Wednesday, August 16, 2017

UCG Tells Choir Members To Commit Illegal Act For Feast

United Church of God is encouraging its members who are singing in Feast of Tabernacles choirs at Feast sites to photocopy the sheet music they will be singing from.  Instead of UCG doing what is morally right, purchasing the sheet music for the choirs, it is telling members to commit an illegal act.

Is UCG so financially strapped that they cannot spend a few hundred/thousand dollars on some sheet music?  They can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on failed ad campaigns, office redecorating, personal appearances, and playground equipment, but they cannot buy some sheet music.  Isn't that what the non-biblical 3rd tithe you collect is supposedly for?

In the UCG post previously, United Church of God: Continues To Struggle On How to Remain Relevant In The 21st Century  the following comments were made:
AnonymousFeastgoer said... 
A stunning sign of $$ troubles in UCG right now is the request at one Feast site for all choir members to print out the sheet music, and carry it with them to the Feast.
Is there not enough "Tithe of the Tithe" to purchase songs?
Another comment was made:
If UCG sent out an e-mail requesting that people violate copyright, the statutory penalty is $500 - $20,000 per violation, but rises to $100,000 if the violation can be shown to be willful.
A quick internet search finds this:
If music stores or orchestra leaders could simply buy one copy of sheet music and photocopy it for all their customers or band members, the composer and publishing house would not be able to make a living and create more unique music. Copyright laws protect composers and music publisher's rights; it is a violation of copyright law to reproduce sheet music without permission from the copyright holder. 
The copyright owner of a piece of sheet music owns the sole right to copy and distribute that sheet music including both the notes and words contained on it, according to the U.S. Copyright Office. Copying sheet music either by photocopier, scanner or by hand, or copying out any individual part or voice from that music without the express permission of the copyright owner is a copyright law violation. Illegal photocopying significantly diminishes the income of music composers, arrangers and publishers, according to the Music Publishers Association of the United States. Copyright violators may be sued for monetary damages.  Sheet Music Copyright Laws

Joe Tkach Announces Retirement

Joe Tkach, President of Grace Communion International (Former Worldwide Church of God) has announced he is retiring as of January 1, 2019.  Greg Williams is replacing him as head of the GCI.
During the conference, I announced that on January 1, 2019 I will be retiring—stepping aside as President of Grace Communion International. On that date, GCI Vice President Greg Williams will become GCI President. After retiring from GCI employment I will continue serving as Chairman of GCI’s Board of Directors and Russell Duke will continue serving as Vice Chairman.
These changes in our leadership, recently approved by our Board of Directors, will be accompanied by the move in April 2018 of our Home Office from Glendora, CA, to Charlotte, NC. We’re thankful to God for the way he has provided our next generation of denominational leadership, both in our Home Office and in our other GCI offices around the globe. Thanks for your prayers about these transitions! Leadership changes; humans in relationship

As one person mentioned to me, this is 12 years after he previously announced he was retiring.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

United Church of God: Continues To Struggle On How to Remain Relevant In The 21st Century

United Church of God has an article up on their Updates page concerning issues in Canada (and the US) about the ageing out of its members and the drop in income that will result.  Of course, UCG like any "good" Church of God has solved that issue...preach more sermons on tithing.
Included in the financial discussion is retirement of the baby boomers and what affect that might have on the income of the church. The source of our donations is: 70% from members; 20% from donors and 10% from coworkers. It was suggested it would be a good idea to give sermons as to the importance of giving tithes and offerings and what the scriptural basis for doing so is.
Considering there is no New Covenant command for tithing, UCG is going to have a hard sell in getting ageing baby boomers and others to fork over more and more money so the elite can stay in power and live comfortable lives while they struggle in retirement.

