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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: March 08, 2013 05:07PM

Hi again

Just a wee addendum to my previous post.

It strikes me as a bit strange that you, Clive, would say we are picking apart every 'little thing' that SMC do. I don't think that the purchase of over 100 i-Pads (twice over) is a 'small' decision to make. We're talking over £40,000 paid out not once, but TWICE from an organisation which is consistently making a loss!

£80K+ might be a small amount to you but to the rest of us, this is a huge amount of money to spend unnecessarily and then LIE to the people who are paying for it! So I would hardly call it 'nit picking' but maybe you're a millionaire and don't see this as a large amount of money?

Contrary to what you are saying, we are not picking apart 'every little decision' but we are, quite rightly, questioning decisions which are instrumental in keeping the organisation in debt! The i-Pads do actually play a fair part in that - to most people £80K+ is more than three years' wages!! But perhaps you think that throwing away £80K every couple of years is nothing?

Even if the i-Pads are leased and not bought, this will still be a very large amount of cash, given the number of units the school has. Not only that but the head of the school has said that the cost of the i-Pads is built into the school fees... Oh yeah? Well, in that case the subsidies from the church funds must be for the salaries of the leaders' families because the school is still making a loss on a regualr basis - to the tune of almost £80K, by the recent 2011 accounts (funnily enough that's the same figure as buying two lots of i-Pads for 100 kids, not to mention the ones for the teachers and a few spare!) . That's most certainly NOT a small amount of money to be taking from the collection plates of the churches. It's Robin Hood in reverse, robbing the poor to give to the rich!!

Do you honestly believe that all the Cedars kids will learn any better than we did at school just because they have i-Pads? That's a bit delusional. Every kid is different and learns at a different rate regardless of the technology being used. I attended one of the worst equipped High Schools in the area but I still have a Degree and professional qualifications on top. I wonder how many kids, who have previously gone through Cedars, have gone on to Uni and gained their Masters or Doctorates etc. Would it be all of them, or even HALF of them? I think they would be shouting it from the roof-tops if that was the case, because they would be the best performing school in the area - given that the Scottish national average of kids gaining 1 - 2 Highers is 46%, 3 -4 Highers is 27% and 5+ Highers is 13%.

In actual fact, you can search the net till the cows come home but you won't find ANY figures regarding the performance of Cedars school kids against the national averages. Why? Because the school have opted NOT to disclose this information (saying that the figures may be distorted since the school offer qualifications outside of the Scottish curriculum). To my mind that's being a bit cagey. If the school was performing better than others in the area because of the i-Pads, don't you think they'd be shouting this out loud - considering they are the first school in the whole world to have all lessons taught on i-Pads and a 1:1 ratio of i-Pads to kids and teachers? The fact that they have opted not to publish ANY exam result figures anywhere screams UNDER performance that they'd rather not admit to.

Kids may well enjoy schoolwork more on i-Pads than using pen and paper but one has to wonder if these kids also have a good standard of hand-writing (equally important, to my mind). However, just because they enjoy it more doesn't necessarily mean that they are any more intelligent than kids who are still using the traditional means of learning. Like I said, if the kids WERE performing better than state educated kids, who don't have the luxury of i-Pad technology, I'm certain we would be hearing about it; instead there's a big fat blank against exam results for Cedars (or rather, there's a couple of dollar signs which mean hee-haw to anyone except Americans). The only reason a school would opt out of producing these figures would be if the performance was LOWER than the national average and would reflect BADLY on the school.

I think your idea of 'nit picking' over an £80K deficit kinda shows you are quite a wealthy person. Either that, or you have a vested interest in the Cedars i-Pads maybe? I personally don't think that £80K can easily be swept under the carpet considering the organisation has lost vast sums of money in the past and has never actually recovered from that loss; but instead of trying to be frugal and regain some of their original wealth they have chosen to be the complete opposite and continue to spend what they don't have, expecting the ordinary members of the church (who are not privileged enough to even be involved in the school) to foot the bill for the shortfall. This on its own is a glaring example of just how UNHOLY the leaders of SMC are that they can't even be truthful with their own members about how they are spending the church money.

