Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: WestofEast ()
Date: July 30, 2015 12:24AM

Hi everyone,

I stumbled across this forum by pure chance and have read the previous posts with interest. I've had a fair amount of contact with SMC and was more or less just interested in their history and practices.

Bit of background, I attended Cedars School in the late 90s/early 00s, and through this attended some of the meeting in the church in Greenock too. Although I consider myself a Christian, I no longer belong to a church, and I am posting purely as an objective observer.

I dont want to undermine or belittle anyone's experience of SMC, clearly people have been put through a lot of stress and sadness, and no church should do that to those in it's care. I am also not seeking to defend the practices of SMC, purely just to give some insight into my experience of it.

As I have already said I attended Cedars in the late 90s and early 00s. When the vast majority of pupils were the children of members of the church. (I was not, nor were my family particularly religious, I come from a Church of Scotland background). I previously read some posts about the original reasons for setting up the school, and how it was seen as a way for the children of SMC members to be educated outside "the world". In my experience as an 'Non-SMC' pupil, I never at any point felt any different to the other pupils. I was supported, encouraged and given numerous opportunities, for which I am very grateful. Now, as an adult (and a teacher) I can honestly say, I have never again experienced a more positive and caring school environment than what I experienced at Cedars. Yes the school had a religious aspect (hymns, prayers etc) but as a Christian School I expected no different. The beliefs and practices of SMC were never discussed let alone forced upon us, and I have to say my time at Cedars was a very happy one.

Continuing from this, after I left Cedars, friends, and staff (members of SMC) kept in touch, and were eager to know how I was doing. I still occasionally attended church meetings, and even a church camp, and always found the people (including the leaders) to be warm and engaging. Even now, if I meet a person who I know from SMC they take the time to find out how myself and my family are doing.

I dont agree with many of the practices of SMC, and from what has previously been discussed in this forum, clearly there are some major questions to be asked about the teaching and business of the church. However, in my dealings with any SMC member in my adult life, I have found them to be essentially good people, who are doing what they thing is right. With regards to the "religious aspect" I was brought to Christ through SMC, and for that I will forever be grateful, and whilst I never became a member, or even a regular attender, I still believe there was no ulterior motive, no control, just a desire on the part of the leadership of SMC to share the gospel.

I have tried to be as objective as possible, and perhaps share a different side of the the church that I experienced.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Phoebe2 ()
Date: August 06, 2015 11:03PM

I have only recently stumbled across this site (accidentally or providentially?!) and find myself very perturbed by much of what I’ve read. I am a retired missionary, whose experience of SMC goes back about 50 years, when I attended the Summer Camps (then at Wiston Lodge) almost every summer during my teens and early twenties. On a number of occasions I also visited the Greenock church, where I was given very warm and generous hospitality by church members, including Mr and Mrs Black and their three girls. As a rather gauche teenager, in those early years I was somewhat in awe of the Black girls, whom I considered to be very cultured and accomplished. I especially remember Mary Black as being strikingly good-looking, before she began to put on weight, and Grace (later Mrs Grace Gault) as quite shy but very kind and sweet – difficult to reconcile with the picture of her that emerges through some of the posts on this site. I found Mr Black to be very approachable at all times. He prayed for me with great compassion and understanding on a number of occasions, including the time that I began to sense a call to overseas mission, which he strongly affirmed. To me, Miss Taylor was (and remains) an enigma.

I continued to have intermittent contact with SMC during my years overseas, visiting the Camps and Greenock during each of my furloughs (i.e., about every 4 years or so over a period of some 20 years) with many very happy memories of the Struthers’ Camps in particular. The Camps were quite solemn occasions – I remember Mr Black referring to Camp as “a holy convocation” when trying to discourage “unseemly levity”! At the same time they were not all doom and gloom by any means. Outside of the meetings there was a lot of fun and camaraderie. I have some very positive recollections of climbing Tinto, teeth-chattering swims in the murky pool in the grounds of Wiston Lodge and occasional outings to buy fish and chips in Biggar or Lanark when the Camp menu failed to satisfy!

