Wednesday, December 14, 2016

30 years ago: Unitarian minister's prayer shocks Edmonton City Council

Until fairly recently, council meetings in Edmonton and other Canadian cities opened with prayer. However, the out-of-control atheistic mentally and morally retarded body known as the Supreme Court of Canada has seen fit to outlaw the practice in recent years, which will be the subject of another post, if I ever get around to it. The Unitarian Church, as the name indicates, isn't Christian, and this minister's requests make that obvious. As reported by the Edmonton Journal, December 10, 1986:

City council heard proposals Tuesday for a local abortion clinic, a nuclear-free Edmonton, and a worker-owned co-operative at the strikebound Gainers plant.

And that was just in the morning prayer.

Several aldermen raised bowed heads and stared in open shock as the minister, invited to deliver council's traditional opening prayer, ran down his Christmas wish list.

Rev. John Marsh of the Unitarian Church of Edmonton asked first that Edmonton be declared a nuclear-weapons-free zone. He asked next for a therapeutic abortion clinic.

"...Third, if (Peter) Pocklington does not want to own a meat-packing plant in our city, let the city make the financial arrangements for it to become a worker-owned co-operative."

Marsh acknowledged afterwards council members seemed "mildly disturbed" by his prayer.

Clergymen are picked at random to deliver a prayer to open council's regular meetings.

30 years ago: "Christian" restaurateur in Edmonton is charged with dangerous driving and sexual assault

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Proverbs 26:11

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Jeremiah 13:23

A backlog item--as reported by Eddie Keen in the Edmonton Sun, November 17, 1986 (bold in original):

When Paul Pearson started The Ole Gospel Restaurant he expected hassle from those with high expectations about how a Christian business chould operate.

Pearson was prophetic; his problems have become more difficult than he could have imagined.

On Nov. 1, Pearson was charged with dangerous driving following an accident.

On Nov. 7, Pearson was charged with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old employee of The Ole Gospel Restaurant.

Pearson has not made a secret of his criminal past and admits there are warrants for his arrest in Kamloops, B.C. and Alma, New Brunswick, for fraud. He describes them as minor matters which he would like waived here to be settled.

Sexual assault charge

The sexual assault charge arose after Pearson drove his teenage employee home.

Pearson says he hired a private detective to work on the case and has paid a lawyer $10,000 to defend him.

"I will be found innocent, but the cost to me and my family and possibly to the business is immeasurable, " says Pearson.

The Ole Gospel Restaurant, described by Pearson as one of the five most-successful dining establishments in Our Town, began its existence on 124 St. amidst controversy.

The restaurant is in the old Family Fitness Centre, an operation that conned many people into buying lifetime memberships before closing its doors.

A restaurant called Splinters was first into the location, then followed by 124 St. Pasta.

The Pasta place operated a few months and then closed with accusations being hurled concerning what had happened to investors' money.

Staff was unpaid, creditors left hanging. One of the investors, Elaine Milliken, ad her boyfriend Don Wimperis felt something was wrong with the way the business had folded and refused to leave the premises.

They barricaded themselves inside with a guard dog and remained there even though police were called to the scene a number of times.

"When we arrived one day and found the locks had been changed we just broke in and stayed there," says Wimperis.

Wimperis says that one night, about 40 people gathered in the parking lot shouting and yelling at them to get out.

"As far as as I know, they were people representing the Ole Gospel Restaurant trying to get us out," says Wimperis, who adds that he and Milliken lost thousands of dollars and, in addition, signed personal guarantees on kitchen equipment still in The Ole Gospel operation.

Pearson also has had employee trouble, blaming some of the problems on attempting to give deserving people a break and not having it work out.

When Don Zanders was working as a cook, produce arrived one day and the delivery man demanded cash.

Zanders says he paid the bill out of his pocket, but then couldn't collect from Pearson.

The day Zanders served the Ole Gospel Restaurant with a summons to small claims court, an employee simply threw it into a garbage can declaring: "That's what we do with those."

Cook wins undisputed claim

No one showed up to protest the claim and Zanders won a judgment for $153.

Jim Lyon, who worked as a cook in the Ole Gospel, filed a complaint with the labor board claiming overtime and holiday pay.

"We are vulnerable because we are a Christian restaurant," says Pearson, who adds his religious conversion five years ago was "dramatic."

"We have the same problems that other business do," says Pearson, "but we are expected to pay our bills right away and not have disputes with employees."

Pearson says the Ole Gospel's policy of no booze and no tobacco has worked out well.
The Ole Gospel Restaurant went out of business shortly after this column appeared, if I recall correctly. It eventually became one of several Rosie's restaurants in Edmonton, and was torn down a dozen or so years ago to make way for a parking lot.

I don't know the outcome of Paul Pearson's legal cases reported in Mr. Keen's column, but a Google search turned up some more recent items on Mr. Pearson, who has also done business under some other names. To put it charitably, he has quite a colourful resume, with a variety of work experiences. As for his "dramatic" religious conversion, as they used to say in Get Smart, "I find that very hard to believe." Here are a few items, from 2010-2015:

As reported by Sitka Log Homes, September 7, 2010 (bold, link in original):

We came across this headline recently posted on BClocalnews.com : Kamloops fraudster pays $158,000, gets 20 months house arrest
We were delighted when we read the article that described convicting the old log home industry scammer from a way back, Paul Pearson. The article talks about Pearson setting up fake trade shows and collecting money from exhibitors. It doesn't mention the log home industry and how we have been effected by this fraudster but he has worked his unethical slight of hand on our industry as well. Sitka Log Homes caught him in a scam years ago which didn't cost us any money but was extremely unethical never the less. That was about ten years ago, so we don't really buy the line about him only scamming people after the market went soft. Oh please! Paul Pearson was scamming people back when the market was hot too! Here is the article in full:

Kamloops fraudster pays $158,000, gets 20 months house arrest
By Laura Tester
A Kamloops man has received 20 months of house arrest and will pay $158,000 in restitution after scamming booth exhibitors out of thousands of dollars from phony trade shows he set up in Red Deer and Calgary.

Paul Raymond Pearson, 58, pleaded guilty in Red Deer provincial court on Friday, Aug. 27, to one count of fraud over $5,000, 16 counts of fraud under $5,000 and one count of attempted fraud.

Another 67 fraud-related charges were withdrawn, as were fraud-related charges laid against Pearson’s 60-year-old wife, Gloria.

Crown prosecutor Tony Bell said the offences occurred between July 30, 2007, and Feb. 15, 2009, when Pearson began advertising trade shows through the Internet.

He would then contact businesses by email about their potential interest.

Pearson collected money from 18 victims who gave money toward booth space at one of the fake trade shows he had organized, Bell said.

Pearson collected just over $14,500 from the Rig Expo Trade Show in Red Deer that was held for one day in May 2008 and which drew only 22 attendees.

Pearson then received nearly $14,000 from potential exhibitors of the Lift Haul Expo, which was organized for Red Deer in September 2008, but was never held.

The Big Buck Expo, planned for Red Deer in June 2009, saw Pearson take in nearly $728.

Pearson also picked up almost $12,700 from exhibitors who planned to attend a Go Green Expo in Calgary in April 2009, but the exhibition never happened.

“He utilized the proceeds for his purposes,” Bell said.

The Crown and defence asked for a 20-month conditional sentence, to be served at Pearson’s Kamloops house.

Bell said Pearson will only be allowed to leave his house for medical visits and other allowances pre-approved by his supervisor.

A number of other conditions were placed on Pearson, including a prohibition on owning electronic devices.

Pearson has served two-and-a-half months in custody since being arrested by Red Deer RCMP in June.

Bell noted Pearson handed over a cheque of $158,000, money obtained through a trust fund of his.

That money will be distributed among various victims of the trade shows, including those for which charges were withdrawn.

Defence lawyer Lorne Goddard said Pearson had lived with his wife of 30 years on property outside Kamloops, which has since been sold.

Pearson was organizing trade shows and was quite successful at it, but the market became saturated and activity slowed, Goddard said.

“He started using other people’s money to support his family,” Goddard said.

Pearson, a heavy-set man dressed in remand-blue coveralls, expressed remorse for defrauding people of their money.

“I am ashamed for what I have done, not only for my victims, but to my family. I am sorry,” Pearson said while bowing his head and nervously clasping his hands.

Judge John Holmes said he had to take into account the amount of money and number of victims Pearson had defrauded.

Holmes added Pearson was “managing to pay restitution, which often doesn’t happen in these cases.”

The court will be provided a list of victims by the Red Deer RCMP this week.

Anyone wanting information can call primary RCMP investigator Const. Slavica Doktor at 1-403-341-2069.

Doktor said a good portion of the victims were from Red Deer and Calgary, but noted some of those duped are from the United States.

“Three-quarters of what he took in will be paid to his victims, including the Rig Expo people for [which the charges were withdrawn],” said Doktor.
As reported by Robert Koopmans of the Kamloops Daily News, December 6, 2011:

If driving and texting is legally risky behaviour these days, then wielding a cellphone in traffic while banned by a judge from having one must be downright dangerous.

Paul Pearson, 58, learned that lesson Tuesday as he was jailed 18 days for breaching the terms of a conditional sentence order.

Pearson is serving a 20-month conditional sentence for 17 counts of fraud, stemming from the way he organized a series of trade shows in Alberta.

Prosecutor Sarah Firestone told the court Kamloops RCMP were monitoring Lansdowne Street Monday afternoon when they saw a truck pass by with the drive clutching a lit-up cellphone.

When stopped, police learned Pearson was banned from owning a cellphone. He told police he had permission to use one for business, but officers seized the device anyway. When they checked with his sentence supervisor Tuesday, they learned Pearson had never been granted permission.

Pearson turned himself in at the Kamloops courthouse Tuesday and pleaded guilty immediately.

Judge Stella Frame said it's difficult to know why the Alberta judge banned Pearson from having cellphones, but there must have been a reason.

"Each term must be complied with to the letter," she said, noting he will likely be out of jail by Christmas.

Pearson told the court he is sorry for making such a foolish mistake, but he believed he was allowed to use a cellphone for business.

"I did not know I was breaking the law. I thought everything was fine," he said.

