Tuesday, 29 April 2008

The decline and fall of Michael Reid Ministries (2)

There are fears that Michael Reid Ministries or Michael Reid (MR) will attempt to make a comeback after the recent dramatic fall. Although MR is held in considerable contempt by some of his Peniel flock, former members and Christians in local churches, there are genuine concerns that he will make efforts to return to the pulpit to preach and exercise a ministry. According to a reliable source, there is now a court order preventing MR from having access to church or school property. Such is the level of concern about his return.

MR clearly loved an audience and he enjoyed the acclaim, the status and the glory of his bishopric. MR was in his element when he was leading services, healing campaigns and special conventions. There seems to be no doubt that he will miss all this and will want it back. Is he now a fish out of water, struggling to survive? Or will he become a big fish in a little new pond? While some believe that his disgrace and fall are terminal, others are no so sure after previous comebacks following alleged serious failures in Liverpool and Ripon.

It will now take a miracle for him to regain and exercise his ministry in the Brentwood area, but he may move on to start a new ministry elsewhere. MR probably has the financial resources and the backing of some loyal followers who believe in his claims to work wonders. He can therefore obtain a new building, employ some talented but enterprising people and charm others to launch a new ministry. Archbishop Earl Paulk managed to survive scandals, revelations of sexual misconduct and moral failings at his Atlanta church. Jimmy Swaggart made a comeback of sorts, but the old glory and following did not return. Jim Bakker wrote a book about his downfall, imprisonment and subsequent change of heart. Perhaps MR will write a book to help his cause, but I expect, that if he does so, he will look for willing and hardworking people to assist him. If MR mentions in this book his shortcomings, failures and faults, which would be very doubtful indeed, then he should find plenty of source material in the Reachout Trust discussion forum posts and help from the Michael Reid Miseries website. www.michaelreidmiseries.org/

The decline and fall of Michael Reid Ministries (2)

There are those who now fear that in some way Michael Reid Ministries or Michael Reid (MR) will attempt to make some sort of comeback. It is reported that he has comeback before from disasters in Liverpool and Ripon. There are reports that MR is back in this country having returned from the USA. Although he is held in contempt by some members of his flock and certainly by quite a number of former members, there are concerns about that he will want to be in the pulpit and in control again. Is he now a fish out of water? Can he survive and return to being a large fish in a rather small pool? Or is he now finished as a church leader?

From my observations, MR loved an audience and evidently enjoyed the acclaim, the status and the glory of his bishopric. He probably has the financial resources, the connections and loyal band of followers to start a new ministry. Archbishop Earl Paulk managed to continue after serious sexual misconduct and moral failure. Jimmy Swaggart make a comeback of sorts, but the old glory never returned. Jim Bakker wrote a book about his fall, imprisonment and change of heart. Perhaps MR will write a book, but I believe that if does then he will get plenty of assistance. There will be lots of source material in the Reachout Trust discussion forum posts.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

The decline and fall of Michael Reid Ministries, Brentwood, Essex

There were signs of decline when Peniel Pentecostal Church became Michael Reid Ministries. The focus was on a man and his work. In some ways the change was appropriate, because Peniel had moved from being a church to becoming some sort of ministry and arguably a man made one under Michael Reid. There were accounts by former members of bullying, intimidation, fear, shunning, lies about former members, bad language from the pulpit, family and marriage breakdowns, and abusive behaviour. There were no prayer meetings, home fellowship groups, Bible study groups or regular holy communion services.

It was a sad day when a fine scholar and gentleman, who taught theology at the Peniel College of Higher Education, was asked to leave and return to the USA. He was academically well qualified and highly respected by the students and members of Peniel, but shamefully treated by Michael Reid. This learned Christian theologian always acted honourably and with great integrity and he stood up to Michael Reid, who did not allow any difference of opinion. Some believe that the inevitable happened.

The decline continued when Evangelical churches refused to work with Michael Reid on account of his unacceptable behaviour. Michael Reid Ministries left the Evangelical Alliance at this time.
Over the years Michael Reid's track record with churches does not make edifying reading, despite the claims of achieving so much and seeing miracles. It should be acknowledged that he founded a church, a ministry, a school and college of higher education. He managed to acquire the impressive Brizes Park house and grounds for the school. Michael Reid was, of course, helped by the sacrificial giving and hard work of his flock. Some laboured at the school for no pay.

