Thirty-five ministers of the Church of God, International met in Dallas for a conference February 9, 10, and 11. The conference was organized independently of the Tyler headquarters after repeated requests for a conference were refused. Local congregation hosts and brethren were welcome at the conference, with an average of about 100 attending each meeting.
In addition, eight letters of support for the process were read from ministers who could not attend, including letters from England, Australia and Canada.
The initial Friday night session was used to determine the conference rules of order and agenda. Each session began and ended with three men each separately leading in prayer. A few times, when the debate grew heated, the conference stopped for prayer. Every minister was given 12 minutes to address the conference and every host 6 minutes. A spokesman's club timing light was useda lot of men spoke into the red light (time is up), but none received the buzzer (30 seconds overtime). Everyone was allowed to ask questions during an open "question and answer" session.
The main purpose of the conference was to determine what to do about the bad name that the Church of God, International and the Church as a whole are receiving from the activities of Garner Ted Armstrong since the Tyler board of directors has not decided to remove him.
Vance Stinson and Mark Armstrong spoke for 12 minutes each on behalf of CGI headquarters. Stinson read six letters that opposed the conference and Mark Armstrong explained why he felt only his father could make the CGI broadcasts. They left shortly after speaking.
After much discussion, the final Sunday morning session was devoted to drafting the statement which appears on page 4. It was signed by all ministers present68% of the total CGI field ministry. Though the document does not specify action if the recommendations are not accepted, members discussed forming a new "international" group or working as locally autonomous congregations.
The Dallas conference is available on tape for $15 (15 audio tapes) or $75 (12 video tapes) from Betty Martin, DFW Church, 7415 Hillstart Circle, Dallas, TX 75217. Call 800-687-0150 for more information.
Just prior to the conference, seven CGI ministers and 3 other members were able to see the Robertson video. The ministers were Chuck Beyer, Topeka, Kansas; Bill Fowler, Wichita, Kansas; Ian Hufton, Tyler Texas; Jim Ingle, Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri; Tom Justus, Springdale, Arkansas; Gary Porter, Pocatello, Idaho; Bill Rollins, Des Moines, Iowa. The minister that we spoke with confirmed that the video was as the Robertson suit alleges. Since the attorneys for CGI are paid with the tithe-money from the members, CGI members may have legal rights to see any of the information in the attorney's files, including the video tape. They may contact CGI's attorney's: J. Shelby Sharpe, Dean Spur lock and Kimberly D. Norris; 2400 Bank One Tower, Fort Worth, TX 76102; 817-338-4900.
Court documents may be obtained by contacting Brad Burger, District County Court House, 100 N. Broadway, Tyler, TX 75702, telephone: 903-535-0613.
In a related matter, Ian Hufton was fired from his job as CGI mailing manager on January 22. The reason given was his supposedly unbearable management style, but we found this reason in conflict with the facts that within the last year he had been placed on the executive committee, appointed co-pastor of the Tyler congregation, and made director of the "Camp Challenge" program. From our perspective, it appears that the firing was directly related to the letters sent out to the ministry and others by Ian and Thalia Hufton. (We printed Thalia's letter in our January Issue.) Rosy Halley, another long-time CGI employee was also fired.