The most important questions - up to December 2011






This article seeks to summarise the most important questions which have been raised in the current online debates on the actions, teachings and beliefs of Struthers Memorial Church.








Did any Struthers leader ever physically remove a child from their meeting hall and force the crying child to apologise to her later in the circumstances as reported on the Rick Ross forum?


(this accusation has been made publicly and we have consistently asked the Struthers leadership to answer it; or state clearly that it is untrue and never happened. So far there has been no public claim that it is untrue)


Do the Struthers Church directors regard this as conduct that would be fully acceptable in all of their churches?




At the end of 2010 the church reported it had debts of nearly £400,000.


Who does the church owe this money to?


Have any of the members been asked by the executive to lend money to the church?


What safeguards are in place to ensure that people are not exploited by church leaders or pressured into giving money to the organisation?


Has any position or favour been given by the Struthers leadership to any members who have loaned money to the church (either intentionally or coincidentally)?


(if anyone would seek to claim that we have no right to ask this we would gently point out that many of us were members of Struthers at the time that there was a very significant loss of the churches money. Many of us had given money over many years to support the church vision and it was all lost in stock market speculation by the foolish actions (their words) of the Struthers leadership. One of the leaders responsible resigned as a result. That is why we feel it would be inappropriate for the present leadership to expect people to assume all was well in this case.)




Does the Struthers charitable company have documented recruitment policies and have they been applied in all 31 cases of salaried employment?


Do those policies meet all the requirements of charities as set out by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator?  


Have individuals been selected from the congregation by some of the leadership and awarded salaried jobs without any recognisable recruitment process taking place?


Is that allowed by the documented recruitment policy?




There was a quote in a Times Education Suplement interview of 2007 http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Faith-has-been-their-guidance-2447602/  re the church school:


"Other monies are given to the school. Some goes towards a sponsorship scheme helping with fee costs for those needing assistance."


How much money is paid out by the church to subsidise places in the school?


Are any subsididsed places being given to children related to:

anyone on the Struthers executive,

church leaders,

salaried school staff,

volunteer school staff,

or other employees of the church?


Are any subsidised places currently given to children whose families would be classed as "in poverty" or "disadvantaged"?




What is the official complaints procedure for anyone who has a complaint about Struthers Memorial Church and which guarantees fair and balanced consideration of their concerns?


Does this process allow for the possibility of an outcome either in favour, or not in favour, of a church leader?




Do the leaders of churches in SMC have an employment contract, a code of conduct, church policy guidelines or any documented guidance whatsoever as to their conduct which they are expected to act within?


Or is all that they do or say acceptable as long as they claim God told them to say or do it?




What is the policy and training given to those who lead Struthers churches and youth groups re praying with young people – in particular the guidelines relating to what parental permission is to be obtained first?


Does the executive teach it is ever appropriate for young people to be prayed with for deliverance?




Is it the teaching of Struthers Memorial Church that born again and baptised in the holy spirit christians can be demon posessed?




Please make public a list of the names of the leaders in SMC, as refered to in the Saturday night sermon of 12 March 2011 who are, like Moses, not to be questioned or criticised.


Please give examples of the divine punishments that, it was clearly stated, have come upon those who have questioned these people in the past.


In the old testament passages which were quoted in the 12 March sermon the punishment of God on those criticising was instantaneous and unmistakable.  If there is criticism uttered and the instantaneous divine punishments referred to do not occur – is that then a sign that God approves the criticism as valid and true?


If people become afraid to question misconduct by leaders on the basis of this teaching is that the response the executive are looking for?




Who is a "member" of the SMC charitable company as defined by the company articles?


Does membership include those who regularly attend or just the 6 charitable company directors?


Please provide a list of the rights which members have?




There was a quote in a Times Education Suplement interview with the church school head teacher in 2007 http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Faith-has-been-their-guidance-2447602/ which states:


"there is an insistence that the school's fee income pays for its running costs".


Is this correct or was that interview misleading?




Do all the Struthers executive practice "separation" from other Christians in the way described as "the only road" in the sermon of 22 January 2011? [see article - the separation sermon]


Or is the involvement of some in the Struthers executive with interdenominational christian groups allowed for them; but not an example which others in the church are supposed to follow?


Are the "holiness" rules different for the directors from those applicable to the people in the congregation?


Can someone be a director of the Struthers company if they do not follow all the teachings of the church – for example the teaching given in this Saturday night sermon of 22 Jan 2011?


Or is this simply a misunderstanding and all Struthers attendees are not discouraged from meeting and mixing with other Christians?




In the Saturday night sermon of 12 March 2011 the leader of the movement seemed to contradict the teaching given on 12 February 2011. Rather than claiming, as the February sermon did, that certain leaders were effectively infallible as "we only move on the explicit instruction of the Lord God of Hosts" in the March sermon it was admitted that


"mistakes have been made".


Which of these statements is the one which is correct?




Several people have testified that as people in the Struthers congregation they had to privately and publicly admit and confess their mistakes – even in some cases mistakes they were told they had made but were not themselves aware of.


Does that principle also apply to the mistakes made by the leaders which are potentially much more serious as they may have had a damaging impact on other peoples emotional and spiritual lives?


What are the mistakes referred to in the 12 March sermon?


As of December 2011 have they been corrected and put right or is that still to be done?




Where is a public document outlining the beliefs and teachings of Struthers Memorial Church, that people can read, ask questions about and formally agree to before they will be expected to come under its conditions?



There are now 31 people who have publicly claimed that their contact with the leaders and teachings of SMC had very negative impact on their lives – spiritually, emotionally and in some cases physically. Many have indicated their mistreatment and the damage done by the leaders was callous and damaging to them in ways far beyond what many people would find it reasonable and easy to excuse or ignore.









Is it the intention of the Struthers executive and the church leaders to continue to act as if these concerns are not valid; and these testimonies are not true; and that what is being said about SMC is not any of their responsibility or concern?




Do the executive and church leaders believe this refusal to deal with the reality in front of them is the best thing for them to do in relation to the needs of:


those complaining in real pain and distress,


their existing congregations - many of whom must be confused and bewildered by what is happening online just now


and the public looking on at SMC?




Is it their continuing response that they will not act on, or address, or even admit to reading that which is being said about them online?





What possible benefit to those they claim they are called to serve comes from that abdication of responsibility?


In what possible way could that be mistaken for new testament leadership?


In what possible way could that be mistaken for showing God's care for those suffering?




If they will not respond to resolve this could the SMC leadership agree to make public a statement making it absoultely clear that all the reports, testimonies and facts placed online about SMC are all lies and all untrue?  


Could they also make it clear that the position of the executive is that they believe that if anyone who has ever been involved in any of their churches had been hurt or felt damaged in any way - that was entirely and completely their own fault and no statement, act or inaction by any leader has contributed to that suffering in any way.


Could they confirm that the SMC leadership have no interest in anything any former members have to say about them and they feel that the bible indicates their pastoral duty is to ignore all that has been said.



We take from the very few words, and fewer actions, they have made publicly in response to these issues so far that such a statement would accurately reflect their view.