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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: May 12, 2013 09:33AM

Hi folks

Just to be clear. Yes, I'm a woman (as you already know) and no, I don't just TALK about problems - I have already taken action and in some small part, as a result of my contribution something positive is now happening. Secondly, there is absolutely NO anonymity in my name here or in my posts on this site. I have already made it abundantly clear to everyone who needs to know, exactly who I am and there is not one single leader in SMC who won't be aware of who I am. Granted, one or two of them might not know me personally and the rest may have conveniently forgotten who I was till I started posting here - but they can be in absolutely NO DOUBT as to who I am now!!

Unlike that silly book you are talking about, I don't pigeon-hole people because of their sex. Everyone is different (regardless of sex) and I am certainly not just a talker. If actions are needed I'll be the first one in line to take them (as I have already done) and I find your sexist comments, Clive, rather typical of some men who still think that women should be tied to the kitchen sink. I remember the Shere Hite reports which were a far more in-depth and a much better documented look at the differences between the sexes than the little hashed-up book you are referring to. Just because someone writes a book that lumps everyone of one sex under one umbrella - or planet- and everyone of the other sex under another doesn't make it true for every human being living on this planet (or the other two for that matter). In actual fact, I'm the complete opposite of everything written about women in that silly wee book - so maybe I'm actually a man in disguise and no one has yet enlightened me to that fact. :-)

The fact is that now we are beginning to get somewhere and OSCR are already involved and investigating the problems brought to light on this forum and that's what the forum was for to begin with - not just to TALK but to get ACTION and we ARE getting action because we've been TALKING!!

I also don't understand why you would think that going on FaceACHE would be better than here? Why? There have been 113,408 views of this thread before I made this post - that's pretty public don't you think? What would be the point of starting a FaceACHE group? We're here to try and help other people to make an INFORMED decision before joining a destructive church. Do you think that could be better done on FaceACHE when this site has been specifically set up to expose destructive churches? Also, as far as I'm aware Rick Ross is not profiting from this site which is more than I can say for the owners of FaceACHE.

Oh, and just so you know, I am still in contact with one or two people in SMC but even they lie to me - just recently I asked one why they didn't do something that they were supposed to have done last year and I was told that 'it just wasn't the right time for them'. I later discovered that they had been expressly forbidden by the leaders of SMC to do that thing which is suddenly OK for them to do this year because the leaders have changed their minds about how unholy the act was last year. I can't say more than that because I don't want this person to get in trouble over talking to me in the first place but just so you know, things are just the same in SMC as they were when I attended - ergo, what the leaders say is God's will and you obey or be doomed to eternal damnation with no hope for your soul - but stay alert guys because tomorrow they'll have changed their minds about what it was God actually wanted.

Just my 'tuppenth'.

Biiiiiig love and huge huggggggs to all
God Bless xxx



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2013 09:37AM by cbarb.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: May 12, 2013 03:34PM

I would like to go back a few pages to say, Ifellaway, when Archbishop Laud said “seriously?” I think he or she meant, “Do you seriously want me to believe that is abuse” rather than “do you seriously want me to believe that happens”. So I don’t actually think he or she was calling you a liar. That seems consistent with Archbishop Laud’s overall message, which is that these things do happen, but they are “tough love” rather than abuse.

I think that stance would have been generally accepted 50 years ago when Mr Black was in his heyday, but it would not be accepted by most people now. Some people like Archbishop Laud may believe that is all nonsense and we should simply accept these things happen. Archbishop Laud, you are entitled to your opinion, but you have to accept it is just your opinion and that others - including the courts - may disagree with you.

I actually also think that, in spite of the hardness of your words, you are just as human as the rest of us – to quote; “since my views cannot be changed nor expressed otherwise, I feel that I must withdraw from this forum.” Hmmm – so getting people to kneel in prayer for an hour is OK, manhandling them out of the church is OK, but someone being offended by one of your statements is not OK and it requires the draconian action of withdrawing form the forum? What happened to the "grow up" and "get over it" approach here? Up to you, but I find that hard to reconcile.

