This post will layout more events which led to the thoughts which I had in order to decide to leave Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). My time in the group as a member living locally, was six years. That period followed the ten years of involvement through the Greenville, SC church. In March of 2008, Jane Whaley had called a “closed door” prayer meeting during which I had been rebuked my immediate (job) supervisor. This all led up to the meeting on April 9, 2008.
April 9th was a Wednesday. There was a “normal” church service. After the service, I was told to be in a meeting in one of the leaders church office. He happened to be the father of the family that owned the property management company for which I had been working. Another person, who was close to me, was standing in the hall way waiting to go in with me, to the meeting. Actually, I thought that was odd. The folks needed for the meeting squeezed into this small office with me sitting in a chair sorta backed into a corner. This position would be critical to the presenters of the case against me. Each would take their turn.
The son of the family of owners of the company I worked for; opened the session by saying he had heard some of the things I had been doing- through the supervisor. He said, he was shocked and though I had asked permission from the supervisor to tend to some other business; if he had known- it would not have been allowed. From there, the son and father presented me with an ultimatum- “Quit your part-time obligations or you will lose your job-be fired- tonight.” I hung my head to gather my thoughts. After I did not jump and say “Praise, God- thank you for cutting me off from that part-time work!” The conversation rachetted up and other “ministers” more experienced and skilled in abusive tactics came into the room. The first was the woman who had put me in discipleship several weeks previous for reading headlines of newspapers and telling someone about it. (read here.http://tiny.cc/cpmlw ) She had a lot to say- but the subject changed into warnings about sin and how I was walking a thin line and needed a heart change! She got louder and louder. When she would take a breath, other “ministers” would begin from another angle. I felt like I was drawn within my body and watching a nightmare unfold of which I had no control. This was such an intense attack that I was reeling emotionally. I admitted some things to try to stop the frequent volleys and the barrages of accusations, to no avail.
Someone had let Jane Whaley know I was not progressing. Jane stormed into the room as a part of the planned effects, she pointed her finger in my face and screamed- “You are full of wickedness and sin!” Then she turned to the person just to my left and screamed at them- “And you let him be that way!” Jane Whaley may have said some other things- I honestly don’t remember. I had been rebuked for looking back at her “out of devils”. Several warned me all at once to “calm down and not look at Jane that way.” Jane leaves as the person to my left, takes up the mantle and begins screaming at me to confess my sin and give it up! By this time, I am a wreck. I am still in this nightmare.
Things seemed to calm down for a minute and I finally told them, “I have a hard time giving up the part-time work” when it had been allowed at the outset of taking this job with the property management company. Immediately, Jane’s adopted daughter calls Jane, tells her we are tired and he is “still keeping his devils”. Jane Whaley said to quit and called an end to this roller coaster of a night. This meeting started at 9:00PM and ended at midnight. The person to my left begins to ask the owner of the property management company, if he wants his company car and company laptop, tonight? He says just leave everything at the church. Someone else asked if I needed to come to work on Thursday? The son of the owner just kept walking and says- “I don’t need someone like that working for me. No.” I was to stay home and consider my ways.
This would prove to be the pivotal encounter with all the “ministers” and Jane Whaley. I stayed home for a couple days. Then made some calls and found some work. I did not go back and beg for the job at the property management company. (I could say more here.. but, I will exercise restraints.) Months later, I find out that the one who fired me, who had made the statement that he did not “want a person like me”; had gone to my wife in the days following the meeting and asked if I was coming back to talk to him about the job? When I heard that- I found it hard to believe. He expected me to crawl back to ask for a job that I really didn’t want, that caused me to work 50-60 hours a week, driving all over SC? My thoughts were not just “no”. My thoughts were that I was grateful to have other work so I could provide for my family and spend some more time with them. The other thought was that the folks in that meeting acted as if the way they treated me was perfectly normal! I could not believe that the folks I worked for and had talked to many times, considered the way ALL of the players in the drama acted- as normal, beneficial and Christ-like. Jane Whaley was certainly given a pass and I realized why? The way she acted, was her role with folks like me. She had played her “scream, rebuke” card and it had not worked. (or so they thought…) There would be a result, but not the one they had hoped for in their twisted WOFF thinking.
During the rest of April 2008, I still had no thoughts that I would be put out of the church or ever leave WOFF. Though I was put into church discipline and never really restored to full status after the meeting on April 9, 2008. For once again, I had “left” a church-member owned company and that in itself carried a stigma. Members who did not dare ask, or did not know the story, sensed I was off limits and many stayed their distance. From this point forward, at different times until my exit in July 2008, the shunning would be stunning! We will continue with the events for May through July of 2008, in the next post. These events require more space to tell than I had first thought.
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