Current Page: 148 of 150
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: GlasgowGirl ()
Date: May 10, 2019 04:09AM

You are right, Jock - we were at Glasgow at the same time and knew each other fairly well. When I started attending, it was in Partick Burgh Hall on Friday nights and somewhere in the centre of Glasgow on Sunday. I also remember Wednesday nights I think and then Saturday evenings at the Smiths in Burnside. Later on - Rotherwood Ave in Knightswood, as you say.I also went to EK for a short while .
You did let me borrow your mini at camp and I was baptised in the outdoor pool at Wiston when I was about 15 or 16. I also remember a very small child falling into the pool one time. His mum was pregnant and she was quite distressed until someone jumped in and pulled him out, apparently none the worse.
Your stories from Wiston made me laugh - thanks for that.
There were indeed some fun times and some great fellowship and worship - but probably always a miasma of unhealthy control hanging in the air that we weren't fully aware of.

Enkrateia - you must also have been in SMC at the same time and much of what you say resonates - particularly about enjoying being the "persecuted faithful" It often seemed that being estranged from family and friends who didn't attend SMC was considered to be a badge of honour and almost something to be aspired to as it showed your faithfulness to the "higher way" preached by SMC.

I do hope some folk have found comfort and hope via this forum, knowing they weren't alone in being hurt or confused and that God still loves and cherishes them.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: October 17, 2019 11:10PM

It is a while since anyone has commented on the financial state of affairs in Struthers Memorial Church, so I thought I would have a quick look at the latest accounts (which can of course be downloaded free of charge from the companies house website).

Some interesting observations including that shop turnover, school fee income and gifts and donations all dropped (by fairly small margins). As expenditure has increased, the overall loss is however significant (over £180,000).

The thing I still find amazing however is how much the school is subsidised by the generous giving of the congregations. A summary of all the income and expenditure is given below.


Income is taken from page 9 of the accounts, and Expenditure from page 15. The profit or loss for each area of activity is not mentioned in the accounts but is calculated in the usual way as Income less Expenditure. (For the eagle-eyed among you, the total of the expenditure column differs from the total recorded on the accounts by £2, presumably due to rounding errors.)



. . . . . . . . . . Income . . . . . Expenditure . . . . . Profit (or loss if negative)
Shops . . . . . . . . 353,220 . . . . . 419,493 . . . . . . . . . -66,273
Conference . . . . . 99,710 . . . . . 108,887 . . . . . . . . . -9,177
School Fees . . . . 577,001 . . . . . 737,552 . . . . . . . -160,551
Church * . . . . . . 349,203 . . . . . 315,877 . . . . . . . . . 33,326
Investments . . . . .16,283 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16,283

TOTAL . . . . . 1,395,417 . . . 1,581,809 . . . . .-186,392


*The entries for “Church” are made up of INCOME from offerings plus tax recovery, set against EXPENDITURE of ‘Churches and Other’ less the conference expenditure as it is already covered above).

This shows a total income from giving (including tax recovery) of £ 349,000.

The loss on the school is £ 160,000, which is 46% of this charitable giving so, for every pound you donate to the church, almost half of it goes straight to cover the loss that is being made by the school. Is that really why the charity exists? Not to help the poor, but to subsidise private education for the select few? How does that fit with the Biblical mandate to look after the poor - and is it really what people think they are supporting when they put money in the plate?

If the school was closed, that would be £ 160,000 per annum that could be used to relieve poverty and help those in real need.

Another interesting observation is that, in spite of the fact that the coffee shops are largely run by volunteers, they made a loss of £ 66,000. This of course means that around 20% of the money you put into the plate goes to subsidise well-off people sitting around drinking coffee and eating cakes.

Not to worry though, according to the accounts:

“In the year under review, director, Chris Jewell, received a salary approved by the Board of Directors of £30,489 for services as the central treasurer and manager of the Greenock bookshop.”

Chris of course has been central treasurer for many years but he never drew a salary just for being treasurer. It would be really unusual for him to do so, as he is on the board and there are few if any charities that pay a board member who is treasurer. It seems fairly clear then that the main justification for this salary is his role as manager of the Greenock bookshop.