Archbishop Laud, you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to make up your own definition of words. I would suggest that the meaning of abuse is generally accepted to be in line with the definition provided by CovLass. I have read through all of your posts again, and the only criteria you use to help us define abuse is that is it something that does not and cannot happen in Struthers. Is there any dictionary or other authority that explains the word abuse in a way that would allow your interpretation?

Similarly, with the word cult, you seem to have made up your own definition, which is that a cult is an organisation that is not basically theologically orthodox.

You may believe SMC is theologically orthodox, that is your right. Personally, I don’t – the fact that they believe the leaders to be infallible and “only move at the direction of the spirit of God” is, to me, totally unorthodox; and the way that belief is central to all of their activities makes it of sufficient importance to conclude they are way off-beam theologically. In my view, this then feeds through to the ‘operational’ level and leads to the kind of lying and misdirection that cbarb refers to in the post above. But, whether they are orthodox or not is something we can debate and disagree about, no problem there. People have different opinions, and that is OK.

Whether they are a cult is also something we might discuss. I don’t think they are, but for very different reasons form you. Again, that is all debatable however – open to differing opinions and conclusions.

But, Archbishop Laud, if you think the definition of a cult is an organisation that is not basically theologically orthodox, then you are in a minority of one and are re-writing the dictionary. That is a discussion you need to have with the authors of dictionaries, not with contributors to this forum. You cannot simply make up your own definitions of words.

I do think all of that is a distraction however. The question is not so much about what constitutes abuse, it is more about what mechanisms SMC has in place to ensure that the risk of any abuse happening is minimised. And, as ChesterK55 points out, the real question is not really whether you or I think it is abuse, or even if the courts think it is, the question is whether the leaders of SMC think it is.

They have to decide whether these things did or did not happen and, if they did, then whether:

1) these actions are perfectly acceptable OR
2) these actions are not acceptable, or at least may not be and require investigation.


If they opt for (1) they have to explain how this applies to each of their activities – the church part, the school “Fidra activities” (whatever these activities are - they are in the accounts but how they contribute to the aims of the charity are never explained) and the bookshops.

They can have their own view and can disagree with OSCR or the courts if they feel strongly enough, that is their prerogative, but they have to realise there may be consequences such as losing their charitable status or the right of individuals to be company directors. If they want to make a stand against 'the wrong approach the world is taking' (in their view) then go for it- as Diana advocates, refuse to talk to these terrible persecutors, and, if following Archbishop Laud’s line, remove the child protection arrangements form the school as they are unbiblical and do not show sufficient ‘tough love’. That is an option.

If they opt for (2) they have to investigate the incidents, and explain what actions they will take if the grievances are upheld. They are then signing up to the idea that they are not infallible and are actually accountable as a charity and a limited company. That means they can no longer take the head in the sand approach they have taken to date. That will open the floodgates to many more complaints than are listed here!

Whichever is true, they have to put mechanisms in place to deal with inappropriate behaviour, whatever they decide is meant by that.

The sad thing is, if the people on this forum had been listened to and treated with respect when they first raised issues, I reckon 90% of them - perhaps 100% -, would have helped them set up check and balances, and would have as a result contributed to making the organisation more robust and effective. But the leaders have chosen to ignore the advice in Matthew 5v 25 & 26 and are now about to reap the consequences.

That is the real issue, not what is our opinion, but what is the SMC position on behaviour/ belief/ abuse or any other matter, and how do they apply it across the organisation? It basically has to be either (1) or (2) above, and both have very significant consequences. I wait with baited breath.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: May 12, 2013 11:46PM

I've so enjoyed all the recent posts and have laughed as well, not at any of you, but with you.

In answer to Clive,

I totally agree with recent posters that setting up a Facebook page or Group would be a pointless venture. Firstly because when someone leaves SMC, most or all of the folk in SMC who were their Facebook Friends will promptly delete the person who left, from their Friends list. Secondly, SMC folk who are on Facebook rarely mention the church or what's going on there. Maybe they are afraid to or maybe even ashamed that they're part of the church and want to keep that secret from their online friendship circle. Leaders would use it to spy on us but I don't think they would contribute, answer our questions or attempt to deal with people's hurts. This Forum is the right place for us to post, share, expose lies and support one another. The leaders have chosen not to reply or contribute. They wouldn't if we had a Facebook page either.

