Monday, December 12, 2011

COGWA Headquarters Location

In their recent conference last week, COGWA leaders were to choose a permanent location for their headquarters office. Although I have not seen or heard anything official from COGWA, James Malm has reported that the COGWA board has approved the Dallas/Fort Worth area as the location for a future headquarters office.

Here are links to posts in the Shining Light blog and COGwriter blog:

Shining Light blog:

COGwriter blog:

Bob Thiel has also reported that UCG average US attendance in October was 7,621. Link:

COGWA has announced a new publication for its membership called, "One Accord", and Larry Salyer will be the editor. Link:

I have also noticed that the members of COGWA's Moral and Ethics Assessment Committee have been named in COGWA's governance page. They are:
Mike Blackwell
Mike Hanisko
Les McCullough
Larry Neff
Paul Suckling

This seems to complete COGWA's organization. Here is a link to the page that lists all the members of the administration, the board, and the committees:

Where do UCG and COGWA stand right now? The actual split is past history and each group is making its own individual history from now on.

COGWA is fully organized. The leadership is in place and the headquarters location has been chosen. An entire holy day season has passed since COGWA started.

COGWA may not have the finances to do much of a work of preaching the gospel to the public right now. That can change if more members come to COGWA, but it remains to be seen if that will happen. Probably most members of the pre-split UCG have made their decisions and are unlikely to change in the near future barring some major event. The ratio of tithe-paying members to paid ministers in COGWA, particularly in the United States, may be too small to support a powerful work of preaching the gospel to the public. They can still do that work on a small scale of course, and I expect they will do as much as they can. They can easily do an Internet work with online publications and audio/video recordings and with pay-per-click advertising to bring readers and listeners to the webpages. They can do that on a small scale for now without the expense of a widely broadcast TV program and a large-circulation printed magazine. And if God blesses their effort, it may grow, bring in more donors, coworkers, prospective members, and members, and that growth may enable a greater work later, a work of a TV program or radio program broadcast to millions and a large circulation magazine. But that is a big "if".

UCG and COGWA have recently published Feast attendance figures, and those can be a guideline to membership numbers. In terms of membership numbers that can finance the preaching of the gospel, it is primarily United States and Canada figures that are most important.

While COGWA may have about half of the worldwide membership, they do not have half the membership in the United States. UCG has many more members in the United States, while COGWA may have more than half of the paid ministry in the United States. The split between UCG and COGWA is also a split to a degree between the majority of the tithe-paying members and the majority of the salary-drawing ministers, at least in the United States. To sum it up, most members stayed with UCG and most paid ministers went with COGWA.

What this means is that, while COGWA has enough money to pay its ministers, it does not yet have enough money to do more than a small work of preaching the gospel to the world. In contrast, UCG should have an abundance of money for that purpose right now.

Why have not more UCG members gone with COGWA, at least in proportion to the number of ministers who have done so?

A contributing reason may be that the membership has never heard a definite and plausible explanation for why the split occurred. If it appears that it is only due to personality differences and human carnality, they are less likely to leave one organization to go to another, especially if most of the members did not want the split to occur.

I have said before that the responsibility for explaining the root cause of the split, the underlying issues, lies with COGWA. The responsibility for the split itself may be shared between UCG leaders and COGWA leaders, but the explanation has to come from the COGWA leaders. They were the ones who quit. They may have been forced out to a degree, but they still have to explain why. UCG leaders are not going to admit they forced out those ministers.

I have imagined how I would explain the split to someone outside the Church of God who has not been familiar with the ongoing events of the past year and a half.

If someone asked me, "Why did the Church split?", I would have to say, "I don't know."

I know something about HOW the split occurred. This blog has chronicled some of the details of that. But not why. Not the underlying issue or issues that divided the leadership and ministry of UCG into two competing camps in the first place. The biggest surprise about all this to me has been that the ministry has managed to keep that under wraps even till now.

COGWA leadership might have good reasons for not saying right now. I won't speculate here about the reasons for the split or the reasons why the COGWA ministry has not said much about it publicly.

But even if COGWA is wise not to talk about it, they may be paying a price in lost membership. And that may spell trouble down the road when if it becomes evident that COGWA will simply not be able to grow the Church and get a warning message out to the public. Not all the members and ministers in COGWA will go along with that state indefinitely.

Here are links to related chapters in Preaching the Gospel:




Anonymous said...

One year on, and no changes have been made by UCG regarding the keeping of the Sabbbath. I have heard many people state one of the reasons they left is because "they think UCG is going to change doctrine (about Sabbath keeping). I think the best response to this that I've heard is "So, should I divorce my spouse because I think he/she may cheat on me at some point in the future?". If UCG ever does an about face on doctrine, we and a lot of others will leave, just as we did with the WCG. But to leave citing justification as the *possibility* of a doctrine change coming has done nothing but polarize once close friends and brethren, some 20-30-40 year relationships. I feel the ministry and administration of both organizations has a lot to answer for in the division and hurt they have caused. said...

I agree that the ministry has much to answer for.

You raise interesting points, and I wanted to address them more extensively than just in a comment, so I included my thoughts in my latest post titled, "Should a UCG Member Leave Because UCG MIGHT Change Doctrine?"

One thing I might say here about your point about "should I divorce my spouse because I think he/she might cheat on me at some point in the future?" The analogy is good when applied to the Church of God as a whole, but not to a particular organization among many in the the whole Church of God. Collectively, we are the bride of Christ, and it is with Christ that we have a marriage commitment. We might even say we have a commitment to love and support the whole body of Christ. But I have never made a commitment to any organization, not even Worldwide when Mr. Armstrong was alive. I remember that when I was baptized, the minister said I was not being baptized into a sect or denomination but into the body of Christ, or words to that effect. If I were to use an analogy to describe a member's relationship with an organization in the whole Church of God, such as UCG, COGWA, or LCG, I would say it would be more like a man and woman dating each other in a friendship relationship - each is free to stop dating the other if he or she sees warning signs of danger in continuing the relationship. Or it could be like an employer/employee relationship, where the employee is free to resign and go elsewhere if he feels that is the best thing. It is not a matter of breaking a commitment because we have no commitment to an organization, but our commitment is to God and Christ first, the whole Church of God second.

And as I point out in my post, some members leave UCG in order to NOT leave their pastor who leaves UCG. So if you use the example of a commitment between a husband and wife, someone leaving UCG may be simply staying with their pastor. What is more important, a member's relationship with a corporate organization, whose leaders and policies may change with the wind, or a living person that the member has known for years and whose character, to a degree, he can measure? If the minister leaves UCG, the member must choose. If he stays with UCG, he is "leaving" his pastor.