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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: marjoe2 ()
Date: October 08, 2010 11:48AM

Bibianburke wrote: "Why on earth would they need to disclose financial information to the world and it's mother?" Uh, because they are soliciting donations from the public and operating tax-free, for starters. Bibianburke also wrote "They weren't raking it in". What evidence can you provide to support that claim? Ironically enough, you probably can't produce any, for the very reason the moderator cited! "All companies are authoritarian and undemocratic." Uh, we aren't talking about companies, or at least we weren't, until you changed the subject. We are talking about a non-profit ministry, right? The moderators expectations of this ministry, or any other, are not at all unreasonable, any more than are the expectations of an independent Christian organization such as the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), an organization to which CP has apparently never opened its books.

Mr. Fugate, I appreciate your responses. It's interesting that when I asked you if Chuck and his family made the same hard sacrifices as the CPers, you cite the example of his daughters but don't mention Chuck. Did Chuck ever tour and perform himself, under the same or similar circumstances as the CPers or his daughters? If not, how could he have ever had a full understanding of what he was demanding of his units? To return to the military example again, we all know that the most respected military officers are the ones who worked their way up through the ranks the hard way. How did Chuck earn the respect of the CPers while sitting in his director's chair and adjusting his beret and ascot?

It's fascinating that you say there was no desire to keep people separated from home and family, and then in the next breath give us an example of how you fired a girl from CP for going back home too often. It's also interesting that you attribute most of the problems that you and others faced in CP to your own weaknesses.... immaturity, arrogance. While your criticisms of Tanner (who is dead and buried, and whose ministry died with him but has yet to be buried as of today's date) are extremely guarded and always qualified with plenty of escape clauses so to speak. It's as if you are still in CP, in a sense, just as some Vietnam vets are "Still in Saigon" as the popular song says. Despite your protests to the contrary, I can't help but suspect that you drank a generous dose of the Covenant Players Kool-Aid, and that to some extent, it still continues to do a bit of its work in you to this day. But I could be wrong. Surely there were some life-changing things which you witnessed, which have caused you to still take an interest in the group after these years. You mentioned the miraculous. What miracles did you witness while touring with CP?

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: marjoe2 ()
Date: October 08, 2010 12:04PM

In a much earlier post, J.S. Fugate said of Charles M. Tanner, "He owned a home in Agoura Hills, but he bought and paid for it when he was working as a Hollywood writer / director." I have been trying to find any evidence of Tanner working professionally as a writer or director in Hollywood, with no success so far. Internet Movie Database, which contains the names of even relatively obscure screenwriters and directors spanning the entire 20th century, has no one matching Tanner's name in its database. However Tanner could have used a pseudonym. So I would like to publicly issue an invitation for Mr. Fugate or any other reader to point me to any evidence that Tanner was ever a professional writer or director for the film industry in California. My personal feeling is that Tanner's credentials in this area were probably apocryphal and woven from the cloth of his own aspirations and delusions, but I will heartily apologize for that suggestion at even a relatively meager scrap of evidence that Tanner's claims about his Hollywood career were based in reality. (Or if the Holy Spirit did the writing and directing, I will be happy to search for "Holy Spirit" at Internet Movie Database as well)

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: Bibianaburke ()
Date: October 09, 2010 02:54AM

It alarms me Marjoe2 how hostile you've suddenly become towards this organisation. At first your questions and replies seemed just like you were curious and interested, like you had just come across CP and were wondering what went on. So I decided to to give you my version of events. Now you are making accusations that would be extremely hurtful to anyone who knows and loves the organisation. Neither I or J.S Fusgate have an intimate knowledge of the current financial etc. situations of the company. These days you must understand that ALL charities are run as businesses. They ALL have heirarchies and CEOs. None of these are ever questioned or repudiated. Go out on the streets of any city and you will find young men and women in Cancer research or NSPCC or amnesty international T-shirts trying to guilt people to sign up to give a certain amount of money per month. These people are not volunteers. They were hired as sales people from a fundraiser agency. Charity is a business these days, the money you give gets split up into advertising, paying employees, utilities bills, paying fundraiser agencies, PR agencies etc. What is left over goes to helping the poor and needy. You cannot say that a charity cannot be like a business when every sucessful charity is just that.
I know people were not raking it in because there are only about 100 CPers in the world. Everyone knows everyone else. Half of them are friends on Facebook just so I can check if they've suddenly come into incredible wealth by looking on my computer screen. Plus where would it be raked in from? Where's the money in missionary theatre?
At the end of the day I can't understand your interest in CP. Please please please will you let me know your motivations for researching and ridiculing this organisation. I'm sure you've had bad experiences in the past with a similar organisation and I'd like to know what's gone on. I still have very good friends in CP who could answer any serious concerns you have.

