Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 15, 2013 08:19AM

Chesterk55, you mention clapping. I do not recall any clapping in meetings apart from in children's meetings. The children's part of the Saturday night meeting, where you mention kids' choruses with clapping, couldn't have lasted long because I don't remember them doing that after a time. In SMC meetings, there isn't to my knowledge any clapping during the singing. Maybe that changed after I left. I very occasionally heard communal applause for someone or for a musical performance, but it wasn't encouraged and the leaders didn't clap. Hugh Black didn't like it and didn't allow it.
SMC mock and look down on other pentecostal churches where there is plenty of clapping during singing, and call their worship worldly. Clapping indicates joy and freedom, and we can't have that, can we?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Wistongirl ()
Date: June 15, 2013 11:04PM

Hi lintar 123 - I've been thinking about your posting all day ... I go nordic walking with my dog and it's a good time for thinking ;-) and I bounce my ideas off the dog ;-) He's a great listener! Anyway, (and perhaps you have already done what I am going to suggest so forgive me if it's old news) have you ever thought of re-doing your vows with your husband with someone you trust as pastor and people around you that you love - in nice surroundings with a nice natural bouquet of flowers (!) in order to gain some measure of closure on what happened at your actual marriage? 27 years is a long time to be married - well done - and with your 30th wedding anniversary just round the corner - just an idea. On the marriage being legal I would imagine it is as I know that for a long time weddings took place in Greenock for the simple reason that Hugh Black was the only minister with a wedding licence, then I believe Mary Black applied for one and weddings with the Glasgow folks took place up there sometimes - depends on who married you. I trust you've both found happiness over the years since you left and wish you well. I can imagine it was difficult to laugh with your colleagues as not really very funny.

Chesterk55: just to go back to the Psycho-therapy part - in fact I didn't have this treatment until approx. 10 years after leaving Struthers. I honestly don't think I would have been open & ready for it beforehand. It was after the birth of my 2nd child that I seemed to "fall apart" and just wasn't myself anymore - I guess a mixture of Post Natal blues & everything about my past coming back as well. I found a great, experienced psychologist - 2 feet on the ground - who really helped me get things in perspective. In fact sometimes I wondered why I was paying her as it was me that was finding the solutions & reasons. She was very skilled at leading me to find the answers and I realised (just as I was walking today in fact) that she was discretly teaching me accountability & responsibility for myself - no longer to blame things on the past but to take the responsibility to change the future and be a responsible adult for my family. When I was in SMC it was easy - you went and got advice from xyz and then got on with it - a bit lazy really (not everyone was like this I hasten to add, but was my situation entirely). It was tough for me at first to be face-to-face with myself and what I wanted but I soon got the hang of it and it really helped me - it was for a period of about 18 months-2 years.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 17, 2013 08:22PM

Just catching up with posts and love some of the comments. Leaders discerning sin left right and centre but not noticing half bottles of whisky in the meetings – wonderful!

There have been other related examples, with leaders apparently not being aware of members involved in relationships or even of a girl getting pregnant. Yet they “discern” things that are not true – that someone is a lesbian or “seeds of bitterness” in this forum. Seems to me the only thing they are really interested in discerning is a lack of obedience to their infallible instructions.

So many good moments in there as well though – welcome Wistongirl, and thanks for jogging our memories. The camps at Wiston with the pool and the zipwire, the conferences at Greenock – anyone remember sleeping in the church halls?- the testimonies of the Trannent guys (although, for info, there was also at least one girl) and others from Pudsey and elsewhere. Good times and many, many honest, genuine, caring people.

One thing I want to follow up on, as I think it is quite important Wistongirl - you say that the blog will not make one whit of different to SMC as they will see it as an attack of the devil. I am totally with you there – that is exactly how they will react. I am not sure that is the whole story however. It they were totally isolated, they might get away with that, but they are not totally isolated. (As Mr B used to say, 'no man is an island.') For a start, we have the OSCR review. The leaders might see this forum (acknowledge by many to be helpful, caring, an answer to prayer and also even considerate and forgiving of the leaders) as an attack of the devil, but I am not sure that will be sufficient answer for the regulators.

