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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: September 30, 2012 06:19AM

Squareone
I think the situation in the School won't be outright child abuse in any way, or it wouldn't remain open for long. I think it's more the set-up which Cbarb describes where there could be subtle teaching and manipulation going on, simply because the majority of staff are committed SMC members. However, many of the pupils don't come from SMC homes and the leaders know that parents of these pupils wouldn't want their children to be getting an extreme religious indoctrination of any kind or the children would be removed from the School - which means money wouldn't be coming in through their fees any more. So the kids do get the normal school curriculum.

There have been enough concerns raised on this Forum and on Latigo site to cause us to ask questions, though. Leaders not making it clear to church members who give generously to the church, where money was being taken from to finance the School and launch the i-pad deployment; no information on who gets a scholarship or sponsorship and how they are allocated; the School being called "our outreach now"; the School headmistress speaking disparagingly at a public SMC church meeting about a man who was a visitor to the School (see Humiliation sermon on Latigo site); other instances of the Headmistress speaking publicly about pupils and staff; staff consisting in many cases of family and friends.
We have to remember that SMC and its School is a charity and therefore they are subject to strict charity law and regulations.

Re the young girl who became pregnant, as far as I know, she was asked to leave the School. I suppose they wouldn't want a pregnant girl going about the School for other pupils to see. Their School was meant to be different from other schools in that regard??, so that must have been a problem for them. I don't know what support she has had but she has family support. The boy (father of the baby) was also a pupil at Cedars School. I don't know any more than that.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: September 30, 2012 09:26PM

Would even the subtle things not be picked up on over time? What is it now? 10 years? More?...

I saw maybe one or two parents from the school visit the church in the few years I was there so if it's an outreach (and it may well be!) it's not a successful one. To me they seem to be more interested in providing quality education ( I can't actually think of a negative reason for wanting to do that)..with maybe a hint of wanting to do it better than everyone else, which is probably a bit arrogant but surely the kids will only benefit from it.

The Headteacher needs to watch what she says in public as she'll look like a right numpty.

Surely if they're subject to strict charity law and regulations they must be adherhing to them or they'd have lost their charitable status by now and if the congregation don't know what's happening with their money - and if they want to know - then they really need to find out and they should stop giving until they're happy with the answers. The presence of this forum and others like it should make it easier for them than it's ever been since people are now watching and taking note of what goes on and have no qualms about putting it in the public domain.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/30/2012 09:38PM by squareone.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: October 02, 2012 09:38PM

Hi guys

It would be great to think that none of the SMC teaching creeps into the school, however I would be very surprised if the kids are not being told something of SMC tecaching along with their normal daily classes.

When you understand that SMCers believe wholeheartedly that they are the only ones who know the true answer to getting to heaven and no one else is going to make the grade. Do you really believe that the teachers are saying nothing about this to the kids they are teaching?

I very much doubt that they can keep their beliefs to themselves when they most likely believe that God gave them the school to make sure they 'save' as many young people as possible.

I grew up in the church so I know how they operate on you from a very early age and I find it impossible to believe that none of that is being borne out in their daily school lives. We were always encouraged to be adamant about SMC beliefs especially among school friends or work colleagues because that's when it's important to show what you believe and try to convert others to the same beliefs. It's actually very easy to slip into that mindset without even noticing how arrogant and single minded you seem to others.

To put it another way... If you are adamant that you have all the answers and everyone else is completely wrong, and therefore bound for Hell, you believe it is your DUTY to inform others of their folly and help them to find the 'true way'. If the Cedars teachers are not bringing at least some of the SMC teaching into the classrooms then they would be 'failing in their duty to God'. I can't see these particular teachers letting all those young souls slip through their fingers when they have the perfect oportunity to influence them in more than an academic way.

Call me cynical but it would take a lot to convince me otherwise because I've been through the 'grooming' throughout my nursery, school and university years and I've trodden the long road to re-learning and recovery of my personal walk with God. I know for sure that if Cedars had been around in my day they'd be praying in tongues in the school assemblies and laying hands on the kids. Perhaps, in this modern time, they can't afford to be so blatant about it because there are a lot more checks in place to safe-guard kids in schools but, even toned down a bit, the teaching is still as destructive as any other extremist teaching.

Squareone, you may feel that you are uncool but I still think you are cool and you have taken a severe knock to your confidence and feelings of self-worth but you're not alone and you are as important and cool to God as everyone else; regardless of how you feel about yourself God loves you dearly and so do we and that makes you cool, in my book.

