Multi-Cultural Church; Cult leader loses properties; Prosperity Church less prosperous

Imprisoned cult leader’s properties to be seized

Federal prosecutors have begun the process to seize property owned by ‘evangelist’ Tony Alamo, real name Bernie Lazar Hoffman.

Alamo is serving a 175-year prison sentence for taking girls as young as nine across state lines with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Alamo, who had threatened the girls with the loss of their salvation if they did not comply, referred to them as his ‘brides.’

On January 15, 2010, the cult leader was also ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution for each of the five victims, a total of $2.5 million.

But since Alamo has not made any restitution payments, authorities are seeking the seizure and sale of properties owned or controlled by Alamo.

Attorneys for two men who grew up in the cult and were beaten up by Alamo’s enforcer also seek the sale of some of his properties in order to satify a $30 million judgement.

Associated Press, November 13, 2009

Victory Centre in trouble

Victory Centre — also referred to as Victory Christian Fellowship — in Dublin, Ireland, is in trouble.

The ‘prosperity gospel‘ church has failed to satisfy a demand by the Bank of Scotland for €18 million in respect of unpaid loans.

The Sunday World reports that the bank wanted to see the money after Revenue Ireland axed the “cult church’s charitable status.”

The paper says the church was run like a personal bank for its pastors Brendan and Sheila Hade and Gerry Byrne.

Multi-Cultural Church

We love coffee around here, so we took note when the New York Times wrote about Vox Veniae — a rule-breaking, 200-person church in Austin, Texas — where the good news includes locally sourced coffee brewed in the highly-praised Chemex system.

“But what’s really unexpected about Vox,” says the NYT, “is that what began as a church for Chinese-Americans quickly became multiracial” — something that is still somewhat unique in American Protestant Christianity.

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., once said “it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.”

One of many resources on the topic: Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church, by Mark DeYmaz.

DeYmaz knows his topic. He is the founding pastor and directional leader of the Mosaic Church (Little Rock and Conway, Arkansas, and Durham, North Carolina) — a multi-ethnic and economically diverse church where significant percentages of Black and White Americans, together with men and women from more than 30 nations, worship God together as one.

    Odds & Ends

  • Charlotte Observer religion reporter Tim Funk was arrested Monday at the General Assembly in Raleigh while covering the Charlotte clergy involved in the legislative protests.

    Funk was among 60 people arrested — many of them members of the clergy in support of the “Moral Monday” movement that has led to more than 350 arrests since April 29 and brought thousands of demonstrators to Raleigh to voice their ire about cuts to Medicaid and unemployment benefits that affect more than half a million North Carolinians.

  • The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has appointed Jane Jeffes as executive producer of Radio National’s religion unit, overseeing four programs: The Religion and Ethics Report, The Spirit of Things, Encounter and The Rhythm Divine, as well as The God Who Sings on Classic FM and Sunday Nights on ABC Local Radio.
  • A tale of two Egyptian converts: Christians say conversion to Islam is widely promoted, whereas rare cases of Muslims turning to Christianity precipitate violence against entire communities.

    We think that if Islam wants to be considered a ‘religion of peace’ it will have to let go of its intolerance toward people who wish to make up their own mind regarding which religion to follow.

    Religious Freedom, Tolerance, And Intolerance

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