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United Church of God's Texas move hits a snag
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United Church of God's Texas move hits a snag
by Dixon Cartwright

The plans to move the United Church of God's headquarters from Ohio to Texas hit a major snag in December 2007 when five members of the 12-man council of elders submitted a resolution to rescind a vote of the general conference in May 2007.

As The Journal reported in its May 31, 2007, issue, the general conference, meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, voted by a slim 202-195 margin to move the home office from Milford, Ohio, to Denton, Texas.

Since then quite a few elders have expressed their dissatisfaction with the plans to relocate.

One elder, not an employee, said he reflects the opinion of many others when he says he likes the idea of a church headquartered in Texas but doesn't like the "less than open" way the church made the decision to move.

Although the majority of council members support the move to Texas, it takes only four of the 12 to place a question on the ballet for the next general conference, scheduled for May 2008.

Therefore, the five council members--Bob Berendt of Westbank, B.C., Canada, Aaron Dean of Gladewater, Texas, Bill Eddington of Melbourne, Australia, Roy Holladay of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Victor Kubik of Indianapolis, Ind.--have the power, through their recent resolution, to direct that a proposal come before the general conference in May 2008 that could rescind the May 2007 vote.

The seven council members in favor of the Texas move are Robert Dick of Portland, Ore., Jim Franks, Clyde Kilough, Richard Pinelli and Larry Salyer of Cincinnati, Richard Thompson of Orlando, Fla., and Leon Walker of Big Sandy, Texas.

In a meeting of the council in Cincinnati Dec. 11, the councillors in favor of the move expressed dismay at the turn of events while others defended the push to vote again.

As noted by council reporter John Foster, an elder who lives in Princeton, W.Va., Mr. Holladay, speaking for the elders who want to rescind the earlier vote to move, said that the resolution to redo the vote was a way to bring about peace and unity in the church.

Mr. Salyer, in favor of the move, said: "I do not understand how we can in good conscience submit a resolution that seeks in plain language to negate a decision duly made and authorized by the GCE [general conference of elders]."

Mr. Franks, similarly, asked: "How can a minority of the council put forward a resolution to overturn that decision and still say I'm in consensus with the council?"

Mr. Kilough, council member and church president, said he believes the renegade resolution stands to create a messy situation in the church.

Mr. Eddington, speaking as a council member opposed to the move, said he is concerned that the issue transcends the location of the home office and that some church leaders had underestimated the unrest and disunity the proposal has generated.

A similar resolution, more or less a petition, is circulating among the UCG ministry.

If 25 percent of UCG elders sign it, that resolution will also require that the general conference vote on whether to rescind the original vote to move to Texas.

The next day, Dec. 12, the council met with David McCarble II, a UCG member who lives in Houston, Texas, who is a developer of high-rise and commercial retail centers.

Mr. McCarble answered questions from council members on ways to develop the new property in Texas.

The closing of the purchase of the land, 811/2 acres on FM 3163 just east of Milan Ridge Road just outside the city limits of Denton, still seems to be on for early January.

Reported United News, the UCG's member newsletter, the cost of the land is $1,599,784, or $19,610 per acre, and its appraised value is $1.7 million.

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