Please let me know why you're interested,

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: October 09, 2010 04:22AM


Most charities report their finances and have far more accountability and meaningful financial transparency than CP.

CP may be run like a family business, but thankfully most nonprofit charities are not.

Your last post was frankly just a bit creepy and came across as pure apology.

You admit that you still have ties to CP, so you are not here to objectively review the group, but rather to defend your friends.

Marjoe2 doesn't need to disclose anything to you, but thanks for setting the record straight as to where you are coming from.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: J. S. Fugate ()
Date: October 09, 2010 04:59AM

I'm not real sure if it will do anyone any good for me to continue to answer questions - because this thread is somewhat similar to "The Crucible" . . . every answer seems to add to the list of accusations, and thus proving the premise by very nature of the fact that I tried to give an honest answer.

I actually thought I was being a little too harsh in my analysis of CP - because I see it through the lens of my own experience, which definitely had its ups and downs. There are many friends that would find my answers to be negatively biased against the organization - however, I am accused of drinking the kool-aid. This organization is a very important part of my life . . . and taught me a lot more than the colleges I attended.

However - just like the colleges I went to, there were good teachers and there were bad. I did well in some classes and failed others . . . but I can not blame the University for my failures, and a few bad teachers doesn't reflect on the entire institution.

It's been 20 years since I served in the ministry. Many things have changed, even some foundation operating procedures from what I've been told by those that have remained. The best friends I ever made in my life were and are a part of this ministry - and they did NOT have the same negative experiences that I had because they did not struggle with the same immaturity and arrogance that I did during my 20s.

It is pretty clear to me that Marjoe2 had some negative experiences with the group - and she is not the only one. However, there are also many people that had extremely positive experiences with the group. So, it depends on who you ask. As for who Chuck really was and what he really did - I only know what he himself told me. If he was lying to me, then shame on him. He was certainly not a perfect man, nor did he claim to be (which is a pretty important element in establishing a cult) . . . but apart from everything else - he was my friend. That is one of the big differences between my reflections of who he was vs. those who only saw him as an authority figure.

By the way, the film properties which he made were primarily for the US Government as far as I know . . . most of which was in Korea. I don't think he ever directed a commercial film. Urban legend? I don't know. That's what he told me.

Were there miracles? Oh yes. I had all manner of miracles occur that could not be explained, and they still baffle me. I started to give specifics, but I deleted it . . . because unless these things were personally experienced it's quite hard to believe - and could even lead one to believe that I'm a little crazy because these events defied certain laws of common sense and science.

However, I experienced many things that greatly strengthened my faith. I can't even begin to list the ways in which I saw people's lives change as a result of the ministry - those that served, and those that were served through it.

Some valid points have been made, and I tried to put in my two cents. Were there problems? Absolutely. Are there positives? Absolutely -- but I don't think real answers are being sought in that arena . . . only more reasons to doubt. I stated earlier that all financial records are indeed available at the WHQ in Oxnard - anyone can walk in and ask. Or, find their number on their website and give them a call. They can also answer other questions much better than I can.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: October 09, 2010 07:50AM

J. S. Fugate:


The admissions you made tacitly acknowledged the inherent structural and accountability problems with CP.

You seem to blame yourself and/or individuals for what went wrong, refusing or unable to see the systemic causes and/or reasons.

Almost any experience has something that can be seen as positive.

Still, that doesn't excuse the bad behavior and/or excessive authoritarian control CP seems to have exemplified.