So around 10% of the money you put in the plate goes to paying the salary of a manager presiding over bookshops that result in an annual loss of £66,000. But of course you are not allowed to question this, or to ask why he is paid when others volunteer their time. The message is that the leadership are perfect and cannot possibly make a mistake, and they deserve to be paid and others do not because they are not spiritual enough.

That may be how people want to spend their money, I have no problem with that, but I do think transparency is important and people should know this is their their money goes. If the Struthers’ leaders somehow think it is God’s will to use the donations of ordinary people to run a school that loses £ 160,000 and pay a manager £30,000 to run coffee shops that lose £ 66,000, then the least they can do is make sure everyone knows that is where the money is going. It is sad but perhaps unsurprising that people have to come to a site like this to read this information in a way that is accessible.

Does anyone know the purpose behind the school and the bookshops, and whether there is any evaluation against the purpose? There are all these wonderful (unfulfilled) prophesies about how the church will spread their unique form of Christianity based on the infallibility of the leadership, but I have never heard of a prophesy about the school or bookshops – does anyone know why these parts of the business are there and if there are any aims (prophetic or otherwise) that would allow us to judge their success?

One final comment, and that is calling this organisation a church is rapidly becoming inaccurate. Only about 20% of the expenditure is on “Churches and other” and the vast majority of this 20% is looking after buildings. To reflect the vast majority of the expenditure (80%), it would more accurately be called Struthers Memorial School and Shops (subsidised by giving from church meetings). Perhaps I will refer to it as SMSS in future :-)

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 14, 2019 06:12PM

Read an interesting article about kindness today. It was anonymous, so I cannot attribute it, but thought it was worth quoting.


Quote

It's been great to see all the posts today for #WorldKindnessDay. It got me thinking about what it means to be kind. I think there are a few myths out there about this concept, and I wanted to address them.


Myth #1: Kindness is weak.


Kindness is NOT weak. In fact, it takes courage to show kindness. It takes strength. It takes setting aside what's easy for what's valuable. Being kind requires strength of character.


Myth #2: Kindness is the same as being nice.


Kindness is NOT just being nice. Being nice is one aspect of kindness, but that's not the end of it. Kindness is about making decisions that result in healthy relationships. It's about giving your time, your attention, your caring heart, your extra efforts, your helping hand, your selfless actions to lift up others.



Myth #3: Kindness is a feeling.


Kindness is NOT just a feeling, it's a choice. It's a behavior. You're not going to like everyone you meet. You're probably not always going to feel like being kind to them. But you can choose to treat everyone you meet with all the care and concern of people you do like.


The more you practice being kind, the easier it is to demonstrate this behavior consistently. It becomes a habit. It becomes who you are, and you don't even hesitate to act in kind ways.


The article concludes with two quotes:

"You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you."


"You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." -Ralph Waldo Emerson


Given that Love is… kind (1 Corinthians 13 v 4), I would expect kindness to be one of the attributes visible in any church. When I read through the reports given in these pages, I do not however find much kindness being demonstrated by those in Struthers. What I see is about fifty people who are pretty unhappy that they have not been treated kindly - with no resultant action or apology from the leadership, just an arrogant proclamation that they are somehow so much better than others that they don't need to be kind.

Seriously, read over point 2 again - "Kindness is about making decisions that result in healthy relationships. It's about giving your time, your attention, your caring heart, your extra efforts, your helping hand, your selfless actions to lift up others."

If that is what "the world" aspires to, should the church not be even better - demonstrating this as a core part of their beliefs and practices?

Oh, and a final two-way test.

1) are the actions of the leaders kind - do you see this in practice in these pages and in how they treat you?

2) do the leaders make it clear that they expect you to be kind to them?

If the answer to (1) is yes, and the answer to (2) is no, you have a church that is living out the gospel.


On the other hand, if the answer to (1) is no and the answer to (2) is yes, you have a set of self-serving leaders that are very far from Christ.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 14, 2019 06:44PM

I seem to be on a roll today!

I have just watched the best video I have ever seen about spiritual abuse, see [www.youtube.com]

It seems to me this is a really, really interesting insight into how to recognise spititual abuse and the impact it can have. I would encourage all readers of this forum to view this, especially the leaders of SMC.

