Friday, November 16, 2012

Grace Communion International/Worldwide Church of God Sticks It To Employee's Again

Today my mail box was filled with over 30 different emails regarding Grace Communion International/WCG latest screw job to present and past employees.

Several years ago as they were contemplating selling the campus they stood up in the Student Center at an employee meeting and promise retirement to all the employees that stuck by their side through the Great Theological Debacle that sent tens of thousands of people into hundreds of splinter cults.  They even stood up there and said that they would double the years employee's had worked as a Thank-You for being loyal.  I remember a minster sitting behind us saying under his breath that we would never see it.  We should have listened to him.  It never happened, at least the doubling of years.

They did eventually start a retirement program after the campus sale that they said would be funded with the money from the sale.  They also stood up there and said that the money would NOT be maintained by the Church but through an outside retirement management company. They said they were doing this to eliminate any conflict of interest.

Well, that did not last long!

In letters that were mailed out this week to all present employee's and those past employee's that they had permitted to join the program, it was announced that the retirement fund was  in serious financial trouble because of the "Great Recession."

There are at least three different letters that went out. One to present people in the retirement program, one to future vested ex-employees and another to the ministry.  One guess as to WHO gets the shaft in the scenario.  The ministry will still get their retirement, while all present retirement beneficiaries and future vested beneficiaries are being paid off in lump sums.

One of the letters said:

"As you know, Grace Communion International (formerly Worldwide Church of God) adopted a Defined Benefit Pension Plan ("Pension Plan") out of concern of its employees in 2004.  At the time the Pension Plan was adopted, it was our sincere hope that the assets that were contributed to the Pension Plan, plus the earnings on those amounts, would allow the Pension Plan to be self-sustaining and pay benefits to our current and future retirees throughout their lifetimes.  Unfortunately, as I am sure you are aware, the financial markets have substantially underperformed the reasonable expectations of investment professionals since the Pension Plan was established due primarily to what is now being called the "Great Recession."  Although we have managed the funds in a prudent manner and have earned a reasonable rate of return over the life of the Pension Plan, the projected growth of the Pension Plan's assets will now likely not, over time, be sufficient to cover the continuing payments to current and future retirees.  We are very concerned about this issue.
After careful deliberation, and out of concern for participants, their families and the Church, the Board of Directors has decided to terminate the Pension Plan with respect to exiting employee's and vested terminees.

This is causing serious concern to many elderly employees who have health issues because of their age and because of the work they performed for the Church.  They had counted on this retirement through the remainder of their life.  Now that has all be shot out the window.

The Church will be making lump sum payments to those presently in the program with a buy out.  If you take the lump sum and don't roll it over, you will have over 30% taken out in taxes.  Because the church for decades never paid into Social Security, because Herbert saw no need for it (the church was supposed to take care of it's own) they do not have large Social Security payments coming to them.  They were counting on this to help maintain housing and for food.

However, through this debacle there is one group of men who will still maintain their retirement.  All the leadership of the church and the ministry who remain in good standing.  When you are already making salaries in the $100,000+ (I have seen the pay stubs) this is just another added benefit.  The lowly employees who worked for the church for12 years or more without raises or cost of living increases continually got the shaft, even as the ministers received raises, cost of living increases and year end $10-15,000.00 bonuses.

Hundreds of employee's were refused admittance to the program. Some former ministers were not allowed to have any part of it, even those who did not join other splinter cults.

One long time loyal member of the church said, "We just got fucked again!"  Another said, "Lies, lies lies!  That's all they have ever ever done to us."  One women said, "Why I ever trusted them I have no idea!  I guess I thought they were Christians.  How wrong I was!" Another remarks, "Even after all these years they still have their claws in us."

I guess we all thought that since this was a Church, a church that had seen the Light and reformed it's erroneous ways, that would actually put the New Covenant into practice. How wrong were were. Apparently they are just as morally bankrupt as Gerald Flurry, Dave Pack and Rod Meredith.


Anonymous said...

employees - plural
employee's - singular possessive
employees' - plural possessive

Anonymous said...

Idiot GCI HR doesn't know the difference between "formally" and "formerly."