Apparently CP and its system hurt people.

That the point.

And though you are trying to spin apologies, that the relevant situation being discussed here.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: recovered ()
Date: November 28, 2010 09:48AM

Thanks for this clarity, moderator.

I was in CP for four years, and was declared "persona non grata" when I resigned - even though I had not broken any commitment to stay. Chuck Tanner once told me that God had told him that I was to be in CP for life. I told him that when God told ME, I would let him know. Chuck Tanner's will was often confused with God's will, I'm afraid.

I remember days on the road when it was more important to send money to the Head office than to eat decently. I remember times when Chuck would point to two people and say "race each other around the room" and they did. I remember his tirades. I remember other leaders ordering people around like despots. I remember being told that I had no faith because I replaced the bald tires on a van that was transporting 10 souls across the country. . I remember being told that God's law was a higher law than a country, and to shut up and smuggle Chuck's books into Canada to sell. I remember feeling so special, that I took for granted that "normal" people would want to feed me, house me, and support the work of God I was doing.

For quite some time after I re-entered a "normal" life, I made a point of reading about cults. I truly can say that Covenant Players had many cult-like features. Now, as an intelligent person, I did not want to admit that I had fallen into a system that made loyalty to CP the same as loyalty to God...but there it is.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: dzyactor ()
Date: February 23, 2011 02:17AM


I can almost hear Chuck telling you that were to be in CP for life. I toured with CP for three years in the late 70's and began to suspect that they were a cult in my second year. I toured in Europe for 1 1/2 years and was actually fired after I came back to the U.S. when I refused to smuggle books and records over the Canadian border. Oddly, I was never made 'persona non grata' and have remained in contact with some of the people that I toured with.

Two of the people I toured with in Europe (Gail Crabtree and Tom Smith) are still with the company. Covenant Players has the potential to be a world class ministry but, unfortunately, has a habit of putting the organization first (at least when I was touring).

Chuck did use brainwashing techniques. He was even willing to admit it in the '70s. I once sat in on a meeting during training for Fall tour, after we had lost 3 new recruits, where he told all Unit Leaders to never leave a new recruit alone. Make sure they always had someone with them so that they wouldn't even think about going home.

Chuck did claim that his home in Agoura Hills was paid for by Hollywood, but I have also never found any evidence that he worked in the movie industry there. He did work for the Foreign Service, producing propaganda films before the Korean air lift and later in Japan (go figure!). His wife Dorie was also a fine arts instructor and made pretty good money herself.

I think a lot of the people defending Covenant Players may only be trying to defend the meaningful work that they did while working with them. Regardless of the mind games that were played, my three years with CP were three of the best years of my life. 35 years later I continue to act and direct. I also continue to draw on my experience and education with that organization. I also know that I made a difference in the lives of a lot of people while I toured and, after all, isn't that what ministry is about?

The people who toured may have been screwed with, but we didn't screw with the people we ministered to. There were many times that we ate peanut butter sandwiches for days but still sent money to the home office. At the time, it was worth it; 35 years later I would laugh at them. I would still provide the ministry, but not on their terms.

I have a feeling that CP may monitor this site. If you do: Gail or Tom, I'd love to hear from you.

Jerry Rust

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2011 05:17AM by rrmoderator.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: February 23, 2011 05:18AM


It is against the rules you agreed to before posting here, to include contact information.

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Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Posted by: 89 ()
Date: March 04, 2011 06:23AM

I found this website by accident through googleing Covenant Players. I was a member for 7 years, from 89-96, serving in about 8 countries. I do agree with an earlier post, ït was the best of times....and the worst of times..." It took me many, many years to recover from leaving. I do agree, there were so many practises that were very unhealthy - but yet the strange thing is that is was through CP that I learnt my most valuable life lessons. I miss so very strongly the community, and training, and the experiences of living by faith, Chucks plays and even performing. My experience with Chuck himself was lovely. He was very supportive to me as an individual, and I do miss him. Overall, I would say it was an equal amount of joy and despair of the years with them. I do find it sad that the organisation has greatly diminished, especially in Australia, but I sincerely hope that they now have a transparent system of checks and balances in place.

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