It is a gentle, caring (kind!) insight into this sensitive topic, which is why I genuinely think the SMC leaders would benefit from watching it. If they do, I do not think they will come away feeling angry or defensive, but they may just come away understanding why this is a real danger and something that have to think about.

Others may (or may not!) recognise aspects they have sen either in SMC or other settings. Either way, it does no harm to spend 15 minutes listening to this person, who was herself subjected to spiritual abuse, and who comes across as genuinely caring.

I would love to hear comments form anyone else who takes the time to watch the video.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: #thisisme ()
Date: January 30, 2020 06:29AM

I’ve been reading this forum for quite a few years. So many posts have resonated with me. I was part of the Struther’s congregation for a long time. I find it very difficult to talk about and put into words exactly what I went through. I have typed and deleted many a post on here. I was spiritually abused and have received counselling to help me through the after affects of what I experienced at Struthers. To be honest I’m unsure of what I should or want to share but I would happily answer any questions. Hope you are all well. I look forward to speaking with you all.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/30/2020 06:31AM by #thisisme.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: #thisisme ()
Date: March 06, 2020 08:11AM

Looking for an active forum to chat about struthers, coping with the after affects and moving on. Can anyone recommend one in the UK where I’ll get a reply? Thanks in advance.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: March 06, 2020 05:21PM

Hi thisisme, and welcome to the Forum.

Apologies for not responding earlier. I did see your message, but I have made the majority of the posts in recent months, and do not want people to think I am the only one here, or that I want to use the forum just to express my own thoughts.

I am always happy to respond both through the public forum and privately and, like you, I think there should be an ongoing discussion. Apologies to anyone if it seems like I want to have the last word, that is never my intention!


I think it it interesting that there are still people out there who are only now coming forward, and suspect there are even more that will never get to the point of posting in this forum. Seems to me that is fine, as some people are keen to talk, but there will also be those content to just listen and read of the experiences of others. I do think those who are active on the forum should engage with new contributors though.

To put this in a broader context, I think that one of the main results of this forum has been for people to realise they are not alone. As I read through all the comments, that is to me one of the main themes- the idea that "I thought it was just me, there was something wrong with me, then I read all the stories from other people". That is repeated many times in this forum and is a recurrent theme in people's story.


As an aside, the other main theme I see is how uncaring the leaders of Struthers are - how totally lacking in compassion. Oh sure, they will argue that they are driven by compassion, but we all know that is not true, as Jesus himself said, "by this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another".

So, according to Jesus, this love is something that can be seen by all. It is not a hidden motivation that is evident in a secret prayer-room, it is something that can be seen and recognised by all. The Struthers argument that they are driven by compassion is therefore clearly untrue in the light of scripture. No-one reading this forum would conclude that the leaders of Struthers are showing love to fellow Christians or to others who were once part of their organisation, so what is being seen by all is the callous disregard for the feelings of others.

Anyway, to return to my main point, I think that one key benefit of this forum has to be to let people see they are not alone, that it is not their fault, but that many, many others have had similar experiences and this has had depressing similar outcomes. In that sense, the forum has served a key purpose - to let people know they are not alone. As people do generally now know that, it may be that some contributors think the forum has served its purpose and there is less reason for them to continue to post.


I am not sure that is correct however. As you quite rightly point out, an important purpose of this forum is surely to give people the chance to interact with others in a similar position. It can be useful for people to talk about their experiences and have some direct feedback from others about the impact the Struthers lack of compassion can have on lives, and this forum seems to me to be a good place for that.

One of the main reasons I continue to engage with the forum is just that - I know how much this forum helped me by being somewhere I could talk and hear of the experiences of others. I do not know of any other forum where you might have discussions about SMC, so I hope that this forum can continue to serve that sort of purpose for you and others. I am more than happy to continue to contribute in the hope that people may feel the kind of support I felt when I first joined the forum, and I hope others will contribute too.

Anyway, enough of my thoughts. Tell me a bit more about your experience - were you in Struthers long?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: March 11, 2020 10:38PM

Thisisme,


Just a thought - did you get the chance to look at the video I posted above (on 14th November 2019?) As I said at the time, I think it is It is a gentle, caring (kind!) insight into this sensitive topic, which is why I genuinely think everyone, including the SMC leaders would benefit from watching it.