We can stay anonymous on here if we like, in accordance with the terms of the Rick Ross Forum, for any reasons we may have for wanting anonymity.

Yes, many of us do still have contact with folk in SMC. Yes, we do know what is going on in the church. Some people have family still in, which is very painful for them to cope with. There ARE folk leaving SMC. Not everyone who has left, either in the past or more recently, posts on here but they still have a valid testimony. And I have heard many of them. And many are doing well now, after getting free from the bondage of having been part of an abusive church.

Yes, SMC can say that these bad things happened in the past but don't happen any more, but that would be untrue. They are still happening. People who were banned are still banned. They still aren't allowed to enter a SMC church or go to a Summer Camp (which is held in a venue open to the public) right up to today in May 2013! I could take you to their houses and ask them if this is the case. Of course, I don't have freedom to do that. But it's true! Also, relationships are still being interfered with, there is secrecy about finances, 3 or 4 female leaders control everything and say they hear from God. No, Clive, things haven't changed. What went on once is unfortunately still going on.

But we're going on too!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Ifellaway ()
Date: May 14, 2013 01:18AM

ThePetitor, Archbishop Laud knew exactly what they meant and intended. It wasn't a question, it was a spiteful, spuriously aimed exclamation, designed to belittle or offend me in particular. They failed though. It is not for the giver to offend, it is whether the receiver wishes to be offended.
I couldn't sit quiet while he rubbished claims here, but I tried to be polite and even offered excusable clarifications. The answer was to target insults, then run away in a huff. (I think he digitally castrated me too!! maybe I should be offended. haha..)
Anyway, I found it rather strange that they emerged just after we noted how well this discussion goes. I did say that I attributed this to my own paranoia...I did not accuse. In fact I made light of the fact.
But me main concern is that there are the watchers, some may be on the verge of sharing and THAT brand of blanket denial and comments like "grow up" would surely anyone off.
No, Archbishop Laud, I don't think you are a mole. Humour don't always translate. But I am a man and do apologize for offending you. (i'm assuming that your retreat was for selfish reasons....not those that you gave. Because if you seriously were bothered about offending people, you would not attempt to discredit claims made here.)
But the value in this forum is that differences of opinion are allowed/welcome. They refresh the issues. :)
Trick is to not make anyone feel undervalued, which is at the forefront of my ethos in here. I think you need this forum AL, but perhaps can't admit it yet. I wish you well.
Some new posts here that seem to have more than adequate responses. I must have clicked a button in error because I no longer get updates. I'll fix it after dinner.
One thing I had to put out there. I maybe caused some bad feeling with the archbishop, but my foremost concern is that there are children reading this too. They may be put off sharing by deniers (or is that a type of tights??), anyway, if they need to share, they set up a fake and come on here, I would hope! But it would be a no-no if this was an environment where they would be called into question.
What if you were a pupil at Cedars, on the cusp of understanding that God's word is more true than any human "interpretretation"? This is exactly the knid of place I'd find. Can we please be aware that there may be minors watching and they may even get in on the conversation, if conditions suit...
Anyway...facebook group? I vote no. Here is better and moderated....and there is space to write! Besides, I already have too many facespace, mybook and twatter accounts.
Keep safe and happy all. Regards always, Ifellaway

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: lintar123 ()
Date: May 14, 2013 05:24AM

