doesn't read The Journal, either. He made the comment in church that The Journal was like The Star that you pick up at the newsstand. Nobody reprimanded him.
There are 16 people there, and I've never even been spoken to when I visit. That's why people want Mr. Havir here. He helped us through damage control. We see his fruits. We want Mr. Havir to stay. That's a small request after 35 years of living in this area.
One more thing. One more thing. And for Doug Horchak and ministerial services, I don't know if you've taken any business classes or not, but there is a class called program evaluation. There is a scientific way, there are surveys to be done, where you ask the people are you receiving the services that we think you're receiving, or are you not receiving the services? It's done--oh, dear, don't say this word--anonymously. You don't have to sign your name.
Worldwide Church of God sent out evaluation forms, and the minister is the only one that filled them out. Why don't you let the people fill them out? Let the whole congregation fill them out and let you see what kind of job Dave Havir's doing.
Doug Horchak: Before you assume--
Loynell Hooper: I'm not assuming.
Doug Horchak: It seems to me you've assumed that that's something we haven't done.
Loynell Hooper: I haven't gotten one.
Doug Horchak: Hang on. Hang on.
Loynell Hooper: I've been around 35 years.
Doug Horchak: I understand. I understand that. In the last two regional conferences that we had, it's not exactly what you're saying, but please let me respond. We encouraged the ministry to--we didn't call it program evaluation; I'm aware of what program evaluation is; as a matter of fact, most educational institutions do that, whether it be students to teachers and whatnot--but in any event we've encouraged the ministry and actually given them to ministers, and even members have shared questionnaires and surveys that the minister would utilize for his own benefit so that he knows what the congregation thinks about his service.
I've done it in my congregation three times in the last three years. I did it in Worldwide, in fact. I didn't ask for permission. And as a matter of fact as we speak in the last six months, working in concert with the regional pastors, we are in the process of developing not only a self-evaluation process which would involve the congregations that each minister and pastor serves, but also working towards that very thing and being able to understand the demographics of the congregation in terms of their--if they have a complaint.
We're talking about one side of the equation now, and that's your appreciation for Mr. Havir, which is great. There's the other side of the equation as well, and I think--and I don't mean necessarily about Mr. Havir; I'm talking about any minister and his difficulties and problems.
And so the whole subject of survey, anonymous surveys and program evaluation in the local congregation is something that we have encouraged, and I don't know if Mr. Havir has chosen, I have no idea, if he's chosen to do that in the congregation.
Loynell Hooper: If we do a program evaluation here and it is favorable as far as Mr. Havir is concerned, showing that we are receiving the services that he is providing, will you leave him alone?
Doug Horchak: Well, let's put it this way. I can't independently make that decision.
Loynell Hooper: You seem to independently make a lot of decisions.
Doug Horchak: No. No. The decision to transfer Mr. Havir was something that was discussed with the council and approved by the council; I want you to understand that. And I'm not trying to divert anything. I just want you to understand the facts. We don't make those kind of--
Loynell Hooper: In Mr. Pinelli's letter he said we decided, we examined. Did he misunderstand those words?
Doug Horchak: We being--?
Loynell Hooper: I don't know. I asked the question who was we, and nobody seemed to know.
Doug Horchak: Well, obviously there were recommendations made based on the regional pastor, and frankly some people in this room, about such a decision.
Loynell Hooper: Well, if it was Ken Giese that made some of those comments, I have a problem with that, because I don't know how Ken Giese wound up in United as a regional pastor. I don't know who gave him that job. He left.
Doug Horchak: Well, you can know that as far as the regional pastors are concerned--
Loynell Hooper: Did you hire him? Did you hire him?
Doug Horchak: Oh, absolutely, United hired him.
Loynell Hooper: Did you put him in a regional-pastor position?
Doug Horchak: Let me finish explaining how that came about. The ministry was-- This was about two, two and a half years ago, were all polled as to their recommendations of men they felt in the U.S. ministry that could serve as regional pastors. And it was based on that blind poll that was taken of the ministry, the employed ministry, that those decisions were made.
So, you know, I'm not saying that it was gone by scientifically in the sense that it was the top 12 people, but you could be assured that it was based on that. It was based on that. It wasn't some arbitrary decision made by me or ministerial services or by David Hulme or anyone else.
