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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: DAM CULT ()
Date: September 07, 2011 11:15PM

Having not been there since 93 I am not in any position to speak about the way the leadership is formed etc, the point of my post was to give my own empirical standpoint about my time there; it is not for me to take any other view apart from what I experienced there and the people I met there


This morning, in bed, I asked my wife about her considerations about Struthers and she concluded that it was a "deeply spiritual" place. We can only ever go on our own experiences in such matters, and I hope this forum will consider my post just as seriously as any other on here



May the Lord bless all the contributors on here, and help those who are experiencing difficulty; that is my prayer, and it comes in humility. I hope that my view will not be held as diminishing the concerns of anyone, but I must state my own experience particularly of Mr Black, who I remember very fondly as someone who played a great role in my life

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: September 08, 2011 04:55AM

JohnMcK:

You posted to reflect on your personal experience almost 20 years ago?

You apparently know nothing about the leadership system used by the church.

It doesn't seem like you have anything meaningful to contribute here.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: September 08, 2011 07:43AM

Hello John McK
Thankyou for posting on this Forum. Firstly it is easy for you to say what you have put on the Forum because you were not at SMC for very long and I presume were not fully involved in this church and fully committed to it and its ministry. Mr Black was indeed a kind and compassionate man - one would expect a christian pastor to be so - and he often had people who were struggling in life, were mentally unwell or unemployed, working in the Book-shop/coffee-shop in order to help them build confidence and to give them encouragement. However, in my experience his kindness and way of dealing with such were not so visible in the other, all female, leaders. Since Mr Black died in 2001, SMC has continued without him since then. I am glad you had positive experiences whilst helping him in the book-shop. However, this is not always the case. I know of one person in recent years, who was recovering from serious drug addiction and doing well, who was working voluntarily in the coffee-shop and who left in tears one day never to return, because he/she had not been dealt with kindly by other workers and their friends, and was too frightened to speak to a leader about it.

Myself and many others on this Forum were deeply and fully committed to SMC for many years which you weren't. Many here took part in the work of the church, both practical and spiritual and attended nearly 5 meetings every week plus 2 or 3 Summer Camps. As RR Moderator says above, there are a number of questions about SMC and you probably haven't thought about these before.

You obviously couldn't have been completely happy with SMC or you would have continued to attend with your family and would have sent your children to the youth activities. Eventually something would have occurred which brought you face to face with the leadership and choices would have to be made. Since you suffer from anxiety attacks, I would be concerned for you should this have taken place. Again, I have witnessed this happening to others whose vulnerable state was made worse and who were left with feelings of rejection, low self-esteem and depression. I am really glad that you did not continue to attend SMC and didn't get involved.

This Forum isnt about judging and pointing fingers; it is about exposing abusive and destructive churches. To say to abused people, 'It's OK, it never happened' is the worst thing one can say or think.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: September 08, 2011 06:46PM

JohnMcK

Of course it is important and to be welcomed to hear from SMC or ex people who tell a different story.

if I - for example - had turned out to be ONLY person ever to respond to the initial question posed by “Ohio” on this thread, then maybe with some justification you or other SMC apologists could rightly ignore RR and be forgiven for thinking that nothing was wrong, that it was just an isolated case.

But so many people have come forward to date, that a consistent picture has emerged. Way beyond what I could have guessed in fact.

I’m sure every Catholic church which harbored a child molester priest, could produce many congregants who would testify about all the good things the priest in question did and how much he was liked. But does such testimony mean that no change or reflection needs to occur ?.

To me the only really meaningful or helpful form of response from any “pro SMC” poster is one which

a) carries some form of new information which actually refutes one or more of the claims here,

b) indicates that action has been taken to change how the leadership operates,

or

c) argues that the actions taken by the leaders which caused such deep scars on many here, were in fact - after all is “said and done” the RIGHT course of action in all the cases mentioned here. In other words, the SMC leaders rationale and modus operandi is - like that of many hard-liners - that to make a truly spiritual "omelette” in a “spiritual war” - "ya' gotta "break some eggs”. Thus people who have posted of their abuses here are merely “collateral damage”.