Hello all, I may go quiet, but I never go away and I have again, enjoyed the postings. Not so much "enjoyed", but felt a great feeling of "relief" that some outside entity OSCR is taking note and maybe realising that things are not right within the place of SMC. MY posts still stand and are absolutely true, Archbishop Laud and Clive. I am still trying to rid myself of the "shackles" of SMC . In my view... a cult. How else could one define such an organisation? I have witnessed the many hours "on knees praying" of a very close other who still suffers the torments, and indeed I did it myself as we were instructed to do . These things happened. Maybe I am not so eloquent nor erudite in my expressions / descriptions. The memories , however, are ingrained. Our "wedding pictures" and our "guest list" tell the story entirely. Go on then, Clive, and tell me (woman) that I was free to choose who came to my wedding, or how it was to be on the day. We had no choice of who conducted our wedding service (or even were they qualified to do so? Are we even married?) I tell you, our wedding was orchestrated by "those anointed" because they had brain washed my husband and me! Please don't tell me I was just naïve and daft.... I was doing everything according to the "will of God" .....so they said and said again. I was taken to Miss Taylor to be given the "once over". I kid you not ! I even remember what I was wearing. Right down to the guests...the music...the bridal party, I had to have it all "checked" by our esteemed leaders at the time and still she ruins weddings. Thank God , my husband and I later fell in love and have remained together to tell the tale. By the way, my memory ,then , is of a youngish Alison Speirs appearing with her female companion from Millport. She had a meteoric rise . I also would stand in any court and undergo lie detector tests if need be to tell what they did to me and to my dear husband. Quiet, as I am, I will stand my ground to the end. I have no desire to tweet, or to twitter or to do what ever was NEVER ALLOWED then. I simply want the truth to come out and I am sure it will.Best wishes to all who continue to post.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: May 14, 2013 08:44PM

Hi Folks

I occurred to me just yesterday that we need to have a real concern for all the regular attenders of Struthers church right now. It's pretty clear that the muck may well be hitting the fan right now in Struthers and it's quite possible that along with a general contempt for anyone posting on this forum, that regular members are being blamed, at least in part, for what is happening. I can imagine leaders saying that if the congregation had prayed more, had more faith, had not spoken against God's anointed leaders, had been less selfish etc. etc. etc. then this would not have happened.

In light of this I would like to suggest that those posters, who are Christian, pray for the regular members of Struthers, particularly during the next few weeks and months. Even if you are not a Christian, please keep them in your thoughts and wish them well. It may be tempting to think they should wise up and just get out, but as we all know it's not that easy.

Some may have all the knowledge and be happy to stay. I don't have a problem with that at all. Others may want out but are too afraid of disappointing God, losing contact with good friends or family members, or have been convinced that a Christian life outside of Struthers is not worth living. If people have been treated in an abusive manner and they still continue within the organisation, they are just as much a victim; if not more so, than those of us who have been treated abusively and have left.

To the people in Struthers who are reading this. My heart genuinely goes out to you. I sincerely hope I have not offended any regular church member in bringing out the truth of my experiences. If I have, then please accept my apology. It was never my intention to do this, only to make people aware of what goes on at Struthers in order to prevent further hurt.

During my time at Struthers I spent some time with a few of you. I know that you love God with all of your hearts and want desperately to please him. The good news for you is that you do. God does love you and he is pleased with you. Now I am aware that you may have been told that I am demon possessed and the worst kind of sinner. You have no doubt been told that I am a lesbian and I left because I refused to bow to God and I wanted to follow my sinful ways. You may well believe this to be true. The fact is, I am not, nor have I ever been a lesbian and the reason I left the church is because in order to continue I would have had to lie about who I was. I am not saying for one minute that I have never done anything wrong, but lesbianism was never a part of that. Besides, my past sin is my past and once confessed to God, is forgiven and cleansed according to 1 John 1v9. I also wanted to be a part of a church family, with a pastor who loved and cared for me. Yes, this does involve correction where appropriate, but not one that wanted me to lie about who and what I was, in order to fit in with their impression of what they thought I was.

So, like I say, please don’t just take my word for what I am saying. Go to the bible for yourselves. Go to God for yourselves in prayer. The bible teaches that there is but ONE mediator between God and man and his name is Jesus Christ. (1 Timothy 2:5.) In other words you can go to God for yourselves and get direction. You do not need to go to God via your leader. They are not Christ, They are not perfect. Check out the accounts of King Saul, who was God’s anointed yet offered the sacrifice that only the prophet was allowed to and then lied to the prophet Samuel about it. What about King David and Bathsheba? Moses who struck the rock twice when God said only do it once. These were all anointed men who messed up. And there were consequences and in the case of David and Moses, repentance.

