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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: August 21, 2023 04:11AM

Check out this interview with "Sam" - who was in the Pudsey group.

"Hello and welcome to The Cult Vault's first ever live in-person interview. I am chatting with long-time friend Sam. I was completely unaware that he had experienced this until I started diving into the podcast and Sam informed me that he himself had experienced such coercion."


[www.youtube.com]

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: anonymous47362 ()
Date: August 28, 2023 10:14PM

Just thought I'd drop in and was surprised to see people are still posting on here. I noticed a user called 'Jock'. I remember Jock from when I was a child attending the Glasgow church in (I think) Knightswood. I remember your green van :)

It's been years since I posted my experience in SMC (June 22, 2011). I actually popped in to Struthers in Glasgow some time ago and everyone was actually very friendly and welcomed me. I hope that SMC have changed for the better.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: October 06, 2023 05:36PM

I just had a quick look at Companies House to see what was happening with the finances at Struthers, and discovered their annual accounts are overdue.

How could this happen??

If it was any other organisation, I would cut them some slack: there are pressures in any organisation; someone may be ill, mistakes happen and all that. I think this is probably the first time their accounts have been overdue, so one year out of thirty is not a bad record. They will be issued with an automatic fine of £50 or so and get on with life from there.

BUT…

These are the super-anointed of God! God walks with them every day; they live every moment in His presence, turning everything over to Him; and they are guided by Him in all that they do. They are above any form of questioning or criticism!

That is what they have clearly proclaimed. If you do not believe me check out the Latigo site at [www.latigo214.info] which has extracts form many sermons.

Eye. Speck. Plank. It really is not wise to listen to what they tell you about how to live your life.

Anonymous 47362, welcome back to the forum! I am glad everyone was friendly when you popped into Struthers, you should be made welcome when visiting any church.

I would imagine that most people from this forum would be welcomed if they visited a branch of Struthers. (Not all, but that is not my story to tell!) I hope there would be good motivations behind that welcome, but suspect there would also be a bit of their own worldview creeping in as well. Their worldview is the Struthers is the centre of everything, so a visitor popping in is a good thing – they are returning to the centre of the world, so of course should be made welcome and encouraged to come back.

That is not the test however. Most people on this forum felt welcome while they were part of Struthers and were accepting of that worldview. The test is how you are treated when you disagree with them or ask questions.

Try going back and questioning something and see how you are treated then. Ask them why Mr Black’s books say that women should wear hats in church for example, or even how the accounts can be late when everyone is so in tune with the Spirit. Or ask where in the Bible it says you can be in a room where some people feel the presence of God and others do not. That simply does not happen in the Bible. As far as I am aware, there is NEVER an occasion where someone has to tell others that, “God is here” or to “feel His presence”, that is not how it works. Or go back a few pages in this forum and ask them about all the verses they do not preach about, or why they are not reaching out to people on this forum to help them with any concerns or distress they are feeling.

As Matthew 23v4 says, “They tie up heavy cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

So, here is the challenge. Next time you visit, say to someone that there is this person you know of who feels burdened by the load placed on their shoulders through Struthers and would like a Struthers leader to lift just a finger to help them carry that load, then ask if they are willing to do so. If they say yes, get in touch with me as there are a large number of folks that would really welcome someone reaching out to them - not to criticise and tell them what to do, or opt out by telling them that God will solve it, but to actually help them carry the load they bear.

I get the point that you hope Struthers have changed for the better, and I do too. The problem is that there is nothing in the Bible that says the way to respond to something that has gone wrong is to pretend it did not happen. If they have indeed changed for the better, the first thing they need to do is publicly acknowledge they are got things wrong in the past and they continue to be fallible human beings that are not the sole arbiters of the Word of God or what people should do with their lives. As sincere apology along these lines would go a long way to help ease the burdens people are carrying.

I suspect they will not say yes however, they will instead blame the person who has the issues, or me for having some strange motive (that I do not even know about, but they of course know about because they have this secret insight), or perhaps you as the messenger. Anything but actually accepting any responsibility for the trauma they have caused to the many lives represented here on the forum and even more who have not posted here.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: October 22, 2023 09:58PM

It appears that the Greenock coffee shop is now closing - see
[www.inverclydenow.com]


Hudson Taylor (often quoted by Mr Black): “God's work, done in God's way, will never lack God's supply.”

