Thursday, 16 January 2014

A radical break with the past is needed if the Hales Brethren are ever to be respected as a genuine church and a charity.

This post by Ian on Wikipeebia today highlights salient glaring deficiencies in the PBCC press statement.

Several parts of that Press Statement conceal that fact that the Brethren have had to promise major changes to their practices in order to convince the regulators that their church will in future be charitable. 

For a start, the first paragraph is not quite true. The Charity Commission did not in fact say unconditionally on 9th January 2014 that it will register Preston Down Trust as a charity. Its statement was conditional on a further application still to be made after the Brethren formally adopt a Deed of Variation (which promises major changes in Brethren practices). What the CC actually said was, “The Commission is prepared to register PDT on the basis of an application for registration based on a Deed of Variation, . . .” Are the Brethren leaders hoping to conceal the Deed of Variation from their own members? They can hardly be hoping to conceal it from anyone else, because it is now in the full glare of publicity.

The second paragraph makes the same glaring omission.
the Charity Commission has agreed that the doctrines and practices of our church advance religion for the public benefit
Well, no, not quite. The CC approval was also conditional on the adoption of the new documentation (including the statement of Faith in Practice). What the CC actually said was, “The Commission is satisfied that, following adoption of this new documentation, PDT is established for exclusively charitable purposes for public benefit . . .” 

The Press Release goes on,
The PBCC, with the benefit of expert advice, has always considered the Preston Down Trust to be a charitable trust for the advancement of religion.
In other words, the Brethren don’t agree that any change was necessary. This does not bode well for the future. This casts doubts on whether the promised changes will ever be more than promises. 

And then,
After extensive discussions between the PBCC and the Commission a Deed of Variation has been settled to provide a public statement of our core doctrine and faith in practice in order to assure the Commission of the ongoing operation of the trust for the public benefit.
At last a mention of the statement of Faith in Practice, but with no admission that anything has changed or needs to change. It implies that the “ongoing operation of the trust” is just a continuation of the past. Let us sincerely hope it proves to be nothing of the sort. A radical break with the past is needed if the Hales Brethren are ever to be respected as a genuine church and a charity.


  1. At least this time the PBCC Press Officer didn't refer to 'a disaffected few' of concerned ex-EB.

    Did he read the whole Charity Commission document before issuing his release? If so, he knows that the Charity Commission has piles of evidence from professionals and non-EB, much of which conflicts with his version.

    The Charity Commission has also read the EB's own printed ministry. This outburst about the Open Brethren from James Taylor Jr on August 5 1970 (page 169 Vol. 148) probably influenced their decision:

    J .T.Jr. Oh yes, that's O.B.s, order of the bums!

  2. Radical?
    Are we sitting on the edge of our seats in earnest anticipation of an answer?
    Are the PBCC a characteristically quiet and modest people?
    Another classic uttering from Laurie?
    Does the heading itself really answer the question?

    So hence a lack of any 'radical' suggestions.

    Doreen Mavis Cringeworthy

    1. Doreen Mavis Cringeworthy your spoof is just that, a spoof !

      However, it does point to a delusional view in the Hales Exclusive Brethren aka PBCC. Inherent in it, is denial of documented evidence of basic facts & truths & denial that some of their practices / doctrines can’t be supported by Gods Word in the scriptures & are Harmful. It’s a group riddled with self deception, indoctrination, brainwashing and cauterised consciences (1 Timothy 4), with members ruled by fear.

      For example, these practices can NOT be justified through Gods Word in the Bible –

      - Division of families if a person leaves the group
      - Refusing fellowship, worship, with any other Christian in any other Church
      - Declaring that all Christians in all other Churches are iniquitous
      - Not eating or drinking with any other Christian in any other Church
      - Not eating or drinking with any non member relative
      - Declaring that a womanising alcoholic is a “Man of God” and “Our Beloved”
      - Separating from all non members, even relatives
      - Separation from non members means non members are iniquitous
      - Declaring that “ministry” is on the same level as Scripture, even when “ministry” contradicts Scripture or can not be supported by Scripture
      - Division of families if a person leaves the group, even if that person is a Christian
      - Declaring that they and they alone have “The Truth” (just as all cults do)
      - Allowing babes in arms to take the Communion Bread & Wine

      These are just some Non Biblical practices carried out by the Hales Exclusive Brethren aka PBCC, if members think these practices are Biblical it would be good to hear from them ?

      The Hales Exclusive Brethren aka PBCC must change at least some of these Non Biblical practices, therefore engaging in radical change, to ever be considered a benign charitable church

      Even a secular organisation, the Charity Commission recognise that radical change is needed, as these extracts from their report show –

      63. However, the Commission noted that the history of the PBCC reveals schisms and changes of practice introduced in an unstructured way by different leaders.

      82. Notwithstanding clear benefit arising from the purposes of an organisation, where these are outweighed by detriment or harm to the community by pursuing its purposes, then the public benefit requirement will not be met.

      91……..that there were elements of detriment and harm which emanated from doctrine and practices of the Brethren and which had a negative impact on the wider community as well as individuals. In particular the nature and impact of the Disciplinary Practices and the impact of the doctrines and practices on those who leave and on children within the PBCC may have consequences for society.

      92. The Commission considered that there is evidence to support the view that there are elements of detriment and harm which are in real danger of outweighing public benefit, although given as noted above that the evidence was untested by cross examination, it could not come to a concluded view of its extent or whether it indeed outweighed public benefit in the first sense. The most serious detriment and harm related, in the Commission’s view, to the allegations of the treatment of ex-Brethren and to the Disciplinary Practices. The Commission asked that the PBCC address these issues, which they were willing to do.

      End Quotes

      So, a secular organisation (the CC) recognised the need for radical change, the PBCC agreed to alter some of its Harmful practices by including a “Faith in Practice” document, only on this basis will the CC agree to register PBCC Trusts as Charitable, if the PBCC do not sign up and do not alter practices in line with what has been agreed, they will not be Charitable and will be in “Breach of Trust”

  3. It is Cringe worthy that the only other group to be in a similar dispute is The Church of Scientology....