Thursday, February 28, 2013

UCG: Dennis Luker Announces He Will Not Accept A Second Presidential Term

February 27, 2013

Dear Fellow Ministers and All Brethren,

I am writing this personal letter to you to make you aware of an important decision that I have made in my life. My three-year term as president is nearing its end and the question has now become whether or not I should continue as president of the United Church of God, an International Association—if the Council of Elders so accepts.

The decision that I have come to, with advice and counsel from my wife and others is that I should not seek nor accept a second presidential term. Here is why. While it is not well-known outside of my family and some people here in Cincinnati, my health has taken a serious downturn in the last few months because of complications from an enlarged prostate gland. This is common among older men and for years I have privately struggled with this, doing my best   to maintain my health with proper nutrition, exercise and medical advice.

Most important of all, I have been anointed and put my faith and trust in God for healing. My healing and my life are in God’s Hands and I want His Will, not mine.

Serving as the president is a 24/7 job. At this time I do not have the energy or strength to fulfill the responsibilities of president of UCGIA for another three-year term—which would begin on July 1 of this year. I have discussed all this with the Council of Elders and they have accepted my decision to decline from seeking a second term as president. The Council was very gracious in accepting my decision and expressed much support, gratitude and encouragement.

When I was named president by the Council nearly three years ago, our Church was facing severe challenges. I am profoundly grateful that the living Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, has led us through the past crisis and has now blessed us with growing strength, stability and unity. The Council is already preparing to place into motion our systematic and thorough process of selecting another president. You will be hearing about this shortly from Robin Webber, chairman of the Council of Elders.

What are my plans from here? God willing, I do plan to complete my term, which ends on June 30. Afterwards, LeeAnn and I will return to our home in Seattle, Washington, and spend more time with our family. Our son lives in Portland, Oregon. Our daughter is in the Seattle area where we also have five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. So, we will be returning “home” to our family whom we have greatly missed.

If I am unable to complete my term, per the Church’s bylaws the chairman of the Council will serve as interim president until a new president is selected.

I will not be returning to pastor a church (I will be 76 years old), but I will continue to serve as an elder in every way possible. LeeAnn and I have served together in the ministry for 50 years this coming June. We will continue to serve God’s people to the best of our ability as long as God gives us health and strength.

I will close this personal letter with a heart-felt thank you for your incredible faith and dedication to God and His Church. Your love, prayers and support are very encouraging to all of us here at the home office in Cincinnati. LeeAnn and I send our love and gratitude to you all!

Sincerely, in Christ’s service,     

Dennis Luker


Ted said...

Luker is like Tkach Sr. He is despised by half of UCG while the other half likes him. Both manipulated the membership and controlled peoples lives. Those that despised him the most formed their own splinter cult COGWA.

Steve Kisack said...

Another pope resigns.Wow! The "earth-shattering" news!

Anonymous said...

Does he receive a pension for his years of service? How about church paid life insurance? Medical? Is his house mortgage paid off? How many members of the WCG have neither because they sent so much money to Pasadena over the years?

DennisCDiehl said...

Denny was a closer personal friend. We had many talks about the stress of working for WCG and he always deferred to "God working it out." Denny, in my experience, was always a very compassionate and sincere gentleman. I suppose we all have our moments and stories we wish we could undo, but I know the man had a good heart in his intentions. Both he and his wife are some of the kindest folk I have ever met .

I suspect, like the Pope, as I am sure time will reveal, the job was too stressull for his temprement. I am pretty sure his health issues are not the issue. He probably is discouraged and simply wants out of the drama of the COG experience.

I don't blame him and deeply respect him and will endeavor to get in touch with him soon if possible.

DennisCDiehl said...

PS I have come to see an enlarged prostate to be proof there is not thought in creation. No Deity would thread a tube which must not ever be blocked through a donut that inevitably will swell shut. lol

No one would build a Space Shuttle that way!!!

DennisCDiehl said...

or it's designed obsolescence....

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy for them, that they will be able to go be with their family in the sunset of life. No church organization is as important as the love and relationship with those so close to you.

Good for him and his wife.

P.S. I suspect he can see the writing on the wall as well...doesn't intend to preside over what's coming down the pike.

Anonymous said...