How can the cost of the i-Pads be built into the school fees but the school can still make a loss of almost £80K in one year? Perhaps it's the cost of the teachers which isn't built into the school fees but no one has bothered to inform the congregation of this, because they all believed that the school was paying for itself - after all that's what the 'anointed ones' told them .... more LIES!!!

I don't know if you have kids of your own, Clive, but let's assume you do. If you could not afford to have your kids privately educated, would you be happy to be subsidising the education of children who were already from wealthier families than your own? I doubt it very much and I think you would be even less happy to discover that, while you thought you were contributing to a good cause, you were actually contributing to the education of richer people's kids.

Don't have a go at us for pointing out the fallibility of ordinary humans who make themselves out to be something more super human than everyone else and abuse their position of power to get what they want out of the pockets of the faithful on the pews.!

This is most certainly not 'petty' in any way and to say it is means you are either not looking at the true COSTS involved or you are too wealthy yourself to allow a mere £80K to ruffle your feathers. Incidentally, the deficit in the previous year amounted to £84K and the year before that it was £160K - that's amalgamated losses of £324K over three years - all paid for from the pockets of the congregation!! Most certainly NOT PETTY cash!!

Oh yeah, and there's still NO REVIVAL coming from the i-Pads .... even MORE LIES!!!

SMC is built on LIES and DECEIT wrapped up in imagined holiness to make the bitter pill easier for the faithful to swallow. Well I'm sorry to say, if I were still a member I would be choking to death on the copious amounts of crap being shoved down my throat!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: lintar123 ()
Date: March 08, 2013 11:26PM

Haven`t posted for a while but have followed avidly and thorughly agree with cbarb.
Clive, this isn`t about i-pads.
You aren`t understanding anything of the lies and deceit and damage and hurt which has been happening and continues to happen in Struthers to this day to innocent people.You, Clive , couldn`t have been a member of the Church. Although many times I feel that you thoroughly support Struthers and all that it stands for. Are you lying to us, Clive , about your true situation?
If you want to pass opinion, you should pass it on the realities , the truths and the hurts posted here by many who "lived to tell the Struthers tale".
In the guise of "holiness", people are/ duped into giving up their life. Please don`t pass comment and say it`s the fault of the people for letting this happen. My memories mirror cbarbs. Material possessions were frowned upon. People gave up time, energy, health, family, friends, money.... all that is part of "normal life". Relationships were interfered with/ discouraged/ damaged because the so called "anointed "leaders deemed it to be so.Psychological damage is rife and real in people who have suffered it at the hands of these "leaders", past and present.
As for the school. In a "normal " establishment you will not find it staffed by everybody from the same church...or by so many members of the SAME FAMILY. It is nepotism...."jobs for the boys/girls". It is also absolutely obvious that struthers teachings will be going on in the class rooms and staff meetings. Do not believe otherwise.... Who is paying these salaries, Clive? As for the i pad stuff. That is a red herring. The real truth about the place you must be missing. Read ALL the posts again . Get real, Clive! and stop sticking up for wrong doing! They are taking peoples money, causing severe psychological damge and continuing to ruin lives. Struthers is a cult. A sect. It is run by dangerous people who are doing dangerous things. One day it will be exposed, I am sure.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Ifellaway ()
Date: March 09, 2013 12:31AM

