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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cheerylizard ()
Date: November 23, 2015 07:23PM

Chester

I don't think OSCR have any interest in theology. Some of the issues you raise in that last post are highly debatable (not from a regulatory or legal point of view), but beside the point. This OSCR "letter" you talk of: when are you going to let everyone see it?

No-one said the letter to SMC, as you interpret it, actually exists. No-one denies OSCR has some recommendations to make. No-one said these were damaging to SMC, rather that it is not in the interests of the charity to have private communication between the regulator and a charity in the public domain. It might be damaging to OSCR, for all you know.

If I was a trustee of SMC, or any other charity, I wouldn't be taking that risk because my legal obligation is to protect the interests of the charity. Full stop.

But you don't have such an obligation. This forum is hosted overseas well beyond UK jurisdiction and you are anonymous. If this letter brings to light some information SMC would rather keep secret (as you claim), just let us read it as I think that is consistent with the aims of this forum, don't you? It would also be good to monitor whether the changes do happen.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 23, 2015 07:46PM

Hi Chester,


Good point. It is quite amazing that people continue to give money to an organisation that they have no influence over.

Just one thing I would add.

Where you say:

If you think this is acceptable biblical Christianity, that the damage people speak of is irrelevant, that your life and ministry gifts are valued, and that you give expecting no information about the organisation you are supporting in return - then give on that basis and do not pretend things are not really like that.

I might add in one little extra:

If you think this is acceptable biblical Christianity, that the damage people speak of is irrelevant, that your life and ministry gifts are valued, that you are happy for your gift to be used to subsidise private education and that you give expecting no information about the organisation you are supporting in return - then give on that basis and do not pretend things are not really like that.

Perhaps that is just my perspective, but it seems bizarre to me that people are willing to subsidise private education for people in the Greenock area, many of whom are not associated with the church at all.



People who attend SMC have to realise they are not actually members of SMC - as you point out, there are only 5 members. Everyone else is just attending so that they can give their money and moral support to the Trustees, they are not members, they are ...

what?...

what exactly is the status of those who attend to give their money and moral support to the five members of the Charity? I am not sure their is a word for it - "non-beneficiaries" perhaps?

I would say "contributors" but what they are allowed to contribute is so restricted - cash and adulation of the leaders seem to be the only things permitted.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cheerylizard ()
Date: November 24, 2015 05:46PM

Petitor

I just walked in and checked the AGM papers for one of the branch churches which is posted in the foyer of the building. The mission of the overall vision of SMC seems quite clearly stated in black and white: they support among other things the church school and bookshops. You could even see exactly how much money was gifted to each of these and how much remains in the branch. The AGM is open to anyone so I really cannot, even with my most one-eyed view, in all honesty, agree that this information is somehow hidden from the congregation.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: November 24, 2015 09:35PM

cheerylizard:

Does the church disclose in its annual budget all salaries and compensation paid out to staff in an independently audited statement to all contributors?

If so could you disclose the salaries paid out and compensation package of top staffers?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/2015 09:36PM by rrmoderator.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cheerylizard ()
Date: November 24, 2015 10:07PM

Yes, top staffer was a guy called C.Jewell who manages the coffee shops. According to last accounts he was paid about £32k p/a. The staff bill for the schools and coffee shops is clearly shown in the branch AGM and filed accounts. Individual employees salaries are almost always confidential in UK unless a paid directors which C.Jewell is. None of the pastors are on payroll. The school and churches are one charity so there has been transfer of funds to the school to invest in staff and buildings. I think this is what Petitor thinks is objectionable. He believes the congregation somehow are being duped into giving to this. Personally, I can't see how that can be true.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 25, 2015 07:43PM

Hi CheeryLizard,


Yes, I agree that the annual accounts are published. It is good to hear that they are also made available in the branches as well as through Companies House.