These 'Leaders' do not work hard

The Guy is RICH, has been on 6-figure salaries for 40+ years

When head of Aus WCG he would take Friday afternoons off
And told staff to goof off as well

He said -after moving HQ from Sydney to tropical northern Australia -
"Now I can go flying airplanes up here" (must be nice)

Looks like the dimwit is avoiding doctors: Old Fool/Old School Armstromgite

Anonymous said...

Well, here United goes again!

Their leader, President, is voted in and out...or departs for one reason or another.

Who will Jesus Christ work with next in United? Apparently, He doesn't even know.

Once the new President is officially voted in, however that is done, then God the Father can let Jesus know which human President He then must work with.

Well, it isn't like Jesus had any choice in any of this Presidentail stuff.........or is it?


Anonymous said...

John groans:

"Well, it isn't like Jesus had any choice in any of this Presidentail stuff........."

In my experience, Jesus rarely shows up in reality when asked to be helpful, bless, or speak up. It's people who end thaking care of business for themselves mostly.

Can you name one "leader" you know Jesus picked?????

Anonymous said...

Well, you have to have some way to make god's decisions to kinda make up and fill in for the fact that he doesn't exist and therefore isn't the head of anything and doesn't do anything. So, yeah, these ministers might not work harder than you, but they work harder than god!

Anonymous said...

Denny has been involved with the COGs for forty years, and the organization that he is leaving and presided over still can not decide if unleavened bread should be consumed during DUB.

This man is not a leader, he is just another payroller.

Joe Moeller said...

The uniqueness of United is its ability to replace its leadership and have transfer of power with very little drama. It's leaders know that it they only have temporal power for a short period of time.

One man , PERPETUAL rule has the seeds of organizational destruction written all over it. In my experience, in the business world, it is extremely rare, for even a family business to survive to the third generation.

For this to happen in the religious realm is even rarer. By allowing for "creative destruction" through the use of voting , and having set "terms" before having to be reelected again is United's greatest strength. It also allows for the smooth transition of power.

The Chairman and President positions in United are also more facilitator style rather than unaccountable dictators. They cannot dictate strange edicts or doctrinal changes etc. (like some of the whacked stuff that Thiel, Pack, Flurry, EW King etc ad nauseuem) without them going through committees and peer review and having them voted on by super majorities amongst some 300+ elders.

The Rhodes resignation occurred and it was hardly a blip on the operation of UCG. Luker's resignation will have little effect on the direction or future of the UCG, and this is not said in derision, but rather as a strength of the organizational setup.

Dennis Luker had the displeasure of having to have served United at its most difficult and unpleasant time. It was a time that would take its "pound of flesh" out of the strongest of men. It is obvious that the last 3 years added about 10 years in age to him. He did not sound well at the latest meetings. In time we all become "old dogs" and there comes a time to hang it up. It is the nature of things.

Because United has the ability to transmogrify itself, is the most progressive, and least hierarchical of the COGs, it will be the group that will be the last standing, and has the greatest chance to still be around in 50 years. IMHO, UCG is the CoG heir apparent, and in fact will be the eventual home of other COG fragments and remnants from their future self destruction.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Where I live, Jesus is big on his involvement in the outcomes of football games.
It might be a regional thing, though, with his interests being different elsewhere. I heard he was big on helping Christian frying pan sales, somewhere west of here.

Joe Moeller said...

Being either the Chairman or President of UCG doesnt come with the same degree of strokes that other COG spinoffs have. This is a good thing.

Neither position comes with the adulation, worship , praise and butt kissing that Meredith, Flurry and Pack enjoy. Nor does either position carry as much "temporal power and authority" , status, and infallibility either.

No, there are not many people in UCG who are going around with baited breath talking about the President or Chairman, and perhaps a healthy percentage of those in UCG could not likely even name who they are, or even name more than 4 people who are on the council. Again, I view this as the great thing about UCG.

Being at the top of UCG does not mean financial riches or lifestyle either. Flurry and Pack can have their "campuses" be alter ego extensions of their self image. However, top pay in UCG is in the $100k range and that is only at the very tip top.

I know guys who run a couple of window cleaners who make that. A half way decent salesman for a beer distributor makes that. Nurses make that, firemen make that. UCG is a $17million dollar a year operation, and I would argue, that in regards to pay scale, that the executive level pay is actually on the very low side.