Chris Jewell: “Largely due to Covid and the present cost of living crisis, together with major increases in food costs, the directors of the charity have very reluctantly agreed to close the shop.”

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: November 02, 2023 07:46AM

Hi everyone

Good to hear from you again, Anonymous. I’m glad you received a welcome at Struthers. I don’t know if all of us would. You said in your previous post that your family still attend, so I hope they are cared for there.

Yes, ThePetitor, I also heard that the New Dawn Coffee/Book-shop operated by Struthers in Greenock, has recently closed, with the reasons given as the ones you wrote above. From what I’ve heard, the majority of people in Struthers are very sad and upset about the shop closing after thirty plus years of business. The venue has been described as a wonderful place to eat, with wonderful staff and a lovely, friendly atmosphere. However, it wasn’t always a wonderful experience for the many volunteers (mostly Struthers members) who worked there. Some went to work there on Saturdays after working full-time at their jobs during the week and ended up coming home exhausted. Why do it?, I used to wonder, but the answer was always that they were needed and the coffee-shop couldn’t function without their free labour. They felt they had to do it. Maybe it was to seek approval, I don’t know.

Also, I know of some volunteers who helped in the New Dawn coffee-shop in the past, who were recovered drug addicts or who had mental health problems and who were not treated very kindly by the Struthers young folk who had been brought up in the church. I cannot go into details: these volunteers would have to tell their own stories on here, but I was angry when they told me how they had been treated. One of them felt hurt and ostracised and never went back, one eventually gave up helping out there too, after ending up always having to clear and clean all the tables because nobody else wanted to do it. Kids brought up in the church should learn that there are other people who have different backgrounds to their own and at least try to be friendly and welcoming towards them.

So, it looks like the Struthers Board of Management has all changed recently and new members are now in place, with Diana Rutherford now overall head of the Struthers churches. She has replaced Grace Gault in that role. You can read all this on the Companies House website: it’s public viewing because Struthers is a charity. Will things change at Struthers because of leadership changes? Who knows. It would still be good if people who suffered whilst in Struthers or afterwards, could get an apology from the leadership, as ThePetitor has reiterated above.

Struthers folk whom I’ve bumped into at the shops recently have told me that Struthers has changed completely now, because Alison Speirs has gone. I find that a bit hard to fathom. How can the church change so much just because of the departure of one leader and some of her supporters? She didn’t have supreme influence. Alison had her faults and could be outspoken, but she was responsible for a lightening of some of the legalistic rules which were in operation back in the 80s and 90s, such as compulsory hat-wearing for women, a ban on makeup and hair dyeing and fashion clothes such as skin-tight jeans. Alison Speirs in the main did not go along with these rules.

It’s like there is division in Struthers. There are those who have followed Alison Speirs and left the church along with her. Then there are those who are saying they’re glad to see her go and are saying it’s a better church now. This reminded me of Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians chapter 1, where he complains that some believers are saying they follow Paul, some say they follow Apollos and others follow Cephas. Paul exhorts the believers not to be divided but to follow only Christ and not one particular leader over another one.
Anyway, bye for now. Keep the posts coming.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 08, 2023 05:54PM

Hi Rensil, and good to hear your info.


I think your point about some following Alison Spears and some not doing so (cf. Paul and Apollos) is an interesting one, and is actually quite a deep problem in Struthers.

The core message of Christianity is that we are all flawed and can fail. As soon as you raise people up to be above criticism, you stop thinking for yourself. The question stops being, “what is right” and becomes, “who will I follow” and that leads to all sorts of difficulties.

Is there no-one in Struthers saying, “well, I agree with this thing that Alison Spears did, but I do not agree with that other thing”? Are people even talking about it, or is the (explicit or implicit) message from the pulpit that it is not important?

Of course it is important! A person with a significant role in the church left, taking a number of others with her. Members have to understand why that happened, what the key issues were and how it could perhaps be avoided in future. People disagree all the time, it is how you treat those you disagree with that counts (love your enemies and all that!)

Are people so repressed that they just say, “that is none of my business, I am not clever enough or spiritual enough to understand these deep matters, I will leave it to my betters”.

if so, that is an abdication of responsibility (and is of course incompatible with, “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh.”)