C. Wayne Cole: Gentlemen, as you well know I've sat in the positions you're in many times in the past, but this time I'm on the other side of the microphone. I'm going to be very brief, which is difficult to do, and I'm not going to ask you a question, except a rhetorical one at the end of this. But otherwise it's not a question you need respond to.
A lot of words have been spoken by a lot of people here today. Many of those words I agree with. Some of those words I would probably want to ask clarification and maybe take some exception to.
My wife, Doris, and I have been attending in Big Sandy since Pentecost of 1995, after 16 years sitting on the sideline attending nowhere, because I was probably as brutally removed from a position as any human being has ever been brutally removed from anything--with no hearing, no recourse, no one ever bothered to call and ask me a question. [Mr. Cole was referring to Herbert W. Armstrong's and Stanley Rader's removal of him as director of church administration of the Worldwide Church of God in 1979 during the Worldwide Church of God's crisis during which it was at odds with the attorney general of the State of California.]
I didn't receive my last paycheck that was due the day I was terminated, let alone received severance pay. I had no money. Everything I'd ever had I'd given back to the church in 20, 25 percent contributions. And so suddenly at 50 years old I find myself on the outside having to go out and get a job.
God has blessed us. He's provided and taken care of us. We really didn't have any opportunity to associate with the church and fellowship, because I didn't want to go with my brother, Raymond Cole [founder of the Church of God the Eternal]. Not that I have any argument with Raymond. I don't have any argument with what he teaches. But I didn't really see that as a succession to the work that I believe the church should be doing. I didn't see in it a continuation of the Body of Christ. It was a kind of a split of it. I may have accepted those people and believed they had God's Spirit, but it just didn't seem to provide me where I wanted to go.
And so it was with all the other groups and so-called splits, whatever term of reference one may want to use in respect to them. I just didn't want to be a part of that. I wanted to be a part of the Body of Jesus Christ, the Church of God, that was dynamic, forward looking, doing something, accomplishing something.
I was by invitation invited to Indianapolis. I don't mind saying by whom. It was Victor Kubik who called me and asked if I would go, urged me to go, told me what it was going to be about. And so we loaded up the car and took off to Indianapolis. We were there, we heard what was said, and we came away with certain impressions. I'm going to tell you what a couple of those impressions were.
But before that I'm going to say that in our three years' association--it will be three years this coming Pentecost in Big Sandy--I've grown to love these people, respect these people, believe that these people are converted, Spirit-led, dedicated, faithful, generous, hard-working, loyal members of the Church of God. I hope that whatever's been said, if it's been pointed, specific, sometimes not perhaps very easy to handle and respond to, but I hope it's not interpreted that this is somehow carnality at work, because I tell you, and I think I think I have a little bit of basis for the measuring of spirituality, maybe that's a boast, but these are dedicated, fine, faithful people who've been shepherded in a very fine manner.
In a general statement, I have no problems with transfers. My wife reminds me occasionally we moved 26 times while in the ministry in the church. We were called-- We were in Hawaii on the way back to a conference and I got a telephone call in our hotel room, we're moving you out of Australia. I didn't want to leave Australia after 11 years. But my response was yes, sir, when do we leave, where do we go, what do we do? Because that was the general background and training and understanding that I had, that as a servant of Christ that's what you did.
So we moved. Later I came to find out that there was quite a bit of politicking in that, that there had been--probably found someone that didn't like something that CWC said. If you want to find dirt, I can find dirt on every one of you. And you can find dirt on me, plenty of it, probably.
So I hope we don't listen to a reference or two or a letter or two that someone gets and it's then exaggerated that, well, we're getting a lot of response, and when you pin it down maybe a letter, maybe a single person, whatever. I'm not making accusations, but I've been there. I've done that. I know what I'm talking about. Don't do it, please, fellows.
This is a very stable, dedicated church. And I want to tell you these people don't want to be a local, autonomous, independent group of people that aren't a part of a bigger work. They don't want to. They want to be a part of something that's bigger than that, forward, getting a message out and doing a work, both a work in terms of internalizing the Word of God and the example each one of us can set as well as the work that we can do in reaching to the unconverted world.
We came way from Indianapolis with a very distinct impression after all that had been said and done, that there was going to be flexibility, plenty of room for local organization, that we could be an association, that there was not going to be a headquarters, and there was even an issue made out of the fact it's changed the term from headquarters to home office because we don't want to be known as a headquarters. I believe all of you who were there will agree that that took place. That was encouraging and enlightening.
