On their fateful voyage home, 7 astronauts died Saturday as the Space Shuttle
Columbia broke apart after re-entry into the atmosphere. Two crew members
aboard that flight were also members of a Charismatic church on the outskirts
of Houston, Grace Community Church – a congregation in the Clear Lake suburb
south of the metro area, close to NASA’s Johnson Space Center complex.
Sunday, this congregation held a memorial service in honor of their fellow
worshippers: Rick Husband (shuttle commander), and Michael Anderson (payload
commander), according to a report by Charisma News Service.
Pentecostal in the Park
The last year has been a newsmaker for the largest "Oneness" organization in
the Pentecostal movement. Reports from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch early this
month continue this trend within the United Pentecostal Church, albeit in a
more scandalous fashion.
The newspaper reported that Rev. Ronald Oree Nation was recently arrested
after propositioning a male officer in a public park. This happened during a
sweep where 11 men were arrested after neighborhood citizens complained of men
using the park for sex. He could face up to a year in jail and $1,000 in
fines. Rev. Nation is a top official in the UPCI – serving as Sunday School
Director for the entire organization, and holding various top posts within the
group for the last 20 years. His office was in the church’s World Evangelism
Center, their headquarters in Hazelwood, Missouri.
Spokespersons for the group have stated that he was slated for retirement in
February, while others said he would not be welcome back regardless of the
outcome, and have hinted at revoking his ministerial license.
Information for this report was forwarded by a reader!
Anglicans Oust Charismatic Priest
Many churches and organizations within mainstream and orthodox Christianity
have tolerated the "Charismatic" practices that have influenced many of their
congregations in hopes that this would stem the exodus of people leaving for
these more "energetic" churches. One church in England, however, had enough of
these "happy-clappy" services, and had their priest removed for bringing in
the "Pentecostal" themes.
The congregation at St. Bartholomew's in Horley, Surrey had endured the
changes made when Rev. Peter May became their pastor seven years ago. Although
this "modernization" did boost attendance and lower the median age, eventually
it ran off many of the regulars. It became apparent soon after his
arrival that his preferential style of worship would not be optional, nor only
contained to one particular worship service. He dismissed the choir of this 14th
Century church, tore down the choir stalls, and rebuked anyone who criticized
his moves, asking them to "repent," according to a web report by The Telegraph
After several complaints from parishioners to the Bishop of that diocese, Rev.
May quit. It is unclear whether he did so under pressure from the Bishop, or
if he did so on his own accord.
Pastor Charged with Murder
In a morbid report by the Kansas City Star and Charisma News Service, a
Pentecostal minister and his wife have been charged with murdering their
adopted son. Neil and Christy Edgar were charged with first-degree felony
murder of their nine-year-old son, Brian Edgar, who suffocated after a bizarre
disciplinary practice by the parents and a baby-sitter (who has also been
charged). The boy was found bound and gagged, with tape across his mouth – a
procedure stated to be a method of discipline for children in that church
before they are put to bed. Their other children were also found this way, but
were unharmed. The parents were separately charged with child abuse in these
The pastor’s organization, the Church of God in Christ, has denied that the
church-at-large teaches abuse, or "this sort" of discipline.
Church Says "Yes" to Lotto Tithe
Though most Pentecostal denominations teach that gambling is a sin, the pastor
of Abundant Life Church of God in Torrence, California, has decided to turn a
blind eye as that church prepares to receive its part of a promised "lottery
tithe" from a former parishioner who recently won the $315 million Powerball,
according to a New York Times report. Pastor Gerald Abreu has written the
whole event off as not teaching him "not to gamble." The winner is splitting
his "tithe" to three different local churches.
YEAR IN REVIEW
Before there was an "ex-pentecostals.org," all that existed was a small email
list called "Ex-Apostolics," with about 50 members. Initially, I thought it
would be nice to create a newsletter just for this group, but after browsing
news sources, I realized that there simply wasn’t that much news continually
being generated by "Oneness" sources. I had also hoped to "broaden" our scope
of service, and realized that this would be a great way to start – by creating
a newsletter for all former Pentecostals, regardless of the sect.
