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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: May 10, 2013 07:30PM

What constitutes appropriate roughness towards a child is something many people and cultures and eras have different views on and whether the latest ideas our society has on that are enlightened thinking or PC gone mad may be an interesting debate.

Yet whatever we debate and agree about society Struthers can choose to ignore. But there is an aspect of this issue they cannot ignore.

The massively important thing in relation to Struthers Memorial Church is what they as an organisation think constitutes appropriate roughness towards a child. That is a much bigger problem for them right now which may shortly threaten their ability to continue unchanged, or even continue at all.

Let's take the example of the removal of the child by the pastor leading the Cumbernauld meeting which Covlass reported and others witnessed.

As far as the 6 directors of the charity are concerned and according to their own child care policies the question is – was that acceptable conduct for someone in the Struthers charity?

If it is acceptable conduct - why is that different from the much clearer, gentler and more child centred policy in the Cedars School of Excellence? Their publicly available policy makes it abundantly clear the child in a similar situation would be shown care and respect while being dealt with; with full parental consent and involvement. Physical restraint would be an absolute last resort and only used in the child's best interests – such as if they were placing themselves in danger. So why does the one Struthers charity operate as if it has two different childcare policies?

If it is not acceptable conduct - then the incident needs to be investigated by the other 5 directors (or their representatives) and if the Cumbernauld leader on this occasion acted outside of the Struthers Memorial Church childcare guidelines she should be disciplined. Presumably if she then ever repeated such a breach of charity policy she would be sacked and banned from ever being involved in Struthers Memorial Church again.

It has to be one or the other.

In the meantime OSCR are reviewing as part of their programme the charity childcare policy and (again regardless of our or society's views) if the 6 directors want to put in their childcare policy a clause indicating that a pastor in their churches can storm off a platform and remove a child from her meeting and publicly shame them later - good luck to them writing that in. OSCR and social services will decide if it is acceptable.

But we all know that no such policy exists. We all know that according to their childcare guidelines (not society, or what the leaders might really think God wants, but their own charity guidelines) what happened in this incident must surely constitute unacceptable behaviour in this charity.

If it is not allowed by their policy it must not happen.

If it is reported that it has happened they must investigate.

If it is found to be true (and outside of their policy guidelines) they must act in the interests of protecting children.

So we ask again - what action has been taken?

As we have discussed in the last few posts - society can think they should be stronger or milder. In the meantime they have committed to a documented childcare policy and OSCR (and we) will hold them to it. The 6 directors are becoming very well aware right at this moment that if they are found to be operating policies which are designed to portray them as meeting their duty of care to children but then don't follow them through – perhaps when it is certain “special” or “spiritual” people who are accused – that is no longer acceptable.

I am confident that that message is a very current and relevant one in the ears of the Struthers executive this week and that it is not one they are any longer going to be able to avoid. In the terms of Archbishop Lauds first recent mail – he is quite right that we as a forum would find it quite challenging to build an evidence case for abuse. We all accept that would be difficult though we don't all think it would be impossible.

But that is not what is happening right now. All we have to do right now is properly and legitimately raise our concerns. It is for Struthers Memorial Church to then do the hard work of proof and convince the charity regulator they have policies that conform to requirements; prove that the issues we raise that look like abuses are transparently not; and prove with evidence they always follow those policies in every part of the charity. If they can prove that beyond any doubt they will be able to continue as a charity - with any changes agreed forever now in place.

As the 6 directors meet this week and in the next few days to stare into the abyss they have created by getting this wrong for so long the question now is - can they produce that evidence? Many of us do not think they can. But we do all agree the process is that they will now be given the chance to. Fair enough.

On this example and in many other areas of the charity's operation the 6 Struthers directors will be working hard over the next few days to prove their conduct to be correct according to charity guidelines and that they always operate with all required transparency and openness.

We look forward to the outcomes, which will all be made public by OSCR.

The clock is ticking.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chris19 ()
Date: May 10, 2013 10:18PM

CoveLass wrote "In fact it was the leaders who were supposed to be there to protect the flock, that were doing the harming".

I feel this is very succinctly put. As a teenager who was hungry for more of God I made the fatal mistake of placing trust in leaders who purported to know how to help me in my spiritual quest. I was encouraged to lie and deceive my parents in order to keep a connection with the church and looking back I now believe the leaders wanted there to be estrangement because it would (and did) increase my dependence on the church and give them more sway over me. The constant calls in lengthy sermons for critical introspection, death to self and sanctification resulted in an erosion of identity , confidence and self-esteem at a critical developmental stage. Was I damaged? Absolutely. Have I recovered? Yes but the scars remain.

