Friday, August 25, 2017

United Church of God and LifeNets

One of the ongoing issues that has continually resurfaced in the United Church of God is its ties to Vic Kubik's Lifenets charity that he runs and takes the glory for.  United has had its own arm called "Good Works." Now that Vic is President of UCG, the issue keeps resurfacing.  Vic has the best of both worlds now.  He gets the glory of being in charge of UCG and running his own charity using UCG members as a donor base.

UCG members and elders have asked why.  You can watch a video here UCG and LifeNets of the meeting where this is discussed.

It is interesting to see how they scramble to justify the unholy marriage of UCG and LifeNets.

In 2016 I posted this about UCG and LifeNets:  Vic Kubik's LifeNets Church of God

Many in UCG have always felt large discomfort with the blurring of the lines of UCG with LifeNets, the pet "ministry" of Vic Kubik.  Many question the man running two organizations that are suppose to be separate, but are they really?  LifeNets presents itself as a "humanitarian organization" to woo in the public while failing to disclose it is a Church of God related tool to encourage people to come over to the dark side.  Is Kubik and UCG too embarrassed to to say UCG is behind it and that it is a recruitment tool for  its "god", much like HWA started Ambassador Foundation because he was too embarrassed to say he represented the Worldwide Church of God?  While it has undeniably done some good, its motives are questionable. 
Those in Australia need to know (as do those in South Africa and most international locations) that their ‘church’ is not really an extension of the UCG in the USA — instead they are what Cincinnati calls the “LifeNets” churches –they are not funded by UCG any longer, have to be self-sufficient, and Kubik travels to them on LifeNets funds, not UCG money. This is why the moment the “airy” sermon is over, Kubik launches into a 45-minute LifeNets presentation to the congregation. Legally he has to do this because he is on LifeNets money which is being audited. The members are not in a Church, they are just laborers in a commercial LifeNets exercise, even thought they don’t know it. Council members who did not want Kubik as president (took the most re-balloting ever ) finally acquiesced over the information that it would save UCG money since Kubik was the only only one who could travel internationally on another budget (namely his private Corporation Sole LifeNets, which has made him the wealthiest Council member, and which he built in competition with the Good Works program, since that one wasn’t going to earn him anything personally). 
And yes, we are all supposed to give up our various ‘cultural backgrounds’ to put on the culture of Christ, but this man Kubik still can’t disconnect himself from a Ukrainian village he has never really lived in, now bending the truth to accommodate a small Pentecostal and trinitarian group there that clearly for over 20 years has shown no interest in joining with UCG. But,like the populism of Brexit and Trump, it’s beginning to all blow up: we have what we call the “parking lot church” in our congregation — it’s about what is said when everyone goes to their cars so the minister can’t hear them, and it’s about 50% of the congregation now that meets this way — outside. The moment someone stands up with some integrity and calls UCG out on all of this, the following is in place and ready to move.

In 2015 we had this up:  UCG: With Income Above Normal, Home Office Takes Money From "Charity" For Poor Africans To Build Play Set For Privileged HQ Children

But it also included this, which has irritated a LOT of UCG members in the Cincinnati area and around the country.

Home Office Grounds: A new playset for children was put up on our grounds. It was largely financed by LifeNets.

UCG members are asking WHY it is that UCG had to take money from Vic Kubik's "charity", that is supposed to be helping the poor and destitute in Africa and elsewhere, to install a play set that UCG SHOULD have done on their own.  With income coming in at more than they expected this year, members are wondering why a thousand or so dollars could not have been spent on this playset.  A playset that only the children of the privileged  UCG employees and some few members will get to use.  God forbid of the unwashed children of the Cincinnati area played on it!
This also has led to more grumbling from UCG members as to why Vic Kubik is running his "charity" LifeNets while being President of the UCG.  Many see this as a deep conflict of interest especially when UCG tries to guilt trip members into donating to Vic's pet cause.  A cause that gives the impression to the world that it is a charity for ALL in need, but in reality it is geared towards UCG members in poor countries and some non-aligned sabbatarian groups in Eastern Europe.  A few good works do go towards those outside the small sabbatarian world, but its main focus is inward.  Many UCG members feel that he needs to resign from either LifeNets or the presidency position.
Apparently a play set for the privileged elite at HQ was more important than clean drinking water or life saving mosquito nets for the disenfranchised in Africa.  Jesus must be pleased. Privilege does have it rewards!


