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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

December 9, 2009

Stepping down

[with comments]     Filed under Council of Elders

Today I stepped down from the United Church of God Council of Elders.

Since my election to the Council of Elders in May 2008, various allegations people have made about me have made me a lightning rod among some in the ministry and membership. Due to the concern this has caused for some, I have decided it is best for me to voluntarily resign from the Council of Elders in the hope that this will lay these issues to rest. It is my sincere hope that this will lead to greater unity in the Church, help all of us focus on our mission of preaching the gospel and preparing a people, and move forward together.

Comment from Doug Horchak:

I am so very saddened that this has unfolded the way it has. I know my words may seem puny, given the environment we have, you may not have expected to hear from me; yet I want you both to know you are in my prayers . . . sincerely. I don’t know what else to say. May God truly give you both comfort and strength.

Comment from Jim Butler:

Heard about you resigning from the CoE. I have never met you but my wife went to college with you (Beverly Pease). I have seen a number of things about you on the internet and Joe Horchak speaks very highly of you. I imagine it was not an easy decision for you. Probably not the case but, if there is anyway to reverse your decision at this point I hope you give it some thought. It is clear you have a lot of needed input that could help the CoE and United.

Comment from Janet Treadway:

Words cannot express how sad I am.

Comment from Paul Spenser:

Sorry to hear that you had resigned from the Council, a disappointing situation and I wish there could have been another way. I was hoping you would have got on when you did and thought you were a very good addition. Thanks for what you did while a council member and best wishes.

Comment from Alfred Mischnick:

I was really sorry to hear you resigned from the Counsel of Elders. I want you to know I considered you – not as a lightning rod – but as THE LIGHTNING ITSELF! I still think as highly of you and yours as ever. I want to be on your team forever, if I ever qualify, OK?

Comment from Rainer Barth:

Schade, lieber Paul. Du warst die Vertretung Europas beim Ältestenrat. Aber Du hast Recht, es gibt so viel hier zu tun. (Die sollen ihren Kram alleene machen, das hat schon der alte Sachsenkönig gesagt!)

Comment from Roc Corbett:

I just wanted to let you know that I'm grateful to serve in the ministry with men like you. I'm sorry that you have suffered fiery trials recently. I Pet. 3:15-17 comes to mind. Chapter 4:13-14 might help as well. I just want to encourage a friend who I hope can remain strong through this onslaught. Everything we have learned and taught sometimes comes into focus at a time of trial.

Comment from Bob Happel:

You are one of the most useful servants that God has. I am sorry to hear of your decision. In the future, I hope you are selected to be back on the council and that you accept.

Comment from Wim Dekker:

Sorry to hear that your efforts to serve the church in the CoE were not appreciated by some people. We will pray for you that you may continue to serve us in the German and Dutch speaking areas with joy and not with grief (Hebrews 13:17).

Comment from Larry Walker:

I was saddened by your resignation from the council. I commend you for doing what you considered to be the honorable thing to do. I don’t know if I could have walked away if I were in your shoes. I will certainly continue to pray for you and for spiritual unity in UCG. You have taken the high road, so I know that God will bless you and perhaps even restore you to the council at some future date.

Comment from John and Rosie Massie:

We just wanted to let you know that we were very saddened when we heard that you had resigned from the UCG Council of Elders. It was a shock. Although there were not many details, there must have been tremendous pressure from some. How awful that must have been. We hope that you stay involved and serve the people in the best way that you can.

Comment from John Elliott:

It was exciting time when you joined the COE a year and a half ago. I am sure that you have tried to do your very best to help the Church make forward progress as part of the Council. Your resignation came to me here in Kenya this morning as a shock. However, after considering the stressed conditions that exist, and after reading your statement that Roy forwarded to the ministry, it appears to be a magnanimous gesture on your part. I commend you for making that difficult decision in what we all can hope will be the best interest of UCG. Thank you for the service you provided on the Council, and for the service that you will continue to provide in shepherding God’s flock there in Germany.

Comment from David and Barbara Fenney:

Barbara and I would like to pass on our personal best wishes to you and your wife Monica. We are saddened to read the news that you have chosen to step down from the CoE; we imagine that the stress of all the situations that led to your decision must have been nearly unbearable at times.

Comment from Brian Drawbaugh:

I was told that you resigned from the Council, and I am greatly saddened. I do not know any details. I pray that you will both be well, and that the stress of all this does not hurt your health.

Comment from David Blue:

While I am disappointed that someone of your caliber had to resign from the Council of Elders, I do appreciate the fact that for the sake of peace and harmony, you did so. You have my support and best wishes.

Comment from Gerhard Marx:

Just a short note to let you know that Diana and I (and others in England) are sorry to hear of your resignation. We certainly understand and respect your decision to let go under the described circumstances.

Comment from George and Ann Foshee:

We wish to extend our sincere gratitude to you for your service to the UCG Council of Elders. We read your articles in the WNP and thank you for those as well and for your service in Germany.

Comment from Rex Spears:

Thanks to you and your wife for your service especially in the German work. It is deeply appreciated. I am sorry that your service on the COE has ended. I can understand why you resigned and support you in your decision.

Comment from Terri Eddington:

I am sincerely grieved beyond words that it has come to this and I hold you both in the highest of esteem.

