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Friday, 18 July 2014

Five Plymouth Brethren meeting halls granted charitable status

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/five-plymouth-brethren-meeting-halls-granted-charitable-status/governance/article/1304118

Charity Commission agrees to put Gospel Hall Trusts in Bridgefoot, Coventry, Heathwood, Loughborough and Sussex Vale on the register of charities

Members of a Brethren congregation
Members of a Brethren congregation

The Charity Commission has granted charitable status to five meeting halls of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, having approved the Preston Down Trust congregation in January.

Gospel Hall Trusts in Bridgefoot, Coventry, Heathwood, Loughborough and Sussex Vale were entered on the commission’s register of charities on Wednesday.

All five have charitable objects that are identical – save for two pairs of inverted commas – to those of the Devon-based PDT, which adheres to a doctrine of separation.

The PDT was awarded charitable status in January in a decision acknowledged by the commission as a test case for other PBCC halls. The church welcomed it at the time as a sign that other halls could get charitable status.

The long legal battle over the PDT registration – it had initially applied in February 2009 – resulted in it agreeing to changes in its governing documents that affected how it dealt with disciplinary matters, non-members and other issues.

In common with the PDT, all five of the new charities made changes to their governing documents, which in all cases are more than 20 years old, shortly before registration.

In the document outlining the commission’s decision, the regulator noted allegations of harsh disciplinary practices for minor transgressions and the ostracising of former members. The commission said the PBCC acknowledged "past mistakes in relation to its disciplinary practices".

The PBCC has 95 gospel halls and churches in the UK. Some, including the Horsforth Gospel Hall Trust, had charity status before the Charities Act 2006, which removed the assumption of public benefit for religious organisations, thus making it more difficult for organisations such as PBCC halls to become charities.

A spokesman for the PBCC did not respond to Third Sector’s request for comment by press deadlines.

Benjamin James, a partner at the law firm McCarthy Denning, said: "I think that once the Preston Down Trust decision was made, it opened it up for the other gospel halls to make applications. As long as they follow the Preston Down principles, I think the commission would have a great deal of difficulty turning them down – but of course the question is whether they actually are following them in practice."

33 comments:

  1. "... but of course the question is whether they actually are following them in practice"

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  2. And if not - are people reporting the breaches because if they don't then they should stop complaining about the EB/PBCC!! Just sayin' folks!

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  3. My own experiences are that the PBCC/EB are following the stipulations outlined in the Charity Commission decision as much as they follow the rest of the laws and rules of the land and country - only if it suits them and if they can't find a way around it. We were reminded by Athol Greene (I think it was - in the breach of Family Court rulings in Australia by the Brethren many years ago, "You... Won't... Change... Us...!" The way that the PBCC continually breach not only local Council Rules, Tax Revenue Rules, International Human Rights Articles and other laws is quite simply shocking for a group that purport to be 'Christian.' May God help them.

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  4. Why aren't the PBCC registering all their trusts at once and why has it taken 7 months to get 6 registered in total? Is it a ploy they are using to get round the enforcement of the Charity Commission's demands regarding treatment of ex-members? If a trust haven't yet agreed the new wording with the congregation, I assume that congregation cannot be found in breach of the CC's directives.

    So do we look out for a whole raft of acceptable trusts being registered just a few days before the CC's probationary year is up?

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  5. The Questioner19 July 2014 at 14:58

    breaches should be reported to ebcompliance@outlook.com

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  6. Goes to show their charity status has never been in doubt, but only opposed by some who can't bear to admit it These folk deserve to be treated with due respect.

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    1. Do you mean 'treated with respect' as they are humans?
      or do you mean 'treated with due respect' which mirrors the awful cruel way they treat former members in 2014?

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  7. Goes to show their charity status has never been in doubt, but only opposed by some who can't bear to admit it These folk deserve to be treated with due respect.

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    1. Goes to show good lawyers and a lot of public deceit can baffle many people. The evidence is mounting.

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    2. I tend not to respect those who have been the cause of family separation, loss of home, job, finance, abduction of children, suppression and the demeaning of women, sexual misconduct, child molestation, enforced separation between husband and wife, mental anguish. nervous breakdown, suicide, enforced alcoholism, loss of inheritance, restricted education, lies, half truths, misinformation, thuggery, lack of genuine charity and compassion, lack of humility and appalling examples of hypocrisy.

      No respect to be had here.

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  8. Do you mean the EB should be treated with respect? Perhaps they could also treat us with respect. Calling someone the 'epitome of evil' is hardly respectful is it. Several of us have been called this or similer - e.g. demon possessed etc. It is hard to respect some one who thinks that splitting up families is acceptable
    Matthew

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  9. Hello, have we got a parrot in here now? Pieces of hate, pieces of hate.

