Rumors of UCG-LCG Merger? No, but Does LCG Understand Something the COE Does Not?

I noticed an interesting article on Church of God News by Robert Thiel about “LCG: No Merger with UCG, But…” obviously with UCG members leaving in such numbers, they wouldn’t turn them away at the door.  He quotes Dr Robert C Meredith as saying:

Mr. Ames, Dr. Winnail and I and other ministers here in Charlotte were able to talk with a number of ministers from these other Church of God groups. Our visits were warm and friendly. However we did not discuss any type of merger! Considering the division, confusion and turmoil that exists in many of the Churches of God today, I hope that we can all reach out to our fellow ministers and brethren at this time.

I have to admit, this is the first I’ve heard of any rumors of a “merger” of any sort.

I, for one, appreciate the fact that LCG has in numerous ways asked for prayers for the brethren in UCG.  I also appreciate it that Thiel has been somewhat restrained in his remarks during this crisis.  In comparison, “The Pack Vulture Tries to Sell UCG Members Another Pack of Lies”.

A problem with many COGs is that members are largely viewed as “pay and pray” roles rather than being encouraged to think and act on their own, utilizing the talents God has given them.  When people see a member of the COG, they should see Jesus, pure, plain and simple.  We can either be candles placed under a bushel basket or lights that blind.  The latter allows God to work in their lives, while the first tries to hide under some misguided notion that their faith is to never be shared.  However, it takes a large enough paid ministry to train people to do this.

Perhaps you have heard that the COE wants a smaller paid ministry that would be over a larger unpaid ministry.  If that isn’t what they are working towards, then that is certainly what they will get anyhow.  That means fewer visits by a paid minister to a congregation.  In some cases, a minister is only going to be able to visit their congregations about once every 2 months.  Who is going to counsel people?  Untrained and unpaid elders?

I don’t believe that scheme is workable.  While lay people and unpaid elders need greater participation in events, I don’t see cutting the paid ministry is the way to do it.  If anything, it means even less of addressing any real issues that may come up.

So, I found this quote from Thiel’s article interesting:

For we certainly need more dedicated members and ministers, and I pray that all of us will wholeheartedly welcome them with open arms if they sincerely and lovingly want to come with us.

Notice he said they need more members and ministers.  It seems a shame that UCG seems willing to discard of both.

The UCG Winter Family Weekend will be over on the 28th.  Many are anticipating more resignations and perhaps firings shortly afterwards.  I would be very surprised if there aren’t many more before the end of January.


  1. It is very sad to see this division and its effects. For example, the once united church in Huston is now split in 2, using the same hall, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. What a waste of resources for a group of people who presumably believe the same thing. (see Jim Servidio Pastoral update to his membership.

    In the end I can only conclude that this is bottom line about the ministers. On the UCG Crisis site is an article “What are the issues?” In it are 49 bullet points of issues. Of these around 41 are about ministers, some of the others could also apply to ministers as well as members or are general points. That is, 84% of the issues directly relate to ministerial relationships and many of the others could easily be classified the same. Likewise, if you do a word count in this document, derivative of the word “member” as in church member, not COE or GCE member, are mentioned 20 times. Minister, ministry and elder add to 99 times and leader 33 times. This is all about ministers, not members.

    Where is the care for the sick person dying of cancer? Where is the care for the old lady who has just lost her husband of 50 years? Where is the concern for preaching the Gospel? All the ministry’s efforts have been consumed with useless wrangling. They have forgotten their role as protectors and carers for the sheep.

    I sincerely hope for their sakes, that at least some of them may learn from this and show their true credentials. Perhaps there is a little hope with the example of Dr Ward who refused to split in spite of his public concerns as expressed elsewhere in this blog and in his “Ministry of Reconciliation sermon” or Braden Veller’s short sermon on the UCG Saint Petersburg site about his trip to Latin America ( I just hope at least some ministers in their decision making process have had as number one question – “What is best for the sheep in what I decide?”

  2. Re: UCG-LCG Merger?

    That would simply never work. Groups that merge can later un-merge. Groups that associate can later dis-associate.

    What the LCG needs is individuals who actually believe in something and will join the LCG and financially support it. The LCG needs people it can control.