Anonymous said...

Joey Jr sends out a letter to all present and former employees stating, "In order for you to be considered for retirement benefits, please send in a full picture of yourself."

Then, Joey Jr examines the pictures to see if anyone is wearing vests, before replying to everyone with a form letter stating, "We am sorry to inform you that you are not eligible for retirement benefits. In fact, we have photographic evidence that you are not vested."


Douglas Becker said...

Except for the name on the door, no one can tell the difference between the psychopaths running Corporations, Academia, Government and Churches, and even then, you might not be able to tell.

Government adopted the worst of the Corporate Model and implemented it badly, but the Cults beat them to it.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think you mean "employees" not "employee's". Some proofreading would really increase your credibility here.

Douglas Becker said...

Not one shred of caring or empathy for the employees.

And this is supposed to represent Christianity?


Just like the Armstrongists, GCI has tapped into the vulnerability of people who want to believe that someone cares for them, but, unfortunately, it's all fake.

No one who is at this little Ponzi Scheme cares and everyone else is just so much collateral damage.

And if you have to lie to keep yourself on top, so what?

Byker Bob said...

The minute WCG went "New Covenant", it should have been recognized that there were vastly more experienced teachers, managers, and stewards in that doctrinal approach, with decades more experience and much better capabilities. One can correct doctrinal approach, but unless one also modifies the managerial style utilized by the former approach, the results become an exercise in self-defeat. It all has to do with doing the right things for the wrong reasons, the wrong things for the right reasons, the wrong things for the wrong reasons, and the right things for the right reasons.

I'm glad to have walked away from the entire sorry mess. The proverbial leopard has not changed its spots.

If any of the affected people from GCC are reading here, I'd suggest that they obtain competent professional advice from secular investment counsellors. Do not set yourself up for a second volley of punches by relying on those within your own church, or church government to act in your best interests!


Head Usher said...

In my opinion, the Tkachs were no better than HWA in any way. They wanted power, money, and respect just as much as HWA did, the only difference being they wanted respect from different people than HWA did. I'll bet HWA, JWT, Joe Jr., and all their evangelist-level henchmen were effectively atheists from the get-go. In their private lives, none of them were followers of christ as they claimed to be. Their way of handling people and situations reminds of the way totalitarian dictators handled things: the ends justifies the means, use people and discard them, deception, intrigue, etc. Yet they wanted OTHERS to follow christ, turn the other cheek, look to them as apostles and so forth, because that way they could control them and milk them of their money. It's probably the oldest trick in the book.

"The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful." - Edward Gibbon

Anonymous said...

As HWA wrote around 1980+/-:

"Prepare Greatly To Reduce Your Standard Of Living"

Sure, HWA was years ahead of his time with this warning, just like he was with all his other warnings. But now, here it is--at least for some people.

Now, even more people who did not care about the laws of God, or the Bible, or God, and who quickly went along with all of Joseph Tkach, Jr.'s doctrinal changes for the money, will start to feel sorry for their own selfish selves, and start to whine about how they were "loyal" to the church, yet got "screwed over" by it. Boo hoo hoo.

These WCG/GCI HIRELINGS just cannot admit that they were actually DISLOYAL, UNFAITHFUL APOSTATES who were just IN IT FOR THE MONEY!!!

Now, they can join others like Dennis Diehell (spelling?) who does not even believe in God or the Bible, and never stops speaking against them, and yet thinks he should have been able to continue to collect a paycheck for babbling away ignorantly and stupidly.

After a long lifetime of treachery and sin, these wicked old GCI FOOLS [i.e., morally deficient people] whine away that they are now old, and that their faithlessness and godlessness is catching up with them. Suddenly, fearfulness has surprised some more of these HYPOCRITES.

Douglas Becker said...

And future United Ministers saw the handwriting the wall and got their own retirement (in place) plan.

Anonymous said...

I thought church organizations had to withold and match SocSec for non-minster employees; would explain why the kept the plan for ministers.

Anonymous said...

