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United Church of God Council hears of
'urgent' need for communication
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United Church of God Council hears of
'urgent' need for communication

MILFORD, Ohio--The president of the United Church of God urged members of the 12-man council of elders to do something about the church's apparent inability to effectively communicate with its members.

Roy Holladay of Cincinnati and council member Aaron Dean of Gladewater, Texas, expressed concern during a meeting Aug. 29 about the bad press the church has endured during and after recent crises (which as reported in this newspaper have involved terminations, defrockings, disfellowshippings and resignations of pastors and other UCG members).

The two men suggested to the council that the church communicate with people inside the church and elsewhere by releasing information directly to "outside" publications such as The Journal.

Don Henson, elder from Pittsburgh, Pa., and council reporter, reported that the two men suggested that such releases would help widely and quickly disseminate the church's views on "certain controversial matters."

Another council member, Mario Seiglie of Anaheim, Calif., further suggested the council appoint an official spokesman to represent the UCG to outside publications.

But council members Joel Meeker of St. Louis, Mo., and Jim Franks of Houston, Texas, "warned against legitimizing any source that is divisive and harmful to the Church," reported Mr. Henson.

The discussion continued, with Mr. Holladay insisting the church must find a way to "constructively" use such sources for "hot-button" issues to help the church explain its position.

Mr. Henson reported that later in the meeting Mr. Holladay said the need is "urgent" for the UCG to find ways--perhaps by hiring a professional consultant--to do something about the UCG's communication challenges.


Council member Richard Thompson of Buford, Ga., suggested that perhaps a section in the church's newspaper for members, United News, could explain on a regular basis topics that are elsewhere routinely distorted and misrepresented.

Council member Les McCullough of Big Sandy, Texas, said sensitive news releases to sources both inside and outside the UCG need to be professionally prepared.

Mr. Thompson said a professional preparer of press releases would have to be someone who thoroughly understands the church's beliefs, values and nuances.

Council member Victor Kubik of Lafayette, Ind., said such releases would need to report on situations quickly, otherwise observers may think the church is delaying releasing information to give it time to "get our story straight."

In three days of meetings the council also discussed doctrinal questions arising among UCG members, including queries about the "nature of Jesus"; interracial marriage; porneia; sacred names; evangelism; the Jewish calendar, specifically questions about the timing of the wave sheaf and its effect on the timing of Pentecost; the beginning of the Sabbath in far-northern and far-southern latitudes; whether the church should sell (rather than give away) some church literature; conflict resolution; and the process of amending the constitution and bylaws.

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