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  10. The difficulty remains that the Charity Commission expects the PBCC to treat non-Brethren people "openly, honestly and fairly", and this still isn't happening.

    Non-Brethren people are vulnerable, in the sense that James Taylor Jnr's separation directives require the Brethren not to eat or drink or associate socially with those who aren't in this particular Brethren group.

    An immense amount of harm has been done because since the 1960s these Brethren have disowned and discounted dissenting family members and friends, and non-Brethren neighbours. People have been abandoned, traduced and called names, they have received letters from PBCC lawyers and they have been viewed as trouble-makers for protesting that this is no way for a mainstream church to behave.

    I'm currently trying to arrange a meeting with Garth Christie or the person in the PBCC in the UK who heads up their Safeguarding work. Garth is ignoring my courteous approaches to him and apparently ordinary members of the PBCC have no idea who is responsible for Safeguarding in their group.

    When you visit other churches, Safeguarding information is likely to be displayed prominently so that anyone who feels vulnerable or who has had a bad experience can contact a named person to begin the process of healing. In my experience, the PBCC is resisting talking about the harm they have meted out to individuals because of separation, and they are not yet behaving "openly, honestly and fairly" towards concerned non-members.

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  11. The Questioner20 July 2014 at 09:49

    Not what the Charity Commission said: "The Commission decided that there were elements of detriment and harm which emanated from the doctrine and practices of the PBCC and which had a negative impact on the wider community as well as individuals so as to present a real danger of outweighing public benefit"

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  12. Where's the hate about not respecting someone who thinks splitting up families is acceptable? Families are the cornerstone of our society, the cornerstone of a Christian society. I think the only hate is found among those poor trapped souls who abhor having to ditch God in favour of Bruce David Hales, evil cult leader and conman.

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  13. The Questioner21 July 2014 at 09:19

    This is what the CC actually wrote: "The Commission decided that there were elements of detriment and harm which emanated from the doctrine and practices of the PBCC and which had a negative impact on the wider community as well as individuals so as to present a real danger of outweighing public benefit"

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  14. I think the parroting thing refers back to the two postings made 19th July 16:19 and 16:20!

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  15. The Questioner21 July 2014 at 19:01

    I posted mine twice (slightly differently) as I thought it hadn't gone through!

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  16. There's an interesting discussion going on on Facebook where someone who speaks with authority is suggesting that JSH and WBH were the Architects of separation and JTJr liked the sound of it and after a few too many whiskies, adopted and ran with it.

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    1. WBH and JSH contributed a lot to the development of extreme versions of separation based on the doctrine of abandonment, though I am not sure whether this line of thought was started by them or by Jim Taylor. Whoever started it, the three of them developed it into one of the most wicked and anti-Christian teachings ever to come out of a nominally Christian community. It led to brethren abandoning sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. In JND’s words, it was monstrous. In large measure, it is still monstrous.

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    2. I have often wondered the same thing, it sounds very feasible. I think many directives were born in an alcohol soaked brain. Didn't JT Jr. cut off his moustache by mistake one morning in a drunken haze, and to preserve his dignity (if there was any!) made everyone else cut theirs off too?

      Somehow he had to divert attention away from the fact that he had been hospitalized for his alcoholism.

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    3. In a discussion about education in the House of Commons at Westminster I've just heard a Conservative MP say that 'British values', which now have to be taught in all UK schools, are about building bridges and not about erecting barriers.

      Whether it was the Hales brothers, WBH or JSH, or James Taylor Jnr who in the past were the architects of separation and the idea of abandonment, it is obvious to everyone that Bruce D Hales in Australia today and Garth Christie in the UK both continue to support the kind of separation that fundamentally contradicts 'British values'.

      Separation is about erecting barriers. It's a model of behaviour that doesn't in any way chime with the Christian commandment to love your neighbour as yourself, and patently it isn't at all in accord with basic 'British values'.

      I would love to see Bruce D Hales and Garth Christie initiate reform and instruct the Brethren that bridge-building is their new imperative.

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    4. Galatians 5 v22,23 JND -
      But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness,
      goodness, fidelity, meekness, self-control
      I can’t fit separation, exclusion, ostracizing or arrogance in here at all

      These seem to fit in v20 where some of the works of the flesh are listed - idolatry, hatred, strifes, contentions, disputes and other things

      The EB try to manipulate minds by references to The Spirit

      Mark

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  17. Having recently been in correspondence with Mr Christie, I can say reform and bridge building are not high on the agenda. Rather, the agenda consists of stone- walling until the PBCC feel secure enough in their charitable status so that they do not even have to go through the motions of pretending to be correcting the wrongs and diabolical acts they have committed in the past.

