Kevin Williams of Grace Fellowship Manchester (formally Puritan Fellowship Manchester)
Date: January 09, 2019 02:52AM
I decided to stick my neck out and tell my experience of a popular reformed preacher, Kevin Williams, and the church he runs in Manchester, England Uk.
I had been a member for a few years after moving to the area to join the congregation. I had thought the pastor cold, but decided that he likely just lacked people skills and I thought he had good teaching for the most part. I loved the fellowship and saw something I could become a part of, contribute to and find my place serving God in.
However all was not as it seemed and after a few years there he had already accused me of several things, which were quite untrue, but told at least a few others of theses FACTS. I was a bit disturbed, I saw some gossipers among the flock but I wasn't too bothered over all, it was a small price to pay and we all get things wrong.... benefit of the doubt and all that.
This all come to a head out of the blue one day, Kevin came to see me with a list of accusations. There were no questions, he "could not tell me his sources" for most things stating that they were too scared of me so he would not do that to them... and he told me I must repent and that they were not going to say anything to anyone else at the moment.
This was on Friday evening. I was reeling but I went to church on Sunday only to find that half the congregation had been text with a warning about seeing me in any close capacity and warning them of how dangerous I was. I confronted Kevin about it and he told me he had felt it needed for the safety of others. Had one friend not shown me because she was so disgusted, then I would not have known why the fellowship dried up outside of meetings for me.
I was away at the midweek prayer meeting but returned to discover Kevin had some more false accusations, different ones, ones he had not informed me of at all, and had been announcing them to the congregation at the prayer meeting, again as FACT, again before even verifying the rumours he had heard - or made up himself. I had a meeting with him on the Sunday and gave evidence disproving all but one of his claims - which was too hard to prove myself on as it related to my motives.
The main "victim" of my supposed behaviour, and the topic of accusations announced in the prayer meeting, was present and she actually told him straight that he had got the accounts wrong and that he himself was actually guilty of one of the actions he had accused me of.
Knowing he knew the truth on all but one accusation, and certainly all those he had made public as fact by then, but having no apology and being told I needed to repent yet again... I spoke to the Lord and left it a whole month.
After a whole month he made no apology and never publicly made right the things he had said about me, verbally, publicly and in text to some of the congregation.
I was allowed to break bread and pray in the prayer meetings, but Kevin had basically ensured I could not have normal fellowship with people outside of that. I was so "dangerous" that people for the most part avoided me outside of the meetings. I had a few who stood by me and one woman left the church outright upon receiving the text she was so disgusted by the accusations.
I left after that month. I could not believe even the most self serving believer could hold out that long when they had said so many falsehoods and in public too! Myself and my family had invested our lives into the church, served them as fervently as possible, had people live with us all the time to help out anyone we could in the church, and tried to use whatever we had, time, love , food, finances etc, to serve them all. I am saying this to show how shocked I was when I knew that the church - as far as I was aware- for the most part, had actually believed Kevin.
I told the pastors wife the last Sunday of that month, that I was leaving the church that day and it would be my last Sunday and that I would tell everyone either before or after the meeting, which ever they preferred. She told Kevin who asked me to respect the meeting and not to mention it so as not to distract from the sermon. I was heartbroken to leave without an explanation to the people I loved, but have been hearing awful reports from people who have left this church over the last 7 years. However much respect i had lost for him, I decided that I would respect his position and what he had asked of me.
I left the church and got on a train, only to find out that the pastors wife had gone straight to one of my closest friends after the meeting and told them I had left. She was upset and text me. I was furious and messaged the whole church telling them I had left and why I had not said goodbye properly.
That week I had many calls and tried to explain that I no longer could respect Kevin or have him as my pastor and that I had to leave as I was not able to lovingly serve anyone now he had cut off my serving capacity in alienating me outside of meetings. Bearing one anothers burdens is paramount to Christianity and I refuse to be denied the right to do so.
Many people were only half aware of what had been said and spoke to Kevin, within a week I was officially excommunicated so that no one could even speak to me so I could argue my case. I asked one member why no one could speak to me and Kevin called me up yelling I was a ravenous wolf, and a liar and was on my way to hell. He refused to listen to me and I had to just hang up in the end.