The RCMP investigated Pearson in Alberta in 2009 and 2010 after many businesses there complained he charged businesses for space at a series of trade shows he never intended to operate. Refunds were not given. Police identified more than 80 victims, who were defrauded more than $200,000.

At his sentence hearing in Red Deer in May 2010, Pearson was ordered to abide by numerous conditions, including house arrest, a curfew, and a term prohibiting him from using or owning electronic communication devices or computers.

In Kamloops, he applied to be able to use a computer for his work. A judge agreed but he was not given permission to own or use a cellphone.

The court was told Pearson was also ordered to pay restitution of $158,000 to the victims of the trade show scheme. The money has all been repaid, the judge heard.
As reported by CBC News, December 12, 2012 (updated, December 13, 2012) (bold in original):

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs is warning First Nations across the province to stay away from a talent contest that is targeting aboriginal youth and using the name Canadian Idol without permission.

Meanwhile, the company that owns the licence to Canadian Idol says the man behind the purported talent contest, who has a record of several convictions for fraud, must stop misusing its brand.

A CBC News investigation has revealed that a website called First Nations Auditions, run by Paul Pearson, is using the name of the television show and has been soliciting $150 audition fees and promising a $50,000 top prize.

Stewart Phillip, Grand Chief Union of BC Indian Chiefs, had harsh words for Pearson’s contest.

"I think it’s very disgusting, very unethical, very sleazy," Phillip said.

After hearing what the CBC News investigation had found, Phillip decided to send a warning to all 200 B.C. First Nations about the website and the contest it’s promoting.

"There has to be an awareness this is happening at this time of year," said Phillip. "I don’t think our young people certainly have $150 to waste on something that just isn't what it appears to be."

Never audition fees

John Brunton, CEO of Insight Productions and the former executive producer of Canadian Idol, said Pearson’s contest is a scam, noting that there have never been registration or audition fees associated with the Idol franchises.

"For somebody to be taking advantage of unknowing people is really deplorable and I think that if the rights holders found out about this, and I certainly will inform them, that they would really want to go after anybody that is abusing the Idol name," Brunton said.

Pearson has previously been convicted of fraud in Alberta and is the subject of a Better Business Bureau warning, CBC News has learned.

Angela Reynolds, an aspiring singer from the Stellat'en First Nation, says she was excited when she read that auditions were being held on her tiny reserve in northern B.C. It was billed as a First Nations version of Canadian Idol.

"It said you could win $50,000 and a recording contract and they said … it was like a bus tour and they were going to be visiting reserves across Canada," she told CBC News.

The website said a $150 registration fee had to be submitted with all applications to audition.

"Should the audition fees not be submitted we are sorry but your name will be removed from those that wish to sing," it said.

But when Reynolds called about the competition all she got were vague answers.

"He couldn't tell me what dates, he couldn't give me an estimate of what dates," she said.

"I was angry, I was so angry thinking ‘What can I do to stop this?’"

Scammed exhibitors

The contest’s website lists Google and Best Western as sponsors, but those companies told CBC News they had never heard of the talent search. The company listed as the tour bus sponsor also told CBC News it was not involved with the contest.

Pearson was convicted and fined under the Trade Practices Act in 2002 for deceiving customers of his log home business. He declared bankruptcy three years later.

The address where aspiring singers are instructed to mail their audition fee is Pearson’s home. He just finished serving 20 months of house arrest after pleading guilty to 17 counts of fraud in Alberta. Pearson scammed dozens of exhibitors out of thousands of dollars for entry into a phony trade show.

The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about him and his aliases.

'Buyer beware'

Juno-award winning artist Kinnie Starr, who mentors aspiring aboriginal musicians, cautions people to be wary of anything promising overnight success.

"I'm concerned about anyone getting scammed, but it’s buyer beware and you need to do your research," she said.

"People are on to him [Pearson] and it's only a matter of time that people discover in full force what he is doing."

When contacted by CBC News, Pearson said he was too busy to do an interview in person.

However, he said in an email the discrepancies on his website were just mistakes, saying Google and Best Western should have been listed as "preferred companies" instead of sponsors. The contest’s website has since been changed.

The tour bus sponsor was also listed in error, said Pearson, who now claims that a late-model motorhome without licence plates sitting in his backyard is the vehicle he’ll use for the country-wide talent search.

Pearson said "not one penny" had been received from anyone looking to audition, adding his personal business was putting up the prize money.

Pearson says he has successfully conducted 54 trade shows across Canada and the U.S. over the past 30 years, saying the fraud charges in Alberta were the result of a difficult economy.

Pearson went on to say he expected to book auditions in 140 First Nations communities across Canada and has the support of several First Nations-owned radio stations.
As reported by Tim Petruk of Kamloops This Week, October 14, 2014 (links in original):

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has found a North Thompson homeowner in contempt of court for failing to properly fix a six-foot-deep hole into which she and her husband had been — and perhaps still are — dumping raw sewage.

Gloria Pearson and her husband, Paul, appeared in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

The couple’s Vinsulla property has been the subject of ongoing court proceedings since 2013 when, following a hearing, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley ordered the Pearsons to install a proper septic system.

The issue has also been brought forward by at least one neighbour.

Court heard the couple had its indoor plumbing hooked up to a pipe that ran into a six-foot open pit on the property.

Paul Pearson claimed the couple has not used toilets in their home for three years, but the Interior Health Authority (IHA) claims that’s not true.

IHA lawyer Kristen Morley said an investigator visited the property as recently as this past summer and noted a “scum layer” in the pit that appeared to be human waste.

“This is a health hazard,” Morley said.

“There’s open sewage draining into this pit. It’s simply not safe to have sewage discharging into an open pit.”

Morley said the Pearsons have lived on the property for three years and have never had a working septic system.

“There are people who live in this area,” she said. “There are other residents who have made complaints. There are people with ground-water wells in the area. The area is a floodplain. This is a serious health concern.”

Paul Pearson said he doesn’t have the money to get a septic system up and running on the property — but Dley came up with a work-around.

In addition to levying a $5,000 fine for being found in contempt of court, Dley also ordered the IHA to pay for the work on the septic system to be brought up to code.

That money will be repaid out of equity the Pearsons claim to have in the property, which is listed for sale as part of a separate proceeding.

The only hiccup might come if more liens are found on the home.

Dley gave Morley until Friday, Oct. 17, to determine whether the Pearsons have sufficient equity to pay for the septic upgrades.

Instead of paying for the repairs, the IHA wanted Dley to order that water be turned off on the Pearsons’ property or that they be ordered evicted.

Dley, however, ruled that ordering the IHA to fix the system is the only way to ensure it will be done properly and in a timely manner.

Paul Pearson is a convicted fraudster.

Four years ago, RCMP in Alberta investigated Pearson after businesses in the Red Deer area complained he charged for space at a series of trade shows he never intended to operate.

Refunds were not given.

Police identified more than 80 victims who were defrauded more than $200,000.

Pearson was given a 20-month conditional sentence for 17 counts of fraud.

A B.C. Supreme Court justice also ordered he repay $158,000 to victims, an order by which he was able to abide.

Last year, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs warned members to stay away from a talent contest promoted by Pearson, according to a CBC report.
As reported by Mr. Petruk in Kamloops This Week, August 27, 2015 (links in original):
The man sitting at the head of the table inside the almost-empty showroom at what used to be the Strauss building on Fortune Drive introduced himself as Ray.

“Ray Wilson,” he said. “General manager.”

He was not Ray Wilson. Ray Wilson does not exist.

He was Paul Pearson, a notorious convicted fraudster.

After explaining how Kamloops Auto Auctions would work and what it would offer to local car buyers, Pearson, as Wilson, gave KTW his cellphone number — the same number posted online and in flyers as the contact for the business.

“And it’s Ray,” he reiterated.

Moments later, a truck pulled into the Kamloops Auto Auctions lot and the driver rolled down his window.

“How’s it going, Paul?” the driver yelled out.

“Pretty good,” Pearson, as Wilson, shouted back.

***


READ THE MOTOR VEHICLE ASSOCIATION OF BC NOTICE BY CLICKING HERE


As Wilson, Pearson explained to KTW that the new business he was involved with would fill a void in the local vehicle-sales market.

Kamloops Auto Auctions is owned by two women — Kelly Selman and Amy Luccianio — who Pearson, as Wilson, described as long-time family friends.

They are, in fact, Pearson’s daughters.

In a phone interview later, Pearson, as himself, said he was the vice-president of marketing of Kamloops Auto Auctions.

When asked if he thought his involvement, given his criminal past, could hinder the business, he minimized it, at one point saying he was not involved in any way.

“There’s no concern at all,” he said.

“The company is registered to Kelly Selman and Amy Luccianio.

“I just put a little help in with my expertise. I’m just down assisting them, helping them out to get set up.”

Pearson then handed the phone to Luccianio.

“I just want to make sure there’s no affiliation with who you were talking to,” she said.

Luciannio was then asked why her father had, moments earlier, described himself as the vice-president.

“He is the marketing manager, who works with Ray,” she replied, apparently referencing alter-ego Ray Wilson.

Again, Ray Wilson does not exist.

***

When KTW confronted Pearson about his use of the name Ray Wilson, things got even more confusing.

“Ray is my cousin,” he said initially.

“He works here. We get mixed up a lot. Both heavy-set, both have goatees.”

On Tuesday afternoon, KTW conducted the Ray Wilson interview with Pearson at Kamloops Auto Auctions. Less than an hour later, a KTW photographer showed up to take pictures.

Pearson claimed that in the 45 minutes between the interview and the photos, Wilson had left the office and he had arrived, sitting in the same chair with the same paperwork wearing the same clothes as his cousin.

It was Pearson who was photographed, he said, but Wilson who was interviewed.

In fact, they were the same person.

Pearson then became confused in his story, at various times stating the photographer had taken his picture or taken that of Wilson.

Pearson got into his vehicle and left Kamloops Auto Auctions when the KTW photographer began taking pictures.

***

Kamloops Auto Auctions is slated to hold its first sales event on Saturday, but that may not happen.

The company also uses the name Interior Auto Auctions on its website, canadianroadshows.wix.com/car-cash, a site created through the free webpage service wix.com.

