The most recent National Council updates are listed below:

National Council September 2016 Meeting

The September meeting of the National Council occurred immediately following the annual meeting of the National Conference on Sunday, September 18 starting at 2:00 p.m. Since the term of a chairman is concurrent with the term on council, this meeting was chaired by a temporary chairman, Patrick Read.

Mr. Read thanked outgoing council member, Bill Dimovski, and welcomed new council member, Kevin Ford. Rainer Salomaa and Lloyd Teetaert were re-selected to serve another three-year term on the council.

The June minutes were approved with one abstention (Kevin Ford was not present at that council meeting). Edwin van Pelt led a discussion about reserves and the 80/20 guideline that was a rule of Canada Revenue but now is a guideline. There is a need to keep a reasonable reserve amount in the bank in case of emergencies. There are restricted funds that can only be used for specified purposes. It was noted that there have been funds set aside in the budget for specific allocations and we need to be careful they are properly accumulated and monitored.

The Council then approved the T3010 form to be signed by the Director of Operations and then be mailed. Following this, the reimbursement for the annual audit was approved.

As is required each year, the Council adopted the Strategic Plan to be sent to the National Conference for their approval. Following this the Council went through a process to select a new chairman. Rainer Salomaa was selected by acclamation.

In December the committee composition will be re-evaluated. Kevin Ford is automatically a member of the Compensation Committee. He was also temporarily assigned to the Finance/Strategic Planning Committee.


The National Council met via WebEx on Monday evening, March 13, for its first meeting of the calendar year. All members of the National Council were online plus the Treasurer and Secretary. Bill Dimovski was also invited to be online.  As usual, the minutes from the previous meeting were reviewed and officially adopted.

Edwin van Pelt reported that the number of people making online donations is increasing and the amount of each donation is also increasing. Most online donations come from members, but a recent donation came from someone new to us.

The latest Subscriber Development letter was sent to 3,800 people and as of the meeting 135 responses had been received. The response to the Reader’s Digest ad has been disappointing with only 103 at the time of the meeting, but all but five of those are from people not already on file.

Anthony Wasilkoff reported that the National Office is in the process of ordering signs to be placed above the office entrance and on the office door itself. He also reported that the COE has been working on amending the Rules of Association, which are now ready to go to the General Conference of Elders for approval.

Each committee chairman gave an update on what the committees are working on. The Strategic Planning/Finance committee is working on a policy or guidelines for cell phones and internet. The Governance committee is busy doing a review of current policies to see what needs to be updated.

Ellsworth Stanley’s term on the Amendment Committee was to end on March 31. After discussion, the council determined to reappoint him to another three-year term, which he has accepted. The secretary announced that the Strategic Plan, Operations Plan and Budget for 2017-2018 were approved by the National Conference.

Anthony Wasilkoff requested that the Council discuss a potential donation to help fund the media center in Cincinnati. Because UCGIA is not a CRA recognized charity, this would be difficult. There would potentially be a need to change our mission as it has been approved by the government, change our bylaws as well as pursue getting UCGIA recognized as a suitable charity by the Canadian government. It was decided that further research and input from those with more background on the requirements be sought before proceeding.

The final agenda item was to review discuss the June meetings that will take place at the National Office. Dr. Donald Ward has been invited. Following the Council meetings, there will be a Ministerial Conference on the weekend. Gary and Barbara Antion will be present for that meeting.

Following the meeting, the Council moved into an executive session to discuss matters personnel matters and how to better serve the brethren.


Twenty-one of the twenty-four members of the National Conference were online for the annual meeting held by WebEx on Sunday, September 18, 2016 starting at noon (EDT).

The Address by the Director of Operations was the first item on the agenda. Anthony Wasilkoff began by relating a number of quotes by famous people about faith. One from George Mueller said: “Faith does not begin in the realm of the possible.” R.A. Torey described George Mueller’s work by saying that whenever Mr. Mueller needed to pray for anything, he first searched the Scriptures for a promise that would apply. Then he would pray for that promise with his Bible open to the promise.

Mr. Wasilkoff went on to remind the conference that the work of the church has been, continues to be and always will be a work of faith. The profound statement “the just shall live by faith” can be found repeatedly in the Bible beginning in Habakkuk 2:4. Two biblical definitions of faith can be found in Hebrews 1:1 and Romans 4:21. He then listed seven requests of God for the furtherance of His Work in keeping with James 4:2:

  1. Protection and healing – for each other, our families and congregations.
  2. The Beyond Today program– to cause people to watch and respond.
  3. The Beyond Today magazine – to bless subscribers as they receive each new edition.
  4. Provision of income and direction of outgo.
  5. Provision of prospective members, new attendees and new members.
  6. Provision of donors and coworkers and to bless the tithe payers.
  7. Additional doors to open to do the Work.

David Palmer reviewed some of the advertising methods that have been tried through the years noting that the most successful ads were in Readers Digest. He stated that television continues to be the primary source for news, sports and programs like Beyond Today.

Mr. Palmer related statistics regarding websites including the number of visits for each UCG site for the first eight months of the year and some of the searches conducted. The conclusion is that most activity is from non-members. The United News Canada report showed that there are 494 subscribers with 35 in the United States and one in Denmark.

The Ministerial Services Team report was given by Anthony Wasilkoff. One of the newest innovations has been a monthly newsletter sent to all Canadian elders. The Edmonton summer camp was another fine success this year. One couple, Warren and Heidi Poffenroth attended the Labor Day weekend in Cincinnati.  Jim and Almeda Lucas will be attending a ten-day session at the Home Office in November.

In the Address from the Treasurer, Edwin van Pelt relayed that there are about 1,400 people who support the work in Canada. Just over 70 per cent of the income in 2015 came from members. Online donations continue to increase. Part of the Treasurer’s job is to relate the information from the auditor. Mr. van Pelt read the letter that accompanied this year’s audit.

In his Chairman’s Address, Rainer Salomaa related advice given to him by Raymond McNair just before his graduation from Ambassador College in 1969. Mr. McNair assured him that God would provide. Mr. Salomaa then chronicled how he got a job in the Canadian office, got married and then was assigned to the ministry. He learned that Mr. McNair was right.

Mr. Salomaa then looked at the challenges of the church today: manpower (aging ministry), financial, etc. He related our situation to that of ancient Israel as they were living in tents in a wilderness. Yet, God gave very detailed instructions for building the tabernacle. He also provided the skilled workers to complete the job. Today God is building the spiritual temple. He gives us a job to do and will provide the resources to do it with. He enumerated the elders added this past year and reminded the conference how much we have to be thankful for. Genesis 22:7-8 describes Abraham’s greatest test. This was the scripture Raymond McNair used saying “the Lord will provide”.

Following these reports and addresses, various business items were completed. The National Conference approved September 17, 2017 as the next annual meeting of the National Conference. A resolution was approved allowing the meeting to be held by teleconference or other electronic means and another one for the appointment of Marsh, Goulding Chartered Accountants to conduct the 2017 annual audit.

Rainer Salomaa expressed gratitude for all the people who allowed their name to be placed on the ballot for National Council. Ballot results were announced. The minutes from the September 2015 meeting were approved. The March 2016 financial report (audit) was approved. Those selected to serve three-year terms on the National Council are: Kevin Ford, Rainer Salomaa and Lloyd Teetaert. By resolution, these were confirmed.

Following several health updates. June 10-11, 2017 was proposed as dates for the next all ministers’ conference. Earlier in the week, meetings of the ministerial services team, media team and National Council will take place.


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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