Ifellaway's post of 6 May raised the interesting point of whether questioning a young girl about sexual sin constituted abuse. Personally I’d be wary of regarding it as abuse but if the questioning was intrusive and detailed, I would probably view it as ethically questionable and inappropriate. I presume you mean a female leader doing the questioning otherwise additional concerns arise. It brought back to mind one of the leaders who would regularly say that they could detect a certain look or “shadow” on someone’s face when they were struggling with sexual sin (or at least what the leadership deemed to be sin). Perhaps this was why some people confided intimate details in an attempt to “be clean” rather than risk it being discerned and exposed. It should also be said that not all the leaders held people’s struggles in confidence and on occasion details were passed on to others not directly involved in the “counselling”. This was an outrageous breach of trust and confidentiality but as they were unqualified and not ordained there was no code of conduct or governing body to appeal to.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Archbishop Laud ()
Date: May 11, 2013 03:46AM

Hello again.

Alas, I have offended one at least of the other recent contributors and I apologise for that, unreservedly.

I am certainly not accusing anyone of lying. I believe that all the factual claims made on this forum, including of course my own in earlier posts, have been genuine. All I have probed is the interpretation placed on some of the recollections.

Nothing of what I have read constitutes child abuse, that remains my opinion.

There are quite a few children in our society suffering terrible abuse and there is nothing that angers me more than that. But it does not help their case--in fact, it diverts attention away from them--to widen out the accusation of child abuse to attitudes and practices that we might not like but which do not hit the threshold of real abuse.

We should not follow political or pedagogic opinion on this issue, but common-sense and God's law. People are increasingly being arrested in the streets of Britain for preaching the Bible. That is where the wisdom of the world has brought us.

I repeat, based on years of experience, that in my view there is not now, never was, and never will be any child abuse in Struthers Memorial Church. Period. There are many other things wrong with the Church but that is not one of them.

You may recall that some, including Rick Ross, the moderator, whose efforts deserve a spiritual knighthood, by the way, took exception to my statement much earlier that SMC is a misled church, but not a cult. I stick to my guns on that too. It is not a cult, because it is basically theologically orthodox. This is easily verifiable.

If you don't like my line on child abuse, I am sorry. But it does not make me a Struthers mole; I am anathema to them, as is everyone who leaves, especially those like myself who actually confronted their errors forcefully before being frozen out.

Since I believe in and try to practise Christian charity, including respecting people's feelings, I wish to apologise again to the sister who was offended by my last post. But since my views cannot be changed nor expressed otherwise, I feel that I must withdraw from this forum.

So adieu...I wish you all well.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: May 11, 2013 09:02AM

I honestly don’t understand what is meant by “the threshold of real abuse” I freely admit that I am not a social worker nor am I a legal expert. I accept that there may well be a difference between what constitutes abusive behaviour towards children and that which is legally defined or commonly accepted as ‘child abuse.’

I know that many here have testified that they still bear the scars of their treatment at the hands of Struthers leaders. I’d argue that for them, it was real enough. They may not have been sexually assaulted or repeatedly punched, but I think their emotional scars speak volumes as to the treatment of Struthers leaders towards some young people.

I would say that the whole reason that Struthers church is even mentioned on this forum is because people have found their behaviour abusive, harmful and cruel. I believe their behaviour is an abuse of power, the act of a bully and a form of spiritual abuse. That this is done towards adults is one thing, behaving this way towards children is quite another. I certainly could not see Jesus, who said “suffer the little children to come unto me” treating anyone in the way Struthers leaders treat their church members. Children do not always have the choice of getting up and walking out. Even if they attend the church out of choice, they often do not have the maturity and social skills needed to realise that the leader’s behaviour is harmful and unacceptable and that the best course of action is to leave. Many have said how hard it is to pluck up the courage to leave as an adult, never mind as a teenager.

So, does abusive behaviour towards children count as child abuse? I really have no idea if the actions of Struthers leaders towards children would or could give rise to legal proceedings. I think Chesterk55 has hit the nail on the head in that there appears to be a massive contradiction between the attitude towards children in Struthers church and the attitude towards children in Cedars school. Hopefully this will soon be addressed.

