Mar 312015
 

The LCG crisis thread is getting very long but is constantly being updated with new information as it arrives.

Information is being shared by current and former members here and at Banned! and Living Armstrongism, so we’re seeking to collect and streamline as much of it as possible.

If you know anything about what’s transpiring within LCG, you’re encouraged to contact us or leave a comment.

Last update: July 13, 2015 – 5:13 p.m. EST

Aug 212015
 

UCG’s quarterly Council of Elder’s report reveals some interesting things churning within the bowels of the cult, but furthermore reveals its uphill struggle to stay relevant while maintaining members and funding.

The whole report, as usual, was presented in glowing terms, but here’s our rundown of what each of these pronouncements actually indicate:

Ambassador Bible College (ABC): Classes start August 31 with about 25 students so far. We are closer to getting our SEVIS certification that will help international students acquire the F1 student visa.

A grand total of 25 students, while normal for ABC, is pathetic by any other standard and the addition of international students, considering the comparative dearth of non-American membership in the COG these days, will do nothing to bolster these flagging, long-troubled programs.

Ministerial Trainees: Six men have been hired as ministerial trainees. Also a local elder was hired to be an assistant pastor. These seven will be serving in New England, Eastern Pennsylvania, Alabama, Phoenix, Dallas, East Texas and the home office.

The whole of UCG’s ministerial mafia is aging fast. Six new ministers cast off around the country might seem like some forward progress, but doesn’t seem fast or radical enough to stem an upcoming tide of retirements and deaths, especially considering how many are due to sunset in the near future:

Retirement and replacement of church pastors. When UCG started we promised to provide pastors for all congregations, and we are trying to stay with that responsibility. In the next four years we have about 30 men who might retire, so we are working on the process of training and working with younger men to serve in those areas.

And then there’s this:

Public Appearance Campaign (PAC) will be held in three locations in Texas: Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. Brochures will be provided for members in those areas to give to friends to invite them to the PAC. Darris McNeely and Victor Kubik will promote the PAC by going down to that area over the Feast of Trumpets.

UCG is so desperate for new members, they are literally asking existing members to bring a friend, whom we will guess aren’t in the church, since that’s really the only reason for a public appearance campaign. We anticipate this being a failure because UCG for years has told members from the youth and older that close friendships with those in “the world” is bad. Seriously. Who are they going to bring that would seriously be interested in a public appearance by COG leaders?

Labor in the Word is a 48-hour program of instruction to help improve skills in interpretation and effectively communicating the Bible to the brethren. It will be a requirement for all ministers and should go online next week.

If we were conspiracy theorists — or more specifically COGWA members — we might suspect this has to do with gradually twisting doctrines into something more palatable to non-Armstrongites, especially considering UCG very recent history in making those kinds of controversial moves.

Rotary Club: The home office hosted the Batavia, Ohio, Rotary Club, one of the oldest in the United States, for a breakfast club meeting last week. The guests included community and education leaders including the dean of the University of Cincinnati Clermont. The entire group was given a tour of the home office.

We almost promise they were underwhelmed and unimpressed and none of them will become members.

Home Office Grounds: A new playset for children was put up on our grounds. It was largely financed by LifeNets.

Now this is some Grade A bullshit. Despite income supposedly going up, UCG is so strapped for cash they can’t install a playset at their own Home Office and needed to launder funds through LifeNets — which is money that’s supposed to be destined for poor countries abroad — to fund projects back at home. This is not the first time LifeNets projects have focused on UCG’s Home Office and it deepens the longstanding conflict of interest Victor Kubik has as head of both organizations.

Aug 062015
 

In a clip from a few weeks ago, Bill Maher asks and answers a good question: who are the forces actually persecuting Christianity in the United States? The way GOP politicians, megachurch preachers and COG ministers tell it, Christianity is one step away from being outlawed. But that’s completely absurd.

The percentage of Christians has indeed dropped from nearly 80 percent to 70 percent in the United States, but rather a systematic government culling of believers, the drop is actually due to a rise in the unaffiliated, including those who have simply lost their faith.

Aug 032015
 

Banned! has the story that a young LCG member from Australia has died at a church summer camp.

