(revised 01/15/2014)Tuesday night, I took a call telling me about a series of events that happened Monday evening in Rutherford County. I had to ask the person to repeat the scenario and then call the person involved to get clarification. What follows is a paraphrase of what was told to me. Former Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) member and adopted grandson of Jane Whaley, Patrick Covington was at a basketball game in the Rutherford County. Word of Faith Fellowship was playing another local church. Patrick walked in and sat away from members of his former group. A few minutes later, Lt. Leon Godlock, who was affiliated with the team opposing WOFF, approached Patrick. He had been talking to Frank Webster and his crew just previous to this. He said I can’t require you to leave, but, I am asking you. Patrick asked why? Godlock said that the WOFF team has said they will forfeit if you stay and my team really wants to play.
So, picture this, grown men saying that they will take their toys and go home if Patrick Covington stays in the building. GROWN men who say they are Christian were laying down the law so to speak, that if one person, who many of them had seen grow up inside of WOFF and had “prayed” for him and “helped” him “take hold of Jesus” and “helped” him get many “breakthroughs”… were telling an off duty Lt. Leon Godlock for the Rutherford County Sheriff’s department to convey their demands to get Patrick to leave a public place. If he does not leave— why we just won’t play! Wah, wah, wah…
Of course there were deeper dynamics in play here. Patrick is an ex-member who has experienced the shunning, emotional division and implosion of the only family he knew because he decided to not live inside WOFF. He represented something to the WOFF basketball team that none of them could admit was true. There is life outside their tight knit subculture. He represents the fact that when you leave WOFF you have the opportunity to explore the world God gave and learn new things and make YOUR OWN DECISIONS!
As the conversation continued, I understand that Frank Webster approached Patrick and Godlock. Frank Webster, he who would be judge over us, made the pronouncement to Godlock while pointing at Patrick that he had been “put on notice” and was told not to stalk WOFF members! As I understand it, Frank went on to accuse Patrick of stalking his sister in Wal-Mart! Patrick did not deny seeing his sister in Wal-Mart but, to be accused of stalking his very own sister in a public place where he had every right to be… does that seem like a true and complete assessment or could there be more to that story? Anyway, somewhere in this scene Godlock turns to wanna-be Judge Webster and tells him something to the effect to back up that he will handle the situation. The entire time Patrick was in the building was no more than 15 to 20 minutes.
Picture this; Frank Webster who put his hat in the ring in January 2013 to be nominated for an vacant judgeship position in our district has just made a big scene in a public place over the presence of an ex-member of his church. Now, I was not there and am only hearing one side. Frank, when Ray reads this to Jane and you hear about it, if you care to reply I will print your response —within reason.
Anyway, soon thereafter Patrick left the heavily influenced WOFF arena after making it clear to Godlock that his exit was not because of WOFF, but that he wanted Godlock’s team to be able to play since they were good. You may ask- who won the basketball game? I don’t know. Who thought they “stood their ground” and “set God apart” before the crowd, many of whom probably had no idea of the dynamics being played out? Do you think Frank made the decision or was his mother-in-law involved somewhere in that fiasco? Maybe Jane will call me and “give me truth.” Jane if you call, don’t use a blocked number. There are so many questions… Is this the kind of behavior we want on the District bench? One thing for sure, this whole scene shows Frank stands up for his beliefs…yes, that is true. Are his WOFF beliefs your beliefs?
Do you believe that if a member of a church leaves, that the remaining members should shun and cut-off all communication with them? Does that seem Christian? If a member of your church leaves family members behind, do you exhort the family members who stay to consider their family member who left- as dead? If the member who left requests some family pictures, would you shred them before you give them to him? I was told the loving members of WOFF did just that with Patrick’s pictures. All of this is what Frank Webster was standing up for and saying with his actions that he totally agrees with and endorses how Patrick has been treated. Way to go Frank!
The additional dynamic in play here was that Patrick tells me that Lt. Godlock has been to WOFF a few times to get prayer. He even brought his family to get prayer. If that is true, then consider these questions. When he went to WOFF did Jane assemble her “legal team” including Frank Webster to pray for him? If he did in fact go to WOFF for whatever reason, will he go back after this public display of high pressured control? Lt. Godlock, what say ye? Is this an accurate depiction of the events? Did Frank thank you for getting Patrick to leave? How did that make you feel? Did you feel like you were babysitting at that point? Lt. Godlock, is Frank Webster’s behavior fitting of an Assistant District Attorney?
Burke County residents, what do you say? Is this the kind of conduct you want from an attorney who is making decisions in your courts? Consider this, the laws of NC changed this year to allow candidates for a judicial position to receive campaign donations of up to $5,000 from any one person. That is up from $1,000 before the law changed. (source – http://www.wncvotetracker.org/hb-589-vivaelection-reform.html ) So, this may or may not mean that Frank Webster runs for a judicial position in the next election. I was told earlier last year he had stated he would run. If he does, many WOFFers could contribute much more to his campaign than in the past. If all this plays out in the next cycle, lets don’t forget how Frank stood his ground against a former member and threatened to take his team and go home if that person did not leave the building! Frank Webster effectively brought a basketball game in a public place to a halt over a regular WOFF practice of shunning former members – even though non-church members who did not even know Patrick would have suffered. Residents of North Carolina– is that the man we want to rule over us? Think about it. How would his loyalty to WOFF and his mother-in-law, Jane Whaley, affect his ability to be impartial?
On January 29, 2013, Frank Webster stood up in the McDowell County courtroom and solicited the votes from his fellow attorneys in District 29A. I know because I was there to hear the speech. He started out by saying he had been in Rutherford County for twenty-three and half years. He said he had been in Superior Court for six and a half years. He then went on to retell a story I had heard years ago about his first few months in the District Attorney’s office for Burke County. It was about the coffee table book with pictures from around “this great state.” In the front was an inscription telling how in just a few short months, he had gained “the respect of the defense bar and the law enforcement community.” Frank went on to explain the reason for the respect.
“There is a reason I have that respect. It is not because I give everyone what they want. But, it is because I actually care about people. I really care about helping people and I work hard to help people. And if you choose to vote for me, I will absolutely do the same for (district) 29A. And I would love the opportunity in 29A.”
Frank did not get nominated that day. But, this means I have more questions. If the same people who gave him the book knew about this public display on Monday evening, would the respect remain the same, increase or decrease? Next, how was Patrick helped here? How did Frank’s conduct show he cared about helping people? He showed how he had to have other non-WOFF members bow to his WOFF practices. Does that understanding give anyone concern besides me?
In my opinion, Patrick deserves an apology from Frank. He deserves a public apology. In my opinion, Lt. Godlock and his basketball team deserve a public apology. Which media outlet will pick-up Patrick’s story and run Frank’s apology? How would Frank’s supervisor at his job view the events that took place? Did anyone catch this exchange on video? Patrick’s public plight was not the focal point on Monday evening, even though it may have appeared that way. The main focus has to be where a man of such stature in the judicial community and one who has such far-reaching responsibilities, lowered himself to refuse to play a game, if he did not get his way. Frank- it is evident you failed the test. Selah.
And with that, let us remember:
“It is never too late to wake up and leave and reclaim your life!” Steve Hassan
Thank you, for taking time to visit and read this blog. Please, consume the information on this site responsibly. The author is not a licensed mental health professional and encourages those that need professional help to seek it. The intent of the material is to inform and be a resource. Be sure to tell every member that you know at WOFF about this blog. There are readers at WOFF. Jane told me. Comments are invited from all readers, including present or former members. Polls are not scientific and no private information is gathered.
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