It claims to be a “No Hastle [sic] Sell your car in 5 minutes or Less” service.

Soliciting vehicles from personal owners of vehicles on its website and in flyers is what has caught the eye of the Vehicle Sales Authority of B.C. (VSABC).

Hung Wong, manager of licensing with the VSABC, told KTW the authority is looking into Kamloops Auto Auctions’ status.

“Based on the ads [flyers] we see, they are not compliant,” Wong said.

“We have concerns.

“We are continuing with our investigation.”

Wong said material promoting Kamloops Auto Auctions is asking for consumers to consign their vehicles for auction and states government surplus vehicles will also be available — neither of which can be done unless the business has a motor-dealer licence.

Wong said Kamloops Auto Auctions does not have such a licence.

He said the Vehicle Sales Authority had spoken to Kamloops Auto Auctions representatives within the last week, noting the company was told it can take from six to eight weeks to process a licence.

While a motor-dealer licence is not required for the resale of vehicles from registered dealers, Wong said dealers using an auction house to sell their vehicles must apply for off-site licences.

“We have been trying to get a list of dealers who will be at the [Saturday, Aug. 29] auction,” Wong said. “We haven’t been able to get any yet.”

VSABC said it is in the process of taking out ads in newspapers to warn readers about Kamloops Auto Auctions.

***

Kamloops Auto Auctions and its Saturday vehicle sales at 755 Fortune Dr. in North Kamloops are also promoted on a Facebook page belonging to a man named Ray Pearson from Kamloops.

The page includes a photo of Paul Pearson.

There is also a Facebook site belonging to a Paul Pearson of Kamloops, which is linked to a Facebook page he created called Logan Lake 24 HR Bid War, an auction page featuring coins and ivory items.

Its last activity was on May 29, with a discussion among members about being blocked from the site and one member posting, “I guess I’m not getting my coins.”

After he created the Logan Lake 24 HR Bid War page on Facebook, Pearson posted the following: “Due to the dictatorship and constant interference by administrators of a similar site in Logan Lake we have created our own bidding site where you the members set the rules. We are sick to death of a busy body admin telling us how , when and where we the buyers and sellers can complete our transactions. Here you can make any dam decision you want on completing the sale, if you wish to mail your items or use UPS its your right to do as you and the one you are dealing with decide. This is not Nazi Germany but rather Canada and we have the freedom to do as we wish. Please spread the word, Thanx!!!”

The other site Pearson referred to is a legitimate auction page on Facebook called Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars, from which Pearson’s membership was revoked and from which he was banned from posting due to his questionable conduct on the online auction site.

In 2002, Pearson was convicted and fined under the Trade Practices Act for deceiving customers of his log-home company.

In 2005, Pearson declared bankruptcy.

In September 2010, Pearson was sentenced to 20 months of house arrest and ordered to pay $158,000 in restitution after scamming booth exhibitors out of thousands of dollars from phoney trade shows he set up in Red Deer and Calgary.

Another 67 fraud-related charges were withdrawn, as were fraud-related charges laid against Pearson’s wife, Gloria.

The offences occurred between 2007 and 2009, when Pearson began advertising trade shows through the Internet.

He would then contact businesses by email about their potential interest. Pearson collected money from 18 victims who gave money toward booth space at one of the fake trade shows he had organized.

In 2013, the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs warned members to stay away from a talent contest promoted by Pearson, according to a CBC report.

Last year, Pearson and wife Gloria were in court to answer to accusations they were running sewage from their Vinsulla home into a pit in their yard.

In its short life, Kamloops Auto Auctions has also been in trouble with the City of Kamloops. Approval of its business licence was delayed this week because of illegal signage, KTW has learned.

The licence was granted late in the day Wednesday.

***

Pearson eventually came clean, admitting to KTW that he had been untruthful about his name.

He said something “smelled funny” and he decided to lie.

“When you came in and you looked around a little, there was something that went on there,” he said.

“I just didn’t feel comfortable. It was a gut feeling.

“I get a gut feeling sometimes.”

Pearson said Wilson is not a real person.

“Well, my middle name is Ray,” he said.

“And, I just said Wilson.”

Pearson said he didn’t want his tarnished reputation to impact his daughters’ business.

Rather, he wanted to put his daughters in touch with members of the Kamloops vehicle-sales community.

“I’m involved to the point of helping my daughters,” he said.

“I’m assisting them and introducing them to these guys.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that the Logan Lake 24 HR Bid War site to which Pearson was using is not connected to a Facebook auction page called Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars.

In fact, according to the site administrators of Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars, Pearson was a member whose membership was revoked and whose access was blocked, after which he created the similar-sounding site.

Logan Lake 24 Hour Bid Wars continues to operate and has no connection to Pearson.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

40 years ago: Anglican Church of Canada ordains its first female priests

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
I Corinthians 14:34-35

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
I Timothy 2:11-14

On November 30, 1976, the Anglican Church of Canada ordained its first women as priests, in four dioceses across Canada: Rev. Patricia Reed at St. Michael and All Angels, Prince George, British Columbia (Diocese of Cariboo); Rev. Elspeth Alley and Rev. Virginia Briant at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver, British Columbia (Diocese of New Westminster); Rev. Mary Mills at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, Ontario (Diocese of Huron); and Rev. Mary Lucas and Rev. Beverley Shanley, at Grace Church, St. Catharines, Ontario (Diocese of Niagara).

Putting women in positions of leadership in a church is contrary to scripture, and isn't so much an indication that a church is about to go liberal as it is an indication of how far liberal the church has already gone. I can't think of a church that has begun putting women in leadership positions that hasn't continued in a more liberal, apostate direction. That includes so-called evangelical churches, which should be the subject of another post, if I ever get around to it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

50 years ago: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi underwhelms Edmonton on his first visit to the city

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20

As late as November 1966, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was still so obscure that he could attract only 125 to his first public appearance in Edmonton, and it was relegated to the bottom of page 43 of The Edmonton Journal. The article below doesn't specify, but I suspect that with a crowd that small, the meeting didn't even take place in the concert hall part of the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, but in the basement, in what is now the Kaasa Theatre.

The Maharishi's movement had been incorporated in California in 1959 under the name Spiritual Regeneration Movement and had an explicitly religious emphasis, but by November 1966 the Maharishi had figured out how to combine eastern spirituality with western desires for physical health and material success, and the brand name Transcendental Meditation had probably been adopted by this time. For further reading, see my post 50 years ago: Then-obscure Maharishi Mahesh Yogi tours Canada (September 30, 2013).

As reported by Art Sorensen of The Edmonton Journal, November 11, 1966 (bold in original):

Yogi sells bliss at $50 a course

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Thursday night said he sells the secret to happiness for $50.

For that price a single adult can reach a state of bliss through a process of transcendental meditation, he said.

Preaching the doctrine that no man is born to suffer, Maharishi told a public meeting they would start feeling better as soon as they enrolled in his three-lesson course.

The native of India founded the International Meditation Society at Madras, India in 1957 and says he brought bliss to over 100,000 people since then.

But he wasn't about to drop any hints Thursday night in the Jubilee Auditorium.

Instead Roland Umiker of Calgary will return next Friday to pass on the message to those who can afford it.

Membership 300

Donn McRae of Calgary, provincial president of the society, said the group was organized in Alberta in 1964 and built up a membership of about 300 in the Stampede City.

"But only about 50 of these are considered active in the art now."

Maharishi explained that transcendental meditation takes a person to the source of thought itself--pure intelligence.

This is claimed to bring conscious awareness, more energy, more intelligence, more happiness and better health.

Sitting on crossed legs and playing with a flower, the bearded meditator hinted the process starts with a single thought--"implanted in the mind of the initiate by the teacher who is trained to give the word."

An Hour Daily

After the initiation two thirty-minute periods of meditation a day are required to keep happy.

President McRae said he follows this routine closely.

Although $50 per single adult is charged for the course, a man and wife can get the same instruction for the same price. A student is charged $15.

Many of the 125 plus crowd at the meeting left with the feeling they could perhaps find happiness other ways.

As one University student commented, "I'd have complete happiness if I had $50."

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Reform Judaism's new prayer book is as politically correct as anything in mainline churches

The new prayer book being used in some Reform synagogues sounds as though it's as liberal and politically correct as those in mainline "Christian" churches, such as the Anglican Church of Canada's Book of Alternative Services (1985). As reported by Shelley Benveniste in The Jewish Press, November 3, 2016:

Several South Florida synagogues used a new prayer book this year. Mishkan HaNefesh: Machzor for the Days of Awe was presented to the membership of four Reform congregations this high holiday season. The book is meant to offset what many felt to be the “insensitive” words and themes found in traditional Jewish texts.

“Countertexts” are presented throughout the volume. They are intended to encourage a more open-minded style and discard imagery that might feel uncomfortable in its religious approach. The old liturgy seemed to be filled with xenophobia and in need of a fresh eye.

The idea that traditional Judaism relies on halacha (Jewish law) and Jewish practice seemed to smack of exclusivity in a culture that reveres diversity. Sources in Mishkan HaNefesh include non-Jewish poets and writers like Walt Whitman and Jewish writers like Allen Ginsberg and Grace Paley.

Mishkan HaNefesh was put together with a decidedly non-patriarchal agenda. God is referred to in both feminine and masculine pronouns and terms. Brides and grooms are referred to as non-gender “couples.” Political correctness is paramount. The comfort level of each and every reader is imperative.

The people responsible for Mishkan HaNefesh accomplished their goal. Their prayer book is truly p.c. It embraces all.

And perhaps that is its downfall.

Authentic Judaism’s authority comes from Hashem, not people’s sensitivities. Its directive is the Torah, not attainment of every individual’s optimal comfort level.

The efforts of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, which published the book, were obviously well-intentioned. However, the obsession with emphasizing feel-good political correctness in lieu of legitimate Jewish concepts removes Mishkan HaNefesh from consideration as a serious Jewish resource. The book’s content is more akin to a text used in a liberal university’s diversity 101 class than to a Jewish New Year machzor.

Perhaps the authors of Mishkan HaNefesh would benefit from heeding the tagline of a popular hot dog commercial and “answer to a higher authority.”

