The Journal: News of the Churches of God at

First UCG Chairman Calls for Unity,
States Group Founded on Collaborative Church Government

INDIANAPOLIS--"We came here 10 days ago, or four days ago or one or two days ago, to find out if local congregations could be established to hear the truth of God and to begin to participate again in the good news of the Kingdom of God to the world."

David Hulme, chairman of the interim board of the newly organized United Church of God, whose formal name is "United Church of God, an International Association," said May 2 he "felt encouraged" as the general conference of elders progressed.

The 49-year-old former presenter on The World Tomorrow on television said he had been "skeptical" that former members of the Worldwide Church of God could reach a consensus at the conference, but "the process here has been under God's hand."

Since people are involved, "it is not perfect," he said. But "we are working, and God is working: like a birth process, starting new, starting out afresh."

Of his new role as the UCG's first board chairman, he said he is uncomfortable. "I don't feel comfortable with being the head guy or anything like that, and I don't understand the chairman of the board to be that."

He considers himself to be a "facilitator," working as part of a collaborative process.

"I now find myself in a position that I really don't want to be in. My wife said, `I know you feel overwhelmed by all of this, but please keep in mind all those people who have called you the past months from all over the world and said, "Please tell us what we can do; we can't stand this anymore; please help us." ' "

Mr. Hulme said it's time for the brethren "to fast, to pray to God individually to show us what we must do.

"If we let God work through us, then the peaceful confidence will return. God is taking care of His people. He is providing for them. He hasn't gone away, though He didn't act as quickly as we wanted Him to.

"But what is patience after all if it isn't waiting through time?"

Mr. Hulme called for church members to be patient. "In all that's going on, please remember that patience is something that God is developing in us. Please be patient with us."

Regarding the suggestions for implementing the start-up of a new church organization, Mr. Hulme said he and other organizers "will try hard to be patient with you and all of your input, and I really mean it. We cannot do what we have decided to do without your input."

Mr. Hulme noted that a great unifying influence in God's church is the annual festivals. He called the knowledge of the feasts "the astonishing truth of the Holy Day plan which can never be forgotten." He urged ministers to "give the brethren the hope of the Holy Days. It [plans for the Feast of Tabernacles this fall] is a short-term objective, and it's important."

Noting that the UCG's policies regarding governance are radically different from those of the Worldwide Church of God, he said the United Church of God has "embarked on the process of collaborative governance." Such a concept of governing is new to former members of the WCG, "but give it time," he said.

He noted that the new structure of regional pastors is not the same as the old regional-pastor structure under the WCG. "It's not a hierarchical structure anymore. It's a collaborative process, and it should be seen as that."

Casting the church in a historical perspective, he said the brethren are in a "transitional period. Expect good things, but remember what it is. We began 10 days ago with reservations and questions."

Although most of the ministers and their wives attended the meetings three days, 14 organizers, including several who were named members of the board of directors during the general meetings, had arrived here as early as April 24. The general meeting began April 30 in the Holiday Inn in Cloverdale, Ind., southwest of here but was moved to the larger facilities of Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria in Indianapolis the next day because so many more delegates arrived than organizers had expected.

"We've seen our Father gently lead us to some pretty astounding conclusions through methods we've never used before. Simply put, what has happened here despite human frailties has left us encouraged and uplifted."

In his last address of the conference to delegates, he said, "I leave here with many kinds of emotions, as I'm sure you all do. I wish you godspeed, and I look forward to reconvening. Perhaps we'll see most of you in December [for the next general conference] and perhaps during the Feast days as well."


Church Links  -  Addresses  -  Church Logos  -  Finances  -  Photos  -   Memorial

The Study Library  -  In Transition  -  Messages Online  -  Live Services

Back Issues  -  Subscribe  -  Email List  -  Ad Rates  -  Site Map

© The Journal: News of the Churches of God