Current Page: 57 of 152
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: blackwatch ()
Date: August 27, 2012 05:18PM

Squareone, I think you're absolutely right in saying that parents would notice if there was anything odd at the school. My point is that most of the parents are probably unaware of the SMC backstory which if they knew, might give them food for thought.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: August 27, 2012 07:20PM

it sure would blackwatch. My first paragraph there was more in response to something rensil said at the end of their last post, but I agree with you, any parent of a mind to privately educate their children would not even look at the school if their first contact was this forum or latigo. Maybe though if their first contact was the school and Then they read this forum and latigo they might choose to keep their child there if it was working well for them and just opt to give the church a large bodyswerve, who knows



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/27/2012 07:24PM by squareone.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: August 27, 2012 10:17PM

It is interesting to see all the discussions about Cedars School of Excellence and its relationship with the branches of Struthers Memorial Church.

To me, discussing this link is absolutely legitimate, as the two things we are talking about are actually both activities of the one organisation with one set of Directors, one constitution, one set of accounts and one AGM. (Yes squareone, they do have an AGM. Of course, being Struthers, it is unclear who can actually attend the AGM and who can vote. I presume parents are eligible to attend, as they are just as much part of the activities of the organisation as are the members of the congregation, but I am not sure how they are informed, and it doesn’t even seem to be clear whether the congregation can vote. And, since we are discussing it, does anyone know the date of the next AGM? It would be interesting to know when it was and the agenda!)

If I was a parent, some of the information and practice in the Limited Company would concern me greatly. I would for example have a very hard look at the accounts and would be turning up at the AGM to ask questions about the finances of the organisation and, since the same people run both a school and a church, the beliefs of the Directors.

Apart form that general point about it being a single organisation, the finances of the two projects seem to be closely inter-linked. From what I read of the accounts (see my comments back on page 6 of this forum) the viability of the Cedars school is based on the decision of the Directors to allocate a considerable part of the regular church offerings to the school. As well as this, the Company only managed to balance its books because of loans that are described as "unsecured, interest free and payable on demand" which I presume means that the providers of these loans could simply walk into the office and ask for repayment at any point.

If I was a parent, I would want to understand what this meant, whether the school was on a secure financial basis and whether the Directors offered any guarantee of continued funding of the school - or if they reserved the right to withdraw it all if God suddenly told them to do so.

I would also worry about some of the policies of the organisation, particularly the fact that they say, they “do not respond to applications for funding” yet they provide financial support or assistance with fees (seethe Latigo articles on the annual accounts). If no-one is allowed to ask for any sort of discount, how are these decisions made? Does God reveal who is meant to get a discount?

To be honest, these financial details are not my main concern however, there is another aspect that concerns me more, and that is the appalling record of pastoral care shown by the Directors of the company running the Cedars School of Excellence. (The point Blackwatch made about how people’s behaviour in one area is relevant to other areas.)

And yes, I am deliberately referring to the Directors, not “the leaders” as I want to remind people this is a Company, Struthers Memorial Church Limited, which has a legal constitution. As indicated above, this company runs a number of ventures – churches, coffee shops/ bookshops and the Cedars School of Excellence. As Directors of the company, the Company Directors have a responsibility for pastoral care in their various activities, especially where young people are concerned.

We all know that, in one of these activities (the churches) their record of pastoral care is appalling. That can be seen form the testimonies on this site, and in the lives of the many current members of the church who are despondent or depressed – over 50% of some congregations it seems. I have no idea how the pastoral care works in Cedars School, but I do think the record referred to above is relevant when it belongs to the same company and the same Directors. I also worry that the people managing and delivering that care have a very unusual view of life. Apart form anything else, it seems that many of them stay in a sort of Struthers commune and have very little exposure to the real world. Do parents know this when they enrol their children?

In case people are not aware of it, it might be worth mentioning that there was also a teenage pregnancy at Cedars a year or two ago. It was all hushed up, as you would expect of Struthers, and the girl was “invited not to return”. Interesting that – the boy was able to return, but the girl wasn’t. Now why would that be? Could it possibly be that people would have noticed that the girl was pregnant and that might have spoiled the reputation of the school? Was it financial perhaps, as the boy was paying full fees? What hypocrisy. If the care and support in the school was any good, they would want to keep the girl at school and offer a supportive environment, not remove her and leave her to fend for herself.

That is exactly the kind of thing most Christian charities were set up to support – people who found themselves in difficult circumstances - irrespective of any perceived blame. Struthers has exactly the opposite view of pastoral care however – their view is, “if anyone disagrees with me, they must be wrong and I want nothing to do with them.” I do not think that most parents would expect that in a school linked with a church, which is why most won't even ask the question.

Anyway, so much for the idea that, “one of the reasons why SMC leaders wanted to set up their own school was because there was too much sexual activity going on openly at school amongst pupils in state schools, and they wanted to protect children from that.” (quoted by Rensil.) That obviously didn't work, did it! This is just the usual SMC leadership arrogance – we say it will protect people, so it will. No need for strategy, training, experience of life or anything like that, just an assertion that they are saying it will be so, so it must be right; followed by denial when it proves to be wrong.

