Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Date: August 27, 2012 10:17PM
It is interesting to see all the discussions about Cedars School of Excellence and its relationship with the branches of Struthers Memorial Church.
To me, discussing this link is absolutely legitimate, as the two things we are talking about are actually both activities of the one organisation with one set of Directors, one constitution, one set of accounts and one AGM. (Yes squareone, they do have an AGM. Of course, being Struthers, it is unclear who can actually attend the AGM and who can vote. I presume parents are eligible to attend, as they are just as much part of the activities of the organisation as are the members of the congregation, but I am not sure how they are informed, and it doesn’t even seem to be clear whether the congregation can vote. And, since we are discussing it, does anyone know the date of the next AGM? It would be interesting to know when it was and the agenda!)
If I was a parent, some of the information and practice in the Limited Company would concern me greatly. I would for example have a very hard look at the accounts and would be turning up at the AGM to ask questions about the finances of the organisation and, since the same people run both a school and a church, the beliefs of the Directors.
Apart form that general point about it being a single organisation, the finances of the two projects seem to be closely inter-linked. From what I read of the accounts (see my comments back on page 6 of this forum) the viability of the Cedars school is based on the decision of the Directors to allocate a considerable part of the regular church offerings to the school. As well as this, the Company only managed to balance its books because of loans that are described as "unsecured, interest free and payable on demand" which I presume means that the providers of these loans could simply walk into the office and ask for repayment at any point.
If I was a parent, I would want to understand what this meant, whether the school was on a secure financial basis and whether the Directors offered any guarantee of continued funding of the school - or if they reserved the right to withdraw it all if God suddenly told them to do so.
I would also worry about some of the policies of the organisation, particularly the fact that they say, they “do not respond to applications for funding” yet they provide financial support or assistance with fees (seethe Latigo articles on the annual accounts). If no-one is allowed to ask for any sort of discount, how are these decisions made? Does God reveal who is meant to get a discount?
To be honest, these financial details are not my main concern however, there is another aspect that concerns me more, and that is the appalling record of pastoral care shown by the Directors of the company running the Cedars School of Excellence. (The point Blackwatch made about how people’s behaviour in one area is relevant to other areas.)
And yes, I am deliberately referring to the Directors, not “the leaders” as I want to remind people this is a Company, Struthers Memorial Church Limited, which has a legal constitution. As indicated above, this company runs a number of ventures – churches, coffee shops/ bookshops and the Cedars School of Excellence. As Directors of the company, the Company Directors have a responsibility for pastoral care in their various activities, especially where young people are concerned.
We all know that, in one of these activities (the churches) their record of pastoral care is appalling. That can be seen form the testimonies on this site, and in the lives of the many current members of the church who are despondent or depressed – over 50% of some congregations it seems. I have no idea how the pastoral care works in Cedars School, but I do think the record referred to above is relevant when it belongs to the same company and the same Directors. I also worry that the people managing and delivering that care have a very unusual view of life. Apart form anything else, it seems that many of them stay in a sort of Struthers commune and have very little exposure to the real world. Do parents know this when they enrol their children?
In case people are not aware of it, it might be worth mentioning that there was also a teenage pregnancy at Cedars a year or two ago. It was all hushed up, as you would expect of Struthers, and the girl was “invited not to return”. Interesting that – the boy was able to return, but the girl wasn’t. Now why would that be? Could it possibly be that people would have noticed that the girl was pregnant and that might have spoiled the reputation of the school? Was it financial perhaps, as the boy was paying full fees? What hypocrisy. If the care and support in the school was any good, they would want to keep the girl at school and offer a supportive environment, not remove her and leave her to fend for herself.
That is exactly the kind of thing most Christian charities were set up to support – people who found themselves in difficult circumstances - irrespective of any perceived blame. Struthers has exactly the opposite view of pastoral care however – their view is, “if anyone disagrees with me, they must be wrong and I want nothing to do with them.” I do not think that most parents would expect that in a school linked with a church, which is why most won't even ask the question.
Anyway, so much for the idea that, “one of the reasons why SMC leaders wanted to set up their own school was because there was too much sexual activity going on openly at school amongst pupils in state schools, and they wanted to protect children from that.” (quoted by Rensil.) That obviously didn't work, did it! This is just the usual SMC leadership arrogance – we say it will protect people, so it will. No need for strategy, training, experience of life or anything like that, just an assertion that they are saying it will be so, so it must be right; followed by denial when it proves to be wrong.
Finally, I think it was Madrake who said, “unless they are schizophrenic...”. Well, I can’t judge that, but you do have to remember that the HeadTeacher of Cedars described her own school council as pointless (see the Humiliation Sermon on Latigo). If she choses to link the church and the school by preaching about the school form the pulpit, it is difficult for us or parent to see them as separate ventures.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/27/2012 10:21PM by ThePetitor.