Finally, I have worked with children and young people for many years and I have never found having a child protection policy overly restrictive or PC. Yes there were times when such work was frustrating and deep down there were a few times when momentarily, I could have ‘cheerfully strangled’ one or two of the kids in my care (LOL.) However, there were only two occasions when I have found the need to man-handle any young person. The first was to stop two boys from beating the living daylights out of one another and the second was to stop a child from running out into oncoming traffic. Funnily enough, I have never had the urge to belittle them in front of their peers, tell certain members that I didn’t care about them or that they would never be good enough to please God.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: May 11, 2013 11:05PM

Quote
CovLass

Finally, I would like to state for the record to anyone who is reading this, that I am willing to stand up and be counted and to give testimony in public of my experiences and f the things I have witnessed in my short time at Struthers Memorial Church. I would be willing to give testimony n a court of law if need be, about how I saw the young girl who was grabbed by her arm and physically dragged from a meeting by Diana Rutherford.

God bless

Thats a step forward Covlass. So bearing this in mind, would you be prepared to "come out" publicly by joining a FaceBook group or page ?

If it were a group, such groups can be public or private.

It one is set up as private then invites to join can be sent to anyone who is in struthers and wants to object or concur.
by doing it this way your testimony can still be kept private from all your family members, friends and workmates etc that you dont want to reveal all your experiences to - on Facebook.

But we can invite any SMC member or ex members we choose on Facebook into the group. This way you can go public in stages.

SMC people will - if the want to and are permitted to join the group - be able to see who is making the claims. And can dispute them there.

This way it limits who sees the "Witnesses' while providing proof that the critics are REAL.


So for example we could invite Diana Rutherford and all the leaders to the group. We could even send invites out to any SMC members we choose - providing of course they are actually on FaceBook.

And in fact even if NONE of the culprit leaders will do this, we could invite other SMC members you know, and all it takes is ONE or two current SMC members to join and see exactly WHO is making the accusations and they will then be able to verify that the witnesses are real.

Of course chances are that several people here including Covlass are well known already - but it is a step inti the light that they will find harder to ignore - since now the "accusers" ( or some ) have actually come out of anonymity.

Such a thing like this HAS to be the next stage, otherwise I fear this thread will just be brushed off as a talking shop.



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 05/11/2013 11:17PM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: May 12, 2013 12:04AM

It strikes me again Clive you have not been paying attention.

You claim your Facebook page idea (which many rejected the last time you proposed it)

"is a step inti the light that they will find harder to ignore".

Many of us have said very clearly on this forum that we have sat face to face in front of the leadership of Struthers and put these points to them face to face.

There was no anonymity. We had been in their congregations for years. They refused to answer us. Some of us they refused to even speak to ever again.

Anonymity is not even a small part of the problem.

At the time they got away with this because there was no overseeing body that would bring consequences to bear on them if they refused to answer us. That has been true for the last 55 years. As of last week it is no longer the case.

We also know the Struthers leadership talk about the websites frequently and do not "brush them off". When they talk about them they try hard to convince people that they are something they in fact take very seriously which is what they call "Satanic opposition". While they tell their people the websites are full of lies and falsehood they have still never explicitly contradicted any specific allegation.

I think your proposal is based on a poor understanding of the situation. What is happening here in this forum, and because of this forum, is now having a dramatic effect on the situation. Some of us are very pleased with recent news to several of us from OSCR (the Scottish charity regulator) about how seriously they are taking many of the the issues we have been discussing on here for the last couple of years.

At this point if Struthers make a wrong move in dealing with the questions they now face they could loose their charitable status. For that reason I would suggest there has never been a time that the Struthers people would be less likely to get involved in a Facebook discussion.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: May 12, 2013 01:09AM

Quote
Archbishop Laud

People are increasingly being arrested in the streets of Britain for preaching the Bible.

Hmm - doing a quick Google - it seems just to be multiple stories about one incident with a preacher named Dale McAlpine.

It this WAS to become more common, we'd be hearing a lot more oabout it from the Telegraph and Daily Mail who never miss an opportunity to report on
accusations of christian persecution etc.


Were this actually to become true, then I would be very worried. In the USA its a lot worse. Police seem to be tasering and arresting people for virtually anything.
just kissing in public or not doing things exactly as the officer instructs gets you in trouble.

Freedom of speech means freedom of speech. I dont actually think this is happening in this country. Maybe the occasional police officer misjudges the situation, but Christians here are the privileged ones.

Were this to become a real issue then you would have secularists and atheists happy to march in protest alongside christians and others condemning such restrictions to speak ones mind freely.

Freedom of spech includes the freedom to offend without fear of arrest or retribution.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2013 01:11AM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Clive ()
Date: May 12, 2013 01:20AM

Quote
Chesterk55
It strikes me again Clive you have not been paying attention.

You claim your Facebook page idea (which many rejected the last time you proposed it)

"is a step inti the light that they will find harder to ignore".

