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ARCADIA, Calif.­In April and May of 1995, the United Church of God, an International Association, after asking God's direction, was formed during a meeting in Indianapolis, Ind., with a method of governance radically different from what had been practiced in its members' former affiliation, the Worldwide Church of God.

In December 1995 the constitution and bylaws of the United Church of God were approved by its elders at the general conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. In turn, the elders have said they are committed, as stated in the "Ministerial Code of Ethics," to "uphold the Constitution and Bylaws of the Church."

To help familiarize The Journal's interested readers with these documents, they are printed in their entirety in this issue. A question-and-answer section follows. In addition, this section can serve as a quick reference to pinpoint areas of interest for those with questions about the United Church of God 's founding documents.


1. What is the purpose of the United Church of God, an International Association? See bylaw 4.1.

2. Who is the United Church of God 's apostle? See constitution 3.2.2.

3. Who is pastor general of the United Church of God ?

Comment: The form of governance selected by the United Church of God does not provide for such an office.

4. How does growth in the church occur? Constitution 3.2.1.

5. Who is entrusted with the responsibility and authority to establish policy, to enable management to implement that policy and to provide direction and oversight to ensure the proper management of the day-to-day affairs of the United Church of God? Constitution 4.2. Who entrusts the council with this responsibility and authority? Constitution 4.2.

6. How is the constitution introduced? See beginning of constitution and Article 1.0, the mission statement.

7. What are the United Church of God 's fundamental beliefs? Constitution 2.0.

8. What are the different administrations within the United Church of God ? Constitution­

Role of elders and general conference

1. Who comprises the general conference? Constitution

2. What are the responsibilities of the general conference? Constitution; 4.1.

3. What standards of conduct are required of the general conference of elders? Constitution, last sentence.

4. How does one remain in good standing? Constitution 4.3.1.

5. How does the general conference participate in the selection of council members? Constitution 4.2; 8.1.

6. Who are the members of the corporation? Bylaw 6.1.

7. If an elder chooses to resign from the general conference, what duties may he continue to perform? Constitution 4.5.3.

Constitution and bylaws

1. Who has final authority with respect to the interpretation and enforcement of the constitution? Bylaw 11.4. The bylaws? Bylaw 11.4.

2. If there is a conflict between the constitution and bylaws, which prevails? Bylaw 2.0.

3. Who has authority to amend the constitution and bylaws? Bylaw 12.1.

General conference of elders' meetings

1. What is the purpose of the annual meeting? What work is to be done there? Bylaw 7.1.

2. Who nominates and elects council members? Bylaw 8.1. What is the process of balloting for their selection? Bylaw 7.5.4.

3. Who is required to attend the annual meeting of the general conference of elders? Constitution 4.8.

4. What is to be included with the notice for the general conference's annual meeting? Bylaw 7.9.2. How much notice of the meeting must be given? Bylaw 7.9.

5. What information is to be disclosed at each annual meeting? Bylaw 10.5.

6. Who presides at the meetings of the general conference? Bylaw 8.2.1(1).

7. How is spiritual consensus arrived at? Bylaw 5.1.5.

8. What majority is required for an affirmative ballot to decide on matters before the general conference? Is this of all United Church of God elders or those present at the meeting? Bylaw 7.5.3.

Comment : Different majorities are called for in the bylaws, depending upon the issue at hand.

9. How can an elder who cannot be present participate? Bylaw 7.8.

The council of elders

1. What body acts as the board of directors for the United Church of God, an International Association? Bylaw 5.1.3.

2. What are the purposes and duties of the council of elders? Constitution; Bylaw 8.6.1; 8.6.2.

3. What standard of conduct is required of council members? Bylaw 8.3.2.

4. How are nominations to the council of elders carried out? Constitution 4.2; Bylaw 7.1; 7.5.4; 8.1.

5. How many council members are there? Constitution 8.3.1.

6. Three council members are to be chosen with a particular background. What is it? Constitution 8.3.1.

7. How is the chairman of the council selected, and what are his duties? Constitution 8.2.1.

8. What is the term of office of council members? Bylaw 8.2.

Comment : To have staggered terms-in other words, for one third of the council members' terms to expire each year-the council members selected in December 1995 in Cincinnati serve two-, three- or four-year terms.

9. Can council members be reelected? Bylaw 8.2.

10. What compensation are council members provided? Bylaw 8.5.

Commen t: Most council members are also employees of the United Church of God .

11. How are resignations or other vacancies of the council handled? Bylaw 8.4.

12. What other councils are mentioned in the constitution? Constitution;

Commen t: The constitution provides for national councils in every country, except that there is no national council in the United States apart from the council of elders.

Conduct of council business

1. Where are council meetings to be held? Bylaw 8.7.1.

2. How often is the council to conduct face-to-face meetings? Bylaw 8.7.3.

3. How else can the council meet? Bylaw 8.7.2.

4. What begins every meeting? Bylaw 11.5.

5. How are special meetings of the council called? Bylaw 8.7.4.

6. How many council members must be present to conduct business? Bylaw 8.7.5.

7. What is the definition and purpose of the executive session? Bylaw 8.7.7.

8. How are committees of the council created? Bylaw 8.8.1. What are they not authorized to do? Bylaw 8.8.1.

9. Who can be on council committees? Bylaw 8.8.1.

10. Who can serve as advisers to council committees? Bylaw 8.8.3.

Home office

1. What corporate officers are called for, and who selects them? Bylaw 9.1.

Commen t: There are three corporate officers: president, secretary and treasurer.

2. Who is on the "management team"? Bylaw 5.1.4; 9.1; 9.2.

Commen t: In addition to the corporate officers, the management team consists of three operations managers (administrative services, media services and ministerial services).

3. What are the duties of the home office and management team? Constitution

4. Who delegates to the president? Bylaw 9.1.1(4).

5. What are the duties of the president? Bylaw 9.1.1.

6. What are the duties of the secretary? Bylaw 9.6.

7. What are the duties of the treasurer? Bylaw 9.7.

8. Who nominates the secretary and treasurer? Bylaw 9.2.

9. How are officers to be removed from office? Bylaw 9.3.

10. How are resignations or other vacancies of corporate officers handled? Bylaw 9.4; 9.5.

11. In the event of a vacancy in the office of president, who is responsible for discharging his duties? Bylaw 9.5.

12. The location of the home office was to be determined by whom? Bylaw 3.1.

Financial matters and records

1. What is the fiscal year for the United Church of God ? Bylaw 11.1.

2. To whom are the United Church of God 's annual reports to be made available? Bylaw 10.4.

3. To whom are the United Church of God 's books of accounts to be made available? Bylaw 9.7.1.

4. Who prepares an annual balanced budget for the general conference's approval? Bylaw 9.7.3.

5. How do congregations participate in the financial management of the United Church of God ? Bylaw 10.1.

6. Where are minutes of the meetings of the general conference, council and its committees to be kept? Bylaw 10.1. Who has access to these minutes?

Commen t: Neither the constitution nor the bylaws restricts access to these records.

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