Monday, November 7, 2016

80 years ago: United Church of Canada ordains Canada's first female minister

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
I Corinthians 14:34-35

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression...
...This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife,...
I Timothy 2:12, 3:1-2a

On November 4, 1936, Lydia Gruchy was ordained in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan by the United Church of Canada, becoming not only the United Church's first female minister, but the first female "pastor" in any supposedly Christian church in Canada. Even this blogger was surprised to learn that the practice of ordaining female clergy in Canada goes back this far.

The practice of placing women in positions of leadership in a church isn't just a sign that the church will be heading in a more apostate direction, but an indication of the extent to which the apostasy has already set in. I can't think of one church that has put women in leadership that hasn't moved on to further apostasy; for evidence, check the United Church's website, and search this blog for items on the United Church of Canada and other mainline denominations.

In recent years, "evangelical" churches, such as the Christian and Missionary Alliance, have begun ordaining women and making them senior pastors (a topic for another blog post, if I ever get around to it). The pace of apostasy is accelerating, and "Evangelical" churches are rapidly catching up to mainline churches. See my post "Today's Evangelicals, Tomorrow's Liberals"--A Warning from 1983 (January 13, 2010).

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Christian who converted from Islam is forced to flee his home--in Bradford, England--under police guard

There's a reason the English city of Bradford is now commonly referred to as "Bradistan." Submitted for your approval, the following item, especially for those who approve of multiculturalism or think that God is bringing Muslims to Western countries--as reported by Jon Rogers of the London Daily Express, November 6, 2016:

Nissan Hussain, 50, who took part in a Channel 4 documentary about the mistreatment of Muslim converts, suffered a brutal assault last year by two men.

Mr Hussain suffered a smashed kneecap and a broken hand in the attack which was captured on CCTV.

The father-of-six, who converted to Christianity 20 years ago, had been planning on leaving his home town of Bradford in west Yorkshire but armed police arrived on November, 3 as Mr Hussain had already started packing the family’s possessions, and moved him to a safe place.

Mr Hussain said he has suffered “extreme persecution” recently, especially after the C4 programme had aired, but added the arrival of armed police had been a complete surprise.

He briefly returned the following day, once again with armed protection, to collect more items.

He said: "The armed police arrived at about 3pm on Thursday.

"I had been loading a van up with our belongings for eight hours, having to stealthily check no-one could see what I was doing, before they arrived.

"It took me completely by surprise, but their [the police] professionalism was deeply reassuring, and they escorted my family and I to a safe haven outside Yorkshire."

He continued: "My family are distraught and extremely traumatised to be leaving.

"But when your life is at stake there is no other choice.

"This extreme persecution by certain people in the Muslim community because we are converts has broken us as a family,” Hussain added.

“We are fragmented and I do not know how we will recover from this. We haven't functioned properly for years."

Mr Hussain, who had previously worked as a nurse before having to leave his job due to post-traumatic stress disorder, said his six children, who ranged in age from eight to 24, and his wife would not see his friends again.

A spokesman for the West Yorkshire Police confirmed that officers had been working with the family and added hate crime would not be tolerated.

He said: “Our priority has always been to work effectively with our partners to minimise the risk to Mr Hussain and ensure that we maximise opportunities to put control measures in place to safeguard him, his family and consider any wider impact upon the communities across West Yorkshire.

"We are disappointed that Mr Hussain and his family have decided to leave Bradford, particularly as police and partners have been working together for some time to try and resolve the situation to the benefit of all parties concerned."

He added that an investigation is continuing.

The spokesman continued: "Police and partners would like to stress that there are a number of other people living in the Bradford district who have not experienced any issues based on their faith, conversion to another faith or choosing not to have a faith.

"West Yorkshire Police treat incidents of hate crime extremely seriously and will always put the needs of the victim at the heart of the investigation and strive to provide the desired outcome for the victim.

“Under no circumstances will hate crime be tolerated."

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signs anti-BDS bill

As reported by The Jewish Press, November 6, 2016 (link in original):

Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, (the good PA, not the bad PA) signed a bill on Friday prohibiting the State from contracting with businesses that boycott Israel or are connected to the BDS movement.

The bill, HB 2107, sponsored by Representative Matt Baker, prohibits the Pennsylvanian commonwealth from contracting with any company or organization that engages in an economic boycott against Israel.

Governor Tom Wolf said:

“We must make clear that we are in favor of a peaceful, negotiated solution to this conflict and that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the United States, stand behind our friends and allies, and will not encourage economic punishment in place of peaceful solutions to challenging conflicts,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “We, as a Commonwealth, must make sure that Pennsylvania is not contributing to a cause that is antithetical to our country’s position on the world’s stage.”

Representative Matt Baker said:

“I would like to commend and extend my appreciation to the General Assembly and Governor for supporting and signing this important and historic legislation into law,” said Representative Matt Baker. “This legislation makes it very clear that companies can either perform a BDS action or they can do business with Pennsylvania. However, they cannot do both.”


This law will prohibit contracting with BDS businesses, states that a purchasing agency may not contract with a company unless the company certifies that it is not currently engaged in a boycott of an entity based in or doing business with a jurisdiction not prohibited by Congressional statute from engaging in trade or commerce. Also, the entity must certify that it will not engage in such boycotting during the duration of the contract.

Palestinian Authority demands the "return" of the Dead Sea Scrolls

To quote Winston Churchill out of context, "Here, surely, is the world's record in the domain of the ridiculous and the contemptible..." As reported by The Jewish Press, November 6, 2016 (links in original):

Don’t fall off your seats on this one.

Following their success in erasing the Jewish historical connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount at UNESCO, the Palestinian Authority has decided to ramp it up a bit, according to a report on IBA’s Reshet Bet.

At UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property, the Palestinian Authority delegation to UNESCO is now demanding the “return” of the “stolen” Dead Sea Scrolls.

PA representative Dr. Munir said the Dead Sea Scrolls are from the Palestinian Authority territories and are part of the Palestinian heritage!

The PA wants a full session dedicated to this at the next UNESCO meeting of the committee.

Munir also complained to the committee that antiquities were stolen from the Rockefeller Museum (in eastern Jerusalem) and moved to the western side of Jerusalem (the Israel Museum).

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, David Sharma Hacohen, whom Netanyahu recently recalled to Israel following the previous anti-Semitic UNESCO vote, said from Jerusalem,

“This is just another example of their provocation and chutzpa in attempting to rewrite history. In any case, just like the Temple Mount and Kotel, the Dead Sea Scrolls will stay in our hands, while the Palestinians will be left with their hidden dreams.”

Sharma-Cohen used the word “Ganuz” in Hebrew, playing on the Hebrew name for the Dead Sea Scrolls “HaMegilot HaGenuzot” – The Hidden Scrolls.

The Dead Sea Scrolls website describes the scrolls as follows:

The most well-known texts among the Dead Sea Scrolls are the ancient religious writings found in eleven caves near the site of Qumran… [in the eastern Judean desert]

Scroll dates range from the third century BCE (mid–Second Temple period) to the first century of the Common Era, before the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. While Hebrew is the most frequently used language in the Scrolls, about 15% were written in Aramaic and several in Greek. The Scrolls’ materials are made up mainly of parchment, although some are papyrus, and the text of one Scroll is engraved on copper.

About 230 manuscripts are referred to as “biblical Scrolls”. These are copies of works that are now part of the Hebrew Bible.

We have no doubt that UNESCO will fully support the PA’s historical revisionism.

Next they’re going to demand we return the Palestinian Talmud.
For those who are unaware, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently adopted two resolutions that have the effect of denying the historical connection between Jews and Jerusalem's holy sites. As reported by The Jewish Press, October 18, 2016:

The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board voted Tuesday in Paris to accept the “Occupied Palestine” resolution advanced in Paris last week by the Palestinian Authority, which erases the connection between Judaism, Jews, Christianity and holy sites in Jerusalem.

Even experts in the United Kingdom clearly recognized that connection, lamenting the horrific tragedy of the division of the holy city of Jerusalem, more than half a century ago, before the 1967 Six Day War.

The resolution has not only deepened the divide between member nations in the organization, but may have also further threatened the funding of the world body.

Mexico had announced its intention to trigger a special clause designed to force a new vote on the issue, but at the end, the nation’s representative elected to issue a statement on its changed position on the resolution. The statement was echoed by Brazil, who also announced it had changed its position as well. Neither statement, in the long run, made any difference in the vote, which has further embittered nations where Christianity is treasured as a natural growth from Judaism.

The resolution has obliterated any mention of the historic link between Jews and the holy sites in Jerusalem and instead refer to Judaism’s holiest sites in Judaism – the Temple Mount and the Western Wall – solely by their Islamic names and referring to them as Muslim holy sites.

Israel suspended its funding to UNESCO when the body approved membership for the Palestinian Authority, as did the United States, which used to provide nearly one quarter (22 percent) of the organization’s budget.

Japan has now also threatened to withdraw its funding as well, warning last week that it withheld its annual dues from UNESCO, pending a review to ensure the world body is properly functioning to “foster trust” between its member nations.
As reported by Hana Levi Julian of The Jewish Press, October 26, 2016 (links in original):

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee passed a second resolution Wednesday morning erasing the historic ancient ties between Judaism, Jerusalem and the holy sites in the eternal Israeli capital.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon called the vote “a piece of rubbish.”

UNESCO's vote on Jerusalem is a piece of rubbish, rightly dumped in the garbage can by our Ambassador!! Long live Jewish Jerusalem!!!

— Emmanuel Nahshon (@EmmanuelNahshon) October 26, 2016
https://twitter.com/EmmanuelNahshon/status/791230263649038336 (link in date)

The measure was proposed by Tunisia and Lebanon on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, neither of whom are members of the World Heritage Committee. That did not stop either of the two from threatening the voting members with an ultimatum, however, if they were to decide to vote against the resolution.

Entitled ‘Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls,’ the measure refers to the holy sites in the ancient city – including the site of the two Jewish Holy Temples – exclusively by their Arabic names and solely in terms of their Islamic status.