It has been a number of years since I have been associated with any of the COG organizations, so I cannot say much about current conditions. Many seem to use a big brush in painting those who have been touched by their religious efforts.

What I see presented here certainly paints a different picture of Ambassador Quality than was painted by those in ministry way back when. I will admit there has always been a lot of human nature, but it was difficult to discern whether it was self deception or intentional deception. My personal inclination is toward an evolution that started with self deception and eventually became an intentional deception to protect the status quo.

The bad and sad thing about the Ambassador saga is the fact that some were able to enjoy a more lucrative Ambassador Quality in this life and others were expected to wait until the next life. It was quite evident to me that is what killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. When the goose died they tore it up looking for those golden eggs. Of course there weren’t enough to go around so they started tearing up each other.

Of course the story doesn’t include me, but it will be interesting to see how it ends.

Anonymous said...

"Prepare Greatly To Reduce Your Standard Of Living" - HWA

Wasn't that a warning for those about to join Herbie's cult?
And, upon joining the cult, not only was members' "standard of living" greatly reduced, so was their "standard of thinking"


Anonymous said...

GCI/WCG received at least $150million from the sale of assets.

Their current model has local churches paying for all of their own expenses. The headquarters is paying for nothing.

Lets assume a reasonable annuity payout rate of 5% of the $150 Million and that is $7.5 Million a year.

Where in the hell does that money go? Why do the people at CGI/WCG endure such financial management? No accountability, no balance sheet, no listing of current assets, no income or expense reports??

Tkach has been this way from day one, operating from behind the curtain with absolutely no checks and balances and viewing the assets as his own personal piggy bank to be spent as his discretion.

Whatever happened to the idea that Tkach himself proposed about having new elected chairmans? What happened to the idea that local churches would be built from those funds received in the asset liquidation?

Run, dont walk, from Joey and his friends now. Have zero faith in ANY goodwill from these characters.

Byker Bob said...

Replaying the tape, playing it backwards and forwards, some things become very evident.

Plainly, this was an incredible opportunity to exemplify whether or not God was working through them.

They made a commitment to their employees. It was not a non-Biblical commitment. In fact, coming from these members' church, you might say it was a sacred trust.

Instead of deciding to trust God, as many other Christian organizations have done, they decided to behave as not even an ethical secular corporation would.

The sad part of all of this is, that if they had invited God into this situation, all would have worked out so that everyone's needs would have been met. In fact, some of the ministers might have even volunteered for voluntary salary reduction, so that their surplus would cover the "little ones".


Lake of Fire Church of God said...

Anonymous November 18, 2012 12:00 PM said, "Lets assume a reasonable annuity payout rate of 5% of the $150 Million and that is $7.5 Million a year....Where in the hell does that money go?

MY COMMENT - That makes a ton of sense to me. Hummm, something stinketh in the WCG retirement fund financed through the extortion under threat of eternal damnation of tithes, offerings, special offerings and the all important building fund from the dumb sheep.

Misappropriation of Funds?Malfeasance? In "God's Church"?

But wait...They love Jebus...sweet, sweet Jebus!

Yeah right. And pigs fly! Little Joey Tkach loves Jebus all the way to the bank and to his siss bank accounts. Little Joey Tkach is a multi multi millionaire!

It was like stealing candy from a baby! And the dumb sheep let him do it!


Anonymous said...

"The sad part of all of this is, that if they had invited God into this situation, all would have worked out so that everyone's needs would have been met."

I guess the Jews in concentration camps during the Holocaust who prayed to God got all of their needs met.


Anonymous said...

Well, Muahaha, do you suppose the Jews asked their prayers in Yeshua's name? They missed the boat on that one during the first century.

You don't suppose Muslims get their prayers to Allah answered, do you?

Assistant Deacon said...

Yes, Anon, only fundamentalist Christians who regularly misapply or misinterpret scriptures (or both) get their prayers answered.

God forbid (I mean that, God...we humans down here forbid you, because, you know, we have that kind of power) that the prayers of Jews, Muslims, or anyone else be answered.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Joee and his crooked co-ops are liars and thieves, If you believed
the lies and took the bait, then maybe you only have yourselves to blame?