Sect land fight may go to court

The Press (New Zealand), Aug. 30, 2002
http://– BROKEN URL -/pages/newsreal/Story.nsp?story_id=32540080

Disillusioned former members of a religious sect have taken their fight over the cult’s prime Waipara real estate to the office of the Solicitor General.

The group of about 70, who poured millions into Camp David and left penniless, want the property sold and the money given to charity.

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But they have met solid resistance from trustees of the Full Gospel Mission Fellowship Trust set up by the former leader of Camp David, Douglas Metcalf, who died in 1989.

The former members have asked the Solicitor General “to take an interest in this matter and, if necessary, bring the issues before the court so that the future of the assets could be determined according to law and to best achieve the purposes for which the trust was originally established”.

Marie Squires, spokeswoman for the group which petitioned the trustees three months ago to sell the property, said yesterday no- one wanted recompense from the sale of the property. They just wanted it out of their lives and to ensure no-one else would be subjected to what they had been through.

The fellowship’s foundations crumbled in 1995 after revelations that Mr Metcalf was an adulterer, and discoveries of secret rooms and passages in the Darnley Road, fort- like headquarters.

A handful of people remain on the 48ha property in the heart of Waipara’s winegrowing area while a 180ha Murchison property has been left abandoned.

Mrs Squires said that if something was not done, the only person who would benefit from the trust’s assets would be Gary Love, a trustee and the pastor of a fellowship formed after the 1995 events.

She said Mr Love wanted to set up his own church and she claimed he had plans to form his own trust so the assets of the Fellowship Trust could be transferred to it under the terms of the trust deed.

The deed said the assets could be used to further the Christian faith of the Full Gospel Mission Church or other Christian charitable purposes.

She was exasperated at a letter from the trust’s barrister which did not seem to take the matter much further, other than to raise doubts about the High Court having any jurisdiction to consider a scheme under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957.

Mrs Squires said a request for $10,000 to help pay their legal bills had been rebuffed by the trustees, but she knew they were planning to sell the Murchison land to help meet the trust’s legal bills.

She said she was heartened that members would be consulted before any final decisions were made by the trustees.


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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday August 31, 2002.
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