And, talking about abdicating responsibility, I wonder if the new Directors were honest when they signed up to that role, as the law requires Charity and Company Directors to take joint responsibility for a range of matters. If they truly believe that Diana is in charge and has authority to make all the decisions, they should not have agreed to be company directors, as company law does not allow that. If the church really believes that one person has authority to make all the decisions, they should make Diana the single director.

Finally, in terms of Alison Spears, when was she appointed? Was Miss Taylor still around for example?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 09, 2023 11:06PM

I have been looking at the church accounts. These are available free of charge at the companies house website (along with the info about the Directors etc mentioned by Rensil).

All the figures below are taken straight from the accounts. The comments are however my own opinion.

The years selected are a bit random, pasted from earlier posts. There will no doubt be other insights in other years not included here. The figures below do I think show some trends however.

2009 (11 churches listed on website)
. . . . . . . . .  . . Income . . . . . Expenditure . . . . . Profit (or loss if negative)
Shops . . . . . . .  . 387,387 . . . .. . . 377,561 . . . . .  .. . . . 9,826
Conference . . . . . . 114,949 . . . .  . . 113,769 . . . . . . . . . . 1,180
School Fees . . .  . . 364,375. . . .  .  . 522,518 . . . . .. . . . -158,143
Church . . . . . . . . 583,812 . . .  . . . 373,791 . . . . . . . . . 210,019

TOTAL . . . . . . .. 1,450,523 . . . . . .1,387,639. . . . . . . . . . 62,882

COMMENT (by me, not a quote from the books) In 2009, the church side made a “profit” of £210k,
£160k of which went to subside the school.


2012
. . . . . . . . .  . . Income . . . . . Expenditure . . . . . Profit (or loss if negative)
Shops . . . . . . .  . 382,799 . . . .. . . 402,240 . . . . .  .. . . -19,441
Conference . . . . . .  81,726.. . . .  . .  82,637 . . . . . . . . . . -£911
School Fees . . .  . . 493,318. . . .  .  . 559,714 . . . . . . . . . -66,396
Church . . . . . . . . 467,396 . . .  . . . 285,811 . . . . . . . . . 181,585

TOTAL . . . . . . .. 1,429,885 . . . . . .1,330,402. . . . . . . . . . 99,483

COMMENT (by me, not a quote from the books) In 2012, the church side made a “profit” of £181k,
£66k of which went to subside the school, and £20k to subsidise the shops.



2018
. . . . . . . . . . . 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

COMMENT (by me, not a quote from the books) In 2018, the church side made a “profit” of £33k, 
but subsidised the school by £160k and the shops by £66k.  
This mean they had to use up  £186k of their reserves.



2019 (9 churches)
. . . . . . . . . . ... Income . . . . . Expenditure . . . . . Profit (or loss if negative)
Shops . . . . . . . . . 355,372 . . . . . 427,866 . . . .  . . . -72,494
Conference . . . . . . . 93,838 . . . . . 135,006 . . . .  . . . -41,168
School Fees . . . . . . 589,272 . . . . . 699,708 . . . … . . . -110,436
Church * . . . . . . .  332,995. . . .  . 274,164 . . . . ….  . . 58,831
Investments . . . . . . .15,265 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15,265

TOTAL . . .  .   . . 1,386,732 . . . . . 1,536,744 . . . . .   .-150,012

COMMENT (by me, not a quote from the books) In 2019, the church side made a “profit” of £58k, 
but subsidised the school by £110k and the shops by £72k.  
This meant they had to use up  £150k of their reserves.


2022
. . . . . . . . . . ... Income . . . . . Expenditure . . . . . Profit (or loss if negative)
Shops . . . . . . . . . 181,654 . . . . . 278,760 . . . .  . . . -97,106
Conference . . . . . . . 53,638 . . . . . .63,620 . . . .  . . .. -9,982
School Fees . . . . . . 595,883 . . . . . 876,566 . . . … . . . -307,605
Investments. . . . . . . 17,710 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17,710
Church (& tax refund). .396,576. . . .  . 295,964 . . . . ….  . .100,612

TOTAL . . .  .   . . .1,218,539. . . . .1,514,910 . . . . . .  .-296,371

Sale of property. . . . 176,400 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .176,400
TOTAL after sale. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . -119,971


COMMENT (by me, not a quote from the books) In 2022, the church side made a “profit” of £100k.  

The organisation subsidised the school by £308k and the shops by £97k.