The major problem the leaders of SMC have is the lack of love and respect they have for their fellow man and that makes them very UNchristian in every sense since the Bible teaches us that love is the GREATEST gift we have and everything else stems from it. SMC leaders do not promote love for your fellow man, quite the opposite as many have testified here, SMC leaders love themselves and expect the congregation to do the same; if they don't and they dare to question the leaders they are ostracised and criticised and accused of 'demon possession' or being 'faithless' or needing 'deliverance'. My best friend was accused of demon possession when she was only 12 years old and the impact of this screwed her up royally for the majority of her life. Even now she still has problems with loving herself and she pretty much worries constantly about her place in the grand scheme of things and she's almost 50 now!

To SMCers who are still following this thread I would say: look for the love coming from the pulpit - do you see it? Do you see the leaders reaching out to the troubled souls with love and respect? Are you being told to go out and love your fellow man (not just other Christians but EVERYONE)? Or are you being told to keep away from these types of people in case they make you unclean?

That's a rhetorical question though coz I already know the answer to it and REAL LOVE is sadly lacking these days on the pulpits of SMC. If there was real love there then they couldn't bear to live with themselves knowing how many people's lives they have actively destroyed and how many people's faith they have crushed over the years. It's a very sad fact that SMC leaders hold themselves up to be revered and are completely absolved from all wrong-doing because they are 'God's anointed ones'. Shameful!

Sorry, I know I can get long winded at times but when I start to write here I just can't seem to stop - my apologies.

Biiiig love and huge huggggs to all.
God bless xxx

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: October 03, 2012 03:36AM

ocht I just don't know to be honest cbarb, they may be concerned with people's souls, they may not be. They certainly weren't much interested in mine and you're right, that takes a bit of getting over. I still believe though, that some of them, even some who work in the school are good folks like..er, us! and I do have trouble imagining how anyone could crowbar in much smc stuff into the kids' school day but as you've said, that's not to say it's not happening..

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: October 04, 2012 05:28AM

I was reading over a few recent posts and was again reminded of the shares fiasco, for example:

Quote
Clive
Quote
Rensil

I presume in case new people found out and wanted to leave) as "perhaps the biggest test to come against the church and in that test, some people went down" i.e. they left the church, including someone she valued greatly who assisted her in leadership.

So Mrs Black was saying that God was testing the church and its members. And a sign of passing that test was whether or not the SMC members stayed after heading the details ?.

And if any SMC member chose to leave ( in disgust on presumes ) it was their fault for not having the "faith" to see it through ? They were clearly weak and not committed enough ?

Its almost as if no transgression by a leader would ever constitute a valid enough reason for any SMC member to leave.

In other words god was testing how loyal the congregation was to its leadership. COME WHAT MAY.

Yes, I think that is the point. People WERE being tested, but the test was whether their loyalty to an organisation built by man (or woman!) was higher than their loyalty to the truth. The Bible is full of stories like this that turn the "received wisdom" on its head. The people in Struthers think that those who passed the test were those that remained. Really? Why? What possible example or teaching from scripture would suggest that loyalty to a man-made institution was more important that following the truth? The whole idea is laughable.

It is now entirely clear that those who left were the ones loyal to God, or to their own conscience, and those that remained in Struthers were simply weak followers of a man-made religion that offers only confusion, depression and stagnation.

It is a shame that the sermons have been taken off-line, it would be interesting to hear what is going on now. I have not been there for 20 years or so, but, I can predict a few things -

(1) it will be totally self-centred - me, me, me - this is what God is saying to ME, this is the pain and suffering that is happening to ME, this is the wonderful way God is blessing ME.
(2) it will be someone else's fault - possibly those who post on this forum, possibly other Christians, possibly the congregation for not giving things up, possibly Satan for attacking them. One thing is sure, it will not be their fault, oh no, definitely not, that could never be.
(3) It will be full of vague promises about what God will do to bless them, His chosen people, with no justification at all of why they think they are His chosen people, or why He has apparently been promising this for 30 years but nothing has happened.
(4) it will be entirely unrelated to the needs of the world around them - not like the great Christians who worked with the poor and deprived, freeing slaves and prostitutes and standing up against evil.

Well, how did I do. A more accurate prophesy than most of the ones heard in Struthers perhaps?


Wake up and smell the coffee!

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: October 04, 2012 08:33AM

Yes, you did well, Petitor, in your prophecies. From what I hear, the sermons are just the same as they always have been, with the same teaching on how to aim for the highest heights (or deepest depths!) of holiness and never admitting that the leaders may have got things wrong. Yes, they still believe they are right and that they are superior to other Christians and churches. Why else would they cut contact with people who leave the church? Yes, it's us here who are in the wrong, deceived and backsliding. Of course we know that the leaders and the members who follow them unquestionly, view this Forum and the Latigo site as the works of the devil coming to attack their church and its people.