The fall of Michael Reid Ministries (MRM) came when Michael Reid's adulterous relationship was exposed and came to the attention of the national press and media. This was no mere lapse but an affair which lasted about eight years with his choir mistress and music leader. Michael Reid, who was known as the Bishop by his congregation and others, had fervently campaigned for Christian family values in the national media. He had appeared on television upholding such values and strongly condemning homosexuality and immorality. His hypocrisy was, therefore, astounding. His congregation were deeply shocked by these unsavoury revelations. Many felt betrayed.

It has become apparent that Michael Reid did not have the scriptural qualifications of a bishop according to 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Sadly, and we should not rejoice in his downfall, he did not have a good reputation with outsiders but he fell into disgrace and the devil's trap. He has lost the respect of fellow Christians and others. Consequently he would not be welcomed back into leadership, but many Christians are praying for his genuine repentance. There is legitimate rejoicing in the sense of freedom that has now come as a result of Michael Reid's departure.

At the time of writing, websites that once contained What God Can Do For You television programmes, accounts of the work of MRM, videos and photographs have been removed. The television programmes are no longer available on You Tube. The large Michael Reid Ministries board over the main building in Croxtie Green Road is no longer visible. There have been clear attempts to remove all references to MRM. The Peniel Church, as it is now being called, wishes to move on and put the past old regime behind them. Some have testified to a new sense of liberation from fear and intimidation. More accounts of the bad times have surfaced on the Reachout Trust discussion forum and even more are expected.

There are those who now believe that deep repentance must take place at Peniel. It was, in the eyes of many observers, a dysfunctional place. Some have called it a cult. This even led to a court case, which Peniel won. One could argue that Michael Reid built up a cult of personality.

Peniel is in a period of transition. Although some doubt that the new leadership, which were part of the old leadership, will bring about a healthy state of affairs, others are much more optimistic.
I hope that Peniel will be able to repair the damage, become involved with local churches, have a structure of accountability and eventually rejoin the Evangelical Alliance.

I wish them well and pray that they may find love, grace and peace in the Lord Jesus Christ and discover the joy of fellowship with other Christians and churches.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Prayerwalking (2)

The prayerwalk in the Constable Country will take place this year on Saturday 17 May. It will start at 10 a.m. by Royal Square, Dedham and will finish by the Dedham Mill Pond car park at about 4. 30p.m. Please bring a packed lunch. This year the prayerwalk falls on the same day as the FA Cup Final at Wembley.

We will visit the churches of St Mary at Dedham, Langham, Stratford St Mary and East Bergholt returning to Dedham via Flatford and Fen Bridge by the River Stour.

More details about prayerwalking and its spiritual value can be found on the Reachout Trust discussion forum http://www.reachouttrust.org/ (other groups). Some of my posts are there with some interesting discussion about 2 Thessalonians 2:7, which is continued on another thread.

Friday, 18 April 2008


On the third Saturday of May I lead a prayerwalk in the Constable Country. It starts at Royal Square in Dedham. We visit the churches of St Mary at Dedham, Langham, Stratford St. Mary and East Bergholt. I will post more details soon.

Joy of Christian fellowship

There is tremendous joy in being a Christian, especially in fellowship with other brothers and sisters in our most precious faith. Our faith is more precious than diamonds, silver and gold. It is of eternal value. Meeting Christians in the international family of God is wonderful. It is so good to share in prayer, the breaking of bread, Bible study and worship meetings. When we receive the gift of eternal life by grace through faith we discover the abundant life of Christ and life that has the quality of eternity. It is how God intended us to live, move and have our being.
To glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever.

It is particularly sad when one sees a fellowship or church in crisis. Peniel in Brentwood, Essex, comes to mind. There have been reports of bullying, fear, intimidation and family turmoil. I hope and pray that this fellowship will be able to move on and discover the value of prayer meetings, regular communion, Bible study and home fellowship groups. I have been following developments on the Reachout Trust discussion forum, which I recommend. www.reachouttrust.org You will find many interesting topics for Christians to discuss and share their views.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

A visit to Dedham, Essex

Today I visited Dedham, Essex and walked around the beautiful Constable Country on a lovely April day. There was a biting wind but the sun shone brightly at times. I was pleased with the photographs I took.


River Stour