TB Joshua church building collapse – updated*

 

Eyewitness News reports…

“Popular Nigerian preacher and televangelist TB Joshua is under mounting pressure to cooperate with the authorities after the fatal building collapse in Lagos that’s claimed at least 67 South African lives.

The collapse occurred when three extra [storeys] were being added to the existing two of a guest house of the church compound.

Nigeria’s government says Joshua and staff at his Synagogue Church of All Nations have so far failed to disclose information to investigators.

President Jacob Zuma confirmed the South African casualties last night, days after the collapse which occurred on Friday.

Officials have asked the congregation to remain calm and to allow the officials to do their work.

Members of the church have been accused of preventing emergency workers immediate access to the site of the collapsed Nigerian building.

Reports have emerged that emergency workers and journalists were not allowed anywhere near the scene when they arrived.

Prominent South African religious leader Ray McCauley says Joshua needs to set up a crisis centre in Nigeria and give more clarity to the bereaved families who are searching for any information about their loved ones.

“The investigation must be done properly.”

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has appealed to South Africans with missing relatives to come forward.

The department has established a call centre for people with missing families members and says plans to return the deceased home will be announced soon.

The BBC says chances of finding any more survivors are slim.

Thousands of people from across the world flock to the church every year with promises of miracles and prophecies from Joshua, a high school dropout referred to either as “the prophet” or “the man of god”.

He claims to have raised the dead, cured Aids and says he predicted the Malaysian Airlines MH17 plane crash and Boston Marathon bombings.

The regular influx of visitors from abroad for the church’s services, which can last up to a week, creates demand for accommodation that the church’s own guest house has been unable to meet, and often spills over into local hotels.

A large crowd has gathered at OR Tambo International Airport after a plane from Lagos arrived this afternoon, hopefully carrying survivors of the building collapse.

Hlubi Molebatsi’s brother and mother are there hoping to see her walk through the arrival doors.

Molebatsi’s brother, Mpho, says the last time they heard her voice was when she called them from Lagos on Friday.

He says they frantically tried getting a hold of her after hearing the news that the building she was staying in had collapsed.

He says they are still optimistic about seeing her again.

“I just hope to see my sister walking through the doors.”

From http://ewn.co.za/2014/09/17/Nigeria-collapse-Pressure-mounting-for-Joshua-to-cooperate

 

Synagogue Church Of All Nations video

 

 

Kong Hee on trial – updated*

Channel NewsAsia reports…

“City Harvest Church finance manager Sharon Tan cried on Wednesday (Sep 17), her fourth day on the stand.

She was being questioned by her lawyer, Senior Counsel Kannan Ramesh, about one of her statements, when the tears flowed. It was not known what caused her to cry, and the trial was adjourned soon after.

In today’s session, the Court was shown a statement Tan gave to the Commercial Affairs Department in 2010. In it, she said there were plans for the church to pay production house Xtron a fee of S$56 million for eight years of “advance rental” valued at S$7 million a year.

However, Tan today clarified that the amount was S$46 million, not S$56 million. This was because Xtron had earlier indicated it would give the church a “discount”.

Xtron was started by three church members, to own and manage future buildings the church could use consistently for its growing congregation.

Tan’s lawyer had questioned her about the statement to confirm it was consistent with her testimony over the past four days. She replied that it was.”

From http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/xtron-planned-to-give/1367222.html

Saving The Salvos

 

The ABC reports…

“In this two-part special, Compass examines the Salvation Army in Australia, a trusted church-charity engulfed by allegations of sexual abuse in its former children’s homes.

Since 1882 the Salvos have been helping Australia’s poor and marginalised with their unique brand of quasi-military Christianity. For over a century they also raised more than 30,000 orphaned and wayward children in their homes across the country. But now the Salvos’ image as good incorruptible battlers has been tarnished by the Royal Commission’s shocking revelations of sexual abuse and brutality of children in its care. So, what went wrong? How did the Salvos fail so badly? And, what are they doing about it? In Part 1 ABC Religious Affairs commentator John Cleary, himself a Salvo, goes in search of answers.”

