United Church of God

Letter From Dan Preston - May 10, 2024

Letter From Dan Preston

May 10, 2024

Greetings all and Happy Sabbath!  Just a reminder we have a potluck in all three congregations tomorrow and that Hickory will have 2:30 PM services.  Charlotte and Columbia will be at 10:30 AM.

General Conference of Elders

As you all know, we were in Cincinnati last weekend for the General Conference of Elders meeting.  The General Conference of Elders, or GCE, consists of all elders in the United Church of God, whether they are employed or serve locally. If you aren't aware, the elders in our area are Sal Cimino, Sr., Lacy Mayes, Bill Paz and myself.

At the GCE, a variety of things occur.  On Sabbath, there was a Bible Study, followed by Sabbath services and a dinner.  After dinner, there was a recognition ceremony for those who have reached various milestones of service, as well as remember those who have passed away in the last year.

Business of the GCE

One of the key reasons for having the GCE is to maintain transparency as an organization.  There is a presentation from the Treasurer (Barry Korthuis), the Chairman of the Council of Elders (Len Martin), the President (Rick Shabi), the Director of Member and Ministerial Services (Steve Myers) and the Director of Media Operations (Peter Eddington).  The all give account of their various areas and take question from the audience utilizing an app called Menti.  This app allows anyone to anonymously ask a question, and then others can 'upvote' the various questions with those getting the most responses answered by the presenters.  This allows for very candid and open discussion of the various operations of the church, something unheard of in most organizations.

In addition to these presentations, there of course is balloting on various issues.  This year, in addition to the Operation Plan, Strategic Plan, Budget and Council positions, there were two amendments.  One was a slight wording change in in regards to compensation for retirees who serve on the council and the other was in regards to clarifying items that are required to be included in the balanced budget.  Both amendments, along with the Budge and Strategic and Operation plans passed by wide margins.


As always, 4 out of the 12 positions on the Council of Elders are up for election.  Scott Ashley, Len Martin and Paul Wasilkoff were all re-elected to the council.  In addition, John Elliot was elected this year.  For a complete look at council members, you can check out https://coe.ucg.org/ although it is still in the process of being updated after the recent elections.

As was mentioned, Len Martin's term as Chairman expired.  The term for Chairman is limited, so he was not eligible for re-election.  Tim Pebworth was elected Chairman and Rex Sexton was appointed Deputy Chairman.

Aside from the 'business' side of the GCE, perhaps the most important outcome of the weekend is the fellowship.  In many ways, the GCE serves as a class reunion of sorts.  While I never attended Ambassador College, many of our ministry did.  And for those of us who did not, it is still a tremendous pleasure to be reunited with faces we've not seen in months or even years.  The GCE serves a very important purpose not only in conducting the business of the church, but in fostering the camaraderie among the ministry. 

The governance of UCG is one that was carefully designed to be completely transparent and ensure stability in the church.  The smooth transitions and hundreds of smiling faces we saw this week are clear evidence of that.  Please continue to pray for the Council of Elders, as well as all the ministry of the church as they work to serve God and His people.