Man claims church ruined his marriage
A group of families who moved to Lake Oswego after a breakup in their Scottsdale, Ariz., church may be considering starting a new church here.
But at least one man considers the church and its members to be an evil cult that is responsible for problems he’s experienced in his personal life.
According to a news story that appeared in the July 10 edition of the Scottsdale Tribune, some members of The Church in Scottsdale split off from the congregation and moved to Lake Oswego after a rift among church elders.
Some of the Arizona transplants have settled in the Westlake area. Brent Corwin, an Arizona attorney who remains friendly with some of the new Lake Oswego residents, said they are pleased with their new environs.
“The community is delightful,” Corwin said. “People have been very warm, very welcoming.”
And though the newcomers get together for informal gatherings, there is no official church presence in Lake Oswego, Corwin insisted.
But according to public records with the state’s Corporations Division, the group filed papers in April to form The Lake Oswego Church, an active non-profit organization. The church has a Westlake address and lists Tod Rosinbum, a member of the Scottsdale congregation who moved to Lake Oswego about five months ago, as a contact person. Rosinbum did not return telephone calls to the Review.
“These are just people who may have some family in this area, and who are returning to their roots,” said Corwin, the attorney. “They have informal get-togethers, but there is not a church. There may be some talk about maybe starting a church here, but that would be in the very preliminary stages. There’s just been too much going on for these people.”
Among the goings-on are accusations by Jim Longmate, a former church member, that the church leaders destroyed his marriage. Longmate is engaged in a custody battle with his former wife, Jamie Longmate, over their children.
“They are the focus of the damage that has been done to so many marriages and to so many children down here,” Longmate said from Arizona this week. “I just don’t want any more people to be hurt. I want to warn the schools, the pastors, the people in the community.
“To all outward appearances, this group looks healthy,” Longmate said. “But behind the scenes, there are so many evil practices.”
Longmate said the children of church members are not allowed to play with neighborhood kids but must only socialize with the children of other church members. Parents are instructed in harsh disciplinary measures, he said, and church elder Bill Freeman and his wife, Patsy Freeman, have enough control over church members that they can make them drop ties to jobs, family members and non-church friends, Longmate said.
“She (Patsy Freeman) convinced close to 100 people to sell their homes and leave their jobs and move to Lake Oswego,” Longmate said.
“She is virtually the controlling individual,” Longmate said. “She is in control of the family and always has been. She is in control of the group even though he is the pastor. It’s kind of like an ant colony. You have workers and soldiers. Patsy has been the queen, telling people what to do.”
The Tribune story details Patsy Freeman’s tendency to interfere in families and in marriage relationships. Another church elder, David McCarthy, is quoted as saying Arizona church members were relieved when the group split off. McCarthy did not return telephone calls from the Review.
According to the Tribune, The Church in Scottsdale was founded about 15 years ago after some members split off from a religious organization called The Church in Seattle. The fellowship, which was founded in Washington by Bill Freeman in the 1960s, has roots in a California Christian group called The Local Church of Witness Lee.
When reached by phone, new Lake Oswego residents said to be part of the church discounted Longmate’s accusations. “He’s a sick man,” one woman said. “I don’t have any comment. No one wants to comment, because they’re afraid he’ll kill them. There is no new church in Lake Oswego.”
Another woman said, “I really don’t have any information for you. I’m really sorry, but I don’t have a comment.” And a third church member said, ” I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Aug. 19, 1999
Martha Allen, Staff Reporter