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.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,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,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.