DennisCDiehl said...

I spent many hours as a young minister visiting with Vic and have always found him to be sincere in his work and have admired his efforts in Lifenets for years. To me, he was the only minister I knew who actually put practical action where it counted. He and I could bounce a lot of humorous things off each other and have in the past. In my later dealings with Vic and his with me, it was not so funny and I lost track of the friendship. Vic and I always fondly recalled that in the day when he and I were visiting all over Minnesota you could get a Whopper, Fries and Coke for $1.18. Times have changed. One of my more fond memories of Vic was when he was on a diet and suddenly pulled the car into a drug store. It was just after Easter and he came out with a chocolate bunny on sale for half price. I watched him rip the ears off off the chocolate bunny and eat them with glee having grown tired of the diet.

We all have our issues and personalities. I personally also never had a problem with how he and others started UCG. You had to be there in the day with the Tkaches lying out of both sides of their mouths daily about not changing anything. Desperate times called for desperate measures.......

nck said...

Good stuff Dennis. At the time I thought the expanding contacts with other sabbatarian groups like ukraine would make a larger cog alliance with wcg as a media nucleus in a more New Testament and people oriented work.

Alas too little too late to much ego and unxhecked power.

I just photo bombed the waldensian methodist synod in piedmont.

Nice people, I didnt ask about the sabbath to not have that stupid tourist disturb cooperative talks between the denominations.


Chuckles said...

Dennis; Very kind words from you toward Vic and not just judging or criticizing him out of speculation or reading into things. Thanks for your kind words of the man.

Anonymous said...

I've watched the whole video and I'm disgusted in particular with Bob Dicks response. He stood there at the annual general meeting in 2016 preaching that sermon giving hope and fooling us all. He sat there, like many of them, sucking up, to Vic Kubic. A Kangaroo court springs to mind.
Scott Ashley kept silent as death, did he thing he wouldn't be noticed as present ? Why did Scott not confirm that Lifenets has indeed been advertised in the Beyond Today mag ?
Stoney faced and stoney cold. Thumbs up to the bravery of Dan Dowd.

Anonymous said...

Charity begins at home. So how about this church feeding their members spiritual meat rather than baby food. It's obvious that tele Evangelicals have ghost writers. But no, not Herbie or his splinters. It's nonstop boring spiritual milk.

'Desperate times call for desperate measures.' Is that a license for the ministers to put themselves above the law? I don't see that in my bible. But then again, the ministers give themselves so many perks such as verbally beating members, slandering them, lording it over them etc, that it's not surprising.
The brown shirt ministers and their bootlickers never believed the ten commandments applied to them.
Thanks for the Freudian slip/moral confession Dennis.

Anonymous said...

Is anyone in that room under 60?

DennisCDiehl said...

Can't imagine Dave Pack providing video of any meeting. Lol. Seems unfortunate they have to dicker over good practical works . Vic would not impress me as someone who was endeavor in to make money off the work of Lifenets. These are just my impressions and not based in knowing how it all works anymore in United or any place else. I grew up around most of these guys and am very grateful not to have to sit through such meetings continuing the concept of majoring in the minors and turf protection.

I can't think of one meeting, seminar or "Refresher Program", which were exhausting , I found all that interesting or practical. My last meetings during the changes under Tkach in SC were just check ups to perceive which guys were on board and which might not be. The topics were shallow and just seemed like busy work which didn't work. I did get to know Greg Williams who is now the GCI choice and Greg is one of the nicest , most calm and reasonable guy I met in all my years of Church church church. I believe he grew up in the church for the most part and can easily see him embracing the mainstream view of Christianity and the one from which I had come before this whole blizzaro experience.

