News Bulletin from the General Superintendent
General Superintendent David K. Bernard
Prayer for US Elections
I appeal to everyone to pray for the upcoming US elections on November 8, which will be significant for the direction of our nation and our world over the next four years. As a church we don’t endorse political candidates, but we should pray for leaders who will preserve our political and economic liberty, especially freedom of religion. The story of Abraham’s intercession for Sodom demonstrates that even a small minority of righteous people can make a significant difference. I also urge all citizens to participate in the voting process at every level.
We enjoyed great blessings from the Lord at our recent General Conference in Indianapolis. The estimated peak attendance was 8,700 compared to 8,000 in 2015. Global Missions raised funds that were given and pledged to send at least 13 missionary families back to their fields with completed budgets. On Friday and Saturday, North American Missions completed a Church in Day in Cumberland (in the metro area), and I was privileged to preach at the first service in the new building on Sunday.
There was only one major change in office. Matthew Johnson, secretary of the General Youth Division, could not be reelected because of age. Josh Carson, promotional director, was elected in his place. We commend Brother Johnson for his faithful service, and we congratulate Brother Carson on his election.
The General Conference approved a plan to revise the Christian Worker’s License as a new Christian Ministry License to be conferred by the local pastor and church. It also amended policies for ministerial transfers and for Metro Missions. The next issue of the Forward will contain a full report of elections, appointments, and resolutions.
Relocation of World Headquarters
We have moved most of our headquarters employees to our new building, and we will complete this move in the next two weeks. The new building gives us 50 percent more office space. It has less warehouse space, so we have also contracted to purchase a storage building in Wentzville, about 15 minutes away. We are scheduled to close on the sale of our old building on November 21. The purchaser is the Ferguson-Florissant School District, which will use the ground floor as a public school and the upper floors for district offices.
After considering purchase and relocation expenses less rental and sales income, we expect to have a mortgage of less than $4 million, which we are borrowing from the UPCI Loan Fund. Since we owe the money to ourselves, this debt doesn’t appear our consolidated financial statements. After the move is complete, we will experience a significant savings in maintenance and utilities. For example, this past summer the cost of electricity at our old building was $25,000 per month, while at the new building it was $8,000. We project that our operational savings will be sufficient to service our mortgage. Thus, we expect to operate the new building within our current budget.
In essence, we will move from a 46-year-old building in a declining neighborhood to a 9-year-old building in a highly desirable business park location … for free. We will pay interest to our own constituents with the excess being reinvested into our own ministries. I believe this transaction is a miracle from God. As we have placed our priorities on giving to world missions, with record offerings for all our ministries, God has miraculously given us the means to support our necessary overhead costs.
There is still time to get the highest rate of investment the UPCI Loan Fund has to offer by investing in “Relocating For Growth” Loan Certificates, for our new headquarters. You can view the rates at upciloanfund.org/relocation4growth.
I also encourage you to view and to show the presentation of the UPCI’s growth from 1945 to now and projections for our future of over 110,000 churches and preaching points in the next 25 years. The presentation is available here.
New Address and Telephone for World Headquarters
You can still contact us through our old address and telephone number, but here is our new information:
United Pentecostal Church International
36 Research Park Court
Weldon Spring, MO 63304
In 2014 the General Conference approved a change in the process for payment of membership dues. We delayed the implementation one year to wait for the complete replacement of the UPCI’s computer system. After much hard work and extensive testing, we have launched our new payment process and a new website.
Beginning this quarter, ministerial dues will be collected using the new fee structure.
Please note, this does not apply to ministers who are exempt or ministers whose dues are paid by the following districts: Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, and Tennessee. For all others, if you pay annually, there is no fee and consequently no change in your dues. If you pay quarterly or monthly, a small fee will be added to each payment to cover the processing costs. You may make payments by mail, online (upciministers.com), or by phone (636-229-7900). Recently, you should have received a postcard and an email with information on the new process.
There were some difficulties with our website during the transition, so we thank you for your patience and understanding. We believe all issues have been resolved, and the new site is a much better solution to serve our more than 10,000 UPCI ministers going forward. As always, your feedback is welcome via phone or email (email@example.com). Our office team at Church Administration remains ready to assist you as needed.
Urshan System Accreditation Process and New Degree Programs
As previously reported, Urshan College (UC) and Urshan Graduate School of Theology (UGST) are working toward the goal of secular regional accreditation. (UGST is already accredited with the Association of Theological Schools.) In June, Urshan submitted a document of 1,600 pages to show fulfillment of 19 eligibility requirements. In September, the accrediting association approved this submission with commendation and with no requests for change. Therefore, Urshan is now proceeding with a full self-study in preparation for a site visit. While we cannot make any public advertisement about the process, we can inform our constituency that we are on schedule to meet our goal of attaining candidacy in 2018. At candidacy we will begin receiving all the benefits of accreditation while we finish the process. Please pray that this endeavor will be successful.
UC and UGST have added a number of new degree programs and concentrations.
UC now offers the following academic programs. All are available on campus. All but music are available by distance learning in states where UC is allowed to operate. For further information, go to urshancollege.org.
- Associate of Arts in General Studies
- Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry
- Bachelor of Science in Christian Ministry (accredited degree in partnership with St. Louis Christian College)
- Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership
- Bachelor of Arts in Music Ministry
- Bachelor of Music
UGST now offers the following academic programs. In accordance with new accrediting guidelines the credit hours have been reduced. All degrees are accredited and are available on campus and by distance learning. For further information, go to ugst.edu.
- Certificate in Apostolic Theology, 12 hours. Required for UPCI military chaplaincy endorsement.
- Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM), 48 hours. Concentrations: General Studies, Research Track, Arts and Worship, Intercultural Studies, and Pastoral Counseling
- Master of Theological Studies (MTS): 48 hours. Concentrations: General Track and Research Track
- Master of Divinity (MDiv): 72 hours. Meets requirements for chaplaincy. Concentrations: Student Designed, Arts and Worship, Intercultural Studies, Pastoral Counseling, Biblical/Theological, and Historical Studies
Sincerely in Christ,
David K. Bernard