Initially I was very drawn to the SMC ethos, especially (as others have noted) enjoying the wonderful singing and “atmosphere” in the services. However, even in my early contact with the movement there were a number of things that I found difficult to reconcile with my own developing understanding of Biblical truth. Among other concerns I felt increasingly uneasy about the obvious preference for women in leadership. Quite apart from the theological implications of this practice, it seemed to me that, whether intentional or not, there was a failure to harness the potential of young men in the fellowship, giving them little or no encouragement to develop preaching, pastoral or leadership gifts. It also seemed incongruous (again as others have noted) that in spite of the emphasis on consecration and a disciplined life, some of the leaders were unhealthily obese.

I noted too very early in my contact with SMC the strange “mixed messages” that seemed to be communicated about marriage and/or singleness. It was very evident too that the leadership consisted of an esoteric “inner circle”, while at the same time none of the usual New Testament structures (e.g., elders, deacons) seemed to be in place. Also, as I got older both in years and in Christian experience, I found that each time I visited SMC I was less and less impressed with the preaching, in terms of a lack of solid Biblical exegesis – texts of Scripture were often simply used as a kind of “launching pad” for remarks which appeared to have very little to do with the actual message and context of the Biblical passage itself and more to do with the speaker’s personal agenda.

Perhaps most alarming was the increasing emphasis on the “demonic” and the need for “deliverance”. Don’t misunderstand me – no missionary who like myself has worked in a Third World country will doubt the reality of evil supernatural forces -- but the over-emphasis on this aspect of spiritual reality and particularly the way in which “deliverance” sessions were handled began to give me cause for deep concern. It seemed to me that a noisy floorshow brought more attention to the Enemy than to Christ Himself.

While very aware of these extremes, I would certainly not describe SMC as a “cult”. Their basic beliefs, as outlined in their Statement of Faith, are fundamentally orthodox and very similar to main-line Pentecostal and charismatic churches.

Thankfully, over the years I had other “models” of church beyond SMC against which to draw comparisons. Not only did I have the privilege of working overseas within an interdenominational mission which included godly men and women from across the denominational spectrum (including Pentecostals) but also when at home I belonged to a (Baptist) church where the Word of God was (and is) central, with pastors who alongside a rich, expository ministry truly love and care for their flock. This, I believe, is the key reason for the aberrations in SMC – the leaders in particular have little or no experience of the life of the Body of Christ outside of their own very limited circle. I had hoped that situation might have changed with the years and feel very saddened that so many SMC folk have been denied the enrichment of fellowship with the wider Church, largely it seems because of the elitist attitude of the leaders. Interestingly, I have met very similar attitudes among some (by no means all) of my friends who belong to what is commonly known as “Reformed Baptist” churches. Although these groups are right at the other end of the theological spectrum, believing as they do that supernatural gifts of the Spirit such as speaking in tongues are not valid for today and that women should NOT be in leadership (!), paradoxically a number of them exhibit many of the same characteristics as SMC – exclusiveness, certain “shibboleths” (vocabulary peculiar to their own circle), a certain dress code, etc., and (perhaps most telling of all) the conviction that they have THE Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth. As someone has said, “Extremes meet . . . back to back”.

This insular mind-set in SMC, plus the lack of leadership accountability, has surely led to some of the sad case-studies I have read. I used to be amazed in conversations during my visits to SMC that there was so little knowledge (if any) of the writings and ministries of 20th Century Christians such as John Stott, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Elizabeth Eliot, Jim Packer and Francis Schaeffer (to mention just a few) whereas others such as Kathryn Kuhlman, William Branham, Madame Guyon and Hannah Hurnard (a mixed bunch to say the least) were recommended reading material. To be fair, it was at Struthers that I was first introduced to the works of C. S. Lewis, for which I remain very grateful! How I wish I could now introduce folk there to the writings of Don Carson and John Piper, among others, who in more recent days have stretched my intellect, challenged my mind and heart and stirred my love for Christ.