Hi all.
Initially I'd like to introduce myself, but can't really. I have family who are still very much "in". I am already the black sheep and "do drugs", drink etc (Actually this is a misconception that I cannot rectify without blowing apart other myths and lies that have been perpetuated within my wider family, since before I was born.) so anything that blows back would affect many more than I know...maybe. I would rather not risk that, at this stage.
I stand before you all as an unrepentent sinner. I applaud those here who have kept the faith alive. Currently, I'm under (medical and psychological) reconstruction. My belief system failed me and mentally, well I collapsed. Part of my recovery involves regulating my "fear of God" and it is easier for me if I have no god. Doesn't mean I don't believe, I want to believe but to come to God (or to stay with God) out of fear, it just don't compute. A God of love would not ask this. Not rocket I spent too many years daring to think this way in secret. How glad am I to have stumbled upon this discussion? Very glad indeed.
I feel an affinity with many here, perhaps know many here, maybe it is just the overlap in stories but I have ended up without faith. I would need heavy ministry indeed to get rid of these demons. Much better I do this in a controlled medical setting than in a meeting at Wiston where kids are present, wondering wtf, and anything could go wrong. My panic attacks and psychoses (sorry, my demonic episodes..) manifest in a unique and frankly, dangerous way. I would actually be interested to know how even Hugh Black would have dealt with this; given the variable risks, I hope he would have instructed me, if not supported me, in seeking qualified, mainstream medical help. Or am I just "not giving myself wholly to God"?
My deepest sympathies go out to those who have been mistreated and left confused, and I in no way doubt your stories or your pain. I note some bitterness has emerged here. But this isn't what dominates the thread. And, given the stats, if it did...that would be expected.
I have fond memories of Wiston and Douglas West, from doing Tinto to having a fly black pudding supper with Mr B (on the proviso that we would both pray that wee bit harder for our strength to resist the tempting yumminess in future...though I think it was Stornoway black pudd though...because I never did achieve the strength...I wonder how Hugh got on before he passed.)
Also I do know that many members of the church are the best people you could hope to meet. Altruistic souls who live to help and serve. What is under scrutiny here is the effect on many, of how the church is run. I can identify..
To the Affected: Please feel free to find me, I may just have some answers for you.
To the Involved: My admiration for you knows no bounds. You are the bravest and most helpful. I thank you for setting up this discussion and maintaining it.
To all: I do not want to cause any offence here. At this point I am just checking in to say "hi all". If anyone feels my input may not be helpful, please say, I held my tongue and thoughts for decades already, I can continue radio silence indefintely, if necessary or appropriate...
I am pro-SMC. I believe the good in the majority of the church will eventually dilute or even extinguish any bad practices. After all, any church and it's teachings has to be organic in nature, because human understanding is this way.
I am not a member and haven't been to meeting or camp for decades.
It is with a very heavy heart (but no surprise) that I read some of the accounts here. I implore the ministers to get in on this talk. It will help many here and I do know you are reading this. You should be aware that many, many silent ones watch this. Your continued absence can only harm the strength of your faith, as you try increasingly harder to hold on to doubting flocks. Please? I cannot speak on your behalf. You can't possibly deny that these accounts are real, whether bitter or not, but you could engage and enrich the conversation, if you wanted to. I know most of you. I know that you must rebel yourself to achieve the degree of change that IS necessary. But it is no more than you asked of us. Maybe it is true then, that you don't practice what you preach, you operate double standards, blindly follow a leader you know in your heart isn't fit for purpose. Make the break now, or I'm coming for the whole org. I will get the necessary publicity and backing voices to shut it all down. You will blame me as the devil's helper but I will know I have succeeded in doing the real work of good.
More seriously, as I read through this whole thing (have only read up to page 12 and as far back as 80); I am noticing some alarming practices involving kids. I am a notorious troublemaker for Renfrewshire's Council. This is the only place in Britain a school could be set up in this way. Correct me if I'm wrong Renfrew Council leaders. I am still watching Good Shepherd too, obviously 2 dead teens wasn't enough. Now it's a third from another "school". I don't see the required change...but that's another front of this war against mismanagent and neglect. I stray from the relevant here...
Lastly today, I ask for help. Accepting my input here would be enough. Involving me would be better. :)
My respects to all, kindest regards and wishing you happy days.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: March 09, 2013 03:59AM

Hi Ifellaway

Welcome! It's lovely to see you posting here. You mentioned Stornoway and that gave me a lovely warm rememberance of my VERY YOUNG days. I do remember that the camps were held there before they moved to Wiston Lodge. WOW, that was a loooooong time ago and I think the church was far more effective in God's work in those days.