Anonymous said...

My first thought was a group of old farts acting like they are doing something important.
After watching a few minutes you realize, these idiots can't even do something good without it being a cluster f*€k.

Connie Schmidt said...

Kubik does not make an income off of Lifenets.

As explained in the video, Lifenets has the ability to receive matching funds from corporations from individuals contributions, and is able to receive direct aid grants from companies like Shell Oil and others. The United States military has provided transportation for items to Africa and the like without charge. Rotary can give things like wheel chairs etc.

Many non-UCG members of the COG community will donate to Lifenets, but not to Goodworks, because of its tie to UCG.

None of this can be done thru a direct church organization like Good Works because of legal restrictions in donation receipt. Furthermore, Lifenets has provided aid to Non-UCG folks in the Ukraine and other places, and many of its projects benefit non COG folks like the water wells and the like for the entire community. Another example (amongst many) are First born offspring of the cows are given to the community for use.

There are lots of things to pick on in the COG universe, but Lifenets has endeavored to be a shining star.

Dennis Diehl said...

455... I was referring to the action of standing up to the Tkach reckless change concept. Don't decide you can judge my motives or whatever the righteous hell you're referring to

Anonymous said...

Victor Kubik likes to brand himself as a caring humanitarian. But go back to the history of when the COGWA group split from UCG. Those in Africa who decided to leave COGWA were cut off from LifeNets quickly, lost all LifeNets funding and were treated like enemies by Kubik. His "care" and "concern" for those people ended when they made the decision to go another direction. It's very obvious that it was about him. He, prominent in UCG during that time and being the one who funded many of their scholarships and other projects, seemed to take it as a personal insult that they didn't think support his side. If they didn't support UCG--they no longer were worth his support and care. He treats Africans like assets that can be bought, not as human beings. It's well known that during the split, he tried to lure those who went with COGWA or were on the fence back to UCG through offering LifeNets support.

To repeat what I said earlier so all let it sink into their mind so they understand who and what this man really is: He treats Africans like assets that can be bought, not as human beings.

Byker Bob said...

If someone didn't know, there is not much evidence from the video that these people are ministers.

It also appears that the basic problem has been dealt with or explained over and over and over again over a protracted period of years, but that someone somewhere with a counter-agenda is periodically fanning the flames, pretending not to understand, and raising the issue repeatedly. For people who heavily rely on the examples set by HWA, one set of letters (AICF) pretty much explains it all.

I thought the cattle were a great idea. This was not an "original" with UCG, as there is a group that has been advertising such a program on TV for years. But in an "only in the ACOGs" thing, the COGaWA rebels created some controversy by presuming that they could take their cows with them when they left.

Of course, as we know, the daily goings on in COGlalaland are all a waste anyway, but it's nice to witness some lightweight fizz for the sheer entertainment value from time to time. At least in this case, no family has been broken up, nobody has been shunned, and no members have been mulcted from their physical resources or committed suicide.


Anonymous said...

In response to Connie, Vic Kubic and others do receive a wage from Lifenets. That has been common knowledge for years. In the film near the beginningKubic admitted he did, although he said it was very small but whatever 7th percentage or amount he does get paid.
The real issue is spiritual, she'll and bank money is dirty spiritual money and who knows behind the scenes what spiritual influence this will result in. The Wig ambassador foundation was the kiss of death to Worldwide spiritual journey and brought in a lot of the world spirit.
It beggars the question what of the point of UCG. Is it to go around the world doing physical good works? Lifenets has become bigger and bigger and you can clearly see from the outraged response from Dcampos that you shall not now dare question the relationship or else.

Anonymous said...