I was a part of the headquarters team. I publicly conducted myself unilaterally at times when I look back and probably should not have done so. But I hope to God I always did it with compassion and with love and with consideration. I know I tried to, and that was the intent.
But we came away believing that there was room for a local association and that we could work together. Big Sandy was formed as a congregation quite a while before we began to attend here, so we came into an ongoing concern. I had no idea how this board was structured. I've learned today some things that didn't really concern me much, quite honestly, because the people's attitude was to be a part of the Church of God, and I wasn't concerned about the technicalities of how it was all structured, because I saw a church that I believed was a part of the Church of God.
So I'm imploring you today, while we're waiting for the finalizing of rules of association, only recently been disseminated to the ministry, that while we're waiting for those rules to be critiqued by the ministry, put into some sort of a final form, something I hope we can all live with, whether it applies only to national councils or also applies to United States congregations, or whether it doesn't, but while we're waiting for all that to take place, let's wait. Let's be patient.
Why now, just after we've gone through the upheaval with David Hulme? We went through the upheaval of seeing members of our church leave in response to somebody else who I personally believe had a different attitude or different spirit than I want to be a part of, and I make no further accusation about that. God is quite capable of doing the judging, and I'll not step into those shoes. But I didn't want to be a part of that.
So, while we've gone through that trauma, and maybe in some cases we've seen families even split as a result of that, children that are on one side and their parents on the other side, gone through the upheaval, why now do we precipitate a situation in a very sensitive area, and we're going to have our way, and we're going to insist that it be resolved, and we're going to resolve it in a way that we want it resolved?
Can't we wait for six months and revisit whatever is necessary? Is there going to be some great harm done?
I have heard it said that while there are places in New York or Chicago--and I use those only rhetorically because I don't know whether that's where they are or not--I've heard it said there are people there that have said, well, it's either Havir goes or we go. So if you don't address the problem with Havir, then you're going to have to address the problem with us.
I don't know whether that's true or not. I've heard that. If that's the case, then I think we need to address those problems because two wrongs don't make any right, and that's certainly a wrong spirit.
So let's get on with correcting the situations that exist, but don't precipitate by some artificial means an unnecessary decision. Revisit it at another time, a calmer time, and let things cool for a while. So why now? That's my rhetorical question. Thank you.
Don Walls [local-board member]: Well, the luck of the draw to have to talk after Mr. Cole, that's a bummer. And he said everything I wanted to say, anyway. So maybe I should sit down.
I've been using a phrase lately, and I apply it to myself, and I would apply it to every single one of you and everybody here. I think we need to start building bridges instead of fences, and I think we need to start learning to use some other tools than a hammer. It was stated just a few minutes ago that the informal policy on transfers is based on a need. Regardless of anybody's point of view in this, and there are undoubtedly plenty of them here, the very, very least in my estimation is that is an unnecessary move.
If you go ahead with it and if you force the issue, it is my opinion that, regardless of what the local board does, regardless of what Mr. Havir does, there will be a split, and there will be division. I think that is almost a foregone conclusion. I don't want to see that. I don't think you want to see that.
It seems absolutely insane to me to force anybody, any one of these people, into making a decision that should never have to be made. Please don't do it.
Brian Bettes: Basically we have four questions left, then after that we're going to just ask that we dismiss the meeting because we've gone way too long. And then we'll go from there. If people want to see you privately or whatever, we'll need to do that.
Jerry Patillo: For those of you who don't know me, I'm Jerry Patillo. And for those of you who do know me, my name is Jerry Patillo. I'm a prospective member of the United Church of God, and what I'm here to say I want to say to each and every person that's in this room. Let's not be the Untied Church of God. Let's be united. Let's not be like the Baptist churches. There are a lot of Baptist conventions around the world, and they don't differ with each other philosophically, theologically. They differ with each other because of governance.
The Worldwide Church of God has ripped the spiritual foundation out from under me twice--first time when I was a Baptist in the late '60s and again in the mid-'90s. As I said, what I need to say I want to say to each and every person that's in here. First to the United Church of God in Big Sandy:
Personally, philosophically, I take issue with the fact that there's a separate local corporation. If we are to point our fingers at anybody-- First of all, let's not point our fingers at anybody. If we are to point our fingers at anybody, let's point them to Jesus Christ because He's our Savior; He loves us tremendously; and He would not want us to be disunited and in the attitudes that we're in.