From http://www.abc.net.au/compass/s4071663.htm

Pastor jailed for noisy church

 

WSOC reports…

“A South Carolina church pastor was sentenced to jail Thursday after being found guilty of violating city noise limits.

Pastor Apostle Johnnie Clark leads the Rehoboth United Assemblies Church in Columbia. According to The State newspaper, the church has been in its current location for more than 25 years, however recent development in the area has brought the church into conflict with some of its new neighbors.

The Pentecostal worship service is known for singing, shouting, dancing and drumming. According to WLTX-TV, the police have been called to the scene more than 50 times.

On Thursday, after a three-day trial, a judge found Clark guilty of unlawful sound amplification. The State reports Clark was sentenced to one day in jail while WLTX-TV reports Clark will serve two weeks in jail.

A search of the Richland County inmate roster shows that Clark is currently detained at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

In an interview with WLTX nearly two years ago, Clark said, “I am sorry we don’t worship the Lord quietly and that is everyone’s preference how you worship the Lord. We just happen to be a Pentecostal apostolic church and our praise is very vocal to the Lord.”

From http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/national/pastor-serve-jail-time-loud-church-services/nhLdB/?icmp=cmgcontent_internallink_relatedcontent_2014_partners5

Ian Paisley dead

 

The Wall Street Journal reports…

“The Rev. Ian Paisley, the divisive Protestant firebrand who devoted his life to thwarting compromise with Catholics in Northern Ireland only to become a pivotal peacemaker in his twilight years, died Friday in Belfast, his wife said. He was 88.

Mr. Paisley was Northern Ireland’s most polarizing politician throughout its three decades of civil strife. Yet at the zenith of his peace-wrecking powers, Mr. Paisley in 2007 stunned the world by delivering its first stable unity government between its British Protestants and its Irish Catholics. “Dr. No,” as he was widely known, finally said yes—and his powerful U-turn cemented a peace process that he had done so much to frustrate.

From the conflict in Northern Ireland’s earliest days, Mr. Paisley prophesied damnation for any Protestant politician or church leader who dared to build bridges with the Catholic Church and Irish nationalists.

Hostile to the establishment, Mr. Paisley built his own extremist power base. His evangelical sect, the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster, labeled the pope as the Antichrist and called the major Protestant denominations ecumenical Judases. His Democratic Unionist Party insisted that Northern Ireland’s union with Britain couldn’t tolerate concessions to Irish nationalist demands.

Often backed by the brooding menace of Protestant mobs and masked men, Paisley led club-wielding blockades of 1960s Catholic civil rights marches, demanded the military destruction of a resurgent Irish Republican Army, and denounced the U.S.-brokered Good Friday peace accord of 1998 as a surrender to “the men of blood” in the IRA’s Sinn Féin party.

In 2003, Mr. Paisley’s party won most seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Protestants had given him an absolute veto over any resumption of cooperation with Sinn Féin, an apparent Doomsday scenario for power-sharing.

Mr. Paisley declared there wasn’t “a snowball’s chance in hell” he would work with Sinn Féin unless the IRA surrendered all weapons and disbanded publicly. Upping the ante, he called on Sinn Féin leaders to don “sackcloth and ashes,” an Old Testament ritual for demonstrating repentance and shame.

Mr. Paisley seemed determined to humiliate his enemies—yet this time his unbending reputation suited the cause of lasting peace.

The IRA in 2005 disarmed and renounced violence, transforming its truce from open-ended to permanent. Sinn Féin in January 2007 voted to support the police, accepting the legitimacy of the Northern Ireland state for the first time.

Even then, Mr. Paisley demanded more. He called on Sinn Féin leaders to confess to police all the unsolved IRA crimes they and their colleagues had committed.

When the Democratic Unionists increased their Assembly strength in March 2007 elections, Mr. Paisley insisted he wouldn’t start talking face-to-face with Sinn Féin, never mind form a cabinet with them.

Yet within a few weeks, Mr. Paisley appeared alongside Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams live on TV to declare that their two parties had buried the hatchet.

“We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future,” Mr. Paisley said in that address, the first time he ever shared a platform with Sinn Féin.

To the surprise of many, Paisley embraced his new role as Northern Ireland’s first minister with a relaxed demeanor, most strikingly when working alongside his government co-leader, former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.

