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First UCG Directors Conduct Q & A with UCG delegates

INDIANAPOLIS--UCG board directors Dennis Luker and Bob Dick fielded questions from delegates at the conference May 2.

Minister Bill Jacobs of Pasadena, Calif., asked, "How big does the home office intend to get?"

The answer, from Mr. Luker: "Tithes and offerings are being collected locally. We want balance, but we definitely want to avoid a bureaucracy and top-heavy type of thing."

A delegate from Spokane, Wash., asked, "Can board members be reelected for additional terms?"

The answer, from director Bob Dick: "There were discussions" about this subject, but "there were no definite answers proposed. Term limitation may very well be a part of the bylaw structure." Mr. Dick said this was a subject that would probably be addressed at the conference in December.

Chuck Zimmerman of Phoenix, Ariz., asked: "How transparent will the meetings of the board be, and would you allow guests to attend meetings?"

Mr. Dick replied that "I hope that there would be a high level of transparency because I haven't experienced any transparency before." (This answer was met with applause.)

An unidentified delegate asked: "Who would be eligible for the board of directors? Male, female, minister, deacon: Any discussion of that?"

Mr. Dick's reply: "For the sake of continuity, the board for now is comprised of elders, transitionally. Beyond that point, I cannot answer the question."

Randy Stiver, elder from Roseburg, Ore., asked: "Where is the home office?"

Mr. Dick: "The home office for the near term is determined by manpower and talent. In the beginning, it will be in Southern California."

An unidentified delegate from Tampa, Fla., asked questions about tithing, whether it will be on gross or net. He also had questions about third tithe.

Mr. Luker replied that, "during this transitional period, that will be administered locally as well." On the question of net vs. gross, "that will have to be discussed," but for the transition those considerations should be handled locally.

Two-thirds majority needed

Norm Myers of Milwaukee, Wis., asked about the percentage of conference elders needed to ratify doctrinal changes.

Mr. Dick noted that at the board level a two-thirds majority is necessary. At the ratification stage, with the general conference, a simple majority is required.

Howard Davis of Portland, Ore., commented on the same subject that he "would not like to see the same majorities" on doctrinal subjects as opposed to administrative questions, "because that's why we're here."

Dean Wilson of Portland, Ore., asked if a vehicle for lay members to introduce proposed changes would be established, "whereby we have access to suggestions [from lay members] on things we might want to see changed."

Mr. Dick replied that the UCG was establishing a "representative form of government, not a democracy. You as elders, if you're doing your job, are representing your congregations," so members' suggestions would come through local ministers.

Don Hornsby of Bethlehem, Pa., asked about the powers of the chairman of the board. "Will he be able to veto whatever the board of directors comes up with? If so, what checks and balances are provided?"

Chairman has one vote

Mr. Dick replied that "the chairman of the board carries one vote."

An unidentified delegate from Lansing, Mich., asked about the name of the church. Mr. Luker replied that "you will be deciding" from three proposed names later in the conference.

Dave Myers of Houston asked: "Will the selection of the chairman be ratified by the general conference after he is nominated by the nine-member board? Will operations managers be nominated from the board? Or what?"

Mr. Dick's reply: "The chairman is ratified by the board, not the general conference." The operations managers are not automatically board members, but they can be members of the board.

Ellis La Ravia of Tucson, Ariz., asked about titles. "Maybe we should use `presiding officer' instead of `chairman of the board,'" he suggested.

Mr. Dick said church organizers "knew the titles that didn't belong there" but the choice of chairman was "driven by reaction."

Steve Sheppherd of Elkhart, Ind., asked how new doctrines will be disseminated. He said members are not interested in a church that could be described as "Pasadena Lite."

Mr. Dick replied that "Videotape Church of God" was not one of the names considered for the new church. "We know what has been done," Mr. Dick said. "We don't want it duplicated. The networking and the interconnectivity within the structure of the [UCG] organization is just a little short of phenomenal. We have seen, thanks to the terminations from the Worldwide Church of God, a labor pool that is nothing short of fantastic."

Closing comments for this session were by Mr. Luker, who credited George Crow, Ray Wooten and Wayne Dunlap with the preliminary work that made possible the United Church of God. "They are all here or represented here," he said. "They have paved the way for us. We do appreciate that deeply, and we want them to know that and recognize that."

(Mr. Wooten and Mr. Dunlap were present; Mr. Crow, because of a prior commitment, could not attend but was represented by his son, Richard Crow, an elder from Dayton, Ohio.)

Mr. Luker's final comment: "We all want unity, right? Unity!"

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