I can just imagine that conversation:

“Now we have some complaints here about how you treat people. What have you to say?”

“Ah, I can answer that, no problem. You see, it was an attack of the devil.”

“I see; and what about the financial side – is it true you moved restricted funds into the general fund contrary to the regulations?”

“That’s another one we can explain – God told us to do it.”

“I am beginning to see a pattern here. What about the fact that a lot of the employees at the school are related to each other?”

“Well, silly, they were the ones that were called to these task and anointed.”

“Right, that’s good – carry on being a Charity and treating people however you like. Glad you had an explanation for all of these silly accusations.”

I don’t think so! These things put them in a difficult position however, as they have to tell OSCR one thing (we care and we will change what we do) and the congregation something totally different (it is an attack of the devil and we are not going to change anything because we are infallible).

I think there will be other examples of interacting with the outside world as well. OSCR is not the only organisation they interact with, in spite of their best efforts to remain isolated (which, in my view, is so that no-one is in a position to compare their practice with any other practice).

For example, ChesterK55 mentioned that one of the 6 current Directors of Struthers (clearly CJ – there is lots of info online) is involved in the Inverclyde Interchurches initiative.

Again, they can follow their own weird justifications internally, but what happens when there is a bit of external scrutiny, whether from OSCR or just from fellow-Christians in the Interchurch fellowship?

How can CJ justify the actions of the organisation he is a Director of – does he perhaps disassociate himself with what is going on, or make excuses, saying, “don’t listen to any of that, it is all exaggeration, or perhaps out of date, and even if there are a few examples or things that went wrong, we are of course dealing with them.”


I quote below the text of a letter written to CJ less than a year ago. No reply has been received to this, so it seems that CJ also sees himself as unaccountable to any normal standard of Christian care for someone who had a difficult experience. Don’t take my word for it however - read the letter below and judge for yourselves. I can't think of any possible justification of not even replying to this.

Letter to CJ, Director of SMC, about a year ago
[Home address provided]

Dear ,

I wonder if you would be willing to meet up with me over coffee sometime.

We were fairly friendly when I was in Struthers, and I remember you attended my wedding a year or two after I left, so I can’t think of any reason that you wouldn’t be willing to meet now.

Of course, me not being able to think of a reason does not have a very good track record in terms of the actions of your colleagues in Struthers. Over 20 years later, and I still can’t think of a reason that my pastor refuses to speak to me or answer my letters - so I guess my ability to think of reasons is not a particularly good guide. I have to say I always thought that was my fault, but the recent flood of online testimonies has now made me question that interpretation. From the forty or so testimonies which I am sure you will have seen on the Rick Ross site, it seems I am not the only one who can’t work out any logical or scriptural reason for a number of actions taken by the leadership of Struthers.

I would welcome a chance to chat to you about my experience and see what insight you can offer. I am very happy to approach this with no agenda and no expectations, and also very happy for it to be off the record if that is your preference.

I would however like to meet. I have been greatly troubled by my experience over the years, and have always believed it would be helpful to talk it through with someone from Struthers that I knew well.

[Paragraph about availability which includes, “I am fairly busy with family and Church commitments.” ]

I look forward to your reply, preferably by email to [email address provided]

All the best,

[Name provided]

End of letter

So much for GG's comment in her sermon (around the same time, I think) that "if you have questions, you can come and we will try to answer them". From what I see, you will not even get an acknowledgement.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: June 18, 2013 02:39AM

Hi folks

Yes, we see the damage and the corruption which lies under the better memories and we don't forget those who are still finding it hard to deal with the influences of SMC on their lives.

I too regret my wedding, although I had only just left the church I still didn't want to disrespect my parents or God and, after much argument from my intended, I decided not to have a dance at my wedding. It's a decision I really regret since, once my folks left SMC I realised that there was nothing wrong with dancing and I danced at my siblings' weddings.