I have read and re read your 11.27 PM comment. I suggest you do the same. There have been many posters complaining about the morality of ministers who went along with the Tkach changes, including disfellowshipping members who disagreed, then jumping ship to UCG when it was safe to do so.
You failed to refute what seems (considering the context) the immoral comment of 'desperate times call for desperate measures.'
Your indignation is not a argument.
And I intend to non stop pass moral assessment on all around me, including Dennis. It's my Christian responsibility.

Gordon Feil said...

This site offers a valuable service to some people by publishing needed exposes, but this time you missed the mark. You made a mountain out of a molehill. I have watched the video and I have detected no hidden motives, but rather a spirit of cooperation and a desire for transparency. One thing watching the video did for me was to remind me why I do not like committee work.

Byker Bob said...

That was barely intelligible, 12:56. Why don't you do a rewrite so that we can understand whatever point you were trying to make?


Retired Prof said...

August 26, 2017 at 1:26 PM declared, "And I intend to non stop pass moral assessment on all around me, including Dennis. It's my Christian responsibility."

Spoken like the kind of person who gives Christianity a bad name. I intend to withhold moral assessment until I understand the character of the person and his or her situation better. It's my responsibility as a secular humanist.

In fact, don't you Christians have a scripture that advises "Judge not that ye be not judged"?

Anonymous said...

I am a UCG member and am glad this was posted. It was good to see that at least one man had some integrity as the others sat there rubber stamping Kubik's actions and conflict of interest. Many of the people in UCG see the huge issue this has created. It is sad to say that we have very few men of integrity on the Council of elders.

Gordon Feil said...

Actually, he said he does not receive a wage and that Bev receives a small remuneration.

Gordon Feil said...

Anonymous UCG person, I have tried to understand the issue but apparently have failed if I read your comments correctly. In the video it was presented as an issue of people being confused about the relationship between ucg and Lifenets. Is it something more than that?

Anonymous said...

Retired prof,
'You shall know them by their fruits' (ie evidence plus reason) gives one the ability to morally judge a action. A pattern in a persons behaviour gives one the ability to judge another's character and motives. Your 'don't judge...' means not taking the law into ones own hands, since everyone has a right to a fair trial.

I hope you were better educated in the subjects you taught your students.

Connie Schmidt said...

12:56 Anon above:

You are INCORRECT. Vic Kubik does not receive a salary from Lifenets, just as he says so in the video.

His wife Beverly, who does all of the accounting and other bookkeeping work received $6600 in 2016. (this for about 750 hours of work or about $8 an hour)

Cathy McClure , the Treasurer , received $7100 , for about 260 hours of work.

Verify the facts here or at their 2015 Form 990 Federal Filing ...

Anonymous said...

We all have our issues and personalities. I personally also never had a problem with how he and others started UCG. You had to be there in the day with the Tkaches lying out of both sides of their mouths daily about not changing anything. Desperate times called for desperate measures.......

Well, at first, I thought the Tkaches were just crazy. It took a while to realize it was a pack of lies. What I will never get is how ministers who knew it was lies didn't run for the door a lot sooner. I would have been out of there in a flash if I had known that. I can't see any true work of God having liars at the helm. And I can never forgive those who preached the changes or went long pretending like things were normal.

Anonymous said...

"Judge not that ye be not judged"?

It's a bad scripture. God and others will judge you regardless of whether you judge anyone else. And if you don't judge people you will never be able to assess who are the crooks or the good guys. The truth is we are judging/evaluating people all the time. There is no way around it.

Anonymous said...

I am a UCG member and am glad this was posted.

Wow man, church members do come here. I guess there is hope for some of them.

Anonymous said...

If the changes were true then Herbie's work was a total failure and fraud and it was never the work of God in the first place, not even close. To preach the radical Tkach changes and yet act like we were the true church under Herb and still were under the Tkaches (at least that's what they said at first) is totally crazy. Nuts. How anyone could fall for that is beyond belief.

It proves once again that people are crazy.

R.L. said...

Dan Dowd is the "newby" of the Council - serving his first term on it. So it's no wonder that he's asking questions that other members considered settled already. At least this session brings some of it out into the open.