To me c) seems the most probable explanation to why the SMC leadership behaves like it does.



Edited 14 time(s). Last edit at 09/08/2011 07:12PM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: September 09, 2011 08:10AM

JohnMcK

Firstly welcome to the forum. The thing I like about this forum is that it gives everyone an opportunity to express an opinion and nothing is hidden or secretive. Its good that you can share your experience, even if it was from some time ago. I didnt come to Struthers until 2007, so I never got to meet Mr Black and therefore can't comment on the kind of man he was. I am truly glad you had a good experience of him and that he has impacted yours and your family's life in a positive way.

You say you feel the posts on this forum are biased against Struthers. Now bias is defined as an unfair prejudice against someone, negative comments that have no grounds in truth or fact. So I guess the question to be asked is, is there any truth in what has been said by myself and many others? If it is all rumour and hearsay, then one could argue that this forum was biased. However, if what has been shared is true, then it can be said that it is not bias but simply case of bringing the truth to light.

Sadly, it seems that the case put forward by those who are pro SMC, is that they had a wondeful time at Struthers, therefore it is a wonderful place where nothing bad ever happened.
You say
"I would expect a cult to be heavy laden with leadership involvement in my personal life, sorry to disappoint many of you but this did not happen."
Why would anyone be disappointed that this did not happen to you? Or is this a dig at those who have had it happen to them?

Those who make allegations against Struthers leaders are at best, told it is due to a misunderstanding on the part of the person who was hurt, or at worst they are downright liars who are full of bitterness and don't want to serve God. To use the point that Clive made about those Catholic priests who sexually abused children, I'm sure there are many who would have testified to what wonderful ministers they were. This doesnt mean that the said priest didnt abuse the children, just that there were members of the congregation who were unaware of it. However, when it came to light where shocked and appalled by the revelation.

With regard to your comment about thinking this website is in danger of becoming a free for all that denigrates the fine reputation of many people. I would argue on the contrary. I think there are at least 30 people who have posted on this website. All of whom are fine people and all of whom have had their reputation denigrated by Struthers Leaders. I myself was accused of being a lesbian and the worst sinner Diana Rutherford had ever met. Other have been accused of being full of evil, terrible Christians, mentally unstabe, withches etc. Until the start of this forum, many of those people were stuck with the allegations made against them. They believed it because they felt they were the only one (and the minority is always wrong isnt it?)

I would like to stress once again that I don't think that everyone who goes to Struthers is a bad person. Many of the people I met were wonderful caring people, who loved God and tried their very best to work their way through the religious red tape of Struthers in the hope that one day they may be counted worthy of the grace that God so freely gives.

In closing I like the comment you heard from Mr Black that when we point the finger of accusation at someone there are 3 fingers pointing back at us. Perhaps that is something the current leaders of Struthers would do well to remember when they point the finger of acusation in the future.

God bless

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: September 16, 2011 06:02PM

JohnMcK

Welcome to the forum. I hope you will continue to post information about your experience in Struthers. I have no difficulty in relating to what you say but, as CovLass has so clearly pointed out, demonstrating some good does not provide evidence that every single thing that is done is good. If there are good things that need publicity, great, but if there are bad things, they need to be brought into the open as well. That is not bias, that is honesty.

On another note, some of you might be interested in some of the financial details which I have been having a look at recently in response to an earlier comment about not knowing where the tithes went (Susie, I think). I know some of you might not be interested in the financial side, but this is not just about money, it is also about honest and openness and even about this famous “anointing”. If for example, Struthers Leaders “only ever move at the express direction of God” – THEIR OWN WORDS - how can they make a mistake about anything, including financial matters? While the detail might not be important, how decisions are made and whether they are accountable IS important.

Anyway, I have had another look at the annual accounts, and I think there are interesting questions for an organisation that claims to be open and have perfect decision-making. One of these is the “Gifts” handed out by the organisation (£45, 427 from the church and £2,167 from the bookshop this year, £ 142,870 last year). Does anyone know where these go? Do any of them go to the leaders for example? There does not seem to be any information in the accounts about these gifts.