Morgan Montgomery was reportedly a councilor at the Delaware, Ohio camp and died in a water skiing accident.

Our hearts go out to her family and loved ones at this time of unspeakable tragedy.

From WBNS-TV10:

DELAWARE, Ohio – UPDATE 7:40 p.m. August 3

Authorities said they have found the body of a 19-year-old female who was struck by a power boat on Alum Creek Lake after falling while water skiing.

The teen’s body was found north of the beach and south of the marina about mid-lake.

DELAWARE, Ohio – After 27 hours of searching, 19-year-old Australian native Morgan Montgomery has been found.

“She was recovered in about 46 feet of water,” ODNR Law Enforcement Regional Manager, Andrew Hollenback, said. “So, we did have to deal with some depth, obviously, on the water.”

Hollenback says GPS from 911 calls and sonar helped lead search crews to Montgomery.

“It all just happened so fast and surreal that it was just like a bomb went off, there was debris all over the water,” Herb Pennnington said.

Herb was one of the first on the scene to help Montgomery. He was in the water on his boat with his family. At the time of his 911 call he did not know the victim was female.

“The guy sunk,” he told a 911 dispatcher. “I tried to catch him before he sunk – it ripped the life-jacket completely off of him. It’s bad, sir. Really bad.”

Herb and his daughter, Miranda, say they tried to help Montgomery out of the water.

“That’s just natural instincts to pull someone out of the water,” Miranda Pennington said. “But, before we were able to get the life-jacket out of the thing, she had slipped out of the jacket, but we were able to pull all the skis out and the jacket.”

Hollenback said crews are thankful they were able to find Montgomery, while knowing it’s a tragic situation that will stay in the minds of many.

“Anytime we have a circumstance like this, it drastically affects everybody from the parties involved to the rescuers to just innocent bystanders who just happened to witness it,” Hollenback said. “I’m sure everybody involved…it’s wearing on them.”

Truer words couldn’t be said for the Penningtons, who say they continue to see the horrible aftermath.

“You can’t get it out of your head,” Miranda said. “You keep replaying what could have happened – what you wished would have happened.”

Hollenback said Montgomery’s relatives are in transit from Australia to the United States.

ORIGINAL STORY

Efforts to recover the body of a missing teen presumed dead have resumed on Monday at Alum Creek Lake in Delaware County.

Authorities tell 10TV a 19-year-old female fell while water skiing at the beach and was struck by a power boat on Sunday around 4:00 p.m.

Witnesses say the woman became submerged in the water after she was hit. They also add the boat may have been racing at the time of the accident.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says the operator of the boat is cooperating with investigators and the agency has taken possession of three boats thus far in their investigation. There is no word yet on any potential charges in the woman’s death.

On Sunday, search teams combed the area late into the night where the teen went under, but could not locate her. Today, teams were searching the waters with boats, cadaver dogs, a helicopter, drone and divers.

Authorities have not named the woman, but Living Youth Programs, the church group she was with at Alum Creek Lake, has identified her as Morgan Montgomery of Australia. Her parents are en route to the United States.

An official at the North Carolina-based Living Church Of God tells 10TV the teen was an assistant councilor with the group and had previously attended as a camper.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Authorities will continue the search this morning for the body of a 19-year-old Australian woman who fell while water-skiing and was hit by a boat in Alum Creek Lake on Sunday.

Andrew Hollenback, region manager of the Division of Watercraft at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said the woman, identified as Morgan Montgomerym was presumed dead.

The department was notified of the incident around 4 p.m. Divers searched the lake until almost 9:30 p.m. The search will resume at 8 a.m. today.

The boat’s driver was not identified, and ODNR officials did not release any statement he gave them.
He was cooperating with the investigation, they said.

Montgomery was staying with a church group camped at the Boy Scouts’ Camp Lazarus on Rt. 23, midway between Lewis Center and Delaware. The camp is sponsored by the Living Church of God, based in Charlotte, N.C. The camp, called Ohio Teen Camp, is one of several the church sponsors in the U.S., according to the church’s website.