Anointed leaders DO get it wrong. They are not infallible, even when leading God’s people. Do your leaders claim to be greater than King David or Moses? What about the Apostle Peter? He got it completely wrong, when one minute he was eating with the uncircumcised Gentiles, yet when some certain Jews were visiting, refused to eat with the same people, because they were uncircumcised.
Peter, to whom Christ said, would be a prominent character in the building of the church, got it wrong and had to be corrected. (Galatians 2:11-21)

The fact is no one is perfect and God now that. I ask you to read these scriptures for yourself. Also read 1 John chapter 1-5 with an open heart. You are loved and there is a way forward of you are feeling trapped. There are many excellent churches out there that would welcome you, help you and allow the gifts that God has placed within you, to be developed and come to fruition.

My prayers are with you all at this tough time and if I can be of any help, please feel free to inbox me. I can’t speak for anyo9ne else but I’m pretty sure that the regular posters here would also be willing to help in any way they can.

Love and God bless

CovLass

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Ifellaway ()
Date: May 14, 2013 11:45PM

Hi Lintar123. Pleased to make your aquaintance. Thanks for the reassurance I didn't imagine the kneeling. I mean, can you just imagine the reactions/discerning looks if we had chosen to "take five" to refresh the blood flow??? I was way too eager to be seen as committed. That's the struthers way.. Still I find your story of recovery (and falling in love despite the interference) is a heartwarming tale of hope and will encourage so many, I think. Good on you!
CovLass, as always, you show such compassion, it's inspirational. Everything you say is so succinct and encompassing.
Leaving no stone unturned and revisting points from new angles. Making sense totally.
I learn from here and all contributors. I also gain strength from you all. Many thanks.
Faithfully, Ifellaway

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: E.Ray ()
Date: May 15, 2013 04:52AM

Hi...I'm jumping in at this point to say that I can back up CovLass's account of the young girl being dragged out of the meeting because I also witnessed it happen. I also saw it happen to at least one other girl at the children's meetings on friday night. DR is very "anti-young people"- frequently preaching against us. One very memeorable sunday night was a huge lecture on our apparent use of social networking which was evil etc. Now around 6 years later DR herself has a facebook page, as do most of the members of the cumbernauld branch. I must however disagree with something someone said about how everyone deletes you on facebook after you leave - i have several friends from the cumbernauld/greenock branches most of whom actually added me after i left... not a very important point but I felt the need to state that it does not happen to everyone.

also, don't quote me on this, but I remember vaguely that people in charge of the sunday schools have to fill out a disclosure scotland form in order to prove they were legally allowed to work with children. I'm not 100% sure my memory is correct but I know you need to pay to get these background checks done and I do remember people asking if the church would pay for it or if they had to do it themselves.

And CovLass, i'm so sorry about the treatment you received at cumbernauld. I don't remember your face but I do remember you being there - and unfortunately I remember some of the things that were said after you left - though I don't think the lesbian accusation came up.

I am one of the lucky ones who managed to leave without too much drama and I'm still in contact with my friends who still attend. There are some genuinely lovely people that attend the cumbernauld branch - I don't want everyone reading this forum to think there all awful. There is howevere a lot of favouritism and backdoor politics going on.