I also wanted to emphasise the point about regular deliverance sessions and casting out demons etc. Of all the things SMC leaders practice, this to my mind is one of the most dangerous and manipulative things they do.

When someone is truly 'possessed' there are very definite outward signs of abnormality and, I have never witnessed any of these signs in any of the people I knew when I was in SMC. Yet the leaders could 'discern' these things in perfectly normal and healthy Christians.

Also, when it comes to true exorcism of real demons the Bible has very clear and concise instructions on how they should be handled and the calling necessary before one can perform such actions. There is a huge amount of preparation and meditation which goes into performing exorcism. I don't remember any of this happening when Miss T or Mr B would suddenly descend on some poor unsuspecting soul and start yelling in tongues and shaking the person till their eyes rolled about in their sockets.

Wistongirl, I wouldn't worry about being the one the demons fled into at any of these farces because there were no demons fleeing about anyway. It took me a hundred million years to work that one out and boy did I sleep WELLLL after I realised it was a load of old hogwash and manipulation of the masses.

Sometimes it's hard to free your mind from a life-time of brainwashing but it can still be done - there are still times when I make a decision and realise I've based it on SMC teaching and not my own choices and I still have to give myself a good talking to now and then to come back to my senses.

I would love to see a response to the letter you posted, the Petitor, it doesn't seem like an unreasonable request for someone to make given the previous friendship. It's a bit unchristian to not even acknowledge the letter even if the meeting were out of the question, for whatever reason.

This so-called anointing that the privileged few have seems to me to be the last kind of gift anyone would desire since it seems to wipe out all need for conscience, caring, love, grace, forgiveness, humility and any other trait which the rest of us consider are admirable and desirable Christian traits.

Once you see the hypocrisy and manipulation for what it is though, it's amazing how FREE and un-encumbered you actually feel.

As always biiiiiiiiig love and huge hugggggggggs to all.
God Bless xxxxxxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: June 18, 2013 04:42PM


I would love to see a response to the letter you posted, the Petitor, it doesn't seem like an unreasonable request for someone to make given the previous friendship. It's a bit unchristian to not even acknowledge the letter even if the meeting were out of the question, for whatever reason.

This so-called anointing that the privileged few have seems to me to be the last kind of gift anyone would desire since it seems to wipe out all need for conscience, caring, love, grace, forgiveness, humility and any other trait which the rest of us consider are admirable and desirable Christian traits.
That's very much the point, isn't it. This wonderful 'anointing' is not building the kingdom of God in individuals, as a church or in society. It creates selfish individuals who do not attract people to Christ and offer no social benefit to the world. Their whole philosophy appears to be that if one sheep out of a hundred wanders off it should be ignored so that they can concentrate on trapping the remaining 99.

It is not really surprising that CJ has not replied to the letter as he is a Director of the organisation, and his response (or lack of it) reflects the overall policy. The thing that annoys me is that they will not admit to having such a policy however.

I have spoken to a number of members of congregation over the years, and not one has actually believed the leaders do shun people in this way. All the ex-members I have spoken to have seen evidence that they do, but the current members are so insulated that they cannot see it. That is simply wrong - they have to tell current members what their policy is. Members of the interchurch fellowship might also be interested in this, and so might parents at the school. What if one of the teachers is suddenly targeted for shunning? Might that not affect the relationships in the school?

That is where the hypocrisy comes in - that they act one way, but manage to fool people into thinking that they are not really that sort of person. I am not claiming there is anything more sinister going on, but is that not the story of a huge number of acts of unfaithfulness, criminality or abuse - that those around said, "I can't believe they did that, they were such nice people."