This mean they had to find a way to accommodate the loss of £ 296k.  
This was done by selling “fixed assets” (presumably the Pudsey Church) 
for £176k and using up £120k of their reserves.


NOTES:
Conference fees have been removed from the “church” row to allow income and expenditure to match up.

Observations
The annual accounts no longer specify the number of churches. Wonder why that is? Has the number gone down again?

The “profit” (income vs expenditure) on the church side dropped from £210k in 2009 to a low of £33k in 2018 but has risen again to about £ £110k in 2022. This is still less than half of the 2009 figure.

In detail, the “profit” from the church side was £210k in 2009. In 2012, it was £181k. In 2018 it was £33k, in 2019 it was £58k and in 2022 it was £100k.

Back in 2009, the shops made a small profit (of £9k). In 2012 the loss was £19k, in 2018 the loss was £66k, in 2019 the loss was £41k and in 2022 (the year we are looking at) the loss was a whopping £ 97k. It would be very interesting to see separate accounts for the two shops as this makes it looks like closing the Falkirk shop led to a huge increase in the loss. My understanding is that the Greenock shop employed a few staff but Falkirk was mainly volunteers, so the Falkirk shop may actually have been sustainable. It certainly looks like it was subsidising the Greenock one by reducing the losses there. Were some sort of politics involved in the decision to close Falkirk first? Unless further financial details are published, I guess we will never know.

The school has always made a loss. In 2009 it was £158k, in 2012 it was £66k, in 2018 it was £160k, in 2019 it was £110k and in 2022 it was a massive £308k.

In 2022, the total income from donations plus the recovered tax was £ 396,576. The total losses from the school and the shop put together were more than that at £404,711. One way to look at this is that, in 2022, every single penny that went into the collection plate (plus the related tax recovery) - all four hundred thousand pounds of it - went to subsidise the loss made by the school and the shop. As a result, a building needed to be sold to pay for the church-related expenditure.


Overall position
=============
The overall position appears to be a regular significant loss each year. This is being covered by selling buildings and reducing activities.

A year or two back they sold the house in Greenock, which helped balance the books.

In the year for which they have just published the accounts (2022) they sold assets which gained £176k, although that was still not enough to balance the books. (If you want the detail, the accounts list the sale price of the Pudsey church as “£195,000 plus £10,000 for fixed assets” but the income table shows the “gain on sale of fixed assets” was £176,40.)

They have now in 2023 closed the bookshops and they have also said they plan to sell “one of two flats the company owns” (why do they own flats at all? does anyone know?) at an asking price of £ 285,000 “to bolster cash reserves”.

I am not sure this is sustainable in the long term. It will be interesting to see what action the new Directors take to address this.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 12, 2023 02:08AM

One other thing I noticed in the annual accounts, and that is that the "London Church has been meeting essentially online". I am not quite sure what "essentially" online is, but presume it means most meetings are online. Whether they are led by someone in London or they are joining services elsewhere is not clear.

Does anyone know how often they meet, and how many people there are? I get the impression the "London Church" has been meeting for at least ten years, but has never had more than a handful of people. Are there even less than this now - just three or four perhaps?

All this begs the question of why they meet separately at all. What is it that is so special about these people that they have to meet in a small group for years and years, and even if they cannot sustain a semblance of a normal church, have to meet "essentially online" rather than joining with others? They are in a city of 9 million people - is there no other fellowship that they consider remotely christian?

Most folk in Struthers attend four of five meetings a week. Should the folk in these small churches (London and Edinburgh for example) not be attending other churches on a Sunday evening or during the week?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: November 12, 2023 10:41AM

Hello everyone
These accounts are very enlightening: thanks for going over them and commenting on various points of interest, ThePetitor.
I think I can answer some of your questions. In your post about the accounts you were asking about the mention of two flats which are owned by Struthers, one of which they are planning to sell. I seem to remember that the two flats are located in London and sure enough, I looked back in the Companies House accounts for the year ended 31st December 2014 and found this:-

“In 2014, due to the need to relocate the work of our London church, the building known as The Refuge in Wendover Dean (Bucks) was sold at a profit which will be re-invested in the purchase of two residential properties with some £100,000 of residual funds added to the charity’s (Struthers) cash assets. Overall the assets of Struthers Memorial Church were strengthened by £317,160 as a result of these transactions.”