It's good that you are backing our call for SMC leaders to start getting involved in the discussion and give some answers because, as you rightly say, their continued silence is making them look like ostriches and can't be doing anything to help those who are still in the congregation and must surely be feeling confused and unsure about their own faith in this organisation.

I'm sorry you find it hard to get your faith back but let me tell you something. I did actually sink into the drug culture when I left SMC because I believed I was doomed and the escapism helped me to cope with ordinary life. There will be people reading this who don't actually know how low I sunk and may well be completely shocked. I was regularly taking drugs such as speed and acid right up until I got married (subsequently divorced). However, I came to my lowest point after I left my husband and children and went South to be nearer my parents and, thanks to their never-ending support and prayers, I began to realise that God lives in each one of us - regardless of whether we are good people or bad people or in-between; and He is NOT bound inside the walls of SMC. Sure, I had begun to doubt the existence of God given the hypochrisy I was seeing in the church but I only had to look at the lives of my parents to realise that there IS a higher spirit than us and, even when we don't feel worthy (or others deem us unworthy) the spirit can still manifest itself to us and show that 'He' is real.

Now, I have an even stronger faith and conviction that there is life after death and what we do here on earth will affect our status in death. I don't attend church any more (except when visiting my folks) but I don't feel any less loved by God or despised by Him either. Quite the opposite, I have never been closer to the holy spirit in my whole life and I continue to feel the spirit working in my life and guiding me to do the right things.

I do hope and pray that you will find peace for yourself and look forward to hearing more from you.

Much love and huge huggggggs
God Bless xxxxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: March 13, 2013 06:15AM

Hi, Ifellaway, and welcome to the Forum.
I am glad you felt able to post on here. It is interesting to read your story and I am sorry that you are struggling with health issues. I presume, from what you wrote, that you were brought up in SMC because your parents were/are members. It saddens me to see what happens to children brought up in SMC, many of whom (fortunately) do not continue there, but leave when they reach their late teens and have to try to live a more normal life amongst a variety of people. Many of them have lost their faith and have had problems with their identity, both psycologically and identity in God. Some ex-SMC kids I know are still Christians, and some of these are integrated into another church, but many haven't found a new church and don't attend church at all, because of the unpleasant and hurtful experiences and memories of their time in SMC. Also they have a wrong perception of God and see him as a stern, unloving, uncaring and chastising father, whose standards of holiness they can never attain.

God isn't like that, Ifellaway. No, He is a loving, understanding, tender-hearted father who is full of forgiveness and grace. I know you may not be able to accept that at the moment. But I want to tell you that.

One thing I don't quite understand from your post, Ifellaway, is you say you are pro-SMC but then, further on in your post, you seem to want the church to be exposed and brought down. Could you explain a bit more on what your views are? I can understand that, because you still have family "in" the church, that you are pro-SMC. I totally agree that there are many lovely and genuine people within SMC, but I'm sorry that I don't think they will have a beneficial diluting effect on the bad within the church and thus make it essentially "good". That hasn't happened so far, and I don't think it will now or in the future. As you know, the leaders hold sway and the docile sheep follow and obey without question or with no opportunity to question.

Please post some more. I do hope you'll find it helpful to you personally that you join the discussions on here.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Ifellaway ()
Date: March 13, 2013 11:53AM