Finally, I think it was Madrake who said, “unless they are schizophrenic...”. Well, I can’t judge that, but you do have to remember that the HeadTeacher of Cedars described her own school council as pointless (see the Humiliation Sermon on Latigo). If she choses to link the church and the school by preaching about the school form the pulpit, it is difficult for us or parent to see them as separate ventures.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/27/2012 10:21PM by ThePetitor.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: August 27, 2012 11:11PM

Hi guys

Thanks for the links Clive. As usual, they were very informative. It took me back to a time when I attended Port Glasgow High School and, much to the other pupils' delight, I used up a whole history period have a rip-roaring argument with my history teacher over Darwin's theory of evolution. I believed the teacher was teaching this as fact rather than just a theory and I literally preached to the teacher and the class about creation. The kids had a riot because they didn't get any history teaching that day but it did nothing for my popularity at school among the pupils or the teachers! I was doing exactly the same as that wee boy and just regurgitating everything I had been taught all my life and I wasn't open to anyone telling me that I may not be right ... I was very arrogant about it and feel quite ashamed of it as a discerning adult.

Kids will believe anything if they respect the person who is speaking. It is the subtle suggestion that does the most damage though, little seeds being planted here and there won't necessarily be apparent to others, even parents. Kids don't tell their parents everything and some don't tell their parents very much at all, I know my kids used to say no more than 'Fine' when asked how their day went. It was only really at parents' nights that I found out exactly how they were doing at school and I don't believe that the teachers at Cedars would be letting on about any religious teachings during parents' nights.

The curriculum at Cedars might very well be the main-stream curriculum of all state schools in Scotland but that doesn't cover the words which come out of a teacher's mouth during classes and discussions with pupils. To the pupils, these words may not seem important enough to mention to parents because of the subtle ways in which things are put across to them and if SMC view the school as means of outreach then it stands to reason that the pupils must be exposed to SMC teachings at some point (or it wouldn't be outreach).

On Latigo there is a sermon in which the speaker berrated a short-term visitor to the school in quite a slanderous and nasty way and I have to ask myself if they can say stuff like that from the general platform what more is being said in the classrooms where the listeners are much more pliable than adults are and the discussions are less likely to reach the ears of the concerned parents?

I certainly wouldn't be sending any of my children to the school, knowing what I know about the rest of the organisation, regardless of the curriculum. Since the teachers eat, sleep, live and breathe Struthers it is impossible to believe that doesn't spill over into their work-life also (not to mention the nepotism). I have no doubt that pupils of Cedars are achieving academically because the school would be forced to close if they weren't, but I DO doubt that there is no SMC teaching going on, however subtle it may be. Remember, these people truly believe that they have all the answers and everyone else is doomed for eternity and when you believe something that strongly it's impossible for it not to colour every area of your life.

It would be interesting to know exactly how many pupils in the school have attended SMC youth groups, camps or meetings if it were possible to quantify that.

Biiig love and God bless you all xxxxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: August 27, 2012 11:27PM

PS ThePetitor, sorry I must've been writing my post while you were posting yours. You are so right, double-standards abound in SMC and the 'party-line' changes depending on who it is being delivered to and what the desired outcome is.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: August 28, 2012 12:33AM

this isn't a snidey question, I really do see where you're all coming from, I really do, I'm just wondering what you would do if you knew someone from Struthers was to be your child's teacher in a local authority school. Is it that they're at Cedars en masse?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/28/2012 12:40AM by squareone.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: August 28, 2012 02:43AM

cbarb - no problem, I guessed that was what had happened. I think the two posts fit quite well together actually - quite different, but complementary.


squareone - I think that is a fair question. Others may have a different view, but I would have no great problem if someone from Struthers was teaching a child of mine or of someone I knew. I wouldn't really even have a problem with them having 6 teachers from Struthers (or from the local Mosque) if it was say a local state school. The reason is there is then accountability and someone to complain to if necessary.

To me, it is not the individual teachers that are the problem, it is that fact that the organisation has proven itself to be callous as well as unaccountable. The Directors of the SMC Limited company have consistently refused to respond to issues and complaints and show no concern at all for people who have been hurt or damaged through one of their operations (which happens to be a church).

These same people are also running another operation (which happens to be a school) as part of the same organisation. The school can have policies about complaints etc that go all the way from the teacher to the Headteacher, but what if someone wanted to complain about the Headteacher for some reason? They would have to complain to the Directors, these same people who do not believe in accountability, but believe God guides their every action on a day-to-day basis, even to the extent of whether to answer a letter of complaint. I believe that is dangerous, and would not be happy if I knew children were attending any school where the Company Directors held that sort of belief about their own infallibility, no matter what they believed in doctrinally.

Mr Black used to repeat the Churchill quote that, "democracy is the least worst system". I tend to agree with that - democracy may not be ideal, but what is the alternative?

If you read the Humiliation Sermon on the Latigo site (referred to by both cbarb and me without any collusion), you will see that the Headteacher quite openly ridicules some of what she herself does in school (setting up a school council and being kind to visitors for example). That is hypocritical but how could anyone complain? She can simply dismiss any complaint as something God has told her not to respond to secure in the knowledge that is how the leadership works and they would commend her for her spirituality instead of holding her to account.