Let's be fair to the gentlemen who here on the stage. The reason they are here is to listen and to profit from each one of our comments, to profit from their mistakes, from our mistakes. I want to address these gentlemen that are on the stage. We thank you for being here. We thank you for listening to us. We hope and pray that you would listen the desires and the needs of the local congregation.
And, Dave Havir, I want to talk to you too. What would Jesus Christ do? God, our Father, asked Him to die for our sins, so I just ask you to ask yourself what would Jesus Christ do.
Let's not be the Untied Church of God. Let's work together to be united, to stay united.
Danny Francis: I'd just like to make one quick and simple observation. I know Mr. Havir personally told members of the council at the two most recent conferences that he is not, and I will quote him, predisposed to being transferred, and he gave his reasons as being his own immediate family--in the best interests of his own family--and the local congregation. That is his choice if he wants to accept or decline a transfer.
For you to say that you will transfer him is, in my opinion, tantamount to a termination.
What bothers me in all this is what impact, what consideration was given to, the potentiality of a split here, and what that's going to do to our children. We've already been through the Worldwide mess. We've already seen the 20-year-olds and up split and go. Now with the teenagers: They're sick and tired of church splits, church factions, church problems and church politics.
I don't think Mr. Havir's going anywhere, and if this transfer matter's pursued I think the result of it will be the creation of more problems than you'll be solving.
Robert Fisk: I was told I can only ask one question, and I'm going to make a few comments and a quick question. Mr. Horchak, you drew an analogy between Big Sandy being seen from time to time as the bad guys misunderstood and what ministerial services has done in Waco and Austin as being misunderstood. The difference is Big Sandy is willing to lay the facts of where our money goes and what happens here on the table. You're willing to hide behind the smoke screen of "Oh, but they could sue us."
I could sue you because I don't like the tie you have on. That's a smoke screen. Anybody can sue anybody over anything. I heard Mark Gully put it in writing that you could release all the reasons that he was being relieved for and why he needed to be transferred. That released you from any lawsuit obligations. I don't like that analogy because it doesn't draw true.
You said that Mr. Havir had-- The comment was made; I'm not sure who made it; that Mr. Havir has the largest congregation. If his congregation wants to keep him, wouldn't the most people be served in any single congregation you could possibly transfer him to with the largest congregation in United, which happens to be right here?
Where would it serve to take the man who's doing the best job here--where would it serve anybody--to pastor 50 people when there's 350 asking for his services, especially if they want to keep him?
Another comment was made that ministerial service was to supervise the ministers. We need to change its name to ministerial supervision, then. I thought it was to serve ministers and to help them in their pastorate.
Let's see. The question I have, and I would like any of you to answer this. If there are elders or people here who are coming to you and saying we have a problem with Dave Havir, he is doing whatever, why are y'all not picking up your Bibles and reading in it where it says if you have a problem go to the man and redirecting that person to David Havir as opposed to solving it through ministerial services?
Why are you not redirecting that elder or that person who's complaining about what Dave Havir's doing back to David Havir? That's my question.
Brian Bettes: Do we have an answer?
Leon Walker: I'll speak for myself in response to that question. I can show you my cc:Mail [E-mail] messages in which I've had a number of ministers, some of whom are no longer with United. I could give you their names. I could show you the cc:Mail messages. Some are in the United States; some are in the United Kingdom. And I have said exactly that thing. I mentioned in my memo to Mr. Havir the other day that I'd had a number of questions about a number of things, and I said I've always told them, whether it be the church building, how the money is used and so forth, to--have you contacted Mr. Havir on this issue? So I've done that thing, and I can prove it with my cc:Mail messages. I don't know if any of the others could say the same thing or not, but I certainly have.
Aaron Dean: I can agree with Mr. Walker on that, and he's got copies of some of mine along with those from the other men, so I've done the same thing as well, and I'm trying to do the same thing. I have some cc:Mail messages I've sent to some people myself that have asked me the questions, so trying to do it and making people do it are two different things.
Brian Bettes: Mr. Horchak, someone's asking if you would respond to that, then there's a second part of the question.