From Fox 28:

DELAWARE — A recovery effort is underway for a woman who fell down while water-skiing and was struck by a boat at Alum Creek Beach Sunday afternoon, according to a spokesperson from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The woman was at the beach with her church group, officials say. Preliminary reports indicate the woman was close to 20 years old and the incident happened about 4 p.m.
ODNR is investigating this incident as a fatality. Divers are expected to be joining the recovery effort this evening.
ODNR reports that the boater who struck the woman did stop and cooperate with police.
No further information about the woman was immediately available.

From LCG’s Youth Page:

Update from Ohio

Authorities at the lake where the recent tragic accident occurred believe that they have recovered the body of Morgan Montgomery. The Church is arranging for her parents to fly from Australia to Ohio. Please remember in your prayers the Montgomery family, the campers and the camp staff in this very difficult time.

Update from Ohio

Late this afternoon, Dr. Douglas Winnail reported that the day went well for the youth at the Ohio Living Youth Camp. The kids are sobered by yesterday’s tragic accident but are coping well. Dr. Winnail gave the youth spiritual support today when he took the Christian Living Class. The ministry has provided individual counseling as needed and group counseling in each dorm.

Dr. Meredith, Mr. Ames and the headquarters team has been in close contact with LYC leadership to support our campers and those affected however we can, and additional ministry is traveling to the camp in the next two days, including Dr. Roderick Meredith who will arrive at the camp on Wednesday. Dr. Meredith has sent a letter to all the Church members today.

Camp leadership anticipates that camp will continue through its planned term. Please continue to pray for the campers, for the staff and for the Montgomery family.

Additional information from Ohio

Details of the tragic water skiing accident at the LYC Ohio Teen Camp continue to come in. The victim of the accident, Morgan Montgomery of the Adelaide, SA, Australia congregation, was serving as an Assistant Counselor at the camp.

Dr. Roderick Meredith and Dr. Douglas Winnail have both spoken with Morgan’s parents in Australia. Dr. Winnail is currently at the camp and Dr. Meredith plans to go there this Wednesday. He is sending a letter to the Church membership today about the accident.

Dr. Winnail reported that the emergency responders have been courteous, professional and helpful. He also added, “The campers and staff appear to be doing pretty well this morning. This has been a sobering experience for everyone, but it will provide everyone with the opportunity to draw together and pray for and support one another.”

URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT – LYC Ohio tragic accident

There was a tragic water skiing accident this afternoon at the Ohio LYC Camp. Morgan Montgomery from Australia was down in the water and was run over by another boat that was traveling at a high rate of speed. The boat and driver were not connected with the LYC camp.

Morgan was a much loved counsellor and an inspiration to be around, and this has been a very difficult experience for the campers and staff. Mr. Monson and Dr. Winnail spoke with the campers and staff this evening at a general camp meeting, and the ministers counselled with all of the campers in their dorms. Please join us in heartfelt and fervent prayer for everyone who has been impacted by this tragedy. We have been able to speak with Morgan’s parents in Australia. They will certainly appreciate everyone’s prayers, and they have asked for prayers on behalf of the driver of the boat involved in the accident.

Aug 022015
 

Help us improve this map! This is the result of our piecing together news reports from over the years and is meant to show the gradual degradation and transformation of the Ambassador College campus grounds. Much of it is slated for conversion into luxury townhouses and condos, while the rest is owned by mainstream Christian organizations.

Harvest Rock Church

Ambassador Auditorium was purchased from WCG in 2004 by Harvest Rock Church, a Charismatic religious organization that, aside from using it for church services, has since reopened it to the public for performing arts attractions. The venue is also shared with Maranatha High School.

Maranatha High School

This mainstream Christian high school owns grounds south of Ambassador Auditorium, which has since 2004 been converted to educational facilities and a football field.

Worldwide Church of God Historical Areas

The various lawns, gardens and other features are still marked on Google as historical areas around the former campus, but seem destined for assimilation into the Ambassador West project.

For Sale

Merritt House, a palatial mansion, went up for sale for $10 million in May 2015.

Destroyed or Slated for Destruction

The Fine Arts Building (Honeycomb Building) was destroyed in June 2013 as part of the Ambassador West Project

The Science Building was also slated for destruction by the City Ventures Ambassador West townhouse and condominium project.

The Hall of Administration is slated to be destroyed by City Ventures for its Ambassador West luxury housing project.