Re: Kirkby Christian Fellowship
Date: July 18, 2018 04:28PM
(This post is also, in case it needs to be said, written for ex-members / survivors and people who used to post here regularly.)
This is my theory about what’s happened with KCF. I do suspect it’s less cult-like than it was, and may even no longer meet official definitions of “cult”. I do think it’s still pretty fundamentalist and evangelical (which doesn’t automatically make it a cult, though the Venn diagram of cults and unaccountable evangelical churches isn’t far off being a circle.)
About a decade ago, a few things seemed to happen all at once. Some of the elders left the fellowship. They were deeply unhappy with how things had been going. Whether or not they “had an axe to grind” is almost immaterial; survivors tend to be bitter and angry after what they’ve been through.
At the same time two blogs did the rounds, one from an ex-member who had grown up in KCF, another from someone who wasn’t an ex-member but had a relative who was, and who’d suffered poor mental health as a result.
I think — and this is just my opinion, I don’t know any people involved in KCF to ask — at this point the current leadership got “spooked”. Perhaps they worried there might indeed be a court case or similar brought against them. Certainly it was very bad publicity that if you typed Kirkby Christian Fellowship into google, the autocomplete added “cult”.
Or perhaps the current leadership had been looking all along to make a change, to break with the (horrific) past and appear a little more modern.
They took this opportunity to be a little less “church of no compromise” and a little more “heaven sent”, getting more involved in community projects, being a little more transparent. And just like in Orwell’s Animal Farm, when Snowball leaves and Napoleon blames everything on him, I suspect that’s what happened with those elders who left. Everything was blamed on them. In a kind of “mistakes were made but not by us. The ethos was down to those who have now left, they were responsible for the church’s cult-like behaviour and spiritual abuse” way.
Again this is only my theory. And also I’m very conscious that some ex members might have issues with those elders who left at that time. I don’t want to characterise them as just convenient scapegoats. It’s complicated and I don’t want to gaslight those people who were harmed by those who left.
Of course the leadership had to characterise the posters on this forum as incoherent, nasty, slanderous, bitter. The elders who left especially. The mantra of “fault on both sides”, which makes them appear reasonable. Added to the way that some of the posts on this forum do seem a little wild (because survivors often are sent into poor mental health as a result of what they’ve been through), with accusations of witchcraft, talking about lesbianism as if there’s something wrong with it (though there is something wrong with hypocrisy, and if KCF leaders are involved in same-sex relationships after preaching against it, that’s hypocritical) and seeming paranoia. (Though it’s hard not to be paranoid when within a day of posting on a forum a current member shows up!)
Folks, I don’t think we’ll ever get our apology or even an admission of guilt. But please don’t let anyone gaslight you. These things did happen. I was sat there as the fellowship’s leader stood at the front of the pyramid suite and told everyone how a man member was in the wrong for having a relationship with a non-Christian woman, in front of him. Many of us were there when we were told a female member who had “spread rumours” (truth) and temporarily left her husband “was in sin”, in the days of ‘the building’. Many of you remember our music choices (no pop or rock) and even the soft toys we played with (no frogs!) being controlled. We remember what was said about “backsliders”. We’ve seen the documents online about “knitted relationships” (as recently as 2007, so this kind of behaviour carried on after we’d left) and how they could cause breakdowns. And we remember similar episodes (covenanting and convocation for example). We remember how revival was always around the corner and when it didn’t come it was the fault of the congregation.
These things happened. And they were spiritual abuse. And sure, we will never have our apology but what we must not let anyone take away from us is the facts. What was done to us was wrong, regardless of whether or not has changed (and as I said earlier my thought is they probably have, but not much, given the enlightening posts by a KCF member this last day or so).
Love to you all.