Witness testifies former pastor Roy Wood very much in charge at church

It was supposed to be the men who made the decisions at the now defunct Ambassador Baptist Church.

But ultimately, one female church member testified yesterday, Pastor Roy Wood was “very much in charge” and made the decisions.

Superior Court Justice Lynda Templeton heard from the woman who testified to a range of activities at the church while she was a long-term member.

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Wood, 57, has pleaded not guilty to 13 charges — 10 of which involve assaults on three boys who were pupils at the church’s alternative school that operated between 1985 and 1987.

The other three charges –two of sexual assault and one of sexual interference — involve breast-grabbing of two women in the congregation.

The witness yesterday said women were not given any position of authority within the church’s structure, which followed some Biblical scripture that said men were to be the head of the households and the church.

In the early days of the church, the men would meet to discuss issues. But soon, Wood found the meetings “too problematic,” she said.

Church members thought it was the men making the financial decisions, but the witness said it was Wood, who had “a good business mind” and “a distaste for legalities and red tape.”

Church votes were usually on issues that Wood didn’t have any opinion on, although, the congregation agreed to the paint colour he and his wife picked for the the church at Adelaide and King streets.

Wood took over the church school as teacher, even though, the woman said, “formal education was not valued highly.”

Wood said he had trouble in Bible college and thought education should be at home and at church, not at schools.

The woman said she saw the boys — brothers Richard and Norman Howell and John Milonas — disciplined by Wood, when they were ordered to run around the block and stand at attention.

“Roy made it apparent they were sloppy, lazy and disrespectful,” she said.

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