New Covenant Publications - A Counter Cult Ministry

 

NYC Day Time Sector Midweek

March 3, 2003

 

(from the notes of a person who attended)

There was the usual pre-service fellowship and people appeared to be in favorable spirits. There was an opening prayer, as usual and then weekly contribution was collected in numbered envelopes by Bible Talk.

(Author's note: This method of collecting contribution was used as a way of insuring each member's tithe. Since leadership knew how much members made, they knew how much was expected from each Bible Talk. If the expected amount was not collected, the bible talk leader would figure out who didn't give their expected tithe and would lean on them. I spoke to a couple of former Bible Talk leaders who confessed that they would feel bad for the person and put the money in themselves instead of leaning on the person. Hopefully this method, too, will change)

Ken Papile, evangelist for the Daytime Sector, read the resignation letter of Dan and Cinnamon Connor (former Manhattan Super Region Leader and Women's leader)

See Dan Connor Resignation

Ken then spoke off the cuff about his own feelings:

- He confessed to not being sure how he felt at this time. He thinks he's "getting it", but probably doesn't fully "get it" yet.

- He asked for a show of hands for how many members had read Henry Kriete's letter and then stated that he thought the letter was "right on".

- He said the church had set up a hierarchy, a man-made system, and put it above God. He stated that that was wrong. He said that they had worshipped the system instead of God.

- He stated that "we're an arrogant church". Also said, "I feel like a Pharisee".

- Apologized for not standing up for people, for being arrogant, for putting the system in front of caring for the sheep

- He said that when people spoke up they were squashed by the system, and he had taken part in doing this. He provided one particular one example of this.

- Ken said last week he told the people he discipled, "I don't disciple you anymore" and that in its place he got genuine calls from people. He joked, "you get rid of discipling times, it makes you become a Christian."

- He said he was unsure about whether or not he and Carla (his wife) would stay in the ministry.

- Ken talked about the seductive nature of leadership in the church, especially the performing arts ministry: "If you're in the ministry, you're in Hollywood".

- He talked about "the problem" and where he thought it began. His opinion was that it began "in the Gempels living room", at the top, right from the start.

- He confessed that woman's ministry was unbiblical

  • Carla (Ken's wife and Women's ministry leader for the Day Time sector) also apologized. She said that it was wrong to have had her in leadership in the first place, as a 17-year-old and recent convert. She was fairly upset.

  • They opened the floor for questions for almost an hour.

(The following are exact notes of the person attending)

  • One of the first questions was, "Why are Kip McKean and Steve Johnson still in the ministry?" Ken's response was, "that's a good question. I have the same question."

  • A member stood and spoke poignantly about having had his child molested several years ago and his struggle to forgive afterward [this is the person Ken had identified earlier as speaking out and getting squashed by him]. But while he had learned for forgive over time, he would never again allow the person who had abused his child to take care of his child. Forgiveness was not the only issue, because sin has consequences.

He said that in the same way, none of the current leaders should be trusted to lead any more, and that they should all resign. [Ken agreed] Many members in the audience affirmed this. The member said that it should not be their decision [Ken and Carla's] about whether they stayed in the ministry, it should be the members decision about whether they want them to be leaders. He said that the leaders had had the chance to speak up and protect the members, but they had not, and now it was time for someone else to lead. They had violated trust, and should be forgiven, but not allowed to lead any more. He said he had spoken up about things he didn't agree with, and leadership had assaulted his character and slandered him, and squashed him, destroying his reputation in the church. [Ken agreed with this and said this was true. Carla said this was absolutely true and she was sorry and she would have to answer to God for it. She had done this because her leaders told her to, and what's so scary is that she thought it was the right thing to do at the time.]

The member said that during the current changes, the church was moving too quickly to create a new leadership structure (e.g. appointing deacons). He said that it would be better for the church to wait and mature first, saying that currently "no one is qualified to lead" because everyone has been involved in the system.

  • Some other leaders apologized, and several other members spoke, mentioning things that included the following:

Bible Talks are unbiblical [Ken agreed with this, and said Bible discussions are okay, but people shouldn't have to come]

The studies need to change [First Principles]. A few people mentioned the Kingdom Study in particular. Someone said anyone who taught others using the studies is just as responsible.

Members should apologize to all the people they have studied with for not teaching correctly

Many members are also responsible for not speaking out when they should have, and for giving in to fear instead. Members should apologize to all the people they have hurt

  • One member in particular said that she was most hurt, not by the things that had been mentioned thus far, but by the incorrect "one true church" teaching and what it had done to the people around her. She said, sobbing, that she had literally "judged her neighbor" even though the Bible says not to, and had driven away friends and family members. She said that the church had pursued unity with itself, but not at all with the outside Christian world. She mentioned the need to apologize to the people affected, change this, and let the world see their repentance.

  • Although many still had their hands raised to speak, Ken closed the meeting in the interest of time. It had been announced earlier that there would be a meeting Tuesday night at 96th and Central Park West, in lieu of next week's midweek service, with the elders of the NYC church. It was not known whether next week's session would be an open forum."

(I , the author, have spoken to Ken and Carla and believe that they are truly going through a lot and that they are truly repenting. We have to remember that they, too, were victims of the system and that they succumbed to it. To realize what they have done to so many other people will haunt them for a long while.)

 

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