Hope that helps explain my thoughts although, as I have said, others may think differently. No problem with that - that is democracy!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: August 28, 2012 03:24AM

thank you for considering my question. Yes I've seen the commentery on that sermon. Had actually referred to the headteacher in my post but I seem to have edited it out. ?...anyway I mentioned in a previous post that I thought her thoughts on life were pretty questionable from the wee bits I've seen on latigo. I don't really know how these things work but could a parent not complain to HMI?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: August 28, 2012 05:03AM

Hi guys

The teachers who currently teach in Cedars have taught in main-stream schools before. Quite a few of the members of SMC were teachers when I attended the church and all taught in main stream schools (including my Mum). There really is no problem with that because parents could still complain to head teachers and head masters who were not affiliated with SMC, if the need arose. However, these teachers were among other teachers, from various religious and non-religious backgrounds, and did not have free reign in the school or staff-room and, more importantly they were not (to my knowledge) related, apart from the Blacks, who all taught in different schools anyway. In those days, apart from their scripture union meetings there was no religion brought into the classroom (not counting RE classes of course).

Cedars is a completely different story since all teachers are members of SMC and, for the most part, related to each other which gives them a monopoly over the classroom and the staff-room. There is no balance between SMC members and members of other faiths or no faith at all which can't be that healthy, can it?

They may be fabulous teachers but how can any parent be sure that they are not feeding their kids with some of the drivel they believe themselves, that would not be easy for them to do in a main-stream school but, in a school where they have such a huge monopoly can parents really be sure about exactly what daily teaching their kids are receiving. As already pointed out, double-standards reign in SMC, especially if you have money to spend. The story of the teenage pregnancy shows that up very clearly; and sends the message that the girl was more to blame than the boy perhaps because her parents weren't paying full fees? I don't know the circumstances but I'm certainly not surprised by the double-standards (having been on receiving end of those many times myself).

I wouldn't have any problem with any of the teachers at Cedars teaching my kids in a main-stream school because I know they would get a healthy balance of views and teaching styles, which hopefully would enhance their kinowledge but I balk at the nepotism and single-mindedness of all teachers being from the same organisation and the same families. I wouldn't even mind this situation if the teachers were all from the Catholic faith or Church of Scotland or Church of England etc. but it's the fact that they come from Struthers that bothers me because of it's cultish behaviour in all other areas of life.

It's not the teachers' abilities that are questionable but their beliefs that the world is doomed unless everyone becomes a member of SMC and, holding these beliefs so strongly, will affect how and what they teach the kids. If you really believe no one can go to heaven unless they first become a member of SMC, would you be happy to just teach kids normal stuff and say nothing about the fact you strongly believe they're all going to hell and it's your God-given job to save their souls?? That's why I think it is impossible for them not to be teaching the kids something of their own screwed up faith, especially when all the teachers and directors of the company hold exactly the same views; there is no one to put up any arguments against them and bring things back to a healthy balance. That's what I really have a problem with, but hopefully I'm completely wrong.

Biig love and a huge virtual HUG to all xxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: lintar123 ()
Date: August 28, 2012 05:08AM

The recent newly designed handbook for Cedars by Fraser Speirs only attempts to describe the qualifications of a handful of the teachers. There are others teaching there who are not GTC registered . As a teacher of many years, in a Secondary school, I understand that Private School staff may not need to be registered .There is a register open to the general public. What I fail to understand remains unanswered:-
. Why are there so many family members on the staff?
. Why is/ was the Head Teacher allowed to hire / sit on interview panels for members of her own family? and friends?
. Why are we able to read on the Latigo site, terrible sermons where she criticises her school council in a public and humiliating way?
As has been clearly stated, these people have a "struthers" view of life , which will be imparted to these pupils in some shape or form. Teachers in Local Authority schools are accountable and answerable to the Head Teacher and beyond that, to the Council Education Directors, and then the G.T.C. would be the complaints body. My fear is that this Cedars school hides what is going on and takes the money. The congregations are fearfully duped into giving money. The parents who are not Struthers related dont know the half of what`s happening and, having been through H.M.I inspections over the years, I have no doubt that the staff will attempt to put on their "best performance" during these inspections. I shudder to think what is going on behind closed doors. I do know that complaints were made to the school where our esteemed Cumbernauld leader taught, because she was praying with the children in her classroom. I am saddened to think that a young female has been through the trauma of a pregnancy and shunned. Many of us posting here were shunned also.
In mainstream schools Head Teachers would not be advised to employ family members, far less interview them. Unfortunately, the leaders , the anointed ones are yet to provide answers. The fear put into people by them is awful. For many years in Struthers I felt that fear which has left its many marks and scars. I witnessed people so scared that they did whatever they were told and said nothing and questioned no one. It is true, that children will accept what they hear and they will not question. They will trust the adults who are in "loco parentis". The truth about the commune is hard to accept also. These staff members live and breathe Struthers, and under each others watchful eyes and ears, Cedars will be no different. Yes, squareone, I do believe that it is madness that they have descended into.

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