Too right the assets would be strengthened, Knowing the price which an extensive property in rural Bucks would fetch on the local housing market. Also this property, The Refuge, as far as I know, was gifted to Struthers by the elderly man who owned it, after he had a dramatic conversion to the Christian faith and joined Struthers. So this explains what the two flats are: they’re in London and, anyone who is aware of property prices in the London area, knows that they will fetch a high price when put on the market.

In addition, these London properties are rented out. The Struthers accounts for the year ended 31st December 2016, say this:
“Investment income comprises rental income received from two investment properties.” So Struthers has been acquiring rental income since 2014/2015 at London prices although I don’t know in which area/areas of London the flats are located or who lives in them.

I find it all a bit strange. I’m sure that not many Struthers members will be aware of these investment properties. They were told that The Refuge was sold because of relocation of the work of the “London church”. To my mind, this is just a way of over-spiritualising the sale of a property, one where Struthers once held meetings and where there was accommodation for visiting church members and for the leader herself. Why did it not continue?

Which brings me to my next answer to your query, Petitor, about this “London church.” As far as I know, it does not have many members now and these members are widely scattered over the Greater London area. As you say, the accounts Report states that this London group meets largely online. If one goes onto the main Struthers Church website and clicks on London under the menu which lists all the branch churches, all you get is a web-form to fill in with your personal details and submit. No doubt, the London leader, Pauline Anderson, can then decide whether she wants to invite you to attend or not. There is no information about where they meet or when. Not very welcoming and it’s as though they’ve something to hide. As you say, Petitor, it’s odd when one considers the size of London and its suburbs, that there is such a tiny gathering of Struthers folk down there, but they claim that they have a church in London and a work going on. What is that?

Folk in the London group do tune in online to the livestreams from Struthers Cumbernauld and Glasgow, although with Alison Speirs gone, I don’t know how much Glasgow is live-streaming now on Instagram. This all began during the Covid lockdowns but has continued so that people who aren’t near a Struthers branch can tune in.

Re going to other churches, I do know that a couple of people from the London group have started to attend local churches because there is nothing much going on with the Struthers group. A similar situation has occurred in Pudsey after that branch church closed. So that is something positive. The leaders can’t really stop Struthers folk from attending another church if there’s no Struthers meeting nearby. I think they have lessened in their condemnation of other churches these days and seem to be more open, but they still wouldn’t encourage people to go to other churches or Christian events.

Bye for now! Hope you’re all well and doing fine.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: November 12, 2023 05:54PM

Hi Rensil, and thanks for this info.

There are some really interesting links there. If they made a profit of £317,160 the value of that property in 2014 must have been considerable.

Why a church wishes to “lay up treasures on earth” in this way is beyond me. I would have expected “laying up treasures in heaven” by making the flat available to the homeless, or by giving the money to missionaries or other Christian work, but Struthers has always seemed to have an unhealthy interest in money.

I am also struggling with the current arithmetic, as the plan is now to sell one of the flats for £ 285,000. I had a quick look on Zoopla and for that sort of amount, you can buy a one-bed flat in the centre of London or a two-bed flat a bit further out.

Now, if you would like to rent that sort of property, the going rate at Rightmove is £1,825 per calendar month. It is really easy to check these figures, just look for flats for sale around £280,000 then look for that kind of flat to rent.

So far so good, but now it gets a bit strange, as rent of £1,825 per calendar month is £21,900 per annum. But the accounts only show an annual income of £17,710.

This is of course a bit of a “back of an envelope calculation” so it is not surprising that the figures do not tie in too closely, but what is clear is that this one flat is enough to generate the income listed in the accounts. What about the other flat? If they were renting out two flats, they ought to have twice this income. Is someone living in the second flat rent-free? Or was it this flat that was used rent-free and it is the other one that brings in income?

Like “the refuge” and the place they had in Greenock, it all seems shrouded in mystery. What is the purpose? As noted by Rensil above, folk were told that The Refuge was sold because of relocation of the work of the “London church”. Was that the purpose, or was the purpose to lay up treasures on earth in the form or rental income and capital gains? Has someone been occupying a property rent-free? How much is the second property worth? Can a charity even invest in this way just to make money?

And, above and beyond all of that, if this is all God’s work, should they not be shouting it from the rooftops rather than shrouding it in clouds of mystery?

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