So, for delusions of grandeur, the UCG is not the place to be at the top. The job comes with constant criticism, and critique , from within the organization
and without. You live in a fish bowl, and have every breath you take judged by someone. As Dennis has said here himself, it is a standard impossible to be maintained by mere human mortals, at the ministerial level, let alone at being at the organizational head level.

Who in their right mind would want to be the target and scrutiny of this blog page for example? Perhaps for the riches and short term glory and ego trip of a Weinland, Flurry , Meredith or Pack, but regards the leaders, present and future for the UCG, they are not justly compensated in any fashion, whether it be ego, status or monetarily to put up with the crap that they have to endure for their title.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Douglas Becker said...

He should have left Armstrongism long ago because he has always known it simply isn't what it should be and that includes the UCG.

I would surmise that he finally has enough to retire gracefully and that has been his ultimate goal all along -- a goal he made clear for decades while he expressed his concerns about salary and retirement during church services.

Ah, but the UCG, where from here?

It seems like behind the scenes there is still a power block wanting to go in a different direction (while Dennis wanted a "kinder, gentler cult"). Robert Dick is gone from the power structure and Franks is gone too -- the triumvirate responsible for breaking off from Tkach will now be absent.

Since it is impossible for United to have anything approaching the truth, it may well be that they will drift aimlessly looking for some sort of identity, the same as they have done the past three years (longer, actually).

The Good News is that there probably won't be many more big splits, since no one seems to have enough focus to know what the heck they believe -- and it's so difficult to raise opposition against an ill defined position -- sort of like trying to hold an armful of Jello.

Good luck.

It will be a relief not to have much public exposure from here on out -- unless, of course, something major pops up before July.

Why not follow the example of Davey and Rod to have the congregation fast for dollars before you go?

Anonymous said...

so are we saying that Robbing Webner is now in total charge of UCG, here comes the joe jr changes unleashed for sure, yikes.

Anonymous said...

anon who said: "The Guy is RICH, has been on 6-figure salaries for 40+ years"

highly doubftful six figs for 40 years, maybe if lucky that last few, no way for 40 no way.

Joe Moeller said...


Robin Webber in charge?

Sure he is the chairman, but UCG is not a dictatorship. Doctrinal changes have to be approved by a super majority of vote of the 300+ elders in the church.

Doctrinal ideas have to be worked up through committees first, and then approved by the majority of the council by vote and THEN approved by the above mentioned super majority vote. The process is SLOW, arduous, and very difficult.

Tkach era changes? You are dreaming. If Robin Webber and others were for the Tkach era changes then why did they leave the WCG? To imply that Robin Webber is some sort of a Tkach "quisling" is not only without evidence, it lacks any sort of logic. Webber could easily be sucking off the current Tkach nickel as an insider if that was his desire.

Wake up to how the power structure works in UCG. It is virtually impossible for the organization to undergo ANY massive changes because of the voting structure. Even Jim Franks found this to be true, and when he couldnt get his own agenda hammered through , HE LEFT!

Anonymous... I know you hate UCG and have wishful thinking that it will be going to church on Sunday and keeping Xmas soon. You are obviously out of touch, and really do not understand the true politics of the organization. It is not an unaccountable hierarchy in the UCG. There is no "dictator" who can wave a magic wand and "make it so".

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Ok, Joe, all this salesmanship for UCG has worked. I'm ready to hang up my athiest shoes and start attending UCG again. Where do I sign up?

Anonymous said...

If Robin Webber and others were for the Tkach era changes then why did they leave the WCG?

Because they knew WCG couldn't pay them to implement the changes. They knew they were too overpaid and underproductive to survive WCG cuts. They knew that the best way to keep their families fed, keep long-standing social ties, and gradually grow out of error, would be to start a new organization that wouldn't go as far or as fast as Tkach.

Some ministers who left WCG for UCG were true-believer Armstrongites who were not about to submit themselves to the autocratic liar Meredith or the delusional runt Flurry. Others joined UCG because they knew they wanted "Tkach-lite" and could not achieve that outcome in any other organization at the time.

Anonymous said...

