Servants' News

January 1996

UCG Rules of Association

Comments and Suggestions by Craig White


Rule 1-100 Purpose and Function

The following rules of association are intended to regulate the conduct of the affairs of the United Church of God, an International Association (UCG) and to effectively facilitate the work of the Church. These rules have been adopted by the Council of Elders (Council), approved by the General Conference of Elders (General Conference) and are sub-ordinate to the Constitution of the UCG (Constitution). These rules are based upon the scriptures. Their integrity derives from the spiritual ethic of love and mutual submission and the principles for problem resolution enunciated in Matthew 18 and other scriptures. Together with any standards adopted by the Council, these rules shall be binding upon the members of this association, as the term member(s) is defined in Chapter 3. Members of the Association shall manifest their consent to formal association by submitting a statement to that effect in writing to the Council chairman who shall cause such consents to be filed with the secretary. These rules are not exclusive as to required or prohibited conduct. Members of the Association are also bound, primarily, by the scripture, the Constitution, to the extent applicable, the bylaws of the UCG and applicable law. These rules also establish standards for disciplinary action, as defined in Chapter 3.

Comment/Suggestion: Add the words and approved by the National Councils in co-operation with the membership. The mention of Matthew 18 is essential and most welcomed. Outline what the statement should say. Why mention disciplinary action?

Rule 1-110 Geographic Scope of Rules

These rules shall govern the activities of the members of this Association throughout the world. If any rule promulgated herein is in conflict with the law of any sovereign state, then, except as provided in scripture, a member of the Association is expected to give preference to the law of that state.

Comment/Suggestion: This appears okay.

Rule 1-120 Qualification Standards for Association

Each prospective member of this Association must be willing to adhere to the following standards to qualify as a member of the Association. Each member of the Association must uphold the following standards to retain membership in this Association. To be qualified for Association, a member must: (1) Support the consensus of the General Conference with respect to the fundamental beliefs of the UCG as enunciated in the Constitution. (2) Support the consensus of the General Conference with respect to the goals and purposes of the UCG. (3) Support the consensus of the General Conference with respect to matters of governance. (4) Be willing to share surplus resources with other members of this Association, according to what God has given, so that the needs of the Church throughout the world may be supplied.

Comment/Suggestion: Okay. But also "with respect to the fundamentals of belief and the [statement of belief]. .Add new sub-section: (5) Be willing to utilize the grievance resolution and disfellowshipping review committee in the USA as the final 'court' of appeal.

Rule 1-130 Authority for Compliance

The Council and the General Conference, respectively, are authorized to adopt and approve these rules. Therefore, they shall each in their own respective capacities, have authority, as set forth herein, to act, in order to give force and effect to these rules. Members of the association shall conform to the conditions set forth by these bodies. In the event action is required to give effect to these rules, then these bodies are authorized to prescribe such action according to biblical standards.

Comment/Suggestion: What extra "conditions" are these? How do they legally do this? What actions? Is this the disciplinary action spoken of elsewhere? If so, what exactly are those actions? How will they be enforced against a foreign country or a separately incorporated congregation?

Rule 1-140 Affirmative Duty of Devotion

Each member of the association has an affirmative duty to support every other member of this association in complying with these rules. Therefore, no member of the association shall assist in, solicit, or induce any violation of these rules.

Comment/Suggestion: Add the following words after "of these rules" [... unless it is perceived that the Constitution is being surreptitiously undermined.]

Rule 1-150 Legal Structure

Each member of the association is responsible to choose the legal structure which most effectively enables the church to accomplish its mission within a particular location and provides the maximum protection for the baptized members of the Church and the Church's financial assets.

Comment/Suggestion: Seems okay.