Doug Horchak: Anybody that's ever said anything to me about Mr. Havir, either personally or otherwise, that I can recall I have directed him to. So I don't have control over whether or not people do, but I can just tell you that's been the case.
So the other half of the question was--?
Robert Fisk: If there is that problem existing, why have y'all chosen to use this form of transferring him as opposed to having this settled the way Matthew 18 says, when members come to him, and if that doesn't work bring a witness, then if that doesn't work bring it to the church?
Doug Horchak: Well, it's my understanding that with a few situations, and again we're presuming that the sole reason for Mr. Havir requesting to be transferred has to do with problems people have with him period. Again, I brought that up two or three times. I think it's wrong to assume that that's the sole reason.
Robert Fisk: That was part of the reason.
Doug Horchak: That's just part of the reason, sure. It's my understanding that a few people have over the last year or so, and, you know, and of course those things are supposed to be done in private, I think you would agree. And short of them standing up I've no way of stating anything beyond that.
Robert Fisk: I've never seen anybody bring it to the church.
Doug Horchak: Well, the issue of bringing things to the church--and I'm talking about what's discussed in Matthew 18--is-- There's a lot of difference in the church right now as to what that really means.
Robert Fisk: It's simple. It's the ekklesia. It's the people.
Doug Horchak: I wish it were as simple, and maybe it is simple as it appears. I understand where you're coming from. We have discussed this subject at length and as a matter of fact have 23 elders out of two regions in the Midwest that have been studying it and put together a paper that the doctrinal team--I think--if not it's in manuscript, and the [unintelligible] team has already taken a look at, gone back with some other questions.
I'm not trying to divert the answer to your question because it is very germane if what is meant there of going to the church, whether you're talking about going to the entire congregation in open forum or whether you're talking about something short of that.
So I guess what I'm saying is that United Church of God officially does not have a doctrinal position on all the aspects of Matthew 18. We may privately that we've used and assumed in the past.
Dave Havir: If I could make a comment: I would agree with what Loynell said, that she has taken me to task and many others, what I would call supporters, have taken me to task. That's part of the job. I don't deny the fact these men have probably directed people to come to me, but let me go on record as saying very few people have ever come to me.
As far as from the full-time ministers that's very, very small, and in fact there were some individuals, I told Dixon Cartwright the other day, I said, maybe I should write an article in The Journal--especially since I was anticipating I might be fired--I said what I probably would do is the list the names of individuals who have come to me and say thank you for coming.
Two of my biggest critics in the area, and I say this not to hurt them--please do not think badly of these two people--Steve McNeely and Melton McNeely. Do not think badly of these two people because they have followed the biblical advice, and they have come to me. I hold them in high regard for coming to me.
The ministers who write to these guys, and they're referred to who never come but talk behind my back, I do not hold in high regard. So, again, I don't know if the McNeelys are still here but they have done biblical thing.
Robert Fisk: For clarification, Mr. Havir, has anybody ever come to you with a second witness over an issue a second time?
Dave Havir: No, no one has come that way. Of course, for the record I don't know if any of the people who have come to me have gone to ministerial services, because they've never brought that to my attention. I'm just saying I'm pleased with the individuals who have come to me, and that to me--
Sometimes we've had long discussions. But, again, anyone who comes to me-- Probably a lot of you come to me, because a lot of you call me up and say I hope I didn't offend you. And I say what did you say to me to offend me? In other words, apparently I think some of you feel like sometimes you're saying strong words based on your fears or based on your experiences, and a lot of times I don't consider them as strong words, I don't even consider them very strong constructive criticism. I want to make it very easy, as easy as possible, for people to come and be able to express things. I get taken to task periodically, and that's okay.
Robert Fisk: So from what you're saying nobody's carried on to the second step of Matthew 18. I can presume, then, that there's no need for the third step, which is the church involved.
Dave Havir: No one has come with the second step.
Robert Fisk: So there's obviously no need for the third step.
Dave Havir: Of course, again, individuals who have come might have felt intimidated by me. They may have felt that. That's something they would have to answer for themselves. Of course, then, that's what the second step could be for.
I just wanted to clarify, and I hope I didn't embarrass the two individuals I mentioned because I was trying to use them as a good example, not as a bad example.
