Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Fall of Meredith: Rader's Triumph (1979)

On August 3, 1979 Herbert W. Armstrong removed Roderick C. Meredith as head of the Office of Ministerial Services.

This announcement was published in the August 6, 1979 Pastor's Report, page 3.

Worldwide Church of God

World Headquarters
Pasadena, California   91123

Herbert W. Armstrong
President and Pastor

August 3, 1979


I am hereby installing Mr. Joseph W. Tkach in charge of the Office of Ministerial Services, with Dr. William Kessler as assistant.

Mr. Ted Herlofsen is too be transferred to a ministerial post in the field. This directive is to be effective immediately.

[Signature] Herbert W. Armstrong
Pastor General
HWA talks about his decision on this matter in page 13. He seems to me quite mad at Meredith here.
In the emergency [the receivership crisis], I set Roderick C. Meredith as head of the ministry until I could decide how to eliminate this POWER BLOC by having a man as "head of the ministry"-- which is virtually the same as being head of the Church and the entire Work. Such an office simply does not belong in God's Church.

Therefore I am ABOLISHING that office entirely. Christ's Apostle is the human head over the ministry, and MUST NOT BE CUT OFF FROM THE MINISTERS! Mr. Meredith is being transferred back as Dean of the Faculty of Ambassador College. 
(My word! HWA is referring to himself in the third person.)

Tkach does not speak for himself in this issue.

In the August 21, 1979 Pastor's Report, page 7, Joseph Tkach writes his first article in the Pastor's Report. (For some reason that is upside down.) Here we get a strong indication of what really happened and why Meredith was removed.

Notice how Tkach calls for WCG ministers to pray for HWA and Stanley Rader.
Stay close to God and remember always to pray for Mr. Armstrong. As the China trip draws near, pray even more earnestly for his health, success, and protection. Pray for God's guidance and protection for Mr. Rader as he makes advance preparations for these extremely important meetings with top officials of the Chinese government.

Your servant in Christ,
Joe Tkach.
Notice how Tkach ask WCG ministers to pray for HWA and then Stanley Rader. This shows quite clearly that at this point in time it was Stanley Rader who was the number two man in WCG, even though he was then only a lay member.

Maybe that was another reason why HWA removed Meredith? In some of the previous issues of Pastor's Report Meredith announced that non-career ministers (essentially retired ministers who continued to minister part time with reduced pay) would be abolished. Meredith emphasized that any such man from now on is to regarded as only a laymember.

Perhaps Rader was suspicious of Meredith's call for ex-ministers in good standing with WCG to be regarded only as lay members and interpreted this as an attack on his position of authority within WCG.

In a previous post we also saw how Meredith attempted to undermine Rader by spreading a rumor that had not been spread that widely before he publicly denied it, thus causing everyone to know of it.

Rader lashed out at Meredith and got HWA to remove him. Leaving him as Dean of the Faculty was not enough and he was later sent to paid exile in Hawai'i for six months. It was while Meredith was in Hawai'i that HWA sent Roderick C. Meredith a letter that harshly criticized him and among other things said that Meredith had no ability to run the church after HWA's death even though Meredith viewed things differently.

Stanley Rader also proceeded to take care of the problem that he was only a lay member.

Meredith's removal was the first move in a sequence of moves to strengthen Rader's power, culminating in Rader's ordination as an Evangelist by HWA and heir apparent.
The big news was really not much of a surprise. We predicted it in 1976, in our very first issue: Stan Rader was ordained an evangelist. The well-executed sequence of events went as follows:

First Roderick C. Meredith was removed as director of the WCG's ministry. Then all WCG evangelists were stripped of their rank. The hierarchical structure of the ministry was reorganized with Joseph Tkach, a preaching elder, and Kevin Dean, formerly a steward on the church airplane, elevated to top positions under HWA. (Both Tkach and Dean are proven Rader loyalists.) The board of trustees was purged of anti-Rader trustees (Meredith and Luker). (Raymond McNair remained, as he is now in the Rader camp.)

In his September 20 co-worker letter, Herbert Armstrong hinted that his life might soon be coming to an end (an amazing admission for HWA). Within days, it was announced that Rader had been ordained an evangelist along with Joseph Tkach ...

As we go to press, we have learned that Roderick Meredith has been given a six month "leave of absence" in Hawaii. Few believe he will ever return to any significant position in the WCG. Perhaps he will not return at all. (Ambassador Report 10)
Meredith tried to remove Rader from power and failed miserably. That is why he got removed as head of the ministry in 1979.

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