Joe, you don't know how wrong you are about Robin Webber. But you have to be specific about which Tkach you're talking about. RW, Mike Feazell, and Joe Jr. were all in the same class in Imperial together, so these guys have known each other since they were kids, but I do not think they were necessarily friends. It sounds like you do not know this, but for many years Joe Sr. was RW's best friend and mentor. However, in 86 when Tkach ascended to the papacy, RW was somewhat left out in the cold, but probably would have done anything to have been brought into Sr.'s cabinet. The reason why RW wasn't is because Jr. and Feazell were running the show from behind the scenes the entire time and were ghostwriting all of his articles and sermons. They were pushing Sr. very hard to speed up the pace of the changes, but Dad was firm there, because he knew things would all start to come apart if they stopped lying about what they were up to, and he was right. When Sr.'s health began to fail and the spectre of Jr. becoming pope loomed on the horizon, RW knew he wasn't going to have a place in a Jr.-run WCG. It had nothing to do with any doctrinal changes though, it was all politics and personalities. I think a lot of these guys, especially Vic Kubik who was the henchman doing the dirty work after Larry Salyer left, knew that as soon as their hatchet work was done, the hatchet was going to be used on them too. Unfortunately for them, these men who were pro-change and loyal to Sr. were not the only contingent to coalesce into UCG. Many who originally left WCG for doctrinal reasons have now left to form COGWA, but there is still a significant group in UCG's ministry that are never going to stand for doctrinal change, and I believe the bloodletting in UCG is not done yet. RW has now gotten the laurel wreath he's been jockeying for ever since he first became a minister. If he can find the right opportunity, he won't have any qualms about removing the heads of those who still aren't on board with the majority opinion, however it may take a few more years until RW and company get the church they thought they were starting all the way back in 95. These guys still think they can make up the numbers with increased media exposure. How funny is that.

Joe Moeller said...


I am very aware of the inside of Pasadena, and attended there for a long time. I know all the cast of characters very well.

It all depends on what you want to be "worried" over. Many of the changes of the early Tkach Sr. era were actually progressive and necessary changes. Many, if not most of the current UCG membership and ministry DO NOT want to return to a strict Armstrong era policy or doctrine. They certainly DO NOT WANT the core beliefs messed with, but few want to go back to the culture, structure and belief of the 1986 WCG and before era.

The UCG does not use HWA as a sort of ultimate never changing authority, but rely on "sola scriptura", which is what HWA urged as well (at least technically) . HWA is not viewed as "case law" or "permanent law". Only the Bible can stand as authority. HWA is not quoted as authority in doctrinal statements, but only Bible scripture.

Changes that Tkach brought in that needed to be done, and will stay with the UCG include...

*Medical Treatment
*Interracial marriage
*Tithing on Net
*Ability to be involved in civic organizations
*Getting ministers away from being "sheriffs"
*More progressive treatment and views of women
*The concept that there is only one true corporation
and many other progressive sociological changes.

UCG does not hold the old WCG under HWA as a model to be recreated and reproduced. Again, I believe that most UCG members and ministers are in agreement with this. I certainly do not want to be back to the way things were under the old WCG.

The basic trunk of the tree doctrines are sacrosanct, such as Sabbath, Holy Days, Pork etc. and there is no movement or desire for those to be messed with by member or leader alike.

I was there at the beginning of the UCG and all of the 1995 start. There were very good and excellent reasons on why we did not jump to Meredith or Flurry. The principles that were laid out at Indianapolis were NOT upheld by those that left for COGWA. The idea for UCG at Indy, was for local empowerment, votes, local money collection and councils, and a "home office" that served local congregations, not dominated by them as a "central force". Accountability, process and peer review were the agenda, and not the hope for a new "Man of Destiny" to appear , like a Hulme or Franks.

This is the better future direction for UCG and for those who do not want to embrace the founding principles of Indianapolis , (which was agreed to), they are not likely to be happy in the future with UCG. The United Church of God is not going backwards to 1967 and never will.

Tkach Sr and Jr did some good and necessary things in the beginning of their administration in helping to move us away from being a cult. Their core doctrinal changes after about 1993 were, of course, anathema to us all. We stayed in the WCG at that time with the hope that God would work it out, in spite of great concerns. Once the Sabbath was abrogated , then those of us in WCG formed the UCG.