So, on February 15th, 2002, "Delivered!" newsletter was unveiled
with its first issue. At first, it was only a quarterly, then quickly became a
bi-monthly publication. By that fall, we started putting it out monthly, as it
is currently published. In January, we changed the name to "XPC Examiner," to
reflect its new additional duty as the official "announcer" of changes in our
services. Here are a few of the headlining events we were proud to cover this
- The change in leadership at the UPCI (a major event, since the last boss
was there 24 years) – 02/02
- The death of award-winning gospel singer and AG member James Blackwood –
- The continual "heresy" trials of charismatic Bishop Carlton Pearson –
04/02, 10/02, 11/02, 01/03
- The "unity" meeting of Pentecostals (which the UPCI later backpeddled on)
- 06/02, 07/02
- Pat Robertson’s "race horse" scandal – 06/02
- The stories that the UPCI was softening on dress code and television –
- The PAW promotes women within church organization – 10/02
- UPCI official appearing on TBN talk show – 01/03
To expand the work we are doing on the ex-pentecostals.org website, we hope to
have an "essay" page within the next year, filled with essays on Pentecostal
doctrine and personal experiences. To kick this off, I am announcing a "Great
Ex-Pentecostal Essay Contest!"
The contest begins now, and will end June 30th
, 2003. All entries
must be email to me personally at
. Due to varying word processor formats, essays
MUST be sent as regular email, or as MS Word or Works document attachments.
There are two categories: 1) ISSUES, and 2) EXPERIENCES. Anything not
qualifying as a "personal experience" should qualify as the other. Choose
either category (or both), and send in as many essays as your fingers can
type. Each individual essay will count as one entry, and will be judged on its
own merits – regardless of how many essays one entrant may or may not have
sent. The winner will be announced in the August edition of this newsletter,
with the winning essay being featured in that newsletter. All applicants imply
permission to publish the essay in our newsletter, and for it to be featured
on the website for at least a year. For the full list of rules, please click
What should you write about? Whatever you feel "your" issue was with this
church: why did you join that church, what made you question it, what made you
leave, where are you know? Or, just tell us your story! Whatever it is,
help us help others by sharing our stories with the rest of the world,
especially those struggling with Pentecostalism! Many of the essays will be
featured on the website after the contest is over.
A few "letters to the editor" from the past month. Enjoy! (Errors of spelling
and grammar are original to the emails)
1) "i am currently in the upc. i still want to get your
news letter to see what all the xpcers are saying. my family has been in the
upc forever and i would be the first to admit that there things wrong with it
, espeecially attitudes, but it sounds like you are bitter".
2) "I just wanted to say that Jesus Loves you and thenks for backing God's
will in "Our rapidly expanding faith" Which means that we might be doing
something right in order for this unique faith to expand so fast. Anyway I
will not lower myself to bash you or anyone within your organization or
affilliates but, man, one thing I'm sure about is that the bile does warn in
Matthew 24 that we would be persecuted because of Jesus's name. Thanks for
backing us up. Your XPC just proves that we (pentecostals) are under God's
perfect plan. So go on and keep spreading the word, It just shows how Loud
Pentecostals are screaming in Satans ears." ~ JL
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*information compiled from several independent media sources are considered
"public knowledge," and sources are not identified. When articles are
compiled from only one source, the source was identified, and a story written
extracting the news using "fair use" rules without intentionally infringing on
Copyright © 2001-2003 by The Association of Former Pentecostals All rights
reserved. All stories, opinions, and other text in this newsletter,
XPC-Examiner, are the personal copyrighted property of The Association of Former Pentecostals, unless
otherwise noted. No portion of this newsletter may be reproduced by any means
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original materials contained within this newsletter, please e-mail The Association of Former Pentecostals at
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