I do wonder what the big secret is here. There is specific support for individuals (Missionaries, I think) which is made up of two figures - £8,337 of money that people are giving specifically for that purpose (restricted funds) and £63 of the churches own money (unrestricted funds). Of course this £63 is not as generous as the £150,000 they give to support rich kids to get ipads, but it does let you see where the priorities are.

It also makes it clear that these "gifts" did not go to missionaries, as this is a separate figure of £63. It would be very interesting to see where the £142,870 of gifts went in the previous year. Should members not know where their money is going? Is is reasonable to give £63 to identified missionaries and £47, 598 (£142,870 in the year before) without clarifying who is receiving these gifts? Does this, like the money to the school, go into the hands of a select few? What are the outcomes this money goes towards?

There is also a very interesting £ 105,257 set aside for “strategic planning funds”. Since there are about 300 members in Struthers overall, that is over £300 per person being set aside for “strategic planning”. I wonder if members know that, on average, £300 of the money they have given has been set aside for strategic planning and what that might mean. Why do they need strategic planning if God tells them what to do all the time? There are just so many inconsistencies there.

The bigger picture is also a bit worrying. If Struthers have had offerings of £500,00 per annum for the last 30 years, that is a total of £15m of donations form the congregation. Their current assets (buildings etc) are valued at £3m, so where has the rest gone? This is not an accusation of fraud of anything like that, it is a challenge to the leaders to take a serious look at themselves. How can you possibly claim that God is leading you in all you do, yet be ashamed to explain how well you have managed the money? That is an absurd position. It would be very interesting to see a summary of the last 30 years of income and expenditure, as I do not think that the members have any idea where the money given over the years has gone.

I am not sure I would be giving money to an organisation that will not tell me what they do with it, or why £150, 000 goes to ipads and £63 to a missionary!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: September 21, 2011 05:41AM

I dont know much about accounts but could Gifts include flowers for the sick, money for summer youth missions, gifts to visiting speakers (though there are very few of these now), gifts to short term missionaries,. The amount designated for Missionaries, I presume is for the full-time couple who serve abroad whom all members know about and receive news about. However, the fact that I dont really know what these Gifts include or who benefits from them does concern me as I gave money regularly over the years to SMC. Any other possible ideas?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: September 26, 2011 04:51AM

Rensil

I agree that gifts could include all of the things you said and more, although spending £47,598.00 on flowers and helping out a few kids who's parets can't afford to send them to camp is a bit much. It could also be used to explain the purchase of ipads for the Cedars school children or buying a new car for one of those listed as a trustee. (Something Im pretty sure is not allowed for a charitable trust)

The whole issue is that it is ambiguous and doesn't sit with a church that is supposedly transparent and open. If they paid for 12 kids to go to camp because their parents didnt have the means to send them, then great. Many churches will offer support in these circumstances where possible. My question is, why not say so. I don't mean saying "This year we payed for Sally, Johnny, Mary Tom and Fred to go to camp because their parents are too poor to pay for them, but they could break it down into explainable chunks.

If they can't break it down into explainable chunks then the question must be, "What have they got to hide?"

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: clare ()
Date: September 27, 2011 03:07PM

Lets not forget that while on here we are busy speculating about how they manage other peoples money and what they do with it, they are unconcerned as long as they keep to charitable status "rules" which they must do, or by now they would have been investigated.


I have just read a very good little book called "In sheeps clothing" - Understanding and dealing with manipulative people.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: poprvyab ()
Date: October 05, 2011 03:20PM

Hi all, my name is Anthony. Several years ago I was a member of Struthers in south Wales. It is most deffinately a cult. What happend to me, my familly and friends is appauling and most definately ungodly, but it is not something I am comfortable to share on here. I would just like to say that I echo all the negatives mentioned in this forum, and plead with everyone out there to never get involved with this highly dangerous cult.

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