Many of us have said very clearly on this forum that we have sat face to face in front of the leadership of Struthers and put these points to them face to face.

There was no anonymity. We had been in their congregations for years. They refused to answer us. Some of us they refused to even speak to ever again.

Anonymity is not even a small part of the problem.

At the time they got away with this because there was no overseeing body that would bring consequences to bear on them if they refused to answer us. That has been true for the last 55 years. As of last week it is no longer the case.

We also know the Struthers leadership talk about the websites frequently and do not "brush them off". When they talk about them they try hard to convince people that they are something they in fact take very seriously which is what they call "Satanic opposition". While they tell their people the websites are full of lies and falsehood they have still never explicitly contradicted any specific allegation.

I think your proposal is based on a poor understanding of the situation. What is happening here in this forum, and because of this forum, is now having a dramatic effect on the situation. Some of us are very pleased with recent news to several of us from OSCR (the Scottish charity regulator) about how seriously they are taking many of the the issues we have been discussing on here for the last couple of years.

At this point if Struthers make a wrong move in dealing with the questions they now face they could loose their charitable status. For that reason I would suggest there has never been a time that the Struthers people would be less likely to get involved in a Facebook discussion.


You make some good points.

I am interested as to how many posters here are women instead of men. Harking back to "Men are from Mars, Women Are From Venus" I sometimes wonder whether
I think and respond here "tactically" and choose to think in terms of a solution - how to actually "make something happen to address a problem", whereas ( it is claimed by some authors ) women tend just to want to talk about the problems they have encountered and aren't necessarily seeking "solutions".

Just my tuppeneth :)


However my hunch tells me that there is very little change of the OSCE withdrawing their charitable status.

Maybe you have insider information or have had correspondences from the OSCE to suggest otherwise, but I think they will slip through.

For starters the SMC leaders can simply point the OSCE to this thread and claim that its just basically two to five people who have been incessantly posting.

I think its a false and unproductive strategy as ArchBishop Laud suggests - to put so much emphasis on incidents of children being dragged out of meetings. Many people looking at these reports objectively, I think would tend towards interpreting things like ArchBishop Laud did recently.

There are so many other really destructive experiences reported here that would make a stronger impression on unbiased outsiders such as the OSCE.

Bearing in mind that the huge wealth of actual TESTIMONIES are now quite old - the vast majority being over a year or more, one could surmise that SMC leaders could simly tell the OSCE that there WERE issues in the past, they have been dealt with - and that is why NOW, there are no new similar reports coming out on the forum from recently leaving members - just a kind of critical "chatter".

And yes - of course the most recent newcomers are rightly thankful of the ongoing conversation here. I'm simply taking the longer view - bearing in mind the whole history of this thread. There was a time when new powerful testimonies were floding on to the forum over a period of a few months. Things have dried up testimony wise. I believe SMC leaders will be aware of this and surely it wouldn't be beyond them to use this to their advantage.

I would like to ask a question to the regular posters here ( and this isnt a rhetorical question btw ) :

How many of you still have interactions with persons inside SMC and are thus able to ascertain and verify what is going on RIGHT NOW inside the organisation ?



Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2013 01:37AM by Clive.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: May 12, 2013 04:30AM

Hi again Clive

Sorry to hear you have a hunch. Sorry to hear that atheists haven't yet conquered sexism.

Yet I don't think it would be rational for us to ignore the reality of the situation on that basis.

We very much have correspondence from OSCR.

The Struthers directors are being asked to answer the points we have discussed on this forum and raised with them. OSCR will deal with the complaints and responses and make public the outcomes.

Your theory is not correct. OSCR have not shown reluctance to investigate any complaint based on its not being recent (as you define it). Quite the opposite. The ludicrous length of time Struthers has left some of these issues unresolved seems to be a matter of real concern to them.

Where do you have any evidence that Struthers will lightly brush off the complaints and the charity regulator will meekly roll over and accept that? That is a fantasy. OSCR are showing themselves to be far from idiots or amateurs. Struthers will be required to provide hard evidence to the inspectors that things are being done according to legal and charity guidelines and that complaints have been resolved, that compliance and transparency are provable, and that all the trustees are trained and skilled in the legal requirements of their roles.

OSCRs job is to raise and report on the complaints. There is ample evidence on their website that they are well capable of doing that and they have held charities to serious account. About 20% of those they have inspected only retain charitable status on the basis of agreeing to significant changes and complete compliance to all the guidelines they signed up to when granted charitable status. And I'm not aware of any of those charities operating in the bizarre authoritarian way Struthers do and none of those inspected by OSCR so far – even on the basis of complaints – had long standing websites complaining about their teachings, leadership actions and charitable operations.