Hey Cbarb and Rensil. Thanks for your support. It is comfort indeed. I don't have a problem with God at all, nope never did. Always, I could read and interpret for myself. The good folk I remember at Struthers never tried to narrow or stifle, but they were there to help make sense of stuff. It is as has been said here already. A leadership problem.
My real concern in going through these posts is the treatment some people here have experienced. It is horrible to think that some names I have seen mentioned here, are people that I wouldn't have thought of like that....yet I do not doubt at all anything I've read. It shouldn't be a surprise.
I am somewhat troubled by the apparent lack of safeguards for children. Glasnost is a good policy, and transparency. Especially so in modern times, where safe-caring policies are suppose to protect our kids, wherever they choose to hang out, be it church, school, clubs.
I will be back to answer more fully. I already tried to answer Cbarb, but took so long to write, I logged out and lost the message.
Must learn to brief...Think like I'm tweeting or Facebookin'! lol
Seriously though, I have much to add, hopefully without too negative a slant. I fear my opinion of the church, as an org, has been hammered. What were fond memories, hmm, it pains me to focus too much on them, in light of some revelations here and other related sites. I am so sorry for those hurt, and want to offer some kind of answers if I can. Because it seems that I was actually quite lucky, I did get out. Some damage to my belief system, granted, but I see a resolution somewhere down the line. In a way, sounds daft, I know, I've got to act as though alone (though we never truly are..). Upon recovery I will be stronger I think.
Day to day, things are fluid. One step at a time.
I am encouraged greatly by your kind words and thoughts. For now, I best hit send (and start tallying up my posts!).
Best wishes to all here, and warm thanks.
Confound it! nearly signed my name. ;)

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: growing123 ()
Date: March 13, 2013 07:24PM

Having grown up within the Struthers' community, attended their school and with my family still members, I am well aware of all the issues that have been mentioned, and have faced many battles with various leaders and the issues they had with me. I've had the "relationship talk" (considered rebellious as I chose to continue the relationship as we both felt it was from God), the "appearance talk" (I was one of the first of my age group to wear make up, dye my hair and pierce my ears) and have consequently left. Whilst I, in no way, condone some of the things that have happened, I cannot sit back and say nothing. This forum was set up to discuss experiences and warn others of the danger, however, this particular forum seems to be nit-picking and finding fault with every little thing that SMC do! That resulted in arguments amongst you about iPads vs desktop computers! The focus seems a little lost!!
I truly believe that each and every one of the leaders within the church care for and pray for their fellow members and truly seek the best for them. My life now would not be the way it is had it not began in SMC. I have found a depth of faith and confidence within God because of the foundation of Christ that was taught. It may seem as though I am committing "outer sins" (surely all sin is the same) as I wear makeup, drink alcohol etc, but I know if I was to die today I'd be with Jesus.
If you are someone considering SMC as your home church, I'd say go for it - they are lovely people and you will find God within their fellowship. Stay true to who you are, though. This I will caution you; do not accept that what is said from the leaders is the exact word from God all the time. There will be instances where God speaks through them (as should happen with all leadership teams) but find God for yourself and depend on Him and find His counsel for yourself! God will talk to you too!
To those who have been wronged by the people within this movement, it's in your past. You all say you have moved on and are happy in God and in yourselves. Forgive them and learn from their mistakes. One thing that I have learned is that while none of us are not perfect, we need to be incredibly careful not to judge anyone, including those who have wronged us. They will answer for mistakes that they have made, as will we. I am still good friends with some of the members of SMC and will not hold a grudge. Should my children choose to attend I would support them in that. I need to trust God. He will take care of everything, including those lost and hurting within this church, and indeed every church. None is perfect. God is moving within SMC and will look after His own.
Take care not to be like those that you dislike so much. I speak to myself also.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 13, 2013 09:27PM

Found this citation. Am not sure if it has already been discussed here, but it raises some interesting questions about the school, cake shop, hiring practices.



Struthers Memorial Church and the claim of one desire

The last sermon Struthers Memorial Church made available online was preached on March 12 2011 by the present leader of the group of churches. This article looks at the middle section of that sermon - in particular the claims in relation to the motivation of the Struthers leadership.

Many people, now being more fully aware of the claims of harm and problems caused by the leadership of this church, will be wondering what those leaders rationale and justification for their conduct is. In looking at what was said in this part of the sermon hopefully what they are thinking can be clarified.


and you say “but - how can we expect that? We are not perfect. We are not Daniels that they will not find fault in?” Christ stood beside us in our degradation. He stretched out His wings to cover us even at His cross when he saw us in our ungodliness and in our need. How much more when He sees people whose one desire is for the glory of Christ? Whose one desire is to see other lives saved, healed, baptised, delivered, brought in to the deeps of God. Does He not know our hearts? Does he not know the truth of what is at the heart of Struthers Memorial Church? Does he not know? Of course He does! There is not one of us that ministers from these platforms that don't do it out of sacrifice - of obedience to God to transmit something of the wonder of the truth of the glory of God and His salvation and of Jesus Christ. We do it for no personal gain. We do it for no hidden agenda

The claim of one desire is very important to notice and understand.

