The WMSCOG “Awarded by President Obama”?
On July 7, 2011 a World Mission Society Church of God member named “STAR” made the following comment below the “Top 10 Reasons People Cease To Believe in the WMSCOG” article:
“President Obama just awarded the Church of God with a Call into Service Plaque. What is your church doing to receive such a high reward.”
What Award Did The WMSCOG Receive?
According to the “awards list” section of the official WMSCOG site (click on “WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON”), the WMSCOG received the President’s Volunteer Service Award this year. The Presidential Service Awards website describes the purpose of the award as “a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service”. What are the requirements for the award? How did the WMSCOG go about being recognized and receiving this award?
President’s Volunteer Service Award Requirements
According to the Presidential Service Awards website any individual, family, or group can receive Presidential recognition for volunteer hours earned over a 12-month period or over the course of a lifetime at home or abroad. There are bronze, silver, gold and lifetime awards for those individuals or groups that have completed the required number of hours for each. It is important to note that lifetime awards cannot be awarded to groups, and groups that are awarded with any of the other three (bronze, silver, gold) awards must assure that the each individual in the group has contributed a minimum of 25 volunteer hours to the total. Individuals must submit their hours to a certifying organization that will review, verify hours served, order and distribute the award.
Who Can Become A Certifying Organization?
Nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations, businesses, schools and colleges, membership and trade associations, and federal, state or local government agencies can all serve as certifying organizations. In order to become a certifying organization, the entity is required to fill out a short application that will be reviewed within 10-15 business days. Once approved, the certifying organization orders the awards and present them to the nominees. The cost of each award varies between $1.00-$4.75 each. Click here for a list of award packages.
The WMSCOG Is Their Own Certifying Organization?
A representative of the Presidential Volunteer Services Award office informs us that the WMSCOG registered to be a certifying organization and that the registered agent on their account is Tara Byrne Whalen, WMSCOG missionary of the Ridgewood, New Jersey location. The World Mission Society Church of God certified and ordered President’s Volunteer Service Awards and numerous bronze, silver, and gold pins for the following 15 WMSCOG locations:
- Boston, MA
- Long Island, NY
- Manhattan, NY
- Queens, NY
- Louisville, KY
- New Hampshire
- Philadelphia, PA
- Puerto Rico
- Richmond, VA
- Washington, DC
- Central New Jersey
- Bogota, NJ
- Ridgewood, NJ
According to the representative of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award office, the WMSCOG should not have nominated their Ridgewood, New Jersey location for the award since the “certifying organization” would in essence be awarding themselves.
The WMSCOG added their award to the English site here (click on “THE WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON”) and in contrast to their English site, the WMSCOG added the award they presented to Joo Cheol Kim on their official Korean site here. Why did they choose to omit Joo Cheol Kim’s award from their English site (link has been deleted)? Could it be because one of the requirements of the award is that the volunteer must be a U.S. Citizen?
What did the WMSCOG announce to its members regarding this award that would lead someone like “STAR” to walk away with the impression that President Obama had recognized the organization? I seriously doubt that President Obama is even aware of the WMSCOG’s existence. Are WMSCOG members wearing the pins that the Ridgewood location ordered for them when they are out recruiting? Does the WMSCOG consider the hours that members spend recruiting as volunteering in the community?
After investigating the details of this award, “STAR”, apparently my church isn’t signing up to nominate itself “to receive such a prestigious award”.