The Journal: News of the Churches of God at

150 elders convene in Indianapolis,
organize the United Church of God

By John Robinson

INDIANAPOLIS--In a historic conference of ministers of the Church of God, elders selected a nine-member board and laid transitional plans for feeding the flock and preaching the gospel to the world.

The conference, held here April 30-May 2, named to the board Bob Dick, 51, Jim Franks, 45, Roy Holladay, 54, Doug Horchak, 42, David Hulme, 49, Victor Kubik, 47, Dennis Luker, Burk McNair, and Ray Wooten, 62.

Six of the nine were regional pastors of the Worldwide Church of God. Mr. Kubik is the former associate director of church administration. Mr. McNair, ordained an evangelist in 1979, pastored the San Antonio, Texas, congregation. Mr. Hulme was a presenter for The World Tomorrow telecast.

After its selection by the conference May 1, the board named a chairman, Mr. Hulme.

Elders choose name

On May 2, the conference chose the name "United Church of God, an International Association."

Elders, their wives and other brethren attending were told the goal of the board was to provide an interim role in helping preserve the Church of God.

All the current board members' terms are to end Jan. 1, 1996. However, each is eligible to serve subsequent terms.

A general conference of ministers is set for December 1996 to approve a more permanent organizational structure.

Mr. Dick and Mr. Luker presented the transitional plan in the morning session of May 1. After the presentation, ballot slips were distributed and a thumbs-up-thumbs-down vote was taken. Completed ballots were collected and given the accounting firm of Jim McMillian CPA for independent tabulation.

Shortly before lunch Richard Pinelli of Indianapolis introduced the board-selection process. Each elder was given a ballot. The instructions were to nominate two individuals. Nominees had to be elders and present in the room at the time of the balloting. The 15 men with the most votes were then to be placed in nomination.

The selection process for Judas Iscariot's replacement in the book of Acts was used as a scriptural example of the procedure.

Automatically placed in nomination by the organizers of the conference were Bob Dick, Jim Franks, Burk McNair, David Hulme and Denny Luker.

Vote taken for board

After lunch a list of nominees was distributed along with a ballot containing nine blanks. Only elders voted.

Mr. Pinelli said the CPA firm reported that in the nomination process there was a " six-way tie for 14th place." He said the firm recommended that all six name in the tie be included in the nominations, bringing the total to 24. Mr. Pinelli asked if the delegates had any objections to this change in the process. There were no objections.

Those nominated by the elders for the board were Wayne Dunlap, Roger Foster, David Havir, Roy Holladay, Doug Horchak, Bill Jacobs, Clyde Kilough, Victor Kubik, Ellis La Ravia, Dave Myers, Richard Pinelli, Jim Servidio, Randall Stiver, Guy Swenson, Richard Thompson, Gerald Waterhouse, Lyle Welty, Dean Wilson and Ray Wooten.

The CPA firm will seal and retain all ballots.

Statements of belief

In the April 30 session, Mr. Servidio distributed a single-page summary of the proposed doctrinal beliefs. At the bottom of the sheet the following statement appeared:

"All other doctrinal matters will be discussed over the coming months by a doctrinal team to be established for ongoing Biblical studies. A collaborative approach will be practiced to encourage participation by the entire ministry and membership."

Mr. Servidio said that, while "structure is our a focus, we wanted to have a summary." The "Brief Summary of Common Beliefs" is reprinted below:

We believe:

  • In one God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and the source of life.
  • That Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the prophesied Messiah, who will return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
  • That the Holy Scriptures of the old and New Testaments are God's revelation for mankind.
  • That the Church is the called out body of believers who have and are being led by the Holy Spirit.
  • That salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and that Christians will be rewarded according to their works at Christ's second coming.
  • That God's eternal spiritual law of love, defined by the Ten Commandments, is being written on the hearts and minds of His people through His Holy Spirit.
  • That the seventh-day Sabbath established at creation, and made holy by God, is a commanded observance.
  • That the seven annual Holy Days, outlining the plan of salvation, were kept by Christ, the Apostles and the original New Testament Church, and are to be observed today.

Mr. Servidio said that fuller explanations of doctrine would be forthcoming.

Thanks expressed to early groups founded in other regions

In other news of the conference, Mr. Dick acknowledged the work of the United Church of God of Alabama, the United Church of God of California and the Worldwide Church of God Texas.

"We have blended proposals from each" of these groups, he said, to create the new structure of the United Church of God.

Mr. Dick made the remarks as he announced a proposed transitional plan for governance and finance for the UCG, although at that point in the conference the UCG did not yet have a name.

"There are many opinions on what the New Testament model of governance may be," Mr. Dick said. "But there is one clear message in the pages of the New Testament" : the " attitude and spirit" of the process of selection of an apostle.

He referred to Acts 1 and the account of the replacement of one of the original 12 apostles, Judas. The short description in Acts, he said, " set the stage for the attitude and spirit that should prevail in this conference."

The months leading up to the next conference, in December, "will allow time for study, to observe, to offer amendments and to pray for God's guidance in the matter of governance and financing."

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