Council of Elders Meeting Report - February 28, 2013

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United Church of God, an International Association

Council of Elders Quarterly Meeting

Cincinnati, Ohio

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Chairman Robin Webber called the morning session to order and asked Mario Seiglie to open with prayer. He then gave an update on president Dennis Luker’s health—that he is still in the hospital, feeling somewhat better, and will undergo some more medical tests today. He was happy to be updated on how the Council meetings were going.

Mr. Webber reported on a doctrinal item discussed in executive session about the Feast of Unleavened Bread, during which deliberations the Council carefully crafted the following statement:


The Feast of Unleavened Bread

The Church believes and teaches that we should observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread by removing all leaven from our homes, by refraining from eating leavened products, and by eating unleavened bread as stated in the booklet, Fundamental Beliefs of the United Church of God (pg. 36).

“The Feast of Unleavened Bread, starting the day after Passover and continuing for seven days, teaches us that Jesus Christ leads us to reject lawlessness, repent of sin and live by every word of God (1 Corinthians:5:8; Matthew:4:4).

“During this festival, leaven—an agent such as yeast that causes bread dough to rise during baking—symbolizes sin and is therefore removed from our homes and not eaten for the seven days (1 Corinthians:5:7-8; Exodus:12:15). By eating unleavened bread during this time instead, we picture living a life of sincerity and truth, free from sin. The first and last days of this seven-day festival are annual Sabbaths.

“‘Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians:5:7-8).

“‘But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Matthew:4:4).

“‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you. So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread’ (Exodus:12:15-20).”

Approved by the Council of Elders—February 27, 2013


Special Project: Joint Hosting of Feast 2013—Victor Kubik, Ministerial and Member Services

Mr. Kubik reported on a church group in Trinidad that believes what we do and originated as a 1993 offshoot of the former Worldwide Church of God. Some of their members frequently attend with our United brethren there. We have a proposal that we host a joint Feast of Tabernacles with them this fall.

UCG senior pastor for the Caribbean Chuck Zimmerman reported by telephone hookup about the negotiations with the Church of God Ministries International (COGMI). He answered questions from various Council and administration members. COGMI holds the same doctrines as UCG and even have a very similar hymnal. Our congregation and theirs in Trinidad are both small. Their members and ours know each other well for many years. Mr. Zimmerman reported that the main difference in our services compared to theirs is that they sing a few more hymns than we do. They have contracted the meeting hall for the Feast and have invited the local UCG brethren to keep the Feast with them. The plan is for us to alternate days running church services during this coming Feast.

Mr. Webber then presented the request to share the hosting of the Feast with the COGMI in Trinidad. He asked for a ballot to approve the event or not—it passed 10 to 2.


Roles and Rules Committee Business—Gary Antion

Mr. Antion asked Roc Corbett to review the proposed wording for Constitution Section 3.1 about God’s Purpose for the Church:

“God’s purpose for His Church is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, make disciples in all nations, teach and care for those disciples and prepare them for the return of Christ.”

Mario Seiglie suggested wording for the Council’s justification. Various members suggested alternate wordings, which were duly considered and positively debated. The exact wording for the proposed amendment and justification will be finally reviewed and balloted on in the afternoon session.

Mr. Antion then introduced the GCE Responsibilities Advisory Committee (GRAC) wording reflecting yesterday’s discussion and provided a flow chart for the process. He asked Dan Dowd, chairman of the GRAC to read the revised wording of the proposed process for “Bylaws 7.9.2 Requirement of an Agenda” and “Bylaws Action Without a Meeting.”

The Council entered executive session for the remainder of the morning.


Roles and Rules Committee Business—Gary Antion, Roc Corbett, Dan Dowd

Mr. Corbett received a proposal to ballot on a proposed amendment to Constitution Article 3.1. He then read said proposal and the Council’s statement of justification. After the proposal was seconded it passed unanimously.

Mr. Antion introduced Dan Dowd to present on behalf of the GCE Responsibilities Advisory Committee (GRAC) regarding Bylaws 7.9.2 and detailing the process for members of the GCE to put items on the GCE meeting agenda or to take action without a meeting respectively. After receiving the proposal to ballot and a second, the proposed Bylaws processes were unanimously passed. Mr. Antion thanked Mr. Dowd and the entire GRAC committee for their due diligence in improving the role of the GCE.


Final Wrap-up

Mr. Webber suggested several thinking and action points for the Council to consider in upcoming meetings, including systemizing the process of confirming a president’s term and selecting a chairman of the C.O.E. We are currently operating on accepted precedents, but need to establish policies.

He mentioned that in the upcoming August meetings he hoped to establish a time for the C.O.E. to have a retreat session in Cincinnati (perhaps just at the Home Office) where they can focus for an entire day on vision items regarding the movement forward of the United Church of God. He mentioned using agreed upon points from an earlier retreat session of a couple of years ago that had not yet been fully addressed. This would be an appropriate time for consideration with a new president and new C.O.E. members meeting in August.

Just after 2:00 p.m. this quarterly meeting of the Council of Elders then concluded with prayer and the members of the Council said their farewells and began their journeys home.


Randy Stiver

Council Reporter

© 2013 United Church of God, an International Association