But of the 21 member states who were eligible to vote on the measure, just 10 voted in favor of the resolution. Eight abstained, and two opposed it. Jamaica was simply absent from the room. Eight others turned in entirely blank voting forms.

Last week the Executive Board of the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a similar resolution, this one entitled “Occupied Palestine.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response that the vote was a “continuation of the theater of the absurd. Radical Islamic forces destroy mosques, churches and archaeological sites, while Israel is the only state in the region that preserves them and allows freedom of worship for all religions.

“UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee deserves to be condemned, not Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites has also spoken out against the UNESCO Jerusalem resolutions, which are part of a campaign by the Palestinian Authority to reclassify all holy sites in the Israeli capital as solely Islamic in order to strengthen Muslim claims to Jerusalem. Last year’s texts, in addition to the previous resolution, referred to Israel as the “occupying power” and condemned the Jewish State for its alleged “activities” at holy sites in the city.

“There should be a clear distinction between political controversies and scientific facts and that political disputes … and political views cannot justify statements which erase basic and well known and proven historical facts,” said Council Vice President Gideon Koren, an Israeli attorney. The Council, an independent advisory body on manmade World Heritage Sites, decided to speak out after a board meeting in Istanbul.

UNESCO secretary-general Irina Bokova herself also condemned the resolutions, as did outgoing United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and tens of thousands of others who signed a petition submitted to Bokova earlier this week.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

10 years ago: Ted Haggard resigns as President of the National Association of Evangelicals amid allegations of homosexual behaviour and drug use

Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money...
...He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
I Timothy 3:2-3, 7 (NIV)

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:8

On November 2, 2006, Ted Haggard, founder and senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, announced his resignation as President of the National Association of Evangelicals as the result of accusations from homosexual prostitute and drug dealer Mike Jones that Mr. Haggard had paid Mr. Jones for sex for three years and that Mr. Haggard had purchased crystal methamphetamine from his and used it. Mr. Haggard's resignation was accepted on November 3.

In a bit of interesting timing, November 2006 was the date of the issue of Harper's Magazine that contained the article Soldiers of Christ: Insider America's Most Powerful Megachurch by Jeff Sharlet. The article included this passage:

The atrium is a soaring foyer adorned with the flags of the nations and guarded by another bronze warrior angel, a scowling, bearded type with massive biceps and, again, a sword. The angel’s pedestal stands at the center of a great, eightpointed compass laid out in muted red, white, and blue-black stone. Each point directs the eye to a contemporary painting, most depicting gorgeous, muscular men—one is a blacksmith, another is bound, fetish-style, in chains—in various states of undress. My favorite is The Vessel, by Thomas Blackshear, a major figure in the evangelical-art world. Here in the World Prayer Center is a print of The Vessel, a tall, vertical panel of two nude, ample-breasted, white female angels team-pouring an urn of honey onto the shaved head of a naked, olive-skinned man below. The honey drips down over his slab-like pecs and his six-pack abs into the eponymous vessel, which he holds in front of his crotch. But the vessel can’t handle that much honey, so the sweetness oozes over the edges and spills down yet another level, presumably onto our heads, drenching us in golden, godly love. Part of what makes Blackshear’s work so compelling is precisely its unabashed eroticism; it aims to turn you on, and then to turn that passion toward Jesus.

A day or two after the scandal broke, Mr. Sharlet returned to New Life Church, and noticed that the artwork that he had noticed and commented on had all been hastily covered up or removed--which this blogger finds very suspicious.

Check the Infogalactic entry for more information on the duplicitous Mr. Haggard and his scandals. For my views on Mr. Haggard, I refer the reader to my post Ted Haggard refuses to stay out of the limelight (January 6, 2012).

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New Age false prophet Benjamin Creme dies at 93

For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. Mark 13:22

What a pity that Benjamin Creme, who for decades prophesied the emergence of the New Age "Christ" known as Lord Maitreya, didn't live long enough to see the final revelation. As reported by Mr. Creme's organization Share International (bold in original):

Special announcement

Share International regrets to announce that Benjamin Creme, British artist, author and lecturer has died. He passed away peacefully on 24 October 2016 at his home in London, with his family around him.

Through his work as the Chief Editor of Share International magazine, as author of many books, and as international speaker, Benjamin Creme has been an inspiration throughout the world in presenting information about the emergence of Maitreya the World Teacher and the Masters of Wisdom. Working from a background of the Ageless Wisdom Teachings given to the world by Helena Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, and the Alice Bailey esoteric teachings, he has expanded and brought up to date this ancient knowledge.

Working under the tutelage of one of the Masters of Wisdom, Benjamin Creme dedicated the last 40 years of his life to his work for the Emergence of Maitreya the World Teacher and the Masters of Wisdom, and in doing so inspired hundreds of thousands of people across the world. He began his public work in 1975 and lectured worldwide from 1979 onwards, only finally stopping at the age of 90.

In 1974 he introduced Transmission Meditation – a new group meditation, which is both a means of personal development and a form of service to the world.

Benjamin Creme had been unwell for a long time but had kept going in his usual courageous, determined and humorous way. His was an extraordinary life dedicated to service. He brought hope to the millions who have heard and been touched by the news of the imminent Emergence of the World Teacher, and the consequent transformation of the world by the creation of justice and peace, through sharing.
From the home page of Share International (bold, links in original):

Many now expect the return of their awaited Teacher, whether they call him the Christ, the Messiah, the fifth Buddha, Krishna, or the Imam Mahdi. Millions now know that the one who fulfils all these expectations, Maitreya, the World Teacher, is already living among us and is gradually emerging into full public recognition.


Maitreya is the Teacher for all humanity – those of all spiritual traditions, and those who follow no particular faith. He does not come as a religious leader, but as an educator in the broadest sense.

Maitreya has not come alone, but with a group of wise men, the Masters of Wisdom, who have long worked from behind the scenes as the inspirers, teachers and guides of humanity. They are returning to the everyday world to help us solve our most critical global problems.

PRIORITIES

Maitreya and the Masters will show us that the only way to bring about peace is to create justice; and the only way to establish justice is to share the resources of the world, equitably, among all humanity according to need. Maitreya has formulated a number of simple priorities that demand immediate and worldwide attention. These cover the essential needs of every man, woman and child: an adequate supply of food; housing for all; access to health care and education as universal rights. Another top priority is the restoration of the environment.


Maitreya will inspire us to create a new civilization based on sharing and justice, freedom and peace, so that all may have the basic necessities of life in a world free from want and war. He and the Masters are here to show us the way forward, but they can only guide – we ourselves have to act to save our world.

GRADUAL EMERGENCE

Maitreya has been based in the Asian community of London since July 1977, gradually emerging into full public view. Artist, author and lecturer Benjamin Creme has for 40 years been preparing the way for this extraordinary event. In December 2008 Mr Creme announced that in the very near future a large, bright star would appear in the sky visible throughout the world, night and day, heralding the imminent appearance of Maitreya in His first interview on a major US television network. Within weeks, reports from all over the world of an unusually bright star, often moving and changing colour, began to appear in the media and on the internet. See reports

FIRST TELEVISION INTERVIEW

On 14 January 2010 Benjamin Creme announced that Maitreya had given His first interview, on American television, and that millions had heard Him speak both on television and the internet. Mr Creme explained: “He was introduced not as Maitreya, the World Teacher and Head of our Spiritual Hierarchy, but simply as a man, one of us. In this way He ‘ensures that men follow and support Him for the truth and sanity of His ideas rather than for His status’. He spoke earnestly of the need for peace, achievable only through the creation of justice and the sharing of the world’s resources.” See announcement

Maitreya has since given a series of interviews in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and India, and more are expected to take place around the world.

Maitreya’s open mission has begun. As He Himself has said: “Soon, now very soon, you will see my face and hear my words.”
“When men see Me for the first time and know Me for what I am, they will find themselves changing inwardly.
Many will for a time return to the joy of childhood and find the world a better home thereby.
Many will feel strengthened in their desire to serve and to place themselves in the forefront of change.
These are the ones on whom I shall call for the task of replenishment of man’s spirit and joy.
Believe if you can that I am with you, ready to use My strength on your behalf.
Believe if you can, My friends, that I am eagerly awaiting the day of My open return.”
Maitreya, the World Teacher, 7 October 2014

Suggested further reading for first-time visitors:
Brief overview Who is Maitreya Background topics


Message from Maitreya

Benjamin Creme received the following message from Maitreya on 31 March 2016, by a process of mental telepathy.

These days are difficult for many. Even the best and the closest feel the pains of doubt and reservation.

But when I say that I engage with you as one of you before the world, it is the truth.

Likewise when I say that the time is close indeed when all men will recognize My face and respond, it is the truth.

Only the Law bids Me wait a very little time, but within the Law I am verily with you daily, in constant rapport with your needs and the opportunities presented to Myself by you.

Soon humanity as a whole will awaken to My presence and will accept with all willingness the transformation of this, our world.

Remember that we are at the beginning and the end of a civilization, an epic period in the history of the world, and understand thereby that men feel the pain of change.

For some it is a release into freedom. For others it is a loss of surety and calm.

But, My brothers, pain will be short-lived, and already many know this to be so. There is aid in abundance to help you through these difficult times. Accept eagerly this Age and recognize the signs of the new.

Verily, verily, I am with you. Verily, I am among you in many ways.

Judge for yourselves, My brothers, how close you are to My expectations of a new world. This will be a world in which all men are one, in which all men fulfil the joy of creation, and fulfil with love their capacity to show the way to their brothers in simplicity and truth.
As the reader can tell from the passages above, the "Christ" whom Benjamin Creme followed is not the Lord Jesus Christ whom the Bible reveals. I find it interesting that Mr. Creme's last book was titled Unity in Diversity: The Way Ahead for Humanity:

Unity in Diversity: The Way Ahead for Humanity concerns the future of every man, woman and child. It is about the future of the Earth itself. Humanity, Creme says, is at a crossroads and has a major decision to make: to go onwards and create a brilliant new civilisation in which all are free and social justice reigns, or continue as we are, divided and competing, and see the end of life on planet Earth. Creme writes for the Spiritual Hierarchy on Earth, whose Plan for the betterment of all humanity he presents. He shows that the path forward for us all is the realisation of our essential unity without the sacrifice of our equally essential diversity. Creme writes:“The aim of our life,whether we have realised it or not,is the establishment of unity, representing the unity which already exists because every atom in the manifested universe is interrelated with every other atom.”