Paul Jarboe: Good afternoon. It's been a long day for everyone. I just have a few comments and end with a short question. One, Mr. Havir, you know that you and I have talked many times, and we've disagreed and we've agreed on a lot of different issues. I will make some interesting observations, maybe for the audience.
If you will think back, more than two years ago when this all began, this whole thing of a local board was really somewhat of a mystery to the entire congregation. For a long, long time none of us even knew it existed.
I remember one distinct meeting where the question came up, and we found at that point we did have a local board, that some of us were very surprised, and we said, you know, who are members, and how did they get elected and so forth and so on?
I known on occasion Mr. Havir said that all the elders had had part in that particular decision, and I have asked elders, and they were not part of that decision. So there's been a lot of things talked about about the local board, and certainly they now have a lot of prominence that they didn't have in the past. And maybe that is for a reason, and maybe it's not. I don't know. But the original composition of the board was created somewhat blindly to most of the members.
And, secondly, I served for two years at the information table, and a lot of this stuff about financial data was never back there. Now, it may be now, but I don't remember it the last month when I served seeing it back there. The local minutes to the board meetings; I don't see them back there. When I'm serving I don't see them. They're not displayed.
Now, maybe they're displayed somewhere else. But we aren't openly told where that particular local is.
So I applaud a local board; I think it's great. At the same time, as an employee most of my life, I also know my employer always has the ability to transfer me, to fire me at will in the State of Texas. When I was an employee of Worldwide at the college for almost 13 years and they used religious freedom as one of the things that they cast us out with, it was so easy for them.
And I know that Mr. Havir, when you signed your employment contract, either you didn't ask and read and know what you were signing, or else you did and you knew that your employer could do that. That's just part of life. We all make personal decisions every day.
I'm not condemning anybody here. I just say that, wow, for a transfer which has been part of the Worldwide Church of God, part of United, part of all of our lives for so long and we've all benefited from transfers before: We've had some lousy ministers before and then we got a transfer of somebody new and they've been great, and we learned a lot from them.
So transfers are good for everybody at times. It's just interesting that we got so bent out of shape on this particular one, and I would say that United has a lot to, you know, blame themselves about. They just handled it poorly: poor business practice, maybe not defend well enough; poor business practice.
My only question is: When is United going to change that only the ministry will be considered a part of their corporation? Because that also to me defines part of the angst here, that members of that corporation are only ministers. That's my question.
Dave Havir: I'd like to address some earlier things. I don't know of any situation where an elder was not involved in the process. If that be so, I'm sure they can come and tell me about it and reveal the facts, shine light on the facts. I do think there have been times in some of the board members we've had where we had the--like the last selection, when we just replaced the last person a couple of months ago--we called a meeting--three of the elders chose not to come, so because they chose not to come they were not a part of the last one.
But again there may be a circumstance where a person has factors where they really feel that they were not involved in that. The initial board was chosen in June of '95, in the early days, real early. At that time Doug Winnail was here; he was a part of that--Tom Clark, Ellis Stewart, Dael Baughman, Carl Carmichael--he was still here too. So I would say that we certainly--
The biggest problem that we have on the board, the local board, is I'm the chairman. I mean this from this point of view: I'm not a very good chairman. So thereby our local board would do a lot better if we had a more professional chairman. That is the biggest problem.
For the board to run more smoothly and more efficiently, it'd be better if I weren't the chairman. I can't take the blame for whether or not the minutes are back at the information table or the accounts. I asked people because I just tell the guys, listen, we've got to have those out. So they have to take blame for those things if there's blame to be there. But I can say again the biggest problem on our local board is the chairman is not as professional as he should be, and I never had been on a board, never been a chairman, didn't want to be the chairman. But, again, I have to take responsibility. I did allow them to talk me into it, so thereby I am the chairman. And I have to take responsibility for that decision.
As far as-- Those are the two things I thought were directed to me about the elders being involved and also the things at the back table. I'll let some of the others talk about the other-- I think they would be the ones to answer that follow-up question.
John Warren: While they're thinking about that, I have a comment about what Mr. Jarboe mentioned. It may be confusing to some people, but we do have a secretary here who does keep the minutes. Anybody who wants to see the minutes of the meeting: Mr. Monsalvo always has those available.
