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Worldwide Church of God loses almost 40 percent of its ministers

Nearly 40 percent of the Worldwide Church of God pastors in the United States have resigned or otherwise been separated from employment in the past year, most within the past three months.

Shortly prior to WCG Pastor General Joseph Tkach's Dec. 24, 1994, sermon announcing sweeping doctrinal changes, the WCG listed 463 congregations. All were pastored by elders paid by the WCG. Some pastors handled only one congregation, but many handled two or more congregations.

Therefore, even though there were 465 congregations, there were only 267 elders who held the title pastor. Of this 267, 100 or 37 percent, are no longer in the employ of the WCG. The vast majority of those separated from WCG employment left or were terminated over doctrinal matters.

Many other elders no longer support the latest round of WCG doctrine; however, compiling lists and getting apples-to-apples comparisons to earlier numbers is difficult and time consuming. Of the WCG's paid ministry there are pastors and associates serving local congregations. There are elders who teach at Ambassador University or work at the church's headquarters in Pasadena. Additionally, there are hundreds of unpaid lay elders, called local church elders by the WCG. Determining the status of the unpaid elders is the most difficult list to compile.

Prior to late December 1994, the WCG listed 1,308 elders. The number no longer affiliated with the WCG is yet to be determined.

Most of the 98 pastors who have been separated from WCG employment since December are now employees of the United Church of God. Some have joined the Global Church of God and a few are yet to announce their affiliations.

One such individual is Leon Walker, former WCG regional director of the Spanish-speaking work. Mr. Walker said he has yet to officially decide which organization to worship with.

"Right now my No. 1 priority is to help our Spanish-speaking brethren, principally in Mexico, Central and South America, remain grounded in the Truth," Mr. Walker said. "Later this month I plan to meet with representatives of Global and UCG."

Some former WCG pastors who are now ministers of the UCG are yet to receive permanent assignment.

Victor Kubik, director of UCG's Ministerial Services department, which hires and assigns ministers, said that his organization is still sorting through hirings and assignments.

"In some cases we have members and no local minister," Mr. Kubik said. "In other cases we have two or three ministers in one area and only enough brethren to justify one paid minister.

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