I persoanlly see some of the detail as obscuring rather than revealing information however. Others seem to agree with this, as a number of people only realised that the church was subsidising the school once it was revealed by latigo - that was never clear form the published accounts, although the info was there. I guess that is my point - that those who attend and give their money do not really know what is going on.

I think it has been great to have some of that revealed through Latigo, and even for things like the existence of the "detailed letter" (only seen by OSCR and the 5 Members of SMC as far as I am aware) being revealed here on this forum.

The is actually quite important - the leaders of SMC are doing what they can to suppress knowledge and only admit to things when forced to do so by external agencies. They could easily take the line aspired to by Mr Black in his story about the preacher whose sins were about to be revealed - "yes, I have sinned - here are the sins others have identified, and here are a few more that are secret, but I am going to put in the public domain, because this isn't about how good I am, it is about the perfection of Christ."

In my view, they will not do this, because SMC is NOT about Christ, it is about them - THEY want be be seen as perfect, and not losing face.

On another matter, I note you say that the AGM is open to anyone. Is this really the case? Could I go along and ask questions with an expectation that they will be answered? Can the press attend?

As there are only 5 legal members of Struthers, I am assuming that must be the case - I can't see what the "AGM" is other than a public meeting, as no-one other than the 5 trustees have any status or authority other than as interested members of the public.

When is the next AGM?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cheerylizard ()
Date: November 27, 2015 01:28AM

Petitor

All Latigo did was show information that was already publicly available. There seems to be some assumption that the congregation either don't attend the AGMS, don't want to, or cannot read the accounts. The implicaiton that this has been a revelation was already contested on here by Clive. I think he was correct to point out that there is no "smoking gun" here when it comes to finance in SMC.

It seems to me that, after all, the accusation is that the executive is too small. If insteaad of thinking about SMC as functioning like the presbyterian church, and you realise it is more like a normal charity with a board, it all makes sense.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: November 27, 2015 02:01AM

Does the general SMC membership of the congregation receive an annual budget, which discloses in detail the salaries and compensation paid out from its funds to staff and executives?

Or is it that no one in the SMC general membership, except for a select few, actually knows exactly who receives payments and how much?

It seems like quite a bit is hidden.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 27, 2015 09:07PM

Well, indeed. How much is earned by Mrs Spears and all those that live in the commune, how much rent do they pay, where does the money go etc. That is not openness and transparency. There are many other questions about the accounts as well, many of which have been covered elsewhere - for example, what happened to the money that was in "designated funds" and was "reallocated"? All of which is why I return to the question I asked earlier - can anyone attend the AGM and expect their questions to be answered? If is is all as open as you suggest, cheery lizard, I assume that they (and you) would welcome this.


And, cheery lizard, I am really not aware of any assumptions that have been made. What I said was, "as a number of people only realised that the church was subsidising the school once it was revealed by latigo." That is not an assumption, that is a fact. You can hypothesise and speculate all you like about whether people can or want to read accounts, the facts are that a number of people did not understand the information until it was presented by Latigo.

It is fine to have view or opinions, but please don't argue with facts. Unlike SMC, it is not about who makes the most forceful comment or who claims they know what other people are thinking.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2015 09:08PM by ThePetitor.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cheerylizard ()
Date: December 01, 2015 09:53PM

Petitor

Speaking of being short on facts let me correct you.

Yes anyone can go to the AGMs.

The "commune" as you call it, is a private home so frankly it would be none of your business who rents a room in it.

There is a house owned by SMC referred to in the public accounts as "Fidra operations". Is it unusual, illegal or in any way suspect for charities to own property and rent them out? No it is not.

School salary costs are also in the accounts. It is hardly difficult to work out what the average pay is. By my calcluation it's £25k. Well below the market rate for most teachers. I know my employer (nothing to do with SMC) is not at liberty to tell the general public my individual salary. Is yours?

As for "a number of people not realising ... etc.". Well, how big is "a number"? Let's be serious here. If your church made an executive decision and bought a school, would it never occur to you to wonder where the money came from?

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