Also, they are put in the bulletin [the announcement sheet handed out before each Sabbath services]
Now, people may not read the bulletin. Now, people may not read the bulletin, may not realize that, but our minutes are published in the bulletin after we have a meeting. We only have a meeting normally once a month.
My question to Mr. McCullough, going back to the employment issue here, because I think that's really why you're sitting there and that's why we're asking the questions here, is over the employment of Mr. Havir. Something had to be presented to the council, and as the president and the director over the men in ministerial services, is there a formal instrument that was used to evaluate Mr. Havir's job performance? Does the ministry have an evaluation instrument that is a formal instrument that is used to make these valuations?
Les McCullough: Mr. Horchak mentioned that they've been working with an evaluation form. To answer your question, no, there wasn't a formal form of some kind filled out with check, check, minus, plus, you know, and so on.
John Warren: What criteria was used to decide that this decision had to be made to transfer a man? I don't care whether it's Mr. Havir or anybody else--how can you make that decision without any formal instrument to decide whether that's the right decision to make or not?
Whether it's an evaluation form, whether it's job performance, I would think there'd have to be some way of deciding that this decision has to be made and that it was a good decision, not even taking the other side of it, of the man who would be brought in here, whether he would fit into this congregation, whether that would be the right man. And I have a lot of respect for Mr. Holladay, but was anything discussed as far as fitting?
I've heard these comments about we will fit the pastor into the congregation to make sure that it's a nice match.
Les McCullough: That was discussed, yes.
John Warren: But no formal--no way of formalizing it to make sure you had all the facts and that there's something presented to Mr. Havir? You're going to transfer him to another church area and supposedly he has some problems; he performs those same problems in the other area and not even know what they were?
Les McCullough: I think as Mr. Horchak said--he can correct me if I'm wrong--there were--well, I'm getting something mixed up in my mind. Just trying to make sure that there was no indication or no thought in someone's mind that there was some disciplinary, corrective--
John Warren: It wouldn't have been done this way if there was not some major reason it had to be done immediately. There's just no other reason to do it this way. It's almost like he murdered somebody. We've got to get him out of Big Sandy.
Les McCullough: Well, no, I don't think that's true, John.
John Warren: I don't think so, either. My final comment is: I believe this meeting here is what you're using to fulfill the obligation over in Gladewater stating that you would discuss it with the congregation before you transferred him out. I think as far as the council's concerned you consider this a done deal, and I'm sorry for that, but we do respect you people. We like the work you're doing. We respect Mr. Havir. We like the work he's doing. And we would like to see the right kind of leadership and--I don't know what we can do to encourage you any more than what you've heard today. Thank you.
Les McCullough: Okay. Fine. We've heard you.
Brian Bettes: I don't believe that Mr. Jarboe's final question was answered. And then after that we're going to dismiss.
Paul Jarboe: I had a question, but I was also obviously misunderstood. I said that in the early days of the local board it was somewhat mysterious. In more current times they've had greater prominence, and I think we're improving, just like I hope everyone here today would say that hopefully the current board of United Church of God , with the changes they've made, will also make improvements. That's a given. You have changes, hoping they're improvements.
But I've always felt that the definition that a member of the corporation of United Church of God being ministers only was incorrect, and I was wondering whether you were ever going to reconsider that.
Leon Walker: I'm not sure I can answer that completely, but right now that particular part is--I'm not sure if it's in the constitution or bylaws, I'm not sure which one it is, but it doesn't matter--and it is accurate to state that the only members of the corporation are the ministry. Therefore every minister is a member of the GCE, the general conference of elders, and is therefore by that definition a member of the corporation.
The way to do that, the way to change that, is by amendment, which would require two-thirds-approval vote of the entire ministry to do so. So in order to do so someone would have to submit an amendment to that effect. The amendment would have to be worded correctly, of course, and there would have to be support statements to give the reasons for doing that. Then it would be up to the ministry as to whether they would agree with that or not.
But at the present time that's the only way it can be done, is by an amendment process. Any minister can submit an amendment, including your local pastor here or even one of the local elders could do that through the process that we have in place. So that would be the correct procedure to follow in doing that.
Dave Havir: I asked Mr. McCullough if I could make a quick comment. It ties into Mr. Jarboe's question and his-- I don't want to be beat this, and I asked Mr. McCullough that I not be the last one to speak, I don't want to look like it's grandstanding, but I just want to state a fact. This is what I was going to say earlier when Brian told me my time was up.