Funny that, because when I read Cbarb's posts and see how loving and caring she is to others who post here, and how she describes the lack of love within SMC, I tend to think it's the other way round. They are persecuting us and have not and are not showing love to those who are hurting and damaged by their actions over the years. Please, Cbarb, don't stop posting here - we love reading your thoughts!

Re the Cedars School, they held a ten year anniversary celebration of the School in 2009 in Greenock Town Hall, for which they sold tickets and which they hoped would bring in a large audience of relatives and friends connected with the pupils. This event was completely secular and consisted of choirs singing scottish and Proclaimers songs, dramas e.g. Macbeth, duets, highland dancing, recitals etc. It was very well done, I have to say, but in no way could it have been called a christian outreach or a method for getting people to come to the Church. We could have been at any school concert or display. The only visible link with SMC was the presence of some of the teachers acting in the dramas and, I think, the orchestra from SMC. I believe that the audience enjoyed the event thoroughly but I don't think it made anyone come to the church or come to faith in Christ. I'm just adding this to show that outwardly, the School often appears to be just like any other.

However, it is the children who are being brought up in SMC and go to the School and have all their pals in the school/church, who cause me concern. These kids are dwelling in such a narrow environment where they only mix with other SMC children and none from outside, in a bid to keep them pure and protected from the world and its ways. Cbarb has told us what it is like to be brought up in SMC and the detrimental effects it had on her. There are others in the same position who have posted previously. Fortunately, a number of SMC kids who went through the School, have not continued attending SMC with their parents after they left the school. So they've made their own choice even after coming through all that. Some are now unbelievers. It would be interesting to know how it affected them.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: October 05, 2012 09:52AM

Regarding the talk about love, or lack of it, people here have at times suggested a lack of pastoral care, particularly for the elderly who left
the SMC. Who were never visited.

From my fond memories of the distant days on the church I used to attend one thing always stood out, and that was the love and care for
congregants by the leaders and fellow members.

For example it was, and I believe is - common practice to invite your brothers round to sunday dinner after service. This applied to and was particularly
focused on those who were single, or who were alone - widowed, or maybe not going back to a fellow believer. There was a support net, so that such
individuals would get to - if not every week, certainly more than once a month. share a sunday meal with a fellow congregant.

And I remember being invited many times to the main leaders house for dinner, as well as most of the other leadership. And I wasn't in any way a teachers pet.

Even couples wold regulary invite each other round for a sunday meal, and I can tell you this really served to build a true sense of brotherhood.
As well as this, pastors and elders would make sure to do the rounds - as one expects of the traditional Vicar - to visit congregants in their homes, so they got quality time, and any personal problems shared.

Maybe things are different now that this church is grown well beyond 1000 on sundays ( I believe it actually has to have two services in the mornings now )
But I recently heard somone say they have a new policy to invite students who are away from their home town, and who attend the church - to a common sunday meal held after service in a kind of canteen there. And this is on top of house/cell/prayer/bible study group members inviting them to their homes for dinner.

There is a reason why sharing a meal and breaking bread are so central to the gospel story, and this is coming from an atheist !
Historically these kind of things were also central ( along with providing healthcare ) to explaining how early church christian numbers grew.

But in the 30 years or so I have had key members of my family attend SMC, I cannot recall a single time i've either heard of or observed cases where the SMC pastor from the satellite branch in my area

1) invited them to sunday lunch
2) made visits to them during the week simply for a cup of tea and a chat.

In short, everything seems to be focused on meetings and conferences.

But heres the thing - back in the day the church I attended used to have the same meetingitis, tongues speaking, laying on of hands, demon deliverance, altar calls, very long worship meetings etc- AND calls to holiness too, but the pastoral side of things, taking time to visit loyal ( or not so loyal ) congregants was ALSO done. Love was key.

In fact after a few years pastors saw that meetingitis was happening and chose to reduce the number of meetings. Its not quantity but quality in these things after all isn't it ?

I know of extremely loyal, committed and 100% pro SMC individuals who have not had barely ANY social or pastoral visits, or invites to sunday lunch by their pastor. Not that I ever hear any complaints of course. The people concerned are 100% into SMC, and I guess content - they've never known anything else.

To me, the word pastor barely seems to be applicable to this particular leadership. At least not in the traditional sense.

Is there this kind of aloofness and lack of visits/meal sharing amongs all the current top level leadership ?

Was it ever any different ?



Edited 10 time(s). Last edit at 10/05/2012 10:22AM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: squareone ()
Date: October 05, 2012 02:47PM

'I am not drawn to you. I do not regard you as someone I have any feeling of pastoral care for. If you improve you attitude and performance in the following ways ____________________
I may find I am interested in being involved in your spiritual walk at some time in the future. If you want to attend meetings at my church in the meantime, that is okay, but whether you do or not will make little difference to me.'


a part of the 'focus on the elite' article on the latigo site that struck a raw nerve with me and pretty much sums up my experience with regards to pastoral care. All of it said without words. Deliberately to harm? That I don't know, but I actually don't think so believe it or not.