Not only does that sound like the slogan of the Social Justice Warrior governments and other institutions that have, in recent decades, plagued what used to be known as Western civilization, but, more important, it sounds like the agenda for the society that will exist under the Antichrist just prior to the return to Earth of the true Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Benjamin Creme was heavily deceived, and was used by the powers of darkness to deceive others. The cream may rise to the top, but Mr. Creme will sink to the bottom.

HT: Dracul Van Helsing, TradCatKnight

Monday, October 31, 2016

100 years ago: The death of Charles Taze Russell

On October 31, 1916, Charles Taze Russell died at the age of 64. Mr. Russell founded the Bible Student movement in the 1870s, and Zion's Watch Tower Tract Society in 1881. The latter became known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in 1886, and the headquarters moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1908. Mr. Russell's theology was a mixture of truth and error, with the errors being serious enough to constitute heresy from the perspective of Biblical Christian doctrine. For instance, Mr. Russell believed that Jesus received His divinity after dying on the cross; taught that the Holy Spirit is not a person, but merely a manifestation of God's power; that Christ had begun ruling the world invisibly in 1874 and that the "Times of the Gentiles" would end in 1914, and Christ would visibly take control of Earth's affairs at that time.

Mr. Russell died of cystitis while returning home to Brooklyn from a tour of western and southwestern states. His death resulted in a dispute over the presidency and a split among Mr. Russell's followers; Joseph F. Rutherford was elected president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society in January 1917 and held the position until his death in 1942, adopting the name Jehovah's Witnesses for the organization in 1931.

I haven't time or space here to go into the numerous errors of Jehovah's Witnesses. For information on Jehovah's Witnesses from a Christian perspective, I recommend the site of MacGregor Ministries. The book Witnesses of Jehovah (1988) by Leonard & Marjorie Chretien is written by Jehovah's Witnesses who came to saving faith in Jesus Christ. There is also a documentary film of the same name; I have a VHS copy, but I don't know if it's available in DVD. The Cult Explosion (1980) by Dave Hunt contains an interview with a former member of Jehovah's Witnesses, with an insider's fascinating information on life at headquarters in Brooklyn (known as "Bethel" within the organization). The Orwellian World of Jehovah's Witnesses (1984) by Gary Botting and Apocalypse Delayed (1984) by James Penton are exposes by members of the organization, but are not written from a Christian perspective.

Texas mother sets an inspiring example as her baby is removed from her uterus in order to have life-saving surgery

Kudos to this mother for not only wanting to save her baby's life, but for being diligent enough to seek more than one medical opinion. As reported by Reuters, October 25, 2016:

When Margaret Boemer went for an ultrasound pregnancy checkup, she was told that her baby had a rare condition and would require surgery if she were to survive.

“16 weeks being pregnant I found out that our baby had a sacrococcygeal teratoma,” Boemer said.

The condition is a form of malignant tumor that forms at the base of a baby’s tailbone, which can be life-threatening.

“LynLee didn’t have much of a chance, you have a 50/50 chance of making it and the tumour was so big. I was coming for regular checkups and by the time at 23 weeks the tumour was shutting her heart down and causing her to go into cardiac failure,” Boemer said.

While other doctors at different hospitals recommended termination of the pregnancy, Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, pediatric surgeon and co-director of Texas Children’s Fetal Center and Dr. Darrell Cass, explained the surgery option, having performed one seven years ago.

“If we didn’t choose the option of surgery that night within a day or two she would pass,” Boemer said.

“So it was a choice of allowing the tumour to take over her body or giving her a chance at life and so that’s what we chose to give her a chance.”

At 23 weeks in her pregnancy, Boemer had her baby surgically removed from her womb and the tumour taken out. The baby was then returned to her mother’s womb and Boemer remained on bed rest for 12 weeks, before delivering her baby via C-section at week 36.

LynLee was whisked away and examined by the doctors as soon as she was born. She was deemed healthy and was placed in the nursery with the other newborns.

At eight days old, LynLee had another minor surgery to remove the bits of tumour that could not be reached earlier.

“She had more surgery and they were able to remove the rest of the tumour and kind of reconstruct how things looked and moved her muscles around and everything to fill in where the tumour was,” Boemer said.

LynLee was seen with her parents on Oct. 21 nursing and being weighed on.

“How exciting it is that she’s made it through and not only made it through but done so well,” Boemer said. “It’ll be exciting to see how she grows up and what she does,” she added.

Lynlee recovered in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and was able to go home just weeks after her surgery. The family, from Lewisville, Texas, is now enjoying life at home as a family of five and they come to Texas Children’s for checkups as Lynlee grows, the hospital said in a statement.

Hospital officials say the type of tumour LynLee had occurs in one of only 40,000 pregnancies. Its cause is unknown but baby girls are affected four times more often than boys.

HT: Will Morrow

Interview on Dr. Phil leads to increased charges against teacher who had sex with student

...and be sure your sin will find you out. Numbers 32:23b

Confession may be good for the soul, but not for the reputation--or the criminal record. As reported by Chris Jancelewicz of Global News, October 28, 2016:

Dr. Phil McGraw has been on a roll lately.

Not only did he secure the first interviews with JonBenét Ramsey’s brother and Steven Avery’s fiancée, but one of his recent sit-downs has resulted in increased charges for a teacher who admitted to having sex with her 17-year-old student.

Mary Beth Haglin, 24, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was initially charged last July with sexually assaulting a minor after turning herself in. The crime is viewed as an aggravated misdemeanour in the U.S., and carries a maximum prison sentence of two years. She pleaded not guilty.

But Haglin admitted further details on Dr. Phil, including that she had sex with the unidentified student “almost daily” while working as a supply teacher — she later specified “hundreds of times” over the course of six months — and claimed that she was the victim in the relationship, not the perpetrator. Haglin says that his love letters and text messages seduced her, even though she frequently sent him sexually suggestive selfies.

“He did so with such intelligence and such an elevated vocabulary that I was completely duped by the whole facade,” she said to Dr. Phil. “He caught me in my weakest moments, and he used that to his advantage. We had sex — almost daily — in his car, my car, his mom’s house, and his dad’s house. When things got way out of control, and I wanted out, he began saying ‘I will light a match and burn your life down.'”

“Many people see him as the victim and me as the perpetrator,” she continued. “From a psychological standpoint and from every other standpoint, I feel like I am the victim.”

Dr. Phil retorted bluntly, “You have got to be dumber than a box of rocks to share naked pictures with a 17-year-old boy.”

Haglin claimed that she was too afraid to end the relationship for fear of being exposed, but it stopped abruptly when another student caught them together.

Iowa prosecutors happened to catch the Dr. Phil episode, and are now upping the charge against Haglin, who now faces up to five years in jail.

“The defendant has participated in a series of public interviews in which she admitted engaging in a pattern or practice of sexual conduct with a student while employed as a teacher at Washington High School, which supports the more serious felony offence,” a motion filed by the Linn County Attorney’s Office said.

After being fired from teaching, Haglin went on to become a stripper under the name “Bambi.”

She will be arraigned on the new charges on Nov. 4.


HT: Will Morrow

Subaru practices censorship with its car radios

If I hear something on my car radio I don't like, I want to make the choice to turn it off or switch to something else, not have the car manufacturer make that choice. If car manufacturers censor certain words, how far can they be from creating technology that puts those words together and ends up censoring ideas? From a column by Lorraine Sommerfeld in the Postmedia newspaper supplement Driving, October 31, 2016 (link in original):

...Speaking of that radio, a colleague recently brought a Subaru bugaboo to my attention. Subaru is now your raunchy radio censor. If Howard Stern and other adultish talk radio is your groove, rest assured that each time you turn the car off, it will helpfully reset the radio to the preview station to protect any youngsters that may be joining you on your next outing. That’s right: The manufacturer has hardwired a non-overridable command into its Legacy and Outback models that protects you from all the bad words. Talk about annoying.

While Subaru is thinking about the toddlers, other manufacturers are more concerned about the teens. Teen nanny systems – preset radio levels, no radio until seatbelts are done up, speed governors, software to trace where your kid has driven – are all big selling points to owners of teens. My sons have aged out of this sector but I spent years being targeted by carmakers who thought I would love these ideas. I don’t. If I don’t trust my kids, I don’t give them the keys. To monitor their every move is not beneficial, and merely delays people (and yes, teens are people) taking responsibility for their actions. Am I the only one who feels manipulated by auto manufacturers who raced to include ridiculous amounts of distracting technology in cars, only to have them turn around and propose yet more systems that will now protect me from what they introduced in the first place?...

Friday, October 28, 2016

50 years ago: Roman Catholic leaders in Canada relax the ban on eating meat on Friday

Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Mark 7:7 (citing Isaiah 29:13)

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:
“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Colossians 2:20-23 (NIV)

Submitted for your approval, for those who aren't aware or have forgotten, this little item that serves as a reminder that Roman Catholicism is manmade religion that can be changed on the whim of the leaders. As reported by Canadian Press and published in The Edmonton Journal, October 15, 1966:

Ottawa--Canadian Roman Catholics still observing meatless Fridays have been released from the church ban in a general relaxation of penitential discipline.

The new voluntary code went into effect at 2 P.M. Edmonton time Friday.

Children, the aging, the ailing and those who carry their lunch to work had been released from the rule in earlier years. But for other adult Roman Catholics, eating meat on Friday was a mild sin.

Although it eliminates rigid rules on fastings and abstinence, the directive from the Canadian church hierarchy said pentential observance should be continued on Fridays and during Lent. Lent Fridays are particularly important.

Archbishop Philip Pocock of Toronto told a press conference that Catholics, in following their individual conscience, must not go too far on penance relaxation.

"Someone who never does penance in the Lenten season, for example, would be sinful," he said.

The changes are in line with Vatican decisions last year that authorized bishops in each country to set their own fast and abstinence rules.
Roman Catholic bishops in the United States followed suit on November 18, 1966.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Alberta government orders closure of Christian home schooling association amid allegations of financial impropriety

I don't know which side is telling the truth, but it's an item in the news.