UCG never stops to consider that their message no longer has any impact on UCG members or the world around them.  Like most COG's it still tries to cling to the "glory days" of the past and still looks at old paradigms to run their current iteration of the church.  In Canada, they have lost 1/3 of their responses/viewership due to their message no longer having relevance.  Of course, UCG has a quick response to that, change broadcast stations.
Edwin van Pelt presented a PowerPoint showing a breakdown of statistics regarding the Beyond Today television program. This past year responses have dropped about 1/3 from the previous year. However, almost 30 percent of those responding each week are new people. It was asked if we should try a different station or time. This is a possibility, but can be quite costly even if there is a time slot available.
If you can't rope them in with cable TV and other video sources, then let's resort to Readers Digest.  Does anyone read RD anymore?  It is 2017, not 1965 when every article was some syrupy sweet story of cotton candy and warm fuzzies.  While warm positive stories certainly are good to read and restore faith in humanity, those kinds of books appeal to the 65 and over crowd who remember the magazine from their youth and wish to wax nostalgic compared to the mad rush of society and the digital age of today.

The issues in UCG extend far beyond ageing baby boomers.  According to UCG brass in Canada, current day UCG members have no sense of commitment to the church as people had in the past. You know UCG is having trouble when they cannot get church members to register for the Feast!  Add to that the lack of commitment of UCG members to even have their name put forth to be on UCG's Canadian council that runs the church.
A portion of the morning was reserved for brainstorming. Included in the discussion was: media challenges, trends, the Ministerial Newsletter, current challenges facing the church (lack of commitment, not registering for the Feast,  the need for succession planning for replacing the Secretary, and the lack of individuals willing to have name on ballot selection for council...
UCG Canada is also trying to figure out how to safely navigate rules on spam emails in Canada. UCG now has to have a way for recipients to "opt out" from receiving their mail.   Every email list and every church list that I am on has ways to opt out from receiving their mail.  It is strange in 2017 that UCG has never given their members and readers that option.
Michael Erickson presented concerns to be aware of regarding Canada’s Anti-Spam legislation. Part of the problem is a lack of definition of terms. The legislation concerns “commercial electronic messages”. It is not clear if some of our emails might fall into that category since they may sometimes advertise an event (socials, feasts, etc.). Much of the definition will be determined in court so the church needs to do what it can to protect itself from potential lawsuits. By July 1 all corporations need to have explicit consent to send the commercial electronic messages. We must also find a way to provide an easy unsubscribe for those who no longer wish to receive messages. The legislation applies to both corporations and individuals and all electronic forms of sending messages. It carries a hefty fine.

Many people I know in UCG say they are only there till their kids grow up and head off to college.  They don't want to leave and have their children's friends be lost.

UCG lost its relevance when they kept filling all of the seats on the Council of Elders with aging baby boomers who too often keep looking back at the "glory days" of old and naively thought they could recapture it.

Their model from the past was corrupt and continues to be today.  Abusive ministers still abound.  Legalistic doctrines still keep members shackled down.  Jesus is ignored or at least given a little lip service.  The law reigns supreme, grace, not so much.

UCG had a chance and blew it.  Twenty years later and it still has not comprehended that fact.  Fancy offices, nice homes and steady income for the upper echelon does not make a church make.

United Church of God: Men Have Authority Over Women

United Church of God has always tried to portray its self as more enlightened than other Church of God's.  After all, they were the "new and improved" version of the Worldwide Church of God when they established themselves a couple decades ago.  They were going to do things bigger and better than their mother church did.  Love and grace were supposedly going to trump rules and regulations.

As we have all seen over the last 20 years, that has never happened.  One upheaval after another has hit God's special church. Thousands of members left to join up with a splinter group that also took a large percentage of UCG's ministers with them.  UCG once again placed more emphasis on the rules and regulations than they did on love and grace.

To show that some things never change in the UCG, a UCG source sent me the following today:

The UCG is the most moderate of the splinters right?  Well, you should
listen to Joe Dobson's Aug. 12 sermon on "God wants us to have living
faith."  About the middle, he goes out of his way to say that husbands
have authority over their wives, given by God.  I'd sure hate to be
his wife!
Men, you too can listen to Joe Dobson's sermon here:  God wants us to have living faith