United Church of God

Home Office Weekly Update: February 23, 2023

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Home Office Weekly Update

February 23, 2023

From the President...

Greetings brethren around the world,

The last few days here in Cincinnati have been bright and warm with temperatures reaching into the mid-70s Fahrenheit. Spring is in the air, and indeed the Passover and Unleavened Bread season is just six weeks from now. As you personally focus and prepare for Passover, I suggest you take a look at the home page of UCG.org as referenced in Peter Eddington’s “Six Steps to Passover” section below. This Bible study series will be featured on the home page leading to the spring Holy Days.

Here at the home office we are beginning to implement several operational initiatives and strategies that have been developed by us in administration. We are committed to doing the work God has called us all to do (which includes all of you, all over the world), and to fulfill the commission Christ has given us.

When God brought Israel out of Egypt, He led Moses to organize and administer that very large group with “captains over hundreds and captains over fifties” (Deuteronomy 1:15, Authorized Version).

In Ephesians 4:11-12 Paul, under inspiration of God, directed the order of the Church, to provide the accountability and responsibility for the accomplishment of its two-fold mission of preaching the gospel and preparing the Body of Christ: “He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of [service], for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ.”

We have a commission to do the work of God around the world. In order to do that more effectively going forward, we have made a few organizational changes that I’d like to share with you today.

New position created at the home office

Recognizing our need to work more closely with our international ministry and brethren, and to provide the tools and resources that will assist them in their walk with God as they live “the Way” of Christ, we have created a new position to address these needs. Darris McNeely, a long-time pastor known by Church members around the world, who has served as pastor, associate media producer and Beyond Today television host, will now fill the role of International Education and Services Coordinator.

Working under the direction of the president, Darris will work closely with MMS operation manager, Steve Myers, in the development of educational programs and services for our international areas. Darris has travelled internationally in the past, and has conducted training sessions in several areas. In this role he will work with international pastors in determining how we can best meet the needs in their areas.

Regional pastor updates

In an effort to better coordinate and work with the ministry in the United States, we have slightly revised the job description of the regional pastors (RPs). Following the same concept of “captains of fifties,” the regional pastors serve under the MMS operation manager as “overseers” and resources for the ministry and congregations in their areas.

As we move forward, we welcome two men to the role of regional pastor. Gary Antion, a long-time elder who has served as pastor in the United States and Canada, as well as Ambassador Bible College coordintor in the past, will become the regional pastor in the Northeast region. In the North Central region, Dan Dowd will now serve alongside Mitch Knapp as co-regional pastors. Steve Myers speaks more of this in the MMS update that follows.

Thank you all for your prayers. Please continue to ask God to direct and guide us all—that all will be done according to His will and to His glory.

Have a great rest of the week and restful and inspiring Sabbath.

In Christ’s service,
Rick Shabi

From Ministerial and Member Services...

At the recent meetings of the Council of Elders, changes were approved to the job description for men serving as regional pastors in the United States. These changes are intended to increase the involvement and interaction of our regional pastors with the pastors and congregations in each of our six U.S. regions. In making these changes we desire to be even more closely joined and knit together by what every member supplies, with all doing their share (Ephesians 4:16).

We are also pleased to announce that Gary Antion will serve as the new regional pastor for the Northeast region and Dan Dowd will become a co-regional pastor, working alongside Mitch Knapp for the North Central region. In conjunction with these changes, in order to better balance our regions, we have moved our Michigan-based pastors and the congregations they serve to the North Central region instead of the Northeast region.

Please join us in welcoming these men to their new responsibilities.

—Steve Myers, Operation Manager, Ministerial and Member Services

Six Steps to Passover

We are just six weeks from observing the Passover. To help you in your preparation for this important reminder of our baptismal commitment, please join us together as the Body of Christ in enhancing our study and preparation through our Beyond Today Bible study video series: “Six Steps to Passover.”

We know that our Great God speaks to us through His inspired Word—the Holy Bible. Here’s an opportunity to deepen your understanding of God, and gain insight as we approach the Passover season.

For the next six weeks we will study important aspects at the heart of God’s plan—the Passover. This week’s study is titled: “Six Steps to Passover: Part 1: Jesus Our Passover” by Steve Myers.


—Peter Eddington, Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services

Southeast Regional Weekend in Atlanta: April 8–9

The Atlanta and Buford, Georgia, congregations are excited to host the 2023 Southeast (SE) Regional Weekend in Atlanta on April 8–9. This is the region’s 26th consecutive year offering the event. This year’s regional dance theme is “Beyond the Sea.” Whereas formalwear is the expected attire of the gala (gentlemen with suits and bowties or neckties; ladies with gowns suitable for the evening), the atmosphere will have attendees feeling like they are dancing on the ocean floor to a playlist fit for a king crab. Cost for the formal dance is $39 per person (ages 12-25; the Formal does not include dinner). The dance is for those 12–25 years of age; however, all ages are invited to the weekend’s other events including Sabbath services, senior recognitions, and Sunday’s family skating activity.

On Sunday, skating is planned for those of all ages. The family skate party begins on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and runs until noon. We encourage skaters to wear their best thrift-store graphic tee (with an appropriate image and message on it). The cost is $12.50 per person. A game of laser tag is included with every skate ticket. Sparkles two-story playland will also be open for the preteens.

A detailed agenda with the locations for each event is offered on the UCG Atlanta website: ucg.org/congregations/atlanta-ga/posts/2023-se-regional-weekend-in-atlanta-georgia-april-8-9-2023-928111

Registration is now open till March 25. We look forward to seeing you soon!

—Philip Aust, pastor, Atlanta and Buford, Georgia