Would welcome your thoughts on the video, either on this forum or by Private Message.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: March 30, 2020 09:07AM

Hi everyone! I've been continuing to check this Forum for new postings and always read all of your contributions with great interest. I'd like to also welcome the new contributors: Jock, Enkrateia, and just recently, #thisisme. Sorry if I have missed anyone out. Thank you also, Petitor, for your informative posts. I did watch the YouTube video on spiritual abuse: it is excellent and very applicable to SMC.

Jock, I remember you very well too and did not know what had happened to you after you left SMC. You used to give a crowd of us lifts from Glasgow down to the Greenock Saturday night meeting, in your big green van! I echo the compliments which have already been paid to you by others on this Forum. I find it a bit disconcerting that you were told that Mary Black found you irritating. That is not a very good example for a leader, who is supposed to be preaching about living in holiness, to set to her followers. What about 1st Corinthians chapter 13 about Love? I think Amy Carmichael might have had a thing or two to say about the issue of finding someone irritating. Anyway, I'm glad you got out of SMC and have got on well.
I do remember Jim Robertson who led the East Kilbride church. I did not know that he had moved up from Greenock to live in EK in order to run the church. I always felt that he wasn't very well-treated or supported by the main leaders and you've alluded to this, Jock. Once, I heard Hugh Black publicly criticise him during one of the big meetings in Greenock and I felt for him.

Thanks for your statistics on the church accounts, Petitor. I had no idea what SMC's finances were like nowadays. The finances don't look in a very good way, with these losses which you've outlined. Most Struthers people whom I speak to don't have any idea about the state of the finances. They just speak in glowing terms about the community outreaches which they're now doing and how wonderful the huge choir is and all the children they now have. Perhaps the holding of community outreaches is a result of some of the recommendations made by OSCR, that if you're a charity, then you must benefit your community. Re the School and shops, yes I'd say they are run like a business but that wasn't the original vision for either of them. The School was originally set up to provide "education in an atmosphere of Christian love", according to Mary Black. This was written in the Memorial book about her: these are not my words. But now the School takes in many children who are not from Struthers or even from Christian homes. The coffee-shops were supposed to be evangelistic endeavours, i.e. For bringing people in to the church.

I'll post more next time. I hope we can offer you some support, #thisisme. Recovery from spiritual abuse is possible and you can definitely get help to move on with your life. Many of us on here have done so and we live in freedom. Do let us know how you are. You're not alone.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: March 31, 2020 10:30PM

Rensil,

Good to hear from you, and interesting to hear the reasons behind some of the SMC decisions. They are like most things in Struthers including wearing hats, drinking wine, going on holiday, the appointment of leaders and the purpose off the coffee shops. No-one ever talks about the purpose and the reasons for decisions openly, as they would then have to explain any change in position.

Interesting that you should mention the "big green van" as well. I know there was one that came from Falkirk most weeks, so not sure if that is the same one or a different one.

One thing that is fascinating is that quite a few people said the real reason they kept going to meetings was the fun and fellowship in the van, rather than the actual meetings. I only discovered this years later, but thought it was quite interesting, and it perhaps also quite relevant in the current turbulent times.

The reason I say this is that I think people need social contact but many people who go to Struthers have very little outside their own family. That is not so bad for those in one of the core families where they have a number of people they can mix with, but I do feel sorry for those who are isolated - the faithful ones who turn up to every meeting but do not really speak to anyone as they are considered as spiritually inferior.

I wonder if this might be a time for people in (and out of!) Struthers to do something about that - to reach out not to those they see as their spiritual equals (what an appalling idea!) but to those in more need than themselves. As it says in Luke 6:

Quote

32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

The outcome of this might be quite interesting.

So, what about it folks - what about reaching out to others to understand their needs and offer then support? You know, show a bit of compassion - the emotion most associated with Jesus in the four gospels.

If people in Struthers do learn to relate to each other and carry each other's burdens (Galatians 6v2) Struthers will never be the same, as the members will recognise the appalling harm that is done by their Spanish Inquisition approach (we are right to cause you pain, as the may lead to repentance).

Hope you are all staying safe in these challenging times.

Options: ReplyQuote
Current Page: 148 of 150


Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.