Our doctrine makes us strange enough already. There is no reason for us to be a "cult" by going out of our way to be weirdos. I honestly believe that there are people in some of the COG universe that just love being in a personality cult, freaky, and love being paranoid "haters" of anyone who is not exactly like them, with a conspiracy behind EVERYTHING! What a way to live life!

To all those like that I say...
*Enjoy watching some birds
*Sing a song out loud
*Eat some Cracker Jack
*Kiss a Girl
*Get a life

If your goal in life is to see the UCG go down the toilet, that is a really pathetic dream. Get your own life and make something happen in it.

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

Joe Moeller, Read this & weep:

Luker was Aust WCG Boss in the 70s
Making way over $100k*, flying airplanes for a hobby!

*AR leaked salaries report

These 'Leaders' do not work hard

The Guy is RICH, has been on 6-figure salaries for 40+ years

When head of Aus WCG he would take Friday afternoons off
And told staff to goof off as well

He said -after moving HQ from Sydney to tropical northern Australia -
"Now I can go flying airplanes up here" (must be nice)

Looks like the dimwit is avoiding doctors: Old Fool/Old School Armstromgite

Anonymous said...


The whole purpose of UCG was to "hold fast to 'the truth' once delivered" (by HWA). It was to recreate a comfortable churchie zone for everyone, that might not be WCG, cause that got wrecked, but might as well be. Same difference. Sure, they were all content to leave some of the rougher edges behind, which is all good, but UCG was very much formed to preserve the legacy of the venerated latter-day apostle.

What you refer to as necessary and progressive changes, I don't really even think of as changes, but merely common sense relaxation, allowing one's panties to unbunch a little, because you're not squeezing the life out of them anymore. In many areas, people exercised common sense on the downlow all during the worst eras of WCG. They just didn't wear makeup to church or tell anyone they took Billy to the pediatrician last Wednesday.

Nobody thinks that UCG is going backward to 1967, though there's still enough of 1967 still left in UCG. That is solidly were Meredith lives however. COGWA seems to be headed more generally in that direction. If you think UCG has not since 1995 used HWA as an ultimate never-changing authority, I don't really agree. Sure, they don't harp on HWA and bring up his name in every sermon, but they haven't been much different than any other splinter, reciting the same hackneyed interpretations of all the same scriptures, a la 1967. I mean, it's Armstrongism. Yes, I agree, UCG has always been a kinder, gentler, more open cult, but it's still always been an Armstrongist cult. If you think that just because they haven't cited his name everywhere that they haven't been citing his interpretations of everything each time they open their mouths, you're frankly too close and immersed to see clearly. There's no such thing as sola scriptura. It's always been HWA's interpretation of sola scriptura. Not that he came up with all of it himself, but regardless of where his ideas came from, he himself was a broken record, just like his idolaters to this day. Even right now, you saying "we're strange, we're weirdos." That's pure 1967 right there.

However, I do believe some major changes to your "sacrosanct" doctrines are in the works, and the Paul Bunyan to the trunk of your tree may just be your dearly beloved Robin Webber. Yeah, they're not going to go nearly as far as Tkach, but the writing I see on the wall tells me there's at least one more wave of conservatives like yourself who are going to eject from "United." If you think there's no movement of desire for those doctrines to be messed with by the leaders, I think you're going to be surprised. You think you know the cast of characters, but you don't. But it's okay, maybe you like surprises. Don't feel bad, they're professionals. They've made their living fooling people just like you.

I am glad you're happy attending UCG. I don't want to see UCG go down the toilet any more than I wish to see any of the rest of the splinters go down the toilet. The sooner UCG/COGWA/LCG/PCG/RCG etc. cease to be a danger to unsuspecting and well-intentioned individuals, the better. It's not too late, you can still decide to get out.

Joe Moeller said...

Annonymous at 10:29--

Take this challenge...

Alright, lets just play along with your game. Suppose RW really was a wrecking ball for the UCG as you propose.

Just HOW would he accomplish this? Doctrinal changes must come thru the doctrinal committee first. I do not believe that RW is even a member of that committee.