Yet at Mr. Paisley’s insistence, they never shook hands. Mr. McGuinness said he understood and didn’t push the issue.

Mr. Paisley stepped down as leader of the government and the Democratic Unionists in 2008.

He retired from the House of Commons in 2010 and from Northern Ireland’s Assembly in 2011. The British government elevated him to the upper House of Lords, giving him the title Lord Bannside, a reference to the river that divides Northern Ireland.

He is survived by his wife, three daughters, two sons and many grandchildren.”

From http://online.wsj.com/articles/ian-paisley-protestant-firebrand-dies-aged-88-1410525956

Pastor killed two wives – updated*

 

CBS News reports…

“A former Pennsylvania pastor already serving life without parole for bludgeoning his second wife to death in 2008 was sentenced Wednesday to 20 to 40 years in the 1999 death of his first wife.

Arthur “A.B.” Schirmer was sentenced in Lebanon County after pleading no contest in June to third-degree murder.

Schirmer, 66, a former Methodist clergyman, had long claimed he was out for a run on April 23, 1999, when he returned home to find the body of 50-year-old Jewel Schirmer, his wife of 31 years, in a pool of blood at the bottom of the basement steps. Although she had suffered a fractured skull as well as injuries to her face, body, arms and legs, the coroner made no determination as to whether her death was an accident or a homicide, and the case was closed.

Authorities reopened the investigation after Schirmer was charged in Monroe County with using a crowbar to kill his second wife, Betty, in 2008, and staging a car accident in an effort to conceal the crime. Schirmer was convicted of first-degree murder in that case and is serving life without parole.

“I waited a long time for this day,” Jewel’s brother, Jonathan Behney, said in court Wednesday, according to the Lebanon Daily News.

“You destroyed so many lives,” he told Schirmer. “To this day, you just don’t care.”

Despite his no-contest plea, Schirmer continues to deny killing Jewel Schirmer, and his two daughters with Jewel both told the judge they believe in their father’s innocence.

“I was not the best husband or the best father or the best pastor but I am not a murderer,” Schirmer, whom a prosecutor once dubbed the “sinister minister,” told Judge John Tylwalk.

He added he would “rather stand before God because he knows perfectly my actions and my innocence.”

But the judge said Schirmer should remain in prison for the rest of his life.

“Only two people know what happened, you and your wife,” said the judge. “I believe you are fully responsible.”

From http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ex-pastor-gets-20-40-years-in-1st-wifes-death/

 

 

Church not charitable

Pastor Danny Nalliah visits New Connection Church in Canberra on August 5, 2012

Pic:Catch The Fire Ministries

 

The Canberra Times reports…

“A Belconnen church has had its charity status revoked by the industry regulator after it failed to provide information to prove its charitable works.

The New Connection Church, on Walder Street in Belconnen, had its registration as a charity removed by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission on Wednesday.

It had previous been warned by the commission to provide more information about its activities and for not submitting a 2013 annual information statement.

Pastor Glenn Maloney, who founded the New Connection Church, said the decision was due to his organisation failing to submit paperwork on time and he would appeal the decision.

“We’ve done nothing wrong, we’ve just been very slow with getting the required documents in the required places. Most of that has been done now, it’s just a question of a few loose ends to tidy up,” he said.

“We’re a little bit disappointed but we abide by the rules.”

He said the church was a small organisation with about 40 members and had been running for about three years.

The commission said the Belconnen church had previously responded to questions from the commission, but had not been heard from since May 2.

The first complaint about the New Connection Church was received by the commission in January 2013. The content of the complaint was not known on Wednesday.

The commission said it was only the fourth time it had taken the radical step of revoking an organisation’s charitable status.

In June 2014, the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission revoked the registration of the Arthur Crawford Foundation and in July it did the same to the Care 4 Kids Foundation of Australia Ltd and the Indigenous Foundation of Australia Ltd.

The commission said it had determined these organisations were not solely charitable.

Commissioner Sue Pascoe said the majority of Australian charities were honest and deserving of public support and the majority of complaints received by the regulator were resolved through education and advice.

It has received over 900 complaints about charities since it started operation in December 2012.”

Pic:New Connection Church