United Church of God, an International Association

Council of Elders Meeting Report

May 6, 2009 – Milford, Ohio


            Chairman Robert Dick opened today’s meeting by once again setting the agenda priorities.  It was determined that the Council would first hear the update from the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee about “where do we go from here.”


            Next discussed was the proposed outside speaking guidelines document and then the Council reviewed a working paper on how to deal with violations of the Elders Forum. The remaining agenda items for today included the disability assistance policy revision, legacy costs and the new Good Works proposal. 



The Good Works Proposal


            As mandated by the Council resolution of Feb. 26, 2009, Clyde Kilough, Jim Franks, Jason Lovelady, Victor Kubik and Roy Holladay met at the home office on Wednesday, April 1, 2009, “to develop the parameters for the new program” for Good Works. Mr. Kilough noted that some very productive discussion led to the following proposal, which not only addressed an expanded role for United’s Good Works program, but also more clearly defined the relationship with LifeNets.


            Mr. Kilough presented the following background information and the proposal. Mr. Holladay also mentioned that both he and Mr. Kubik helped to write the document.


History of Good Works and LifeNets


            The Good Works program began in August of 2003 with the intent of helping members who were in need. Good Works was founded primarily to help members with the basic necessities of life. Over the years since its inception money has been collected for a van in Ghana, water wells in Kenya, church buildings in Kenya and Zambia, food during times of famine, monetary aid for the victims of Hurricane Katrina and other such items.


            LifeNets began in 1999 as a 501(c) (3) public charity. Its first projects were helping Chernobyl victims and Sabbatarians in Ukraine. In 2000 it started helping United Church of God brethren in Malawi, Zambia and Central America. LifeNets has registered affiliates in Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya and Ukraine plus two chapters in the United States.


            It is important that LifeNets and Good Works work cooperatively since they both support United Church of God members. Some areas of work have overlapped and will continue to do so under this new proposal.


            It is the desire of the administration to restructure Good Works, clarify its mission and its relationship to LifeNets. The proposed structure will focus on the following three areas of service for the brethren of the United Church of God:


  1. International Scholarships. There is a desperate need in developing countries to fund education. Without an education, members are doomed to a life of poverty. By funding these scholarships, the United Church of God will directly benefit by the ability of individuals to obtain jobs and become stable, tithe-paying members of the Church, as opposed to those who must come to the Church for regular assistance.


  1. Youth Corps Projects. The United Church of God has developed a growing list of Youth Corps projects. These projects are developed to provide opportunities for qualified young people to serve in youth and humanitarian projects around the world. Funding these activities has become an ever-growing challenge for the Church.


  1. Church/Member Needs. There are always situations involving congregations or individual members that cannot be anticipated. It is the desire of the Church to develop fund-raising to assist in these needs.


Structure of New Good Works Program


            The new program will be structured to accomplish the three goals listed above. It is the desire of the administration to appoint a coordinator for Good Works who would be responsible for the following duties:


  1. Develop a program of fund-raising that would address international scholarships, Youth Corps projects and church/member needs as they are proposed by the administration for funding.


  1. Act as liaison with LifeNets and the administration to determine who will handle each project as it is proposed.


  1. Work directly with those responsible for international scholarships, Youth Corps projects and church/member needs to determine the level of need that each area requires on an annual basis.


The coordinator of Good Works will be appointed by the president and may be replaced by the president at any time with or without cause. The president will discuss his choice with the Council and get input from the Council. The coordinator of Good Works will report to the administrative team of the president, treasurer and operation manager for Ministerial Services on a regular basis.


Relationship With LifeNets


            LifeNets will continue as an independent identity. It will continue to support young people, including young people of the United Church of God through its Developing Nations Scholarship Program in the areas it currently works in and partner with Good Works regarding Church members’ needs.


            LifeNets is not limited to serving only the needs of the United Church of God. However, one of its missions is to help United Church of God members and to encourage them to help others. This is done through current programs that are providing scholarships, agricultural support, water, habitat, livelihood development and more.


            Since there are various areas that need help and can benefit from aid, both will coordinate their efforts to benefit as many as possible in the best manner for all concerned. The Good Works coordinator will work closely with and communicate with LifeNets for the benefit of all concerned.


            All Good Works programs will continue as careful consideration is given for long-term planning. Currently UCG is sponsoring scholarships in Latin America, the Philippines and Kenya. These will continue under the new Good Works program. LifeNets is involved with scholarships in Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ghana. These will continue under LifeNets.


            Since Youth Corps projects are outside the scope and mission of LifeNets, the Good Works program will manage fund-raising for these projects.


            Both LifeNets and Good Works will mutually support one another and actively seek projects where there can be a combined effort. LifeNets and Good Works will both maintain their individual integrity as separate organizations.


            The coordinator for Good Works will communicate to and meet with the coordinator of LifeNets projects on a regular basis to compare notes and determine how future projects will be organized and funded.


            The United Church of God recognizes LifeNets as a viable means that can assist Church members around the world. LifeNets recognizes the new Good Works program as a viable structure within the United Church of God to distribute funds for needy projects throughout the world. Any areas of overlap will be discussed and resolved by a cooperative effort between the two entities.



            A lengthy discussion followed in which a number of questions were asked about the coordinator, costs and what kind of fundraising will be involved.


            Mr. Kilough responded that a full-time salaried coordinator would not be needed and that a person could do that job in addition to any other work the employee was already doing. A suggestion Melvin Rhodes gave was that the individual selected should have some experience regarding disbursement of funds to international areas. Mr. Kilough said that international disbursements would go through the senior pastors.


            Mr. Kilough also mentioned that ABC and various church areas have had fund-raising events in the past for the Good Works program and that could continue. In the international areas, Mr. Kilough said that there is not a mandate to shift LifeNets fund-raising to the Good Works program.


            The Council adopted the following resolution by 10 in favor. Two abstained: Darris McNeely and Robin Webber.


Resolution for Good Works Proposal


            “Whereas the Council of Elders wishes to approve the development of new and expanded parameters for the Good Works program, and


            “Whereas the Council of Elders wishes to clearly define the relationship between the United Church of God, an International Association, and LifeNets,


            “Therefore it approves the ‘Good Works Proposal’ as presented to the Council of Elders on May 6, 2009 (a copy of which is attached to and made a part of this resolution).” 


John Foster

Council Reporter



Ó 2009 United Church of God, an International Association


Hit Counter