As reported by Lucie Edwardson of Metro News, October 25, 2016 (links in original):

An Alberta home-schooling association has been ousted for allegedly pocketing nearly $1 million taxpayer dollars from Alberta Education that was meant to fund the education of thousands of students.

According to the ministry of education, Trinity Christian School Association is suspected siphoning government funds for years.

Effective immediately, the ministry has cancelled their registration and accreditation as a private school operator.

Minister of Education David Eggen said the decision to close the school comes after an audit of Trinity’s financials, which found numerous issues and determined that public funding was directed to a third party, Wisdom Home Schooling Society.

“The decision to cancel accreditation and registration from Trinity Christian School Association was made out of respect for taxpayers and the many families who entrusted this school to properly account for the funding granted for the purposes of their children’s education,” Eggen said.

Alberta Education said they will provide the findings of their review to both the Canada Revenue Agency and the RCMP to allow them to determine if further investigation is warranted.

According to Alberta Education, issues include conflict of interest involving senior management and related-party transactions, including terms of employment contracts and terms of leases with related parties.

They said inappropriate expenses were also found for things not limited to babysitting, funeral expenses and “double dipping” of mileage.

The financial audit also found that Wisdom — who is not the grant recipient — had retained $988,000 in “unclaimed parent funding” for the last three years.

“Our government is committed to supporting Alberta’s students and to ensuring that as much public funding as possible is being directed to the classroom, whether that classroom is in a home or in a bricks-and-mortar school,” Eggen said.

Alberta Education said they have also determined that Trinity hasn’t demonstrated appropriate accountability for the supervision of its home-education program or for public funds.

They said this is due to issues including the transfer of responsibility and supervision of their home-education program and accountability for government funding to Wisdom Home Schooling Society of Alberta.

Wisdom responded directly to many of the allegations on its website.

It claims that it has always overseen Trinity's operations for 21 years, that it has undergone routine financial audits, and that it retained the $988,000 in unclaimed funding because it is supposed to hold onto those funds as per Alberta Education mandates.

There are currently 13 in-school students and almost 3,500 home-education students registered with TCSA for the current school year.

Alberta Education said their staff will be made available to help students register in an alternative public or private school.

Further information for affected families is available on Alberta Education’s website.
As reported by Lucie Edwardson of Metro News, October 26, 2016 (bold in original, links inserted by blogger):

The principal and superintendent of an Alberta school association that was stripped of their registration and accreditation Tuesday said they were blindsided by the closure.

Richard Scheinbein, principal and superintendent of the Trinity Christian School Association which was shut down by Alberta Education due to alleged “financial impropriety,” was shocked by the ministry’s decision.

The comment comes after a government review alleges that nearly $1 million in funds supposed to be returned to parents is apparently listed as revenue for Wisdom Home Schooling Society, which is contracted by Trinity to run their home-education program.

“To tell you the truth I don’t know what’s going on—if we have an enemy there or not—but for the last 10-15 years, every year we’ve had this kind of stuff, and every year it passes,” Scheinbein said.

Education Minister David Eggen announced the decision to close the school citing a financial review of the last three years.

“These are very concerning financial practices,” Eggen said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference in Edmonton.

According to Alberta Education, 3,500 of the 11,000 home-educated students in the province were registered to TCSA’s home-schooling program with Wisdom—which has no legal relationship with the ministry. An additional 13 students attend Trinity in a classroom setting.

“The scale is quite large,” said Eggen.

Family ties

The minister said familial relationships within the school and positions of power were also concerning.

According to the websites of both Trinity and Wisdom, members of the Noster and Bekolay families serve on both boards and are also employed by Wisdom.

The websites indicate that husband and wife Kenneth and Marlane Noster are on the Wisdom board, while Kenneth sits on both boards.

Their son, Saul Noster, is listed as Wisdom’s financial services administrator since 2012.

Metro tried various methods to reach the aforementioned members of the Noster family, but no calls were returned by print deadline.

Audit documents provided by Alberta Education show that Trinity and Wisdom spent approximately 32 per cent of expenses on payments and administration compared to 3.4 to 5.6 per cent range in public school boards.

Although names have been redacted, the document indicated the majority of administration salaries went to members of two families—with total compensation to all members of the two families exceeding $2.76 million over three years.

The audit

Eggen said the review of Trinity financials took place after the school got a new auditor who raised red flags with the ministry.

The minister said through the audit it became obvious that money wasn’t being spent efficiently and that third party contractor—Wisdom—was handling most of the money.

Eggen said their review found inappropriate leases between Trinity and Wisdom, where they were leasing their own properties to themselves at 10 times the market rate, as well as spending money on alcohol, parties and gift-certificates.

“There’s a whole long litany of improprieties,” Eggen said. “They weren’t doing bank reconciliations on a monthly basis—which is the most basic thing you need to do to ensure transparency—so we felt a call to act.”

The audit also noted that in reviewing Trinity and Wisdom’s records they found Trinity’s practices were inconsistent with legislation.

The 13 certificated teachers referred by Wisdom as ‘facilitators’ are paid by Wisdom as independent contractors and aren’t employees at either organization— and Trinity didn’t pay any of the home education facilitators in the periods under review, according to the audit.

Further, the one certified teacher paid by Trinity for the 13 in-school students has no employment contract—all of which goes against the School Act, according to the government.

Wisdom parents question government motives for closure

Members of the Wisdom Home Schooling Society’s parent advisory council said not even Wisdom saw the closure of Trinity Christian School Association coming.

Susanne and David Knoch said they were waiting to hear from Alberta Education at a telephone conference town hall, Tuesday evening, about the closure before making any decisions.

“It’s a total shock. It’s an absolute shock. This is like a sideswipe, not even Wisdom saw it coming,” said David.

But, the couple said they question the government’s objectives.

“We know the NDP government hasn’t been especially welcoming—we’ve just questioned their motives,” said Susanne, when asked if she was referring to Bill 10.

They said throughout the audit Wisdom has fully cooperated with the government.

“The Alberta government has been speaking very favourably to Wisdom,” said Susanne. “Wisdom has been so cooperative, they’ve responded to all their demands, and the government even said thank you.”

She added that the closure of the school in this fashion is “just so unethical based on what the communication has been up until now.”
And Wisdom's response:

WISDOM Shutdown - Statement

WISDOM ALERT
October 25, 2016

Dear Parents,

WISDOM/Trinity has been shut down by AB Education. They announced this with a press release filled with partial truths amounting to calumny.

You are being told to give notification to another school for this year, but we are encouraging you not to do anything yet. Over the next few days the WISDOM Parent Advisory Council will communicate suggestions regarding your options.

Here is a brief overview of the AB Education allegations and our responses.

AB Education has shut down our school. They make untrue claims:

Trinity Christian School has neglected to adequately supervise home schooling.

Response: WISDOM has been Trinity’s home education administration for 21 years. In fact, in 1997 AB Education mandated the establishment of WISDOM Home Schooling Society. Through its WISDOM office, Trinity has administrated home schooling in an exemplary manner.

Alberta Education will be providing the findings of its review to both Canada Revenue Agency and the RCMP so those agencies can determine whether further investigation is warranted….

Response: There has been a transparent financial audit of Trinity/WISDOM every year, and AB Education has conducted many additional audits. Every income and expense is meticulously recorded and accounted for.

The review also uncovered that Wisdom – which is not the grant recipient – had retained $988,000 in unclaimed parent funding over the past three years.

Response: AB Education mandates that unclaimed funding stay with the school. Since WISDOM is Trinity’s home education administration, it is logical that WISDOM retained unspent funds and used them on home education programing.

Alberta Education also determined that Trinity has not demonstrated sufficient accountability for the supervision of its home-education program or for public funds, including transferring its responsibility for supervision of its home-education program — and accountability for government funding — to Wisdom Home Schooling Society of Alberta.

Response: AB Education has arbitrarily determined that the work of WISDOM is not the work of Trinity. All allegations are based upon this false assumption.
October 28, 2016 update: As reported by Lucie Edwardson of Metro News, October 27, 2016 (bold, link in original):

A review into a Christian school board by the Alberta government shows that a “hard deadline,” set by a third-party for parents to request unused government funds be carried over to the following year goes against the School Act.

Alberta education says this resulted in nearly $1 million in funds not returned to parents.

Education Minister David Eggen shut down Trinity Christian School Association, in northern Alberta, and Wisdom Homeschooling Tuesday due to alleged “financial impropriety."

They catered to 3,500 home-schooled students across the province and 13 students in a classroom setting.

Metro reached out Wednesday to employees at both Trinity and Wisdom, and only one responded. Jim Burgess of Wisdom’s financial services said little but that they are considering legal action.

On Tuesday, Metro spoke with Trinity principal Richard Scheinbein who said they’d submitted financial reports to Alberta Education annually with no issues.

According to the review released Tuesday, Wisdom’s policy is that unused monies from the parent portion of the government grant will only be carried to the next year if a form requesting the carry over is received by the set deadline of June 30.

“Otherwise it will end up in the general revenue of Wisdom and unavailable for parents the following year. Any late forms received are not accepted as this is a hard deadline” reads the report.

Metro confirmed this was Wisdom’s policy as it is on their website, also indicating this deadline is imposed by Alberta Education.

“In fact, this deadline is an in-house deadline and is not based on provincial legislation, regulation or policy,” said the report.

Eggen said Tuesday another concern raised during the review of Trinity and Wisdom was inappropriate leases.

According to the report, although a lease with Living Water Arts Foundation – which was founded by Wisdom founders Kenneth and Marlane Noster— was considered a reasonable rate, questions were raised as to why Wisdom paid an annual lease plus utilities for a facility that isn’t used all year.

Again, Metro reached out to the Noster family and calls were not returned.

The facility was constructed using government grants paid to Trinity (approximately $0.5M), then reportedly sold ‘by’ Trinity at a loss, to Living Water only to be leased back to Wisdom, said the report.

Further, the report indicates that Trinity’s audited financial statements are inconsistent with facts about the sale of the land.