Comment from Stan Martin:

I am extremely sorry about your resignation. I wish you all the best as we move "inch by inch" toward the Kingdom of God. I am thankful God is a merciful God to all of us.

Comment from Carl Rothenbacher:

I was rooting for you as part of the newly elected 2008 "dream team," which really seemed to have a heart for preaching the Gospel.

Comment from Ingeborg Schmidt-Eberle:

Wir sind froh, dass Du nun eine Belastung weniger hast. Wir hoffen, dass Du weiterhin als Regionalpastor für den deutschsprachigen Raum intensiv tätig sein kannst und viel Erfolg und Freude hast.

Comment from Sarah Tinch:

You should have never resigned. You were chosen to be on the board. You should have stuck it out. Unfortunately, you let the negativity of the events around you make you choose to step down. Please, do not let anything or anyone else make you do that again. I am sorry to be so blunt but I just had to speak to you.

Comment from Paul Smith:

I understand your decision and accept it as an honorable and magnanimous personal sacrifice for what you believe to be in the best interests of the church. I just pray it will not prove to be a sacrifice made in vain. Thank you for your service, Paul.

Comment from Martin and Ester Ryser:

Du genießt weiterhin unseren hohen Respekt, der in all den Jahren, in denen wir "den Weg" gegangen sind, nur gewachsen ist.

Comment from Don Hooser:

I suppose that considering all things, this is for the best. Thank you for the character shown in taking this step and thank you for the well-worded message. One advantage in this is that you’ll be able to get back to giving more full attention to the church and work there in Europe.

Comment from Alexander Thomson:

Not being a member of UCG I have probably no right to comment. However, as an outsider I had rather thought that you and some of the new members of the CoE might have "come to the kingdom for such a time as this."

Comment from Ellis and Gwen La Ravia:

My wife and I deeply regret your having resigned from your position on the council. We need dedicated and sincere people to stand up for God’s truth and the service to the brethren. I haven’t seen you personally in many years but I appreciate your service and your willingness not to be politically correct. We pray that you will continue to serve the Church in every way possible.

Comment from Bob and Erika Schmid:

We are obviously very disappointed about your resignation from the Council of Elders. Even though we know not what the problems are, I do agree (and I speak from experience) that taking the high road is liberating for the soul and unifying for the Church of God.

Comment from John D. Carmack:

I am sorry to hear about this. I just found out today as I was trying to catch up on some reading. I haven't forgotten your kindness while I was in Germany on business. May God sustain you as you move forward.

Comment from Fred Kellers:

I was saddened to see you resign from the CoE. I understand why you did it and I respect your decision. I feel you made a worthwhile contribution for the short period you were on the council.

Comment from Bernice Fraund:

Last Sabbath our pastor announced that you had resigned from the Council of Elders. It seems every time someone resigns, it sends a shock wave through at least some people. I know that you felt it best to make the decision that you made, but it leaves a sadness,especially when brethren make it known they really aren’t very fond of you. I do want to thank you for the articles you have written in the Prophecy magazine. I hope you will continue writing since you are in Germany and get the news firsthand. It looks as if world events are falling together quickly and the Kingdom is very near.

Comment from Steve Wood:

I was sorry to hear of your resignation from the Council of Elders. I feel that you brought an international perspective and more specifically a European perspective which was needed. But we must continue to do the work despite the problems we bring on ourselves as a church. We certainly enjoyed attending the Feast in Germany this year and hope for continued growth in the German speaking areas of the Work.

Comment from Steve and Melania Nutzman:

We are very sorry about the tremendous pressure you both have been under in recent times. We will miss your wise input on the Council.

Comment from Dave Macaraeg:

Thanks for your diligent service on the Council of Elders and the Church of God community through the decades. You have helped a lot of people in Asia particularly the Philippines. Hang on there till the Kingdom comes with greater rewards for you.

Comment from Scott Lockwood:

I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate your sacrifice and service. I was really surprised when I heard you resigned from the COE. Your resignation really caught me by surprise and bothered me. Just wanted to say thank you for all your work!

Comment from Sandra Turley:

I quite by accident found your blog/postings. I particularly found interesting your responses to the Council Seat Questionnaire. Though it’s late, I thank you for your service as a past Council Member and for your continued service in the international area.

Comment from Dave DeHart:

I’m an elder (UCG) in the US and am slightly confused regarding your resignation from the COE. If you don’t mind, I would rather pose this question to you directly rather than ask others who may not know the full answer. While I understand you are no longer a member of the COE, I am being told you are no longer a member of the General Conference of Elders as well. I have read all the information I can but haven’t found anything to resolve if this is in fact the case. Also, I am being told you are no longer an employee of UCG (or its German Association). Paul, I realize these are somewhat person questions but I hope you will lay these to rest for me as I try to unravel some of the difficulties UCG is experiencing at this time.

Comment from Dave Evans:

I received a message, asking if you may be a potential member of the COE. In attempting to be as accurate as possible, I mentioned that based on the nominees for this year, that currently wasn't an option, but could be depending on how things progress. They were under the impression that you had not only resigned from the COE, but also the GCE, and I told them that according to MS records, that was inaccurate. Could you provide clarification on that? My memory is, of course, not completely accurate, and I want to be accurate, and correct any inaccurate "assumptions" that some inevitably seem to have.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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