    Notice the LCG's careful wording about people who "should come" (emphasis theirs) with it. Notice that they "need more dedicated members" (emphasis theirs). Unfortunately, there are far too many people in the UCG who are simply not fit to be in any COG. That might sound harsh, but it is the plain truth about what things have come to these days.

    As for so-called "ministers," well, people who want to get paid to talk fluff and lord it over the sheeple are a dime a dozen these days.

    The LCG might gain some people from the UCG splintering, but most UCG people will probably join a UCG splinter group, or stop going anywhere. The UCG "ministers," wherever they end up, will try to build an income stream for themselves. Most likely, to their own shame and dismay, it will turn out that they are not really builders at all, but only destroyers.

  3. Unless I've missed something, NONE of the UCG ministers who have resigned (so far) have moved to LCG.

    Wouldn't that be the easier place to jump, if you're jumping the ship?

    Then again, one man mentioned to me at today's service all the ministers seem to want their own group. Does that say something about LCG — or at least the way these ministers perceive it?

  4. John Carmack,

    You wrote: "…I have to admit, this is the first I’ve heard of any rumors of a “merger” of any sort…"

    Many (most?) of those in LCG are part of a splinter that came from something called GCG (Global).

    Well, following is a portion of my letter to the local Pastor informing him that I would no longer be associated with UCGia and it contains the mention of a possible merger with GCG:

    [[Dear Mr. [Pastor’s name withheld]…2 November 1998…

    …As you know, I attended Indianapolis and have watched UCGia literally "flounder around" now for some 3 and 1/2 years. The "hopes" I had when I attended Indy have all vanished and I see no "hope" for UCGia as an organization. Time will tell whether my perception here is right or wrong. It appears to be in a rut of sorts. It, in my opinion, really isn't growing in "grace and knowledge." It appears that God is not guiding the organization at all. I can say the same for the Worldwide Church of God beginning sometime around the time of the death of Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, who I believe God led, and who taught me many foundational things like the Sabbath, the names of God's Holy Days (Festivals), clean and unclean meats, etc. Many of the organizations today are striving to continue the same things learned way back then, but there appears to be virtually no "forward movement" in the area of growth in "grace and knowledge." It appears something is missing and it seem to me to be God's Spirit…

    …God is a God of order and not confusion, as is plainly evidenced in so many organizations. I was amazed that a week ago you encouraged people, in a sermon message, to hope and pray for UCGia and GCG — that perhaps they might "get together!" That was a shock to me! UCGia merge with GCG? That was one of the last thoughts in my mind (as well as people like [names withheld], and probably yourself 3 and 1/2 years ago). You said, paraphrasing as best as I can, "In the Global Church of God we have more in common and in paralled than with any other group…" Why didn't you join Global in the first place? If I didn't know better I would say that "winds of change" are "in the air" for UCGia and GCG, especially now that you have told us this. I have very little interest in the Global church of God. They seem, in some ways, to be in a similar "rut" as UCGia. I went to Indianapolis to learn whether God was going to continue working with the people there who eventually became the UCGia. At this point in time, the Indianapolis experience seems a lot like throwing a pebble into a pond of calm water. Beautiful waves, in the shape of concentric circles, were evident (lasted, it seems, only until the next GCE meeting), but as time went on the waves faded, …and the rock? Well, you can figure that one out. But despite this, God has His one Church, of scattered Firstfruits. It has to exist because the "gates of hell" cannot prevail against it. There is no way to keep God's true Church "down." Our Father and His Son are just so great and powerful, running their true Plan of Salvation … on schedule and on time … their time. We are all going through various amounts of pain, and it will continue until the "…day of redemption."…

    …Therefore, I am advising you, with this letter, that I am no longer associated with the UCGia…]]

    I find it interesting that 12 years later there is still talk of merger. I personally don't think it matters whether there is a merger or not. It still appears like the United Association and LCG are still in "a rut" for reasons mentioned above.

    Well, that was my thoughts way back then…well, that's still "…my story and I'm sticking to it!"

    And thanks for sharing your thoughts…


  5. John, most of the COG's view members not pay and pray – but PAY AND OBEY.

  6. Anonymous wrote: "If it is of God, it will stand, if it is not, then it won't"

    After due consideration, I removed your comment, as the above was the only part that made sense. Sorry, but if all you want to do is slam people, then perhaps you should find another blog.