With regard to the “atmosphere” in the SMC meetings (which someone on the CEI forum rather significantly described as “addictive”) -- in retrospect I believe that many of the experiences to which people testify are a kind of self-induced hypnosis (helped along by such practices as the spine-tingling group dynamic of “singing in tongues”). I also believe that some of these sensory experiences could very probably be the physical result of hyperventilation, caused by singing from the very bottom of the lungs. Others I believe have experienced what psychologists would identify as “an altered state of consciousness” (similar to that induced by Eastern mantras) brought about not only by the above factors but by an intense inner concentration on “meeting with God”. Of course the desire to know God and meet with Him is no doubt utterly sincere (it certainly was in my own case) – just as I believe the majority of SMC folk, including the leaders, are sincere. But that doesn’t make them right.

On a lighter note, I’m intrigued to learn that hats are “out” and trousers are “in”! That certainly was not the case in earlier days! In retrospect I think those traditions had a lot more to do with Mr Black’s Brethren heritage than any defensible theological position. Perhaps it gives a glimmer of hope that other things may change too in the future?

At one point, in very early days, I contemplated moving to Scotland to join one of the SMC churches. How very different my life might have been had I done so! How grateful I am to be (as Philip Yancey puts it) a “Soul Survivor”!! My prayer for those who have been hurt, wounded, damaged or disillusioned is that you will find freedom and healing, by whatever means God chooses to use – but hopefully that will include fellowship within a church which although it may not be perfect (it won’t be) is nevertheless a true community of grace. Such churches do exist! I can testify to that fact.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Rensil ()
Date: August 11, 2015 06:36AM

Hi West of East and Phoebe2.

Welcome to this Forum and thank you for your very interesting and detailed posts.
West of East, I'm glad and relieved that you had a good school experience at Cedars School. I wouldn't want any child or teenager to have an unhappy or pressured time at school. You must have been at the school from when it started as I think it opened for the first time in 1999 and was comprised mostly of children of SMC members at that time. I'm glad you weren't pressurised to start going to SMC meetings but I note that you did attend some meetings at SMC and even a Camp. This would have been what the leadership wanted. They do want pupils from the School to attend SMC activities. Just be glad that you didn't get further embroiled and become a member. Yes, folk from SMC will be nice to you when they meet you as you aren't a threat to their work and ideology. The School is a big part of SMC's vision and, because it is run as a type of business, then they need to make sure they get enough income to keep it going, so they have to present a good image to outsiders. Anyway, great to hear from you and that you're doing well in life.

Phoebe2, very interesting all you've written. I was surprised to read that your call to the mission field was affirmed by Mr Black, because when I was in SMC there was no encouragement at all to consider doing missionary work. Anyone who felt a call to this was talked out of it. The only call that was encouraged and pushed was the call to be part of, serve and give one's all to SMC. Not even evangelism but a call to "deeper life in God". And that applied to young folk too. How many are there who maybe should have gone out to the mission field but were talked out of it through the control and guilt message which came from SMC leaders. I certainly know of one girl who gave up her missionary call to stay in and commit herself to SMC.

There are some links to mission work now in SMC, I hear, through a connection with Central African Mission, CAM, and one with a Rwandan charity, plus, not so recently, a couple with Wycliffe Bible Translators. But there are still very few who actually go out from SMC as missionaries. I don't see a lot changing, Phoebe2, because SMC think they are right and that they have a special line to God and that other Christians aren't as holy as they are. It's still not approved in SMC to go to other churches or Christian conferences, so they are still very insular. I believe it's now OK to attend the local Women Aglow meetings: this was banned by Mary Black during my time in SMC as she said she didn't want young folk mixing with Aglow ladies. Oh, dear! What would have happened to them?!

