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The National Council held its yearly face-to-face meeting at the Carriage House in Calgary, Alberta, on June 2-3, 2016. All council members were present. The last time a meeting was held in Calgary was in 2009. All Council members and the majority of spouses were present for the meetings.

The initial meeting that formed the National Council and, thus, the corporation of the United Church of God – Canada began in Calgary just over 20 years prior to this meeting. Rainer Salomaa began the meeting by reminiscing about the first meeting in January, 1996 and the one held in June of that year in Victoria. So, in a sense, this meeting celebrated the 20th anniversary of UCG-Canada in Canada. During those initial meetings, a board had to be established, documents had to be drafted, a budget formed and officers of the corporation had to be appointed.

Since that initial meeting, over 30 individuals have served on the National Council. The board has had an ebb and flow of new members, but also has had consistency. Rainer Salomaa has served on the Council continually since that initial meeting.

After the minutes of the March 2016 meeting were approved, Rainer Salomaa gave a short synopsis of the most recent General Conference of Elders and Council of Elders meetings. He noted that Dr. Donald Ward is the new chairman of the Council of Elders and then showed a brief slide show of the Home Office.

Anthony Wasilkoff gave a National Office update that included information on Subscriber Development letters that have been sent since November, 2012, including the cost per response and the amount of donations generated as a result of the letters.

Bill Dimovski had been in touch with representatives of the Readers Digest magazine to consider the possibility of running an ad in their magazine. Further evaluation will be required to see if that is the best allocation of funds.

Two PowerPoint presentations were shown by Ed van Pelt. One showed statistics about donors, members and subscribers. One item discussed was the increase in the number of people donating and amount received through on-line donations. Soon UCG-Canada should also be able to accept e-transfers.

The second PowerPoint was on behalf of the Media Team and concentrated on results from airing the Beyond Today television program in Canada. Over the ten years it has been aired, almost 22,000 names have been added to our database as a direct result of the program. Mr. van Pelt noted that our contract with Hope TV has been renewed and that the contract with Vision TV will be up for renewal in August.

A report from the Ministerial Team was given by Anthony Wasilkoff. He reported that overall there are positive trends in the church across Canada. Michael Caputo started work as part-time pastor for Montreal at the beginning of June.

An hour was reserved for brainstorming on Thursday morning. Several items were discussed, but the one that had the most discussion was the need for better communication across the country without causing great expenditure. Suggestions were made, but some cannot be implemented because of Canadian legislation. Of particular concern is privacy and anti-spam legislation.

There was discussion about the difference between growth in numbers and spiritual growth. It is recognized that there is no “magic bullet” to cause the church to grow. Anthony Wasilkoff recommended a book, I Am a Church Member, written by Thom S. Rainer, which reminds members that they have responsibilities as members. That led to a discussion of unity in the church areas and suggestions of how to inspire individuals to become more involved.

Thursday afternoon was devoted to time for the committees to meet and do preliminary work for the Council as a whole.

Friday morning began with reports from the committee chairmen. Larry DeLong gave a report on behalf of the Strategic Planning/Finance Committee. The committee had reviewed a suggestion received from an elder regarding the need to review the yearly Operations Plan to see that the objectives are being met. The Director of Operations agreed that is a valid suggestion. It was determined that the Strategic Planning committee would be given the task of reviewing the Operations Plan each year and giving recommendations to the National Council. The committee also made suggestions regarding preparing the annual budget and doing more “forward planning” to allow better reaction to potential variations to budgets. The committee will be working on a policy for use by the Director of Operations for when expenditures are higher than allowed by the budget.

Patrick Read, on behalf of the Governance/Ethics/Pastoral Committee, presented a formal procedure for selecting a chairman. In September, Rainer Salomaa’s term as Chairman will end. With changes required by Canadian legislation, selecting a new Chairman is now more complicated that it had been before. As a result, a formal resolution was presented and approved by Council allowing a Temporary Chairman to be appointed to chair the meeting immediately following the annual meeting of the National Conference when new Council members will be selected and until a new Chairman is selected. Patrick Read was asked to be the Temporary Chairman in September 2016 until a new Chairman is appointed.

The Compensation Committee, with Lloyd Teetaert as chairman of the committee, is composed of members of the Council who are not employed by the church. The committee recommended some adjustments to the salary ranges and pay scale categories, which would allow more flexibility for administration. The recommendations were approved by general consent.

A joint recommendation by the Finance and Compensation committees for future adjustments to the mileage reimbursement rate was also approved by general consent.

Michael Erickson presented a policy for reserve funds. This policy ensures that the National Council is in control of how large our reserve fund is and how it might be spent. The policy was unanimously approved by the National Council.

The National Council is responsible for interpreting the Bylaws and realized a need to do so. After discussion, the Council approved a resolution to determine who qualifies to be a member of the National Conference referencing Bylaws 5.1.11 and 5.1.7. The purpose of the resolution was to provide consistent guidelines when unusual circumstances occur. The resolution was approved unanimously.

In September, the terms of three Council members come to an end. After the WebEx meeting of the National Conference meeting when new Council members will be selected, there will be a meeting of the new Council. The method for ensuring that the newly selected laymember would be online for that Council meeting was determined.

The last item on the agenda was the annual review of the Director of Operations. This was followed with an outing to Heritage Park and a barbeque at the Salomaa’s home.

Linda Wasilkoff

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