.. but things that they have managed to hide are now coming out into the open. They now either have to:

1) talk to the people they have shunned, or

2) confirm that they have a policy of shunning people who do not conform to their peculiar and ever-changing standards

If it is number 2, I look forward to reading the policy, the standards that apply and the appeal mechanism!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Ifellaway ()
Date: June 18, 2013 07:20PM

Here's a good one ThePetitor. :) I wasn't going to publicly mention this act of kindness shown to me by a leader of smc. My mother's funeral was conducted by Effie Alexander. A lovely service, mainstream and everyone was grateful. Then because I fell away, I had no further contact, and never expected to.
But wait! about 2 or 3 years later (ironically around the time I was looking to get my son to a decent Sunday school), Effie Alexander turned up at my door unannounced. I figured it was a thoughtful and kind act, the sort of thing that comes under pastoral care, even if I was a stray sheep.
I received a warm hug and an invite to a Christmas Service, which I placed on the mantelpiece and had every intention of taking the family.
Then I am told that she was told to come to me by God. That I needed help.
This was true as the onset of mental illness had begun. Imagine my relief that God had chosen me, an apostate, to help!
But apparently I "really need to be on my knees before I can come to God". So God maybe forgot to mention that I had reached and breached that stage long before. I was already a fully-paid up panic sufferer so I really didn't find it helpful to have help offered with one hand but snatched away with the other.
I was as close as I will ever be to wanting to return to smc. But saying I wasn't low enough to be helped was the final straw.
OK, I've just outed myself. Don't give a scoobie now. That was a cruel act by someone completely ignorant of the realities. This all-or-nothing crap has done enough damage.
I also now view that visit as a sinister, calculated act. (His mum has been dead for a couple of years now, maybe he will be at his most vulnerable...) Vulture circling overhead?
Or am I being negative. Does anyone think this visit was God-driven or a cynical ploy? Either way, it is misguided and wrong. God didn't speak on my behalf, or she would have got the truth and actually tried to help. Not exactly fishing for men behaviour. It was the same old guff. Basically do it our way or the demons are coming.
Well guess what, the only demons around smc are within it, leading it. However they don't offer the same protection as good, honest Christian behaviour. Too much trying to listen to voice of God in your head, will result in delusions, simple fact. If you are controlled by voices then you are over the line and require assistance...professional, psychological help that is.
Anyway, my boy will never attend such a place. Nor will I.
And there will always be such places, led by such people. Thank-you smc-leadership for showing me the difference between scamming folk and aiding them...I am grateful albeit with a heavy sprinkling of disgust.
Sorry good fellows o' the forum, just felt it was time for that piece of the picture to be aired. Incidentally, I didn't attend the Christmas Service and have heard nothing since. Nor do I expect to now. I think I just ended that connection. Of course real Christians would engage without judging. This is a procedure consistently avoided by smc. or am judging, unfairly?
Hope everyone is well and good. Regards and happy days, Ifellaway

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Wistongirl ()
Date: June 19, 2013 01:00AM

Hi Ifellaway, My experience of Effie was always really good - a very kind, thoughtful person who, although deep into Stuthers, seemed to manage to stay herself. Her shortbread was "to die for"!! I find it difficult to imagine that she would do anything as a calculated act - not her style. I can't put myself in your place and difficult to imagine how the visit happened, visual & spoken etc. but perhaps in her way she did want to help you. Again I haven't had contact with her since leaving SMC 25 years ago so things can change, but when I was in SMC she was an extremely reasonable person full of integrity - difficult to find someone more honest really. I'm sorry but I feel I have to defend her as I loved her & her family a lot although once again no contact since leaving SMC ... (but I've not tried to contact her either to be fair).

Hi also "The Petitor" - Do you think that CJ was advised by the rest of the leadership not to meet with you as I don't remember him to be the type to shun a challenge - he must have changed a lot too. It seems some people give up a lot who remain in SMC for a long time and become a "neutral". In a normal world you would have at least got a "dear John". You want to try to send it again??? Just an idea ...