I did hear from the platform that congregants should be careful about who they invite into their homes and am fairly sure it wasn't a physical safety issue that was being referred to.


But it seemed to me that for those for whom SMC works, it works very well. They have community and they socialise together. Looked nice.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/05/2012 02:59PM by squareone.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: October 05, 2012 08:09PM

Quote
squareone

I did hear from the platform that congregants should be careful about who they invite into their homes and am fairly sure it wasn't a physical safety issue that was being referred to.

Were they referring to anyone off the street or visitors or new members to the church ?

Sounds a bit like the policy is "don't invite people into your homes because their worldliness or satanic influence might spread to you"

So different to the gospel story.

Shows what little trust these people have in gods ability to take care of them, once members dare to make contact with the "unclean". Preach to them, pray for them, deliver them from demons by all means
but don't associate or break bread with them, because you might get infected.

There are of course precautions and steps one must take to ensure one doesnt invite dangerous people into their homes, but what about initing fellow congregants ? those who have been attending for
some time, years even - where there is little sign of dangerous behaviour ?

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cbarb ()
Date: October 05, 2012 09:10PM

Hi guys

Your prophesies are spot on, ThePetitor, more so than any prophesies coming out of SMC, where everything (as you rightly say) is about ME ME ME. Also, thanks Rensil for your lovely comment and I'll keep posting as long as I don't become boring with my lengthy chapters on the follies of SMC.

With regards to pastoral care, there was a time when it was different, Clive (at least in the outlying branches anyway). When my Dad ran the Port Glasgow church everyone congreagated afterwards at my Gran's for lunch. My Dad worked away from home (in Newcastle) all week and was only home from Friday night to Monday morning (my Mum ran the church through the week) but he still found the time to visit the Portonians who attended the church and some oldies and sick people who were brought to his attention by members of the church. Having said that though, my Dad is a very loving and caring man and would go out of his way to help anyone who needs it. Our house was always open to anyone who came for his help and we even had homeless people staying with us on many occassions. Also my Mum did a lot of work with alcoholic and drug-addict women in the area and did trips to the Chemist for prescriptions for people who couldn't get out easily themselves and I believe she was admonished for this work by the Greenock leaders who informed her that she was 'tainting' us by having these types of people around the house! I also wonder about whether or not the Port Glasgow church are still supporters of Tear Fund? When I was there the church were avid supporters of this very needy charity - does anyone know if they still keep this up?

I have never heard of any of the Greenock pastors doing anything in the way of pastoral care in their community. I don't know about outlying branches although I'm fairly certain that people like Johnny Hamilton, Hugh McConnachie, Jim MacAlree, Bobby Cleary, the pastors at Falkirk, Gorebridge, Edinburgh and branches down South did actually give some great pastoral care... Oh, I forgot, NONE of them are in SMC anymore!!!

The current pastors are so wrapped up in their own self-importance and holiness that they don't feel it necessary to even acknowledge anyone except their own cliques. Squareone, you are spot on with your observations and I don't believe either that this attitude is meant to deliberately harm but is a product of their introversion and total belief that they are somehow above everyone else on the planet and therefore don't need to show love and respect for their congregations, never mind their communities. I would bet my back teeth (if I still had them!) that these pastors can't even name some of their regular members who have been attending for years and years.

It's a shameful situation when pastors are telling their congregations NOT to reach out to their fellow man in trouble (unless they're NICE people) but to keep themselves 'holy' by avoiding the people who most need help. As Clive says, this is very UNbiblical and is in fact quite the opposite of what the Bible teaches us about love and respect for everyone around us. Even if we don't think these people are deserving of our love, God tells us to love them more because the more love we show the more love we receive and God blesses us richly especially when the work is HARD.

Walking with God was never meant to be easy because we would all just become mamby pambies if that were the case. The walk is hard in order to strengthen us - a body builder doesn't become Mr. Universe by sitting back and doing nothing, he has to work extremely hard to build up the muscle - and walking with God is no different, the road is long and hard but the rewards are worth the fight and we can be 'Glad in the Lord' when we see the fruits of our labours.

I wonder what fruits the pastors of SMC are reaping? I don't see them having a hard time or going out of their way for others and it seems to me that they prefer to tread the large easy highway rather than the steep rocky mountain path. They've wrapped themselves in so much cotton wool that they don't seem to be able to hear God let alone see the folly of their own teachings and how they compare to what the Bible actually tells us is important in life.

But we will carry on praying that one day the wool will disintegrate and the truth will be allowed to shine through - wouldn't that be something!

As always, biiiig love and huge huggggs to all.
God bless xxx

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