I checked the March-April Beyond Today which some thought had a "half-page ad" for LifeNets. President Kubik never even mentioned the name of the charity in his copy. It was only in a photo caption - which I suppose for the disgruntled is still too much.

LifeNets did a hands-on assistance campaign after Hurricane Katrina struck. It will be interesting to see what it does after Harvey.

Anonymous said...

"Judge not that you be not judged" is a bad translation.
The later verses give the true meaning ie, 'with the same judgment you judge others, you will be judged.'
What's being condemned is hash judgment, a cultural trait in Christ's time, and still so in todays Middle East. For instance, they still cut off a persons hand for stealing

Anonymous said...

I too am a UCG member and not UCG member 4:47. The is a huge conflict of interest and many have thought it for years. As Dan Dowd asked what other charity or humanitarian organisation does UCG support or even mention ? None
It has been very confusing over the years. It has not been clearly explained because it can not be as John Elliot explained.
I'm glad they filmed the discussion and now everyone can see for themselves what the council of elders stand on this point.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Did somebody hit a nerve with Connie? I have worked with enough corrupt COG ministers to know you can receive a salary without filing a form with the IRS. Your flaw is assuming these guys are real ministers. You are miss private detective, I'm sure you can figure out all the benefits he receives.

Anonymous said...

Connie wrote:

Vic Kubik does not receive a salary from Lifenets, just as he says so in the video.

LifeNets pays to fly Kubik to Australia, Africa and Asia on LifeNets business. While he is there, he often does UCG business. His LifeNets expense account would be the envy of many low-wage UCG tithe slaves.

Some UCG members would consider it more honest and above-board if UCG paid for Kubik's intercontinental travel, but the reality is that UCG doesn't value such travel enough to pay for it.

Gordon Feil said...

I don't get the problem. If Lifenets is primarily funding UCG members and is run by people who support UCG, why wouldn't UCG promote it? Other charities receive no such publicity because they are not rendering benefits to UCG members in the way life Lifenets is. This is just basic Publicity 101.

Anonymous said...

Life nets has always been promoted in UCG verbally much more than in publications. Brethren are always made aware of Life nets work but Goodwork achievements are lost through the domination of lifenets achievement. That is why many are confused over it all. As the COG discussion shows the is no choice available but to adore life nets or face servere opposition.

Anonymous said...

I would question who Connie Schmitz actually is. Dear Connie shot out of the corner faster than Mc gregor to defend vic kubic. Another employee of UCG ?

Connie Schmidt said...

There was NO "ad" for Lifenets in the March/April 2017 edition of the Beyond Today Magazine. The name Lifenets is not used, there is no contact information either. Nor was there any request for money.

Kubik had an article there about the current goings on in Russia, and at the end of the magazine wrote some personal observations. Here is what he wrote:

I’ve been privileged to gain much insight since 1967, when I first began traveling to Russia and its now-former republics working with both humanitarian and church groups. And I’ve journeyed there many times since. I traveled with historians through many of the Soviet republics during the 50th anniversary of the 1917 October Revolution. And I subsequently led educational tours to Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and Volgograd, some with American elected officials.

My interest in informing people about Russian and potential Russian ambitions stems in part from my direct experience with formerly persecuted religious groups in Ukraine. For more than two decades I and others have supported a children’s clinic in Chernihev, a city situated a very short distance from the Russian border and Chernobyl, the site of the legendary nuclear disaster. We have also peacefully helped refugees from Russian-induced fighting in eastern Ukraine with food and clothing. Through the children’s clinic we have helped rescue more than 400 children from the stricken cities in the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk provinces.

My life’s work helping people in Ukraine and Russia, and also in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, have all contributed to the worldview I share here. I write this so readers will know that I hold more than a mere academic interest in Russia and its current destabilizing nature.

Anonymous said...

Is Connie Schmitz a famous ucg female writer from Good news and Beyond Today magazine? Also an paid employee from Cincinnati headquaters ? Is this fake name front the ucg equivalent of Cogwa Abagail Cartwright ? Wonders never cease.