Next, should a doctrine change be proposed, it would have to pass the 12 member council by majority so that it would then move to the next phase of ministerial/member input, as per the Constitution of the Church.

Next, after being finally drafted, it would have to pass by a SUPER MAJORITY of the voting elders worldwide (number over 300). For fundamental beliefs to be changed the super majority is 75%.

This means that 225 out of 300 elders in UCG , most of which are unpaid and unfettered, would have to approve the fundamental belief change. Heck, if something can survive that labyrinth and maze of standards, then it probably needs to be changed!

So tell me Annonymous, you really believe that ANYONE in the UCG has that much power? That a radical docrtinal change could survive the process? That RW has that much power and pull so as to abrogate basic fundamental beliefs in the UCG?

Friend, you are dreaming!

Below is UCGs official statement in regards to your protest and paranoia...

Joe Moeller
Cody, WY

Anonymous said...

I have a challenge for you. Prove you know this cast of characters. I say you don't know any of them. Merely having been in Pasadena and showing up on Saturdays in the Auditorium doesn't mean squat. You have to have been an insider. You have to have seen. You weren't and you didn't. That's why you're still seduced by these COG politicians and it's why you're still seduceable. That's why you will have nothing to rebut my challenge with.

On the other hand, your challenge is easy. How do you think the Tkachs did it? Because what I am seeing is all the same techniques from many of the same people. It isn't just RW. I never said it was only RW, btw, just that he might be the key mover and shaker. He might not be. But he is at least one of the movers and shakers. So it has nothing to do with one man having so much power. It has to do with POLITICS, and politics is all about building coalitions over time, and finding broad support for the presently unacceptable by splitting it into bite-sized pieces and crafting the propaganda to spin each of those pieces into something acceptable in isolation. People may try to add them back up and ask you point blank if you're trying to sell the unacceptable, but you just lie, and you say no, and then you break it down into pieces again for them. Then they go away feeling satisfied. And that's how the unacceptable is made acceptable. All of your constitutional safeguards are meaningless. They are just words on paper. They are all easily defeated, sidestepped, and swept aside. Easily. When you cite them chapter and verse, you're regurgitating their propaganda. Nothing more. That's what they want you to believe. That's what they want you to see, while the sleight of hand is practiced elsewhere. This is how these things have always been done. Augustus Caesar installed himself as a tyrant when the Roman Senate executed tyrants. Same goes for Napoleon--twice--and he wasn't even French! Hitler thoroughly mastered these skills of public manipulation, and he sold the public anything he wanted to sell them. He began with the acceptable, anti-Semitism, and went on to sell world war and genocide, not just of Jews, but the destruction of everyone who didn't belong to a fictional race, which he himself did not belong to! He sold them shocking and horrific things, to their destruction and shame. It has been said that the only difference between Giovanni Giacomo Casanova and every politician in history is the number of people they try to seduce at one time. RW is a Casanova, an Augustus Caesar, a Napoleon Bonaparte...and you are but a silly girl, carried off into the night and ravished--willingly. These guys have already done it to you once, and you're still following them, still defending them, still falling for their lies. Why? Because you're seduced. You WANT to believe them. Nobody can be seduced into doing something they don't want to do. Even when you know they're lying to you, you believe them anyway because you think they have something that you need. These are the lessons of history. Most people don't learn them. Not enough people to matter at least.

Joe Moeller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

comment to Joe about doctrine change in UCG, there have been some subtle changes that many have never voted on, a white paper is floated and that is that. RW focuses on Jesus a lot, maybe not so bad, but more like a protestant than a COG perspective, then he somehow quotes HWA in or near context. That is right out of the Joe Jr and Sr play book. additionally, RW is not shy in stating that he admired Sr and it could be inferred by his statements that he agreed with him. Word on the street is that Sr thought of RW much like others thought of buffy McN. So much for loyalty.

Anonymous said...

For all you nasty nay-sayers, Denis Luker has just passed away. He had his body riddled with cancer, of which he was completely unaware until a few weeks ago. He managed to get back home to see his family just before passing. You should all be absolutely ashamed of yourselves, especially the person talking about his time in Australia. May God have mercy on your souls.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Joe Moeller - thanks for your level headed perspective. :-)

acronym said...

Cool ! I like it.