Why don't we just realize that the United Church AIA is a service corporation? It's a service corporation made up of ministers. You're not a part of United Church of God AIA; you're the Church of God. We-- I'm still a member of United Church of God AIA. Aren't I? As a member of the United Church of God AIA, our function is to serve the Church of God.
I'm also a member of the United Church of God Big Sandy. You in the audience are not a member of the United Church of God Big Sandy. Only the seven people [on the local board] are. So when people say that Big Sandy's a congregationalist form of government, they don't have all the factors. When United Church of God Big Sandy was established, it was established right in the middle, and I'll tell you why it was established right in the middle: because we didn't know if it was going to disband and come under the umbrella, or we didn't know if it would ever someday go to a congregationalist form of government. But we are technically not a congregationalist form of government, like Mr. Jarboe's question.
So basically this congregation is served by two service corporations. That's what you're served by. I want to throw that into the mix here for these gentlemen to be aware of that, because we are the spiritual organism. That's what the Church of God is. I get criticized for pointing that out, but that's the truth. So you're served by two service corporations that are designed to work together.
Many of us thought we were working together. Obviously there's some people who don't think it works together well. I guess the council's going to have to try to figure that out.
Anyway, I just wanted to give you that information just so you're aware of how it ties in with Mr. Jarboe. Right now even your question could also apply to the local board as well. So I want you to be aware of that. Factually that is correct; it doesn't just apply to the international association; it also applies to the local corporation as well. I just wanted to go on record and not just let them have to field that question. That's a question that's out there too. So there's a lot to think about. I think that it's good that the members be educated and think this through. What really exists, the reality of what really exists?
Les McCullough: Dave didn't want to be the last one to speak, so I by default am supposed to be the last one to speak.
In respect to John's comment that he assumed it was planned on the part of the council--I may be misstating it, John; I don't mean to--that this visit was to be the visit to inform the Big Sandy church. That was not what was talked about at all in terms of the council saying we need to have a meeting. We felt that we needed to have the opportunity for--sure, for the church to express their views--that was planned that this would be a meeting where we can then say the church has expressed itself and that we've communicated with them.
Well, communication is a matter of you talking and me talking and everybody else talking, and that does not necessarily mean that we always have the same impression or agree with what was said. So I just wanted to be careful that I don't indicate something to John that I don't intend or that I do indicate something that I don't intend.
As far as talking to the church about a transfer, I don't know what more talk there could be in terms of your expressing yourselves, and so on, as far as your feelings about John--I'm getting tired--your feelings about Dave. You've expressed them. We have to go back and talk with the council. We don't--those of us that are here--cannot change any decision that was made without the agreement of the rest of the council.
I would think that we have communicated. We may not agree in some areas, but I would think we have communicated. And so I don't know what more to say. It seems like that's it.
Brian Bettes: Could you answer one question for us at this point.
Les McCullough: I'll try.
Brian Bettes: Is Dave Havir still pastor of Big sandy as of today and throughout this next week?
Les McCullough: As far as I know, yeah.
Brian Bettes: I mean, as of official communication that was given, his pastorate was to terminate today and transfer to Mr. Holladay. I know a lot's happened since then, but we have heard nothing official at this point that states that Mr. Havir is still going to continue until the problem resolves. I think we could sort of assume that, and I'm willing to not assume and just ask the question.
Les McCullough: Dave is the pastor of the church today through the rest of this week until the problem is resolved. Mr. Holladay isn't here to take over the pulpit. That's not--at least he certainly hopes that's not why he's here. That wasn't why I asked him to come. As I said, some of his experience of some of the things on the interim board and so on we felt were good to have here to be available to be called on. That's the only reason that he came.
Brian Bettes: I had enough people ask me that question that I felt I should just put it out there.
Les McCullough: Dave asked me about his salary.
Brian Bettes: Raise it. Raise it. He doesn't get paid enough.
Les McCullough: Oh, sorry.
Brian Bettes: I can tell you that right now.
Les McCullough: I don't hear raises. [Laughter.]
Brian Bettes: That's appropriate for an administrator.
Les McCullough: But I tell him his name hasn't been taken off of any list that I know of. Okay? Well, thank you very much, everyone.
Brian Bettes: Thank you.
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