A great deal has now been written and said about the effects on people of what happens in Struthers Memorial Church. A great deal has been written speculating on why they do what they do. People have openly asked and wondered how they can justify some of the harsher treatment so many have now documented they received while in contact with SMC.

The claim quoted from the sermon above is very clear. Whatever people have said - or claimed has been painful and harmful to them - the assertion is that the leader of the Struthers churches believes God approves of what the leadership do; and have done; because He knows their motivation is absolutely pure and perfect.

But the claim has to stand under scrutiny. Do the claimed pure desires result in pure actions? So we reasonably test this.

How does the focus now on education, both of time and considerable money fit with this “one desire” to see people come to Christ? The school prospectus makes it very clear that the school is not a selling ground for The Struthers view of the world and there is no published claim that the object of the school is to see the children become members of Struthers Memorial Church. In fact there is no report that any children have joined the church as a result of attending the school. So is the claim of “one desire is to see other lives saved, healed, baptised, delivered, brought in to the deeps of God” by the leaders correct?

How does the allocation of salaried jobs reflect the “one desire” of the leaders? Or are the friends and families of the leaders somewhat over represented in the Struthers paid workforce? How does that not resemble personal gain – at least in the family context? This is not to suggest that that is the main reason anyone is involved but probity and following the law in these matters is very important. Particularly so if the leadership do not want to give the impression of using their positions of power in the church to feather their own nests by allocating jobs to their own friends and families. Of course it could be claimed that this “personal gain” is a fact but is:

Not the only motivation
Not important at all - although we are not sure Scots charity law would agree
Not really personal gain because although their own friends and family are benefiting - that is only because God has told them those are the people to promote. No thought of that persons personal link to them has arisen.

In case that sounds too ludicrous to people there has long been in Strurthers the need for the leadership to explain away the reason for odd and unpopular leadership appointments. In the past this was mainly when people were placed in unpaid leadership roles where the oddest, most insincere, excessively young, and very often totally unsuitable people were put in charge of parts of the Struthers work. When reasons for this favouritism were sought the reply would be:

1 demands not to criticise anything the leaders did as they only act on the express..., etc, etc.

2 the extraordinary claim that the leaders had not chosen these people for these jobs - but somehow, without any act of will on their part, they had been made aware God had chosen these particular peoiple because of their pure and holy motives.

3 how dare we suggest they have favourites

As we say this was often followed by a brief spurt of the person pushed forward into ministry in the limelight - as if they were the only person that mattered to the leaders or God at that point. Pains were taken to explain they were only in leadership because the main leaders had identified their commitment and their “one desire” to serve God.

This was often soon followed by a long embarrased silence once the overpromoted new “leader” had left the church and, in some cases, abandoned any pretence of following God.

Not like us plodders who sat watching the whole bizzare spectacle unfold from beginning to end. Sometimes some of us mentioned to the main leaders that we couldn’t see the specialness of this newly promoted leader. We could see that they had very little care or time for the least in the church; but would dance like a monkey in front of the main leaders. When we expressed such a view we were told to be more spiritual.

There is no need for us to concern ourselves too much with the motives and the “one desire” of those making these failed appointments. They possibly did have one desire. But that did not stop them getting things wrong again and again. If their desires to serve God were so pure it is a pity that they never seemed to feel God directing that selfless desire toward them picking for leadership people less like clones of themselves; or those less solidly in their close social circle.

