Hi Cheerylizard and welcome to the forum.
I am glad that you have had time to read through all 140 pages of posts – that must have taken a while!
It is good to hear your comments, and it will be interesting to see any further info you post in future. I do not really see the current position as one of failure however, for a number of reasons. First, as Chrester55 points out, the leaders have been held to account. In many respects, the detail of that and the degree are not important, it is the fact that they have been forced to recognise another authority and can no longer claim that all they have to do is disappear into a darkened room and God will reveal to them exactly what to do.
As I said in an earlier post
There is one thing that is in some ways more important however, and that is the question of whether the leaders of SMC are infallible and have this direct line to God. Even if they are criticised on just one thing, and accept the criticism, that proves they are fallible. If they are fallible, then the members of the congregation cannot accept what they say without first testing it.
To me, that is the end of the road for SMC. As soon as it is clear that the things the leaders say have to be tested, not just accepted because they have this superior access to God, the whole house of cards falls down. It is all the emperor’s new clothes – the system only works if no-one questions it. Without their assumed infallibility, they have nothing to offer at all
I stand by that – they simply cannot survive now that they have confirmed their fallibility, as that means people have to make judgments for themselves rather than blindly doing what they are told. OSCR have sent a set of detailed recommendations to the Trustees, so SMC are still having to defer to a higher authority – great stuff!
That said, I do actually think that OSCR have failed to fulfil their responsibilities. At least one of the covering emails form OSCR to a complainant said, “You are correct that we are in ongoing dialogue with the trustees of the charity but not with the complainants”, and that rather sums it up. There is no surprise that OSCR did not really reach a balanced conclusion when they did not conduct a balanced enquiry. Might be something to follow up on there, I don’t know.
I wonder if the leaders will share the detailed recommendations they have received from OSCR with the congregation. That would be a good thing for them to do. If I was in the congregation, I would certainly be asking to see the OSCR letter, but it might be that the members are still too scared to dare to question anything the leaders do. If you are close to people in SMC, you should perhaps try to persuade them to ask to see the letter and for there to be a discussion about it in the church. Perhaps they will distribute copies at the AGM, who knows!
In terms of going forward, I am not sure that I am planning any tactics. It is not my job to hold the SMC leaders to account. I see myself primarily as a witness to events, and an encourager of other witnesses, not the prosecution. If there are more things to bring to light, I will gladly do it but as you can read in other posts, I have tended to shy away from a "tactical" approach.
And that is my second reason that the actions taken to date have not been a failure - they have led to a number of witnesses coming forward and speaking openly about their experience. SMC knows that any action they now take is open to public scrutiny, and I think that is a really good outcome.
Best of all is of course the fact that this forum has helped so many people. Contributor after contributor has said "I am soooo glad I have found this forum, it has made such a difference". To me, that is the best outcome of all.
I will leave this with one further quote, this time from the Closed Brethren Review I mentioned a while ago.
They further demonstrated a willingness to make amends for these and to do what they could as a Christian organisation to ensure, as far as it was consistent with its religious beliefs, it would act with Christian compassion in the future
I look forward to a similar statement form SMC. Wouldn't it be good if in ten years time people were saying, "I am so glad SMC treated me with Christian compassion, it has made such a difference".