So I think the view of this forum and its value that you take in your last post is not based on facts, is negative, disrespectful of those who have posted and deeply unhelpful. In particular your view that any post on this forum that is a year old has lost its validity is a view only held by you. My view is that is nonsense.

“things have dried up testimony wise?”

950 posts, 40 plus people, heading for 3 years never far from the top of the most discussed organisation on this worldwide Destructive Churches thread, and multiple corroboration of the same patterns of appalling treatment, abuse of leadership - and the same reports of damaging consequences again and again. What are you looking for Clive? Suggesting that one new post would in some way be more valuable than that consistent evidence over two and a half years doesn't make any sense. Surely the power of the forum is the consistent patterns that emerge from beginning to end. That is certainly what I see.

Basing tactics on hunches and guesses which fly in the face of the facts is not likely to lead to a winning strategy.

And as to your last request – there is no point trying to get us to ask Struthers people what is really happening in their church. They don't know. Surely that is one of the points about 30 of the 40 anti Struthers posters have made on this forum. People still in Struthers read this forum to get information. There is far more information about what is really happening in the church here – even in 2 year old posts – than any of us ever got from the leadership in our time in Struthers.

That's kind of one of the points we've been making........



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/12/2013 04:42AM by Chesterk55.

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Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: CovLass ()
Date: May 12, 2013 06:58AM

Clive

I really don't think that setting up a Facebook group will solve anything. I'm not a gambling woman and I don't have a million pounds but if I was and I did I would bet the whole million that the Struthers leaders would not join such a group. Given that they have expressly forbidden church members to visit this forum and the Latigo site, I'm also guessing that no one who currently attends the church and intends to stay there will join either.

I don't quite follow where you are coming from. On the one you say the testimonies are irrelevant because they happened so long ago, that no new people have come forward and that Struthers leaders are just turning up their noses and brushing us off. Yet on the other hand, it seems you want to replicate this site on Facebook. I think this would be a pointless exercise and I really don't trust Facebook with sensitive information about myself.

As Chester says and you even say yourself, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out who I and many other posters are, from their testimonies alone. Also my chosen nickname makes it perfectly clear who I am. I recently spoke to a friend who told me they had been reading this forum and they said they knew exactly who CovLass was. Like Chester says, anonymity is not part of the problem.

As for the issue over the manhandling of a child, I used this as one example of what I see as the abuse of children. There have been many others, shared though the testimony of other people. Just as a side issue here. On May 8th Archbishop Laud states "They (Struthers) would never manhandle a child; it is inconceivable." Then on May 9th he refers to the physical dragging of a child out of a meeting and says "That is not child abuse either; grow up!" Either you believe it happened or you don't. But the definition of manhandling is "to handle (someone) roughly by dragging or pushing."

I feel that this has been focussed on to belittle other claims of abusive behaviour towards children. If this was the only issue or concern over child safety then yes, I too think it would be a little tenuous. However it is by no means the only issue of concern over child safety issues. Chris19 shares how he was encouraged to lie and deceive his parents for example. A shocking way to deal with young people!

You rightly say "There are so many other really destructive experiences reported here that would make a stronger impression on unbiased outsiders such as the OSCE." However, you somewhat confusingly follow that by saying

"Bearing in mind that the huge wealth of actual TESTIMONIES are now quite old - the vast majority being over a year or more, one could surmise that SMC leaders could simly tell the OSCE that there WERE issues in the past, they have been dealt with - and that is why NOW, there are no new similar reports coming out on the forum from recently leaving members - just a kind of critical "chatter". "

Either you think the testimonies will make an impact or they won't? Yes. I'm sure Struthers will do their very best to play down any complaints, but to say that they have been dealt with would be an outright lie. Not very holy or righteous is it?

As for being female and having a strategy, I have made it clear from the off what my reasons for posting on this forum were. I actually find it quite patronising that you suggest that women are here to merely "talk about their problems." I have real friends and a real faith in God and both of these helped me come to terms with the appalling way I was treated by Struthers leaders. My main 'strategy' was to make others who may be thinking of joining the church, of the truth behind Struthers. I did not find out until it was too late that SMC leaders could decide your friends, decide what sins you had committed (even if it simply wasn't true) and that it was a sin to dye ones hair or eat black pudding.

The recent turn of events with OSCR has changed things. It seems people in authority are sitting up and taking notice. I think I will wait and see the results of this myself before surmising as to what may or may not happen

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