Such appointments may have served the church better. In fact electing leaders by a vote of the mem ber ship would very possibly have worked better. Then everyone’s “one desire” could have come in to play. Not just the “one desires” of a controlling few. And the church would have been immeasurably stonger as the new leaders would have had a mandate from the whole church - rather that the need to continually use up platform time justifying and defending their roles and attacking those who questioned why they were there.

Another question is this - if the cake shops ceased to be a means of people coming to Christ - the one desire claimed by the leader here - would they be closed down and the resources and time expended there reallocated to purposes more successfully bringing people into a relationship with God? Since that is the one desire? Possibly reallocated to such things as providing leaders with pastoral training; or employing full time youth workers which have been very effective in other churches as a means of bringing people to Christ; and giving those who are in the church the time and help they each need as individuals - enabling them to become soul winners.

The language and claims of this section of the sermon are very flowery and delivered with a quavering voice in a passionate tone. That does not make the claims any more valid or true. They are true, SMC leader, if that is what you do – not just what you claim you do.

For more read here:


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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: March 13, 2013 10:11PM



Please do not attempt to diminish the posts of others on this message board.

You have the right to your view of SMC, but so does everyone else that posts here.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: March 14, 2013 08:55AM

Hi Ifellaway and growing123 and welcome to the forum (oops, and corboy – just seen your post too). It is really great that you felt able to contribute.

Ifell way, while my story is different, I do see many parallels and certainly relate to points you make. For example, “my belief system failed me”. Yup, I can definitely relate to that. One of the problems with Struthers is that you are forced to accept such a complete (yet contradictory) system that it is very difficult to have just one small bit fail. It is presented as all or nothing so, when you eventually realise bits are creaking the seams, the whole edifice just crumbles – at least that was my experience. And your comment “it is with a heavy heart (but no surprise) I read the comments here” is very much how I feel. I still think there are good people in Struthers, but they are trapped and unable to think for themselves, partly for the same reason as above – they know that thinking about just one aspect can bring the whole thing crumbling down.

growing 123, I am not sure it is nit-picking. The point is that there is no opportunity in SMC to debate these things. The leaders are divinely anointed and are always right, so you cannot even question whether it is a good idea to have iPads or not. As far as I know, this forum is the only place that there can be any sort of debate about any decision made by SMC. Small wonder then that people raise issues here. To me, that is not nit-picking, it is called scrutiny of decisions, and should be a part of any organisation.

After scrutiny, some decision may be proven to be good ones. I have no problem with that, and have said I actually like the idea of iPads in the school, so I don’t disagree with everything. Others disagree re the iPads, but that is OK, people (outside of Struthers) are allowed to have their own opinions. The point is not that we all have to agree, but that decisions should be open to scrutiny. That is the problem – it is not the decision that are made (although many have been shown by time to be disastrous) it is how the decisions are made – no discussion, no debate, no need to justify, just a decision apparently revealed by God.

Whether the decision is to buy iPads, to open a coffee shop, to refuse to talk to a member of the church, to ignore normal child protection practices or to tell someone whether they are meant to get married, there is no scrutiny of the decisions, and no appeal. God’s word (as revealed to the leaders of course) is final. The leaders should welcome scrutiny, not repress it!

The thing is, I think this avoidance of any scrutiny (must be my word of the day!) could actually get them into trouble. That is part of what happened with the financial disaster, and it also leaves then open to real questions of nepotism regarding appointments, procurement of iPads and other financial matters. Some of these things might be OK, but if they have no agreed process to check decisions and look at the risks involved, they leave themselves open to some very difficult questions.

I also think that, because it is so difficult to question any decision, it is very difficult for anyone to take your advice and, if part of Struthers, to "Stay true to who you are". My reading of this forum is that no-one here really found it possible to do that, and from what I see of those still in Struthers, there are very few members who have managed that particular trick.

One final thing I do want to question before I go. You talk about how contributors here should forgive and forget (if you’ll forgive my simplistic paraphrase). Do you think the leaders should do this as well? If for example a member of the church left but wrote to the leaders years later, should the leaders forgive whatever it was the person had done wrong in their eyes and respond to them? Should the leaders also be careful not to judge anyone?

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