Rule 1-160 Use of the Name United Church of God, an International Association

The name United Church of God, an International Association, is the name of the incorporated entity which has been established by the General Conference as an instrument to aid the Church in fulfilling its mission. This entity is the parent entity of the United Church of God wherever located. Therefore, use of the name United Church of God, an International Association, is reserved to that corporation. To avoid confusion, incorporated and unincorporated entities that are formally associated may not use the name United Church of God, an International Association. Members of the association shall use the name "United Church of God - (Location of Incorporation)." For example, United Church of God - France. In nations where it is not possible to follow this pattern, representatives from the nation so affected shall choose a name which incorporates the Church of God in the title and seek the recommendation of the Council as to further descriptive language.

Such use is a permitted use by virtue of association with the United Church of God, an International Association.

Comment/Suggestion: I cannot find fault with this section.


Rule 2-100 Dissemination of Teachings

Each member of the association agrees to accept the Fundamental Beliefs of the UCG as stated in the Constitution. Each member of the association agrees to participate in and support the development of doctrine for the edification of the Church and the preaching of the Gospel. Each member of the association agrees to participate in a process for the further development of rules under this rule that allow for literature and other materials (in whatever manner constructed) to be designed to effectively teach the truth of the Bible in the cultural context in which they are distributed. Members of the association agree to participate in a process to promulgate such other rules as are necessary to give effect to this rule.

Comment/Suggestion: What of the expected separate "Statement of Belief" which, hopefully, will go into somewhat more detail. Add that private diversity of opinion is acceptable and privately publishable.

Rule 2-200 Ordination of Elders

Each member of this association agrees to participate in the development of procedures for a joint review of a proposed elders credentials by the recommending member of the association and the Council. Each member of this association agrees to accept the scriptural standards and qualifications for elders and abide by Article 4.3 and 4.3.1 of the Constitution. Since elders are called upon to teach and are admitted to the General Conference, joint approval of the Council and the recommending member of this association shall be required for the ordination of an elder.

Comment/Suggestion: Fine. Add that the National Councils should agree to a Code of Conduct for the ministry. "Approval" for information and records purposes?

Rule 2-300 Conflict Resolution

Each member of this association agrees to participate in the development of rules under this section for the resolution of conflict between baptized members, members and the ministry and between ministers, where the involvement of the Church is sought in the resolution of such conflict.


And add "in accordance with Matt 18 and related scriptures". Perhaps also state that there should be an attempt at standardized or consistent procedures wherever possible (including warnings/suspension/disfellowshipping policy and disfellowshipping review boards, with the Council of Elders or a committee in the USA being the final 'court' of appeal.

Rule 2-400 Coordination of Resources

Each member of this association agrees to participate in the development of rules under this section for the use and sharing of information and resources that will enable this Association to develop and execute national and international strategic plans, operating plans, budgets and other financial administrations. Members of this Association agree to participate in the development of rules for the sharing of human resources to enable the Church to accomplish its mission.

Comment/Suggestion: Fine. This will ensure unity, co-operation and open lines of communication.

Rule 2-500 National Councils

Each member of this Association agrees to participate in the development of standards and qualifications for national councils. Each member of this Association agrees to participate in the development of rules which define the relationship between national councils and the Council and the General Conference.

Comment/Suggestion: Add the words "qualifications for [their own] national councils". Aren't these supposed to be the rules?

Rule 2-600 Local Congregations

Local congregations, regardless of geographical location, whether incorporated or unincorporated, agree to be bound by these rules of Association.

Comment/Suggestion: Mention also affiliate churches (unless this is treated in a separate document). What if they do not agree? Then outline actions (e.g., no vote at the Conference of Elders, but still regarded as UCG).


Rule 3.1 Member

Rule 3.2 Disciplinary Action

Comment/Suggestion: Why has this section not been completed? Member, as understood by the action we are taking, refers to the UCG in a foreign country/incorporated local congregation, not individuals. There is no need for disciplinary action to be mentioned here, is there? Discipline against a "Member" as defined as a foreign country, congregation or an individual? How will it be enforced?There may be a need for other definitions such as:

3.3 National Council

3.4 Conference of Elders

3.5 Council of Elders

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