Blessings and love to everyone on here.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Phoebe2 ()
Date: August 11, 2015 08:07PM

Hello Rensil --

Yes, I had noted the disinterest where overseas mission is concerned during my exposure to SMC -- another of the things that niggled. Perhaps one of the factors in my favour was that the mission with which I went out East had originally been founded by Hudson Taylor, one of Mr Black's heroes! I'm VERY glad to learn that there is now at least some missionary interest in the Struthers movement. A small but significant change?

Yours in the fellowship of SMC survivors!

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: September 18, 2015 05:44PM

Welcome WestofEast, good to have your contribution. I am glad your experience in Cedars was so positive. I think it is really important to be objective, as I think that the worst organisation can have positive aspects, and the best can have aspects that are quite worrying.

I personally do not believe SMC leaders are evil and wrong in all they do, but neither do I believe they are super-holy and right in all they do. The problem is, the latter is what they claim – perfection and infallibility which cannot be questioned. As we know, this is recorded in sermons, so is the “on the record” view of SMC, it is not just someone’s opinion.

Phoebe2, great to have your comments as well. I am sure that your analysis of some of the “oddities” of SMC in the early days is correct. The problem is that there were no check and balances. The leaders never went to the congregation to say – “what do you think – is this working well?”

If they had simply treated people as contributors rather than some sort of lower class with nothing to offer, I think the organisation would be in better shape today. (Curriculum for Excellence anyone? It says we should all develop to become effective contributors. – how can they endorse that for the school yet deny it in the church context – do they believe people should grow up to be effective contributors or don’t they?)

Anyway, the main reason I am commenting is that I am reading about the power of cults, (take back your life, by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias) and would like to quote a number of passages. Yes, I know I am using the word “cult” and that will offend some, but you can ignore the terminology if you like, the question is whether the practices described or the impact of these practices apply to those in SMC.

(If you are interested, SMC would be considered a cult in terms of the definition given by these these authors, as it is very much about how they behave, not what they believe.)

Either way, here are some interesting quotes:


It is extremely attractive to be able to suspend individual judgment and repose one's faith in the leadership of someone who conveys with conviction and certainty that he has the answers, that he knows the way, be it the Reverend Moon or Reverend Jim Jones, Adolph Hitler or Ayatollah Khomeini. Particularly through skillful use of rhetoric, such a leader persuades his needy audience: "Follow me and I will take care of you. Together we can make a new beginning and create a new society. The fault is not within us but out there, and the only barrier to the happiness, peace, and prosperity we deserve is the outside enemy out to destroy us.



Members are expected to be excessively zealous and unquestioning in their commitment to the identity and leadership of the group.



In cultic power structures with their systems of influence and control, leader and members alike have a role to play. For you, the member, the goal is to pit yourself against an impossible ideal and to continually criticize yourself for failing to achieve it. Meanwhile the leader's goal is to perfect a body of followers who will continually strive for that impossible ideal and laud the leader all along the way

OR what about the simplest quote


… Then he creates conditions so that his followers cannot or dare not test his claims.

Sound familiar? I think huge sacrifices have been made by members of the congregation, all to please the leaders. It is about time some of this was reciprocated, with leaders showing an interest in others and giving them a chance to contribute.

There may be those who argue that the loyalty is not to the leaders but to God but, really, what evidence is there that is the case? We all know the leaders promised a brave new world – that SMC would be at the centre of a revival that would sweep the land and make all the sacrifices worthwhile - but this simply has not happened. There is actually no reason to believe that the sacrifices made are for God at all. Things like not going to the cinema, not going on holiday, not getting married, not having a TV etc, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I know those making the were sincere in that belief, and I am sure that God often honoured the willingness to make sacrifices, but were not designed to benefit the individuals in their walk with God, they were designed to show how bad the congregation were and why the leaders cold never be questioned. As Mr Black used to say however – “people can be sincerely wrong”.