Anonymous said...

If you don't understand the problem then that's too bad Gordon feil. For who knows who you really are.

Gordon Feil said...

When the interests of one party align with the interests of another party, the two parties do not have a conflict of interests. Not one post in the 3 dozen responses to this topic has explained how there is such a conflict. Anonymous, I use my real name when posting, and I am not a supporter of United, but I am a supporter of fair play. I think you can't explain the problem because to rational people there isn't one. Maybe I am missing something that hasn't yet been revealed, but until it is, some people posting here just sound like they have an axe to grind.

COG Member said...

People who know Vic know that he is a nice guy with a good sense of humor and really has a heart for philanthropy, but he is not a traditional COG minister in many senses. Most COG ministers see the COG doctrines/way as the truth and the only true way of life. Vic believes the core tenants (Sabbath/Holy Days), but I have never sensed he really believes they are the only true way. I've always gathered that he sees them as "the best way"...but not necessarily the "only true way." He has a much wider view of what it means to be a Christian than most in the COGs. He sees the Sabbatarians in Ukraine as brethren to the COG, even when they don't keep the holy days and worship in an evangelical manner. He even had a Christian singing group from a Ukranian church visit a UCG feast site in Oregon a few years ago and perform a concert of contemporary Christian music. I can't think of many COG leaders or ministers who would even consider something like that (at least in the major organizations). When you talk to him privately, you realize that he is more sympathetic to non-COG views than he would say openly in a meeting like this. For example, he would be a lot more open to women being more actively involved in UCG church services. But he does temper and hide those views to not rock the boat in UCG. This is why I've always thought of him as one of the more political personalities in the COGs. At least with most COG ministers, what you see is what you get. You may not agree with them, but at least you know they sincerely believe what they believe. With Vic you can never be sure.

Many of us were surprised when he became the UCG president because he is so far outside of the mold of a typical COG minister.

Anonymous said...

So basically COG member what your discribing victor kubic being, behind closed doors amongst his friends, is that he is everything his critics say he is. Everything you write is what the strickest critics have warned about what is really Kubics real agenda.
Good job Cog member. Glad you put the rubber stamp on it all.

Anonymous said...

Number one: Thank you Connie for working against and exposing the relationship between the Trump campaign and how it was influenced and aided by Russians.

Number two: Thank you for making it crystal clear that in order to best help those truly in need, it would be a poor choice to send even one penny to either Vic Kubic or Lifenets. Those leeches are the worst of the worst! And yes, they are LEECHES!

Better to donate to the American Red Cross, Starbucks or even United Airlines which will match funds.

After knowing how the UCG protected sexual predators in an ongoing fashion, I would not donate one red cent to Vic Kubic or Lifenets.

Screw them. Instead, help those truly in need!

COG Member said...

Anonymous 9:48

I didn't mean to put a rubber stamp on any perception of Vic. I don't think what I said would be any surprise to people who know him. But there is a reason he is not popular with the more old school traditionalists. That's just not him. He is open to speaking to independent congregations that have split off of UCG in the past and even CGI. This is nothing secret so him being considered "left-wing" on a COG political spectrum shouldn't require any inside knowledge of the man. I don't know about him having any agenda. He is what he is. UCG coe must be fine with his perspective since they elected him President twice.

Anonymous said...

To 9:01 Anonymous:
"What I will never get is how ministers who knew it was lies didn't run for the door a lot sooner...."

The sad truth was that many many of them, knowing the lies, would not leave WWCG until the next church was ready to go. That meant years of disfellowshipping the people who saw through it and wouldn't play along, playing the garbage from Pasadena and ignoring the blatant changes in the literature. Then the new church starts, you never miss a paycheck.

That's what you do when protecting your pay check was more important than protecting the congregation.

Those of us that had to make up our own minds saw all this.....

Anonymous said...

These churches are scams. Have been since the days of Herbert