Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Date: September 08, 2012 04:11AM
It is important that people understand - nothing is being said on this forum in relation to the serious financial losses which was not publicly admitted and profusely apologised for by Hugh Black in 1987 – other than (I think) The Petitor's entirely appropriate guess at how much money was lost. We know about all this because the Struthers leadership stood up and confessed once the damage had been done and their was no way to hide it any longer. We are not the source of the claim something bad and illegal happened – they told us all that something bad and illegal happened and that the leaders of the church were responsible for a huge financial loss.
This is not mainly important in relation to the late Hugh Black. He dealt with and lived with the consequences of this for the rest of his ministry. This is important still today because people in leadership roles in Struthers Memorial Church at the time this happened could have known about this by asking, or “discerned it” and prevented it from happening, and they failed to. Yet these same leaders still today sometimes seem to claim effectively flawless divine knowledge only available to “the spiritual” and dish out this “knowledge” which affects key decisions about the direction of the church and, most alarmingly, seeks to control the specific direction of peoples lives.
This incident demonstrates that the leaders in Struthers, many of whom were leaders in the church at the time of this financial shambles, are not divinely qualified to do any such thing. Their guidance, understanding of God's will for the church and for members is as prone to mistake, failure and utter disaster as is that of any other flawed and fallen human on God's green earth.
Almost all of the present executive were in a position to know about the mishandling of finances, and hear God's voice, and shut down the problem and if they had would have protected Mr Black in the process. They all failed to do so. By not asking questions, by trusting where trust was not warranted, by ignoring (and disrespecting) those who warned them, and by failing to discern the voice of God about the danger they were placing the church in they let the church down and, by failing to protect him from his own folly, they let Mr Black down.
These are not people who should be regarded as infallible or be giving anyone specific advice about how to live their lives (claiming it is - as if - it is from God). This incident demonstrates their shortcomings were, and remain, extremely serious. Since that time the church has contracted in number of branches, number of members and has become a charity focussed on a school and shops rather than one driven by the gospel and outreach. (Apparently the Glasgow church leader – she of “the ipads will bring revival” - has also indicated that the Cedars School is now their outreach – though this is not mentioned anywhere in the school handbook and may be alarming news to some parents). And, according to the most recently available figures, Struthers is, 25 years later, once again in significant debt of £400 000 with no plan to repay this borrowing given in their 2010 charity report and accounts. But perhaps when the 2011 accounts come out shortly this will have been resolved.
Another aspect of all this is mentioned by Treetop. I too attended a branch church the next morning to hear the leaders who were charged to tell the congregations the money they had been donating in good faith for years for the work of the gospel had been foolishly squandered. Not seeming too concerned about this the leader then literally bawled and howled about how unjust it was that Mr Black was suffering when he had set out to do no wrong. Not the usual Struthers leader reaction to wrongdoing (real or imagined) of those in their congregations. A double standard which continues perhaps?
Looking back - this was a nauseating display of demands for infinite empathy and forgiveness when the leaders make a mistake, but, as we now know from the testimonies online, preceded and followed by years of doing precisely the opposite to people in their congregations. No sympathy and understanding for them. These church members didn't break any laws but if seeking after God (or worse yet reading the bible) led to asking difficult questions it was met with utter condemnation and complete unsympathetic rejection by the leaders, in the long term devastating and damaging lives. Right up to very recent days it appears this has continued. Unfortunately for them the bible states leaders will be held by God to higher standards of conduct, not lower, than their flocks.
This forum has now reached 603+ posts the vast majority hugely in support of the view that the problems in Struthers are widespread, real and damaging to people. It is worth a pause to remember that all the leaders and all the members of Struthers Memorial Church, as long as they respect the forum rules, are as entitled to post on here as all of us who already have. Where are they? Is it, as it appears, that they are simply not able to defend their own church and its leadership?
Likewise if there is any concern that we have misrepresented the events of 1987 in any way the SMC leadership are fully free and able to place online (here or elsewhere) their version of events for public scrutiny and informed debate. That they have not done this on any subject covered in the forum means that, as with these events, the version presented here will be the only one available to people trying to find out about Struthers. I don't see that as a problem but if they do they are well able to place online any information which will clarify this or any other issue presently being discussed. People should note that for 2 years now they have chosen not to do that. They have taken no steps to answer, or challenge, anything on this forum.
So if that means that people, including their own congregations, now get their information about the teachings, practices and the moral and financial mistakes of Struthers Memorial Church from here that would seem to be entirely their own fault and entirely their own responsibility.