I left it all be, though myself and my children were, and still are, heartbroken. I convinced myself this man was somehow deep down still a good man, but had messed up publicly saying things about someone that were not true, and was too proud to go back on it being such a public figure in church circles. I thought he had convinced himself of the lies so as to ease his conscience. It was only me that he had ruined ... what could I do about it? Who would listen even if I spoke out? If a whole congregation who had seen my love for them in action, as imperfect as it may have been, could cut me off so easily because Kevin Williams says I am evil - what chance did I stand of being believed?
I wont go into how hard it has been on us from that time, but I have tried not to be bitter. We must love our enemies, I really believe that.
However, a few years ago I had an email from another member of the church. The exact same thing had happened to her and her family. She was devastated as she had been there for so long, and so sorry she had cut me off after she saw the pattern and realised what had happened to me. she did not know half of my story and was amazed when I shared, how much she could relate to. It wasn't too long after I heard of another couple I also knew, same thing. They were the worship leaders, faithful members for many years.
They produced a large document of evidence, detailing emails and more, where kevin had played off members with one another, denying things he had said to one, and saying the opposite to the other. For over a year they said nothing but observed the continued web of Deceit, slander and more being woven... and finally confronted Kevin.
The obvious happened... they were cast out and excommunicated. "PERSECUTORS OF THE PASTOR -BEWARE".
Another person around the same time told Kevin she needed to ask this couple about what happened so she could hear both sides and was warned. In light of all the false slander of two people she knew very well, she left, also recognising the position she had been in when I was excommunicated.
I know of at least 5 or 6 others, left because of the excommunications, or who were excommunicated. I know some who quietly left because they were so scared to speak out least they too suffer the same humiliation, isolation and slander.
The people I know about are mostly those who have contacted me to apologise, even after so long, because finally they see what happened with me.
They tell me sermons on protecting your pastor were used and people warned they were getting like those who had been excommunicated, if they showed too much disagreement or issue with what happened.
No one wants to hear the truth when a preacher like Kevin Williams is accused.
The bible says 2 or 3 witnesses are required to accuse an elder.... the youth leaders shared evidence with the whole church via email and some refused point blank to look at it because Kevin had said they were wolves out to destroy him or something to that effect. He heard about them sending it to America after so many good believers leaving and being accused of being divisive and members being forbidden to contact them you would think the others would have cottoned on by now.
I think it has long gone the time people will listen but I have to try.
Kevin always made out he had some accountability to the reformed churches in America, the evidence was sent to those churches and all of them said it was not for them to do anything about as he was not accountable to them.
A year ago a fb page was set up to help those who were excommunicated and left out on a limb, I am one of the admins now and the response has been slow and from what I do hear, many are scared to say anything as the stigma and labelling goes on well after you leave.
I know when I left, Kevin called a pastor in Manchester, where he suspected I might move on to - and slandered me for an hour or so to him so that I was unable to go there. I left the area altogether and years later still find it very hard to go to church. That pastors daughter was once a firm member of Kevins church and left for these reasons. I have reconnected with that pastor now who I bear no grudge against. How could he know what Kevin was at that time, having heard me say how much I loved the church and the ministry for so long!
I wanted to tell my story and mention some of the others so that the truth may yet do some good for anyone else who has experienced a similar thing or is part of the church now but is suffering - trapped in the church - that dare not speak out or leave.
It took me almost 5 years to say anything. I did not think that any one cared or that any one would believe. I thought it was just me all that time till the first email came and it has been amazing hearing the same story over and over again from others.
It was only because I realised the abuse is continuing and that some of the people I stayed silent to help, are suffering now for that silence years later.
If anyone else has had a similar experience, I cant say I have got over it... I cant find myself to commit to a church anymore to be perfectly honest. But I still try to love and serve others and to share the gospel. Thankfully the others in my family after 5 years managed to settle into another church - they stay on the edges and dont get involved much, but at least they are making steps forward on that road to recovery.
We know of more who cant stand to go into a church now, and I can relate, but I want to say, don't give up on God... He really loves YOU! You can get through it.