My opinion of DR: Oh I really really hope she is reading this. The woman is the furthest thing from a christian I have ever had the misfortune to meet and to have her in such a position of power is a complete joke. She publicly humiliates people (one youth meeting consisted of listing all the young people who were not in attendance and going down the list one by one telling everyone who was there what the absentee's biggest faults were), she lies (telling people they can do one thing, then later on denying she said it and saying they couldn't do it because of a particular "sin" - wearing make-up), she breaks confidences (frequently uses examples of people she has delivered, the infamous wednesday night meetings at camp, also see point one) , she uses emotional blackmail ("if so-and-so doesn't admit to this, I'll tell everyone from the platform"), she mocks the mentally ill ("they're all just very self-centred"), she turns people against each other, breaking up families and friendships which take years to heal if they do at all which some of you have obvious personal experience of. I just can't understand why she is being allowed to lead a church, she's doing so much damage, far more damage than good. The church has a terrible reputation which I didn't find out until after I left. I think it's time she stepped down and let one of the genuine christians take over, but obviously that's never going to happen.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: May 15, 2013 07:51PM

Hi E.Ray,

it’s good to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your story here and thanks for confirming what I saw regarding the young girl. I know others saw it and I know it must have bothered some people watching it. I’m just sorry I didn’t have the guts to speak up there and then and ask her what on earth she thought she was doing treating a child in that way.

Regarding the Disclosure Scotland, we have the same thing in England but it’s called a CRB check (Criminal Records Bureau) I think in England it may be free if you are going to be working for a charity organisation and you would not be getting any benefit from it, either in the form of payment or it is a voluntary work placement used as part of a college course/DofE Award etc. The Disclosure Scotland thing is good in that it picks up anyone who has been convicted of any criminal offence, or even investigated for something related to child safety. The problem is, you could have a youth worker who treats children in an appalling manner, but has never been charged, convicted or officially investigated. In their case, a Disclosure Scotland/CRB would say they are fit to work with children, when they clearly are not. So while I am all for Disclosure Scotland/CRB checks, they should never be taken alone as concrete proof that the person should be allowed to have any influence over a child or young person.

If there was a charge to church members I do hope this tab was picked up by the church. However they may not have had the finance for this if they have been supporting Cedars school as much as it appears that they have.

I’d also like to thank you for your support over what happened to me. I didn’t know you then. I didn’t really get to know many people but you are right, there are some really lovely genuine people at Struthers, hence my previous post. You definitely sound like one of the ones who cared and your comments do mean a lot. It’s comforting to know that not everyone believed the lies that I know were spouted about me after I left. Thank you!

I’m also glad that you got out without too much fuss and that you have not lost contact with many of your friends. I really do hope it has not put you off wanting a relationship with God. I can fully understand people, especially young people, leaving that place and never wanting to set foot in another church again. You have sadly seen the worst side of Christianity in power hungry, uncaring megalomaniacs. Thankfully you have seen the good side of Christianity too and I sincerely hope that the good outweighs the bad. Perhaps, instead of Diana telling everyone in the church that they should be more like her, she should take a leaf out of their book.

As a Christian youth leader, it breaks my heart to hear of how you and other young people are treated and many are put off God because of this. It is an appalling way to treat anyone, let alone a young person who is still developing, learning and growing. I hope that this sphere of influence over these amazing young lives will soon end.

Finally I think your summary of Diana Rutherford is 100% correct. I agree in that I think she should step down. However, as you say, I can’t ever see her voluntarily doing this.

Thanks again for your comments E Ray. It was good to hear from you and I pray that you are doing well in life.

God bless

CovLass

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: May 15, 2013 10:21PM

Welcome to the Forum, E.Ray, and I am so pleased that you have got yourself out of SMC and seem to be doing OK. Thanks for your contribution. Having friends delete you or cut contact can also happen as time goes on. Leaders won't be very pleased about you posting here so openly, for example. However, don't let anything stop you now. You're free to live life!

Just to clarify re the Disclosure Scotland scheme. It is now called "Protection of Vulnerable Groups" scheme under the PVG (Scotland) Act 2007, and it operates in much the same way as the previous Disclosure scheme did. I can say that everyone who works with children in SMC has been checked under this Scheme and they do adhere to this. I was put through the Disclosure check when I was in SMC. We never had to pay for this. The Church must have paid/be paying for this for everyone concerned.

However, as Covlass points out, being Disclosure/PVG checked for previous criminal convictions involving children or other, would not necessarily stop an SMC member or leader, or anyone, from dealing roughly and harshly with a child or teenager.

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