One of the things the book recommends is that people examine the sacrifices made to ask who they benefit – the leaders or the members. Given that the leaders have an interest in the organisation continuing and their own ministry being endorsed by others, I think the answer to this is fairly clear. The leaders have their Ministries. Every time they preach, they get positive approbation and recognition that reinforces their calling and ministry. What about other members of the congregation that also feel they have a calling or ministry – how do they get the encouraging feedback that reinforces their calling? The Bible teachers there are many different callings, but SMC only really recognises and encourages one calling – the calling to stand at the front, say that God is uniquely with SMC and criticise the members of the congregation. Seems to me it is all a bit one-sided and there should be a call for more recognition of the talents and contribution of the members.

St Paul emphasised the need for Effective Contributors even more then Curriculum for Excellence does. SMC has not until now really given any opportunities for members of the congregation to contribute and to grow in their effectiveness.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: ThePetitor ()
Date: September 18, 2015 06:04PM

Sorry to be hogging the show and putting up two posts in a row, but I am really enjoying the book I mentioned above, and I think there are some key messages for OSCR and others looking into Struthers as well, for example:


From our perspective, a group or relationship earns the label "cult" on the basis of its methods and behaviors- not on the basis of its beliefs. Often those of us who criticize cults are accused of wanting to deny people their freedoms, religious or otherwise. But what we critique and oppose is precisely the repression and stripping away of individual freedoms that tends to occur in cults. It is not beliefs that we oppose, but the exploitative manipulation of people's faith, commitment, and trust. Our society must not shy away from exposing and holding accountable those social systems (whether they be communities, organizations, families, or relationships) that use deception, manipulation, coercion, and persuasion to attract, recruit, convert, hold on to, and ultimately exploit people.

Amen to that! I have no wish to curtail religious freedom, but I do have a wish to curtail the activities of a group of self-centred leaders who are themselves curtailing the religious and personal freedom of others. OSCR need to look deeper than the words on paper and to see if there are indeed the kinds of systems mentioned above.



A matter we hope to shed light on in this book is the damage wrought by the so-called cult apologists. These individuals (mostly academics) allege that cults do no harm, and that reports of emotional or psychological damage are exaggerations or even fabrications on the part of disgruntled former members.

I have no idea why the OSCR review is taking so long, but I do hope that they do not end up as an apologist for SMC, alleging that SMC is not doing any harm without actually looking at the evidence from those affected. To make this sort of allegation that no harm was done against honest former members seems particularly heartless, and reminds me of what can often happen in cases of abuse – the abused goes to someone in authority for help, and the person in authority repeats the abuse by dismissing their claims without even giving them a voice. Not good.

I sincerely hope this will not happen with the OSCR review, but I do wonder if OSCR are indeed being taken in by all the clever rhetoric and ignoring the damage (“disbenefit” to use the OSCR word) that has been done to so many individuals. Seems like typical SMC behaviour to me – delay, delay, delay, then say, “Oh, but it was all so long ago, things are different now.”

If they are being fooled by the impressive rhetoric of the leaders, they might be interested to discover that this is actually predicted in the book (in the context of legal cases rather than a charity review, but I think you will see the application).


Often the rigid, controlling parent/spouse/leader will impress a judge or jury as self-assured and self-possessed, while the traumatized member may appear, anxious, hysterical, blaming, and angry (stemming at least in part from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder);

I wonder if the people at OSCR are able to go beyond this sort of surface judgement, or if they will fall for this totally predictable scenario and ultimately end up being pilloried in the press for their incompetence.

Anyway, another quote:


It is painfully obvious that cult life is rarely pleasant for devotees because the power imbalance in cults breeds injustices and abuses of all sorts. As a defense against the heightened anxiety that accompanies such powerlessness, many people in cults and abusive relationships assume a stance of self-blame. Typically this self-deprecating attitude is reinforced by the group's self-serving message that the followers are never good enough and are to blame for everything that goes wrong.



…leaders are unable to empathize with the pain of their victims. Cult victims engage in denial about this callousness because it's so difficult to believe that someone they love so much could intentionally hurt them

AND to once again finish with a short, simple quote:


Someone in distress is not important to them.

