Fate of Camp in Hands of Court

The fate of Camp David, the former Waipara headquarters of the Full Gospel Mission religious sect, will be put in the hands of the High Court.

Kerry Ayers, the legal adviser for Trustees Executors Ltd, the sole trustee of the Full Gospel Mission Fellowship Trust, said yesterday that an application was “pending” to the High Court, asking it to decide the best way to deal with the trust’s assets.

It will be the second time the High Court has been asked to intervene in the trust’s affairs.

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The trust deed allowed the assets of the trust to be transferred to another charitable trust, but it appeared the then trustees, who were all fellowship members, were unable to reach agreement on a transfer, and the matter went to the High Court.

It appointed Trustees Executors Ltd as the trustees of the Full Gospel Mission.

The trust’s biggest asset is a 48ha Waipara property bounded by State Highway 1 and Darnley Road on the south bank of the Waipara River that includes the fortress-like headquarters of the sect known as Camp David.

The property is now in the burgeoning Waipara wine- making area and would be worth many thousands of dollars more than Douglas Metcalf, the cult’s founder, paid for it in the mid-1970s.

An engineering firm operates from the camp and there are still two families and two or three adults living on the property.

Ayers said that because there were still people living on the property, “by necessity” their future would have to be considered when the court was asked for direction about “where to from here”.

It is believed a 189ha forestry block near Murchison belonging to the trust has been sold to meet legal bills run up when a tug-of- war developed over the future of the property between the trustees and those who remained at the camp and former members.

The foundations of the sect collapsed in 1995 after revelations their late founder, who died in 1989, was an adulterer.

The properties were held in trust after his death.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
The Press, New Zealand
May 25, 2005

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