    Once security has been achieved, PBCC cult "charitable" events (publicity promotional events, to you and me) will only be performed where judged to be necessary, such as currying favour to assist planning for the building of yet another monstrous warehouse, partly financed by the "worldlies" they despise so much.

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    1. Reform and bridge building will not happen within the PBCC, until the CC accept that individual members are totally under the control of their meeting hall trusts. It appears that the CC deem behaviour of individuals to be quite separate from that of their charitable trusts, so unless Preston Down Trust has caused you harm and detriment, rather than one of it's members, there is apparently no issue.

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    2. It is people that cause detriment and harm. Trusts have trustees who are meant to be responsible individuals and can be held accountable.
      Is there evidence that the trustees and members of PDT have changed their behaviour towards and treatment of those outside their cult since the granting of charitable status some months ago?

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    3. Tell that to the CC. Their current angle on this is 'when we considered the application for registration submitted by the Preston Down Trust we only considered the activities of the Trust. Bearing this in mind, we did not register the Plymouth Brethren or Exclusive Brethren as a whole'.

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    4. I see that 2 schools in Scotland have also achieved charitable status. Are the regulators being deliberately obtuse?

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    5. Compare this ''when we considered the application for registration submitted by the Preston Down Trust we only considered the activities of the Trust. Bearing this in mind, we did not register the Plymouth Brethren or Exclusive Brethren as a whole'

      With this 'The Charity Commission has opened an operational compliance case on a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Wales after one of its members was found guilty of numerous sex offences.

      Mark Sewell was due to be sentenced at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court today after being found guilty last week of seven charges of indecent assault against adults and minors, and one of rape. The crimes took place between 1985 and 1995.

      A spokeswoman for the commission said the regulator was aware of the situation. "We have opened an operational compliance case on the charity," she said. "The Charity Commission's regulatory concern is whether the trustees of the charity have complied with and fulfilled their duties and responsibilities as trustees under charity law and how the charity dealt with risks to the charity and its beneficiaries, including the application of safeguarding policy and procedures. We cannot comment further while the case is live."

      They don't seem to match up, do they?

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    6. Focus Group schools have had little problem getting charitable status; however, under the present regime, they will never obtain the prize of free school funding. However, the PBCC cult will continue to misinform and relay half truths, in the hope of achieving this one day.

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  18. Having just read the report on the schools mentioned above I would like to inform all that its a pile of utter rubbish; they have mentioned 'assurances from the Trustees' several times, as if it were some form of 'evidence'. I would like all to know that there are serious problems in the education systems of such schools, and contrary to what the report says - pupils have been turned down / prevented from registering at such schools for 'not being brethren'. The curriculum is heavily edited to suit the PBCC, and this causes pupils to have extreme difficulty in having to think for themselves - let alone be 'critical thinkers' (as it suggests on its webpage.....). Students are brainwashed into thinking that the actual process of 'thinking' is harmful, and that questioning is almost as dangerous as committing a crime. I am very disappointed with the decision by OSCR. It makes no sense whatsoever. But OSCR will not listen to 'individuals'.....

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    1. I agree with your opinions (although I did not know about nonBreth children being turned down from registering at Focus schools - would be very interested as to whether there was any evidence obtainable about this).

      I cannot understand why the OSCR accepted Brethren assurances that <17s would never be disciplined, when just a few months ago this exact thing happened to pupils at the PBCC Wilton Park School in Wiltshire.

      During the 20-odd (pun intended) years I spent growing up in the EB, I knew of numerous EB boys (at high-school/college age) who were disciplined by the church - shunned by their family within the home, sometimes forced to live in a shed or caravan in the garden - during the 1980s. It was common practice. A leopard does not change its spots, just because time passes, leadership changes, and some trustees make a few lovely assurances to the OSCR. The heart of EB/PBCC practice is still to violently quench dissent and rebelliousness and disagreement - it always has been, and it always will be unless there is RADICAL change within the group and its leadership.

      Nor does that leopard change its spots just because the UK Charity Commission swallows some equally fraudulent assurances from the PBCC contained in their 'Faith In Practice' document. As far as I can see, it has not had any real meaning or impact on their ghastly behaviour this year whatsoever. And nothing has been done to rectify the damage caused to our family by historic "wrongful" withdrawal. BDH apparently said himself during his latest UK tour, that there will be no changes in principles and separation will be maintained.

      The PBCC is taking UK taxpayers for a ride, and Australasian ones, and possibly Nth American and others too. As for what they are doing to the current generations of Brethren children stuck in their Focus schools, words fail me.

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    2. There is evidence for children being turned away from Brethren schools - although I cannot give details on here unfortunately. Will try to forward the info privately. Thanks for the above. Just dont understand why the 'sane' are being ignored by OSCR; I wrote to them myself and they informed me that no investigation could be made as they did not function on behalf of 'individuals'.

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