A good evening to all you guys on this great blog!!!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: June 19, 2013 02:14AM

You are completely accurate in your view that Effie's visit was a cold, calculating act and not done with your best interests at heart. You're not the first and you'll not be the last. I know someone else who had an unannounced visit from her - which is bad manners in itself to turn up at someone's door - to tell the person, who had been a committed Christian and had attended SMC for years, that they could no longer be involved in the thing they previously had been. All because God now decided that they weren't to be involved any more. This person was devastated and their self-esteem took a big knock. It took a while for the person to build up their self-esteem again and go back to a meeting.

Wistongirl, you seem to have very rosey memories of some of the people in SMC. You were fortunate in that you got out and, as you said, you've had a happy fulfilling life. Please remember there are many who have experienced years of abuse whilst in SMC and whilst recovering from the effects of being in it for many years. Marriages have been damaged or disallowed, children emotionally damaged and lives crushed with personalities undeveloped. I know there are nice people in the church but they're still in it, therefore they follow its ways and teachings. I did it, so I know, and I'm ashamed of how I thought and behaved towards others.

I said before that all the leaders sing from the same song-sheet. If they don't they'll leave.
I hope you get a reply, Petitor, but don't hold your breath. We know that people who leave SMC are considered backslidden and servants of the enemy. So why should anyone reply to a letter from an ex-member? I believe you said before on here that you have indeed sent letters before and never had a reply yet. Maybe the OSCR investigation will lead to responses, who knows. We'll wait and see.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Wistongirl ()
Date: June 19, 2013 03:46AM

Hi Rensil,

Not so keen on your comment above - frankly you don't know me and you don't know what I've been through or you wouldn't have written that. Fortunate to get out???? I chose to leave Rensil - I didn't choose to go in as a child born into a sect doesn't have a choice - they follow, they wear jaggy hats, they speak in tongues, they cut themselves off from their own family because they're led to believe their OWN family who are in the church are not on the highest way. At 23 years of age I left with all the scars that came with that so don't, just please don't tell me I was fortunate to get out. I have a fulfilling life today because I CHOSE to leave and re-build my life (even although I was in a no-mans land for a long time). I don't need reminding that there are those who have experienced abuse as I was one of them ... Just because certain people choose to stay in the church doesn't make them bad people - not at all - we should feel sorry for them. I honestly try to be objective & in spite of all the negative around us on this subject, try always to see if there could be a positive - that's all. In life there are always 2 sides to every story ;-)

I'm certainly not feeling so "Rosey" tonight Rensil.

I bid you goodbye and trust you achieve your goal with this blog as personally I've wasted enough time on SMC - I think you would agree that 23 years was more than enough.
I'll just go back to my - what was it? "Fulfilling life" that I've had the courage to build up - SMC's not worth the space quite honestly - my priority is (and should have stayed on) the FUTURE.

Cheers to all - was nice going a bit of the road with you for a while :-)

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Ifellaway ()
Date: June 19, 2013 04:41AM

Wistongirl, can I just say that I am actually with you on the "two sides" issue. I try to balance my experiences and get the best possible message. I was only under their roof for a relatively short period and do cling to the valuable, good memories.
I didn't judge EA to be trying anything on. Yes she is family too. Hence years of unwitting entwinement. But reflecting on the incident led me to entertain the obvious alternative. I totally agree also that I thought she was different.
As has been noted again and again here, it's the same influence throughout. The methods, language and tactics cannot be accidental. Honestly, if any of the leaders were different, they wouldn't be welcome, nor would they wish to be.
I think it is important though to remember the good stuff and cherish where appropriate.
My concern is that so many here took nothing positive away from their time at smc. So, while sharing some happy memories, I am aware that there are many who don't have these resources.
Here we can compare notes and get other perspectives. Your fond memories and inspirational story of looking forward are most welcome input. We are allowed to disagree on things but we are birds of a feather. As a result, this is haven of support.
Please stick around as both sides are important. We are just not under any illusions, and I do know how hard that can be to accept. As do many posters.
Either way, glad you stopped in.
Regards always, Ifellaway

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