I guess that is one of the key ones for me. In fact, it is so important I am going to repeat it:


Someone in distress is not important to them.

It will be very interesting to see whether OSCR simply ask the question “do you know any of your followers who are in distress because of the actions of the church?” (very easy to answer glibly) and, “what are you going to do about it?” (future tense, so also easy to answer by writing a policy), or whether they go on the ask, “what have you done to address this – can I see the evidence not just from you, but from those you have now approached in reconciliation”? (shock horror probe scandal – actually asking for evidence!)

While I am on, I will add one other quote – this time from the Struther’s website:


While officially the Executive Council has been replaced by the Board of Directors, in reality the task of overseeing the work of the Fellowship continues as it did previously with Mrs Gault carrying the overall responsibility for the work, supported by the other directors and the members of the whole Fellowship.

Yup, that sums it up. They send a document into Companies house and OSCR saying they are democratic and there is a legally acceptable arrangement of Trustees, but the reality is it is all for show. The real authority lies with just one individual.

To me, this confirms at least three things:

1) They are not really interested in change, they fully plan to go on doing what they have always done.
2) They just say the right things to get the regulators off their back, whether this is OSCR or Companies House, the reality (their word, not mine!) is different.
3) They are quite happy to lie on legal documents, including the documents submitted to companies house.

OSCR are going to look culpable as well as negligent if they ignore this duplicity. I think OSCR need to put a Trustee in to monitor actual practice, not just the words. Anyone up for signing a petition to that effect? That would be interesting!

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cheerylizard ()
Date: September 29, 2015 03:38AM

Fascinating to read what is going on in SMC and people's response to it. I think @Phoebe2 has hit the nail on the head, from my experience: insular and theologically unsound would pretty much sum it up. It's not a cult though.

I am far from being an apologist for SMC and their bizarre ways, but I think it should be noted that OSCR did in fact exonerate the group and the investigation is officially closed.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cheerylizard ()
Date: September 30, 2015 02:36AM

I've now had a chance to read through this forum. All 140 pages! Stick with me on this post please ... I'm more on your side than SMCs and could post in the future some extremely damaging information about SMC, if I felt so inclined. I am not a member but have been closely associated to SMC people in the past, over quite a long period of time.

While it's interesting to see people coming out with their stories, unfortunately all this effort has been a complete failure in terms of holding the SMC leadership to account. Not only has SMC basically ignored you and gone into its shell, but now OSCR have totally rejected any claims of bad practice and have even apologised to the SMC executive about the process. Maybe you need to consider that earlier posters had a point when they warned the regulars here that taking the approach of attacking the financial and charitable aspects was not going to work. Also it maybe is not the cleverest idea to stomp all over pro SMC posters who are trying to work out what the verifiable details about mismanagement etc. actually are!

So a change of tactic is clearly needed. My question would be: what information do you regulars have on the current leadership that could bring some pressure to bear? The latigo site has stopped updating which suggests no one has access to recent sermons. I don't think stories of how bad Miss Taylor was in the 70s are going to arouse much interest anymore. I'd be interested to hear from the likes of ThePetitor what he/she plans to do now the accusations about the charity are not going to stick.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: Chesterk55 ()
Date: September 30, 2015 07:19AM

Hi Cheerylizard

Just not sure what you mean by "exonerate".

Having read the report, and some of the covering letters OSCR have issued, Struthers Memorial Church have not been exonerated.

I would agree that OSCR have not acted to shut them down as a charity but that was never likely. OSCR have never shut down an active charity with income. Nor was that what many of us thought would be the likely outcome.

What the OSCR report & replies to complainants say is:

They have noted that many people have found their experience of the charity, in particular leaving a congregation, to have caused them personal distress.

We agree and are glad it has been officially acknowledged.

They looked at whether the trustees of SMC had acted consistently with their duties under charity law and concluded that there are some areas with room for improvement.

