Re: Covenant Players Oxnard, CA Charles Tanner
Date: April 15, 2013 06:53AM
I was in Covenant Players 23 years, and when I left, I became persona non grata. I worked in the office, overseas, in fund raising, and numerous CP leadership roles. I was there during the lawsuit claiming CP was a cult and the information written by Mr. Fugate whom I knew well, does not always add up with the truths that I know. I am not a bitter or angry person and have had much healing from a long life love and disappointment. The truth to me is that it started out wonderful and descended as Chuck the leader descended because there were no balances and checks and CP "flew under the radar." I know. I was asked to help make it happen and watched it from a fiscal as well as personal viewpoint. No one was ever forced to leave their own denomination or religion and that is a big difference in a real cult. I believe at the time CP was categorized as a fringe element. It was definitely personality driven, Christian driven, and filled with the errors of a man-led kingdom. Chuck has been accused of pushing his family, regardless of ability, above others and this is factual. Were it a for-profit company, it would not have engendered the problems nor always had to "fly under the radar" because Chuck skirted issues of the non-profit requirements, wanting directors to be "yes-men" only and limiting their input and eliminating their power. Despite his struggle with business acumen, he rejected all help in that arena because it had to be "his way." There was no Financial Accountability or any other kind of accountability. Check ran the show. He called himself TO EVERYONE "a benevolent dictator." He believed that was the better form of organizational life. The hardest thing came years later when the lawsuit happened to discover Chuck lied on the CP brochure (and I have one) about graduating from college. He never did. He openly apologized to the leadership and they removed all copies of that brochure from publication and got rid of them. The results of the lawsuit were not made public and I did not believe the integrity of the person who sued necessarily, but I do know CP came out a loser, and Chuck even more so. One of the problems for the newer folk was that Chuck tried to expand too big, too quickly without the business to make it work, so many people were suffering financially and many leaders were chosen who were terrible with people and caused much hurt and destruction. There were many others who were wonderful and had fantastic experiences ministering around the world. I went on some awesome tours! The old plays were wonderful. The ministry in the field could be powerful. Or if the unit was lame, it could be embarrassing, but that is just poor, not "cultish." Life in the headquarters was another situation and working for some of his "private picks" of folk who were "company people" was awful. The longer it went, the worse it became. To keep people, Chuck asked for life time commitments to God and TO CP. If you broke it, for ANY reason, you were persona non grata. Perhaps there were some who were flaky and maybe we all were. I cannot judge for others. Only God will do that. I do know Chuck did not want us to have families or if we did, we were expected to take the offspring "on the road." It was no excuse to not travel. CP came before ANYTHING else. Judge that as you will. I regretted losing the power and love of the original CP. By the time I left, and after much counseling and prayer, it was a blessing God gave me another chance to serve in a traditional ministry and find heart and hope once more. I remain sorry to be persona non grata. May God have mercy. I lost 23 years worth of friends - except one. The hurt was deep. I never realized how little people cared. What a fool I was!
God bless the ONE!