After months of delays prompted by pre-trial motions, appeals and more motions, the Matthew Fenner case is set for hearing on June 6th at 9:30AM in the Rutherford County courthouse. Rccatalyst.com reported on April 13th concerning the next hearing. Also, during April, Rccatalyst.com reported the motion for Judge Marvin Pope to continue on as judge for this case, as well as Judge Pope’s April12th order for attorney Angela Beeker’s release from her representation of Brooke Covington, Justin Covington and Sarah Anderson.
The pending trial surrounds alleged incidents from January 27, 2013 wherein Matthew Fenner states he was held against his will, physically assaulted and strangled during a “deliverance” session in the sanctuary of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). The “loud prayer” and “deliverance” has been for years the signature practice of WOFF, which has many other socially obtuse practices surrounding controls the leader, Jane Whaley, exerts over her members. Five church members have been indicted with charges including second degree kidnapping, simple assault and assault by strangulation. These members are Brooke Covington, Justin Covington, Sarah Covington Anderson, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. and Adam Bartley. Continue reading June 6th- The Matthew Fenner Case Returns to Court→
March 17, 2016- Josh Farmer filed an “Appellant’s Motion to Withdraw Appeal” with the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The reasons for the appeal include the fact-
“3. On March 4, 2016- Sarah Anderson retained the independent counsel of Jeffrey Cooper and Benjamin Cooper to represent her in the criminal matter.
4. The remaining appellants, Brooke McFadden Covington and Justin Brock Covington, desire to withdraw their appeal.”
This motion to withdraw allows the Disqualification ORDER of Judge Marvin Pope to stand. Tomblin, Farmer and Morris, now- Farmer and Morris LAW, PLLC or their associates can no longer represent any of the five defendants in any matter related to the indictments/charges in this case.
This clears the way for another court date to resolve pre-trial motions involving change of venue, change of venire as well as keeping Judge Pope for the remainder of the case. It is reasonable to assume the next court date for this case will be within a month. Continue reading Farmer Files Withdrawal of Appeal→
Monday, Judge Laura A. Powell set the matter of an emergency hearing in Anderson vs. Anderson forward to Wednesday, March 16th at 11:00AM. This morning, I attended as a witness and to chronicle the events. I arrived in the courtroom about 10:55AM. The back row was filled with Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) members. This group included Jane Whaley, Karel Reynolds, Josh Farmer, DeWitt Prince, Blake Caulder, Josh Valentine, Patty Anderson and Nick Anderson. Everyone dressed in their Sunday go to court meeting best, but strangely lacking one obvious ornament- smiles. If I missed someone in attendance, it was not intentional.
I took my seat to the front left alongside two members of the press. On the right side of the courtroom was the Sarah Anderson support contingency. Several members of her team showed including friends and relatives. There was only a few feet between those on each side of the issues being decided, but the distance between Sarah and Nick was miles and growing more with each passing day. Nearly everyone in the room used to worship and pray for hours behind the white doors of the WOFF sanctuary. My, how things have changed. Continue reading Judge: No Yelling, Shaking or Striking!→
The reasons for her choice to leave Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) have not been made public. However, some details have emerged about the events following her exit. In a GoFundMe page plea, Sarah’s sister, Rachel Bryant outlines the current struggle around the question of custody of Sarah’s son. Near the end of February, Sarah did leave the WOFF environment taking her son and seeking shelter elsewhere. Her sister, Rachel Bryant, exited the group a few months ago with her husband and child and has shown great support for Sarah’s decision. The GoFundMe plea explains that this Monday, March 14th, Sarah will be in family court for an emergency hearing on several motions put forth by counsel for her husband, Nick Anderson. The goal of $30,000 is sought for her legal fees to retain custody of her son pictured on the page. Please, visit the page, read and share with your friends.
Sarah’s exit has led to several other events with more changes to follow.
Appeal of Disqualification in Fenner Case Falls Apart
Rccatalyst.com reported on Wednesday the newly filed Notice of Appearance for Sarah C. Anderson, one of the defendants in the Matthew Fenner case. The Notice alerts the Courts of Sarah C. Anderson’s choice for a new representation. Attorneys Jeff Cooper and Benjamin Cooper now represent Sarah Anderson. Thursday, the Cooper attorneys filed a withdrawal from the Appeal on behalf of their client, Sarah C. Anderson.
Sunday afternoon was a beautiful day in western North Carolina. The gathering at Great Expectations and More in Rutherfordton turned out to be a gentle reflection of the outside weather. Mary Hornback and her family were so kind to open their doors again to a reading from “Locked in” and a time of questions and answers. Those in attendance were responsive with some very insightful questions. Words are hard to find to fully express the satisfaction of knowing the truth about the Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) is getting out week after week, month as month since the release of my book, “Locked in”, in September 2015.
Friends and followers of the saga came together to direct questions and express their concerns and observations. My hopes are that everyone left with hope for changes in the near future. There are more copies available and keep checking for announcements for future events.
2016- The Year of Change in Rutherford County! (Thank you, Mary for the pictures! )
Recently, I was told that Jane Whaley, leader of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF), declared from the pulpit that many would leave the will of God this year. Translated, many will leave WOFF. Okay, the person relaying it to me called this declaration a “prophecy.” For whatever the motivation, for whatever the reason; I must say I agree with the prediction. Last year was a banner year for defections. The list of survivors leaving WOFF seems to be growing by the week. The exact reasons vary I am sure, but many have already, and looks like soon will leave the WOFF kingdom. The unofficial total ranges from 50 upwards to 80 or more in the last 18 months. I am not sure if any of that number includes ones leaving the Brazilian churches.
For the Faith Freedom Fund, this means another busy year ahead. We are not called upon to help every survivor. Some exit-takers find their own resources. However, last year was the busiest year I can remember for helping survivors. I find the work satisfying on one hand and heart breaking on the other. The stories of abuse coming out of that place seem to grow in intensity with each passing month. Continue reading On this, I Agree with Jane Whaley…→
Recently, one lady attending a book signing for “Locked in” let me know it was not necessary to quote exact dates when relaying events in the retelling of my time at Word of Faith of Fellowship (WOFF). After I gave her encouragement some thought, I decided that for some events it was very necessary and maybe not for others. The process of retelling my WOFF story with certain dates has definitely helped reassemble in some organized fashion those lost years. For other survivors, I believe it has the same effect.
One particular date has eluded me. For the last few years, I have struggled to determine at what point did the lives of the members of WOFF become possessions to the leader, Jane Whaley? On what day did this happen? Some may argue that this day has never come. I beg to differ. How else would you describe the consistent power Jane exercises in her kingdom? Daily, her decisions affect the nature and essence of very minute details of her member’s lives. The manner she molds and fashions the intricate dynamics of her subculture lead me to one definitive conclusion- at least on some level, she views members as possessions. Continue reading WOFF Members Belong to Jane Whaley→