We agree

OSCR say in particular they need to do better at general governance

Something Struthers have consistently claimed there was no fault in


the handling of grievance and discipline matters

something we have highlighted here for years and now is publicly agreed by OSCR. A complaints proceedure must surely follow. Is it on the Struthers Website yet?. Is it going to operate in a fair and publicly accountable way? We hope now that it will.

To address the governance weaknesses OSCR have given the Struthers trustees a "very detailed" set of recommendations and asked them to take action to address these.

None of this is either a surprise to the people on this forum or will be to any person who attends. It is certainly not "exoneration".

It is good news that Struthers now have to live in a place where they are accountable to an outside body. For the first time ever they have to meekly accept the recommendations of an outside agency. Personally I am very pleased that that is now the case. I hope that the actions and behaviours of the leadership will now reflect that accountability and significanly improve.

In another part of the report the trustees seem to have convinced OSCR that though many people leave Struthers unhappy (all now agree) formal exclusions (ie banning people from attending public services) are not undertaken simply on the whim of the leaders but were justified because the leaders only rarely ban people from attending public services in Struthers and only do so “if it is in the best interests of the charity.”

No doubt in future how that decision was arrived at and what best interest is understood to mean will be communicated in writing to anyone being banned from attending SMC. Many people outside of SMC will be surprised by this admission that banning people from attending happens at all.

Still on this issue - I personally find this strange:

According to the websites about Struthers Memorial Church there have been many people banned from many branches. It has been one of the main tools of control in Struthers. If the trustees have been honest about this it is hard indeed to see how the conclusion has been arrived at that banning is "rare".

Yet we can only now conclude that if the trustees have been truthful, and that Struthers is an honest organisation before God, that we will now all see that banning will become as rare as they have claimed.

Or else they will be proving that OSCR was intentionally misled.

So Cheerylizard while it is agreed the investigation is now closed - clearly the recommendations from OSCR to Struthers in their "detailed letter" have yet to be implemented.

So we will still be watching for a while yet to see changes many on this forum have been asking for; and which now OSCR and presumably also the Struthers trustees agree are needed.

Re: Struthers Memorial Independent Pentecostal Church
Posted by: cheerylizard ()
Date: September 30, 2015 04:10PM

Hi Chester

I can sense your frustration but please take a step back for a moment. Cheerylizard is not your problem, I am only pointing out what the general public and SMC members are hearing and will believe (so don't shoot the messenger). And I am not saying you don't have a point etc. etc. or have not been hurt. But please don't make the mistake you and others have made before on this forum of simply getting angry at people who don't agree with your point of view entirely. Had you looked more objectively at what some of the pro SMC posters were saying you might have made a stronger case to OSCR with points that might have stuck. In some ways your complaints have made it worse. If OSCR accept that banning is permissible under certain circumstances then that can be used in the future to ban people.

You quote a personal correspondence between you and OSCR. Could it be that OSCR are telling you one thing, to make it seem like they took you seriously, but telling SMC and the general public another? I think so. Read between the lines and you'll see OSCR are definitely not holding SMC to account in the way you imagine. Everyone around SMC is really quite cheered by the OSCR news and consider it an exoneration. It has been publicly stated by leaders on a number of occasions now that senior OSCR officials apologised to SMC for their poor handling of the investigation. From SMC point of view, It will all blow over and all that will remain is an official statement that they could do things a bit better but basically everything is okay. Just another charity that had room for improvement. SMC is not going to make the "detailed letter" public.

Fair enough, all that does sound a bit harsh to you. I do have a story to tell about SMC which would shock many people but droning on about charity regulations does not seem to me to be the way to get their attention. I can tell you for a fact that most members and certainly the leaders dismiss this forum as full of mad people. The anonymity does not help because some of the posters who can be identified unfortunately are known to have proper mental illness and so you all get tarred with the same brush.

So, Chester, sorry if this sounds harsh. I'm not trivialising your issues but I think it's time to accept it has had very little impact and a change in tactic might be called for. What do you think?

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