Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Date: September 16, 2011 06:02PM
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!