The financial statements said the sale occurred in 2006-07, yet not transfer of land happened until 2008, was only for $1 and was never owned by Trinity, but the Noster family.

Petition demands reinstatement of Trinity accreditation

A change.org petition has been launched by supporters of Trinity Christian School Association – and third party Wisdom Homeschooling – saying they’re “under attack” and demanding their reinstatement, after their accreditation was taken away Tuesday by Alberta’s education ministry.

The petition, created by Adam Soos, calls the actions of Education Minister David Eggen and his ministry “reckless” and says they “undermined the education of some 3,500 Albertan home-schooled students.”

The petition, which set a goal of 1,500 signatures had been signed 1,195 times and includes signatures from Wisdom's financial services head, Saul Noster who also made social media posts about the issue Wednesday with #WeStandWithWisdom.

Hundreds of people have commented on the petition calling Eggen’s decision anti-Christian.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Eggen. “We know that the various education providers in our province include the separate school system with private schools and home schooling, and when everything is moving as it should it’s a very high quality of education.”
As reported by Lucie Edwardson of Metro News, October 27, 2016 (links in original):

Parents who have used the northern Alberta home-education company Wisdom Homeschooling Society are coming to their defence using social media and a petition.

Education Minister David Eggen shut down Trinity Christian School Association, in northern Alberta, and Wisdom Homeschooling Tuesday due to alleged “financial impropriety."

They catered to 3,500 home-schooled students across the province and 13 students in a classroom setting.

Allegations against Trinity/Wisdom from Alberta’s education ministry include that Wisdom created a false fee deadline that’s in conflict with the School Act. The deadline required parents to fill out a form before the deadline to get reimbursed.

As a result, Alberta Education said in nearly $1 million was not returned to parents.

Despite these allegations, many supporters are calling the move by the NDP unfair and anti-Christian.

Metro reported Wednesday about the petition launched to have the accreditation reinstated and the #WeStandWithWisdom social media hashtag being used by supporters.

Brian Holdsworth took to Facebook to post an email he sent to Minister of Education David Eggen following the decision, Tuesday. Holdsworth argued the ministry wouldn’t have taken “such heavy-handed action” had Trinity/Wisdom been a “conventional school board.”

“If a superintendent was caught making accounting errors (or at worst corrupt kickbacks), you wouldn’t close down the school board in the middle of a semester,” he wrote. “You’d pressure the superintendent to resign and get the organization running properly.”

Holdsworth said there should be “some kind of due process,” and the allegations should be investigated and the accused should have an opportunity to make a legal defence .

Another parent, Shayne Neal, wrote a blog post about the ordeal titled: How can someone care so little about our youth?

In the post, he lays out a number of his concerns, and stated that although Alberta Education has encouraged parents to register their kids with another accredited school board, he will not.

“As I am concerned I can just send my paperwork into Education Minister David Eggen since he closed down the school that was allowed to accept it for the past 21 years,” he wrote.

On Wednesday Eggen again reiterated that parents should take this step so that they are able to get the funding meant for their child.

Trinity/Wisdom released a statement Thursday saying they will be retaining legal counsel to fight the claims made by Alberta Education.

The message also said the association will continue to advise parents of further developments and deny the accusation of misappropriating funds from Alberta Education.

“WISDOM's holding of funds on behalf of Trinity is neither illegal nor deceptive, a fact that is expected to be substantiated by the Courts in the days ahead.”
As reported by Josie Lukey of Metro News, October 27, 2016:

The Alberta school association at the centre of allegations by Alberta Education of financial impropriety will fight the loss of accreditation through legal channels.

On Tuesday, Alberta Education Minister David Eggen stripped the Trinity Christian School Assocation in northern Alberta, of its license and accreditation after a review that looked at the association for three years was released outlining areas of concern in the board's financial reporting.

According to a message to parents posted on Trinity’s website, they will be retaining legal counsel to fight the claims made by Alberta Education.

“Trinity and WISDOM remain committed to the provision of education in the province of Alberta and hope to be in a position to resume operations soon,” the statement read.

The message also said the association will continue to advise parents of further developments and deny the accusation of misappropriating funds from Alberta Education.

“WISDOM's holding of funds on behalf of Trinity is neither illegal nor deceptive, a fact that is expected to be substantiated by the Courts in the days ahead.”
November 8, 2016 update: As reported by Svjetlana Mlinarevic of the Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, November 5, 2016:

A small Cold Lake private school and society overseeing a third of Alberta’s home-schooled students will reopen Monday after a judge temporarily set aside the government’s move to cancel their accreditation.

Grande Prairie Court of Queen’s Bench Justice E. J. Simpson granted a temporary injunction Friday that allows Trinity Christian School Association and its contractor, Wisdom Home Schooling, to oversee students’ education until a hearing on Jan. 5. The education minister revoked Trinity’s accreditation Oct. 25, alleging financial mismanagement.

Simpson also ruled Alberta Education can withhold funding from Trinity while it operates for the next six weeks.

“I’m very pleased with the decision. It reinstates the status quo, with the exception of funding, and it ensures that the parents and the students who have been tremendously disrupted by this ill-considered decision will continue to have a school to go to until Jan. 5 at the least,” said Jay Cameron, Trinity’s lawyer.

The ruling is not a final decision on the merits of the case, Alberta’s Education Minister David Eggen said in a Friday afternoon statement.

“We stand behind the actions that we have taken to date based on the evidence made public in the audit,” Eggen wrote.

An investigation by the education ministry alleged that during the last three years, Wisdom had misused public education dollars on alcohol, gifts, gift cards, parties, babysitting costs, and funeral expenses.

Almost all the money given to Trinity was redirected to Wisdom, where alleged financial irregularities included lavish per diems, double dipping on mileage and travel expenses, and employment contracts to family members.

The province also contends Wisdom improperly held back $988,000 in grant money that should have flowed to parents for home-schooling costs.

The government reported its findings to RCMP and the Canada Revenue Agency.

Although contracting out home-schooling services is legal, Eggen has said it leaves school authorities vulnerable to misconduct.

Trinity and Wisdom refute all allegations of financial impropriety.

The judge said his move to temporarily restore accreditation was to allow children to continue with their education until the Christmas break. Simpson said Trinity will have to re-state its case to stay open after January, when court will hear arguments about Trinity’s alleged misuse of funds.

The judge also ordered Trinity to turn over the records of 160 students who have enrolled with a new school or school board.

In a statement, Trinity Christian School/Wisdom Home Schooling said it is grateful for the interim ruling.

“Alberta Education’s imposition of the closure upon the families of 3,500 students, without due process, has been overturned today by due process. The rights of parents, upheld by the Canadian Charter, have been upheld by the Court of Queen’s Bench,” the statement said.

In his arguments, Cameron told the judge the government’s move to yank accreditation was “ill-considered, draconian, unlawful, in bad faith, as well as being extremely rude and inconsiderate to the parents and the children of this province.”

He also said government had done irreparable harm to Trinity’s reputation.

In their application for an injunction, Trinity and Wisdom said people from Alberta Education showed up at the 13-pupil school in Cold Lake Oct. 25, refused to identify themselves to teachers and parents, “accosted” students by demanding their names and handing them letters.

Some home-schooling parents objected to being informed of the shutdown by robocalls, and being suddenly told to register their children with another school.

Parents can continue to home school their children while they look for a new place to enrol their children, the ministry has said. There are 45 other public and private schools and districts in Alberta that accept home schooled students.

The judge requested the next court date be held in Cold Lake or Edmonton.
As reported by Dean Bennett of Canadian Press, November 7, 2016:

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it will continue to cover the costs of textbooks and other incidentals for thousands of home-schooled students caught in the middle of a funding fight.

A spokesman for Education Minister David Eggen says parents who are having their children home-schooled through the Trinity Christian School Association can soon send their receipts to the government for reimbursement.

Parents of home-schooled children can get slightly more than $800 reimbursed a year for items such as textbooks.

"We're setting up a process where in the interim at least they can go directly through Alberta Education for that funding," spokesman Jeremy Nolais said in an interview Monday.

Nolais said the department will have the reimbursement plan running this week or next.

The province is currently embroiled in a court fight with Trinity, which had been receiving more than $5 million a year from the province to oversee 3,500 home-schooled students along with 13 others being taught in a school in Cold Lake.

That's about one-third of all home-schooled children in the province...

...Each home-schooled student in Alberta receives $1,670 a year to be distributed by the agency that oversees the education, which in this case would be Trinity.

Half of that $1,670 is to go to parents for textbooks and other education-related expenses, while the rest goes for administration and oversight.

Nolais confirmed the other half of that $1,670, which normally goes to Trinity, will not be paid.

Ken Noster, an associate principal at Trinity and the administrator of Wisdom, could not be reached for comment.

The province is urging parents with Trinity to get their students signed up with other boards. Nolais said so far about 135 students have done so.

During question period in the legislature Monday, Opposition Wildrose member Angela Pitt said the government has handled the situation poorly and families are paying the price.

"The minister and this NDP government need to start thinking more about the human impact their heavy-handed governance has on everyday Albertans," Pitt told the house.

Eggen closed Trinity based on the audit, which said the senior ranks of both Trinity and Wisdom were essentially made up of two families. It said those families, whose names were not made public, received $2.8 million in compensation over the last three years.

It also said that almost all the money given to Trinity was redirected to Wisdom, where multiple financial irregularities included lavish per diems, double dipping on mileage and travel expenses, and employment contracts to other family members.

It said taxpayer money was used for alcohol, gifts, gift cards, pizza, parties, babysitting costs and funeral expenses.

The report stated that over the last three years, Wisdom improperly held back $988,000 that was to go to parents for home-schooling.
February 2, 2017 update:
As reported by Lucie Edwardson of Metro News, January 5, 2017:

Trinity Christian School Association is back in business—but this time without the controversial WISDOM Home Schooling Society.

Back in October, the home-schooling association was shut down by the province after they alleged the group pocketed nearly $1 million taxpayer dollars from Alberta Education that was meant to fund the education of thousands of students. Trinity's registration and accreditation as a private school operator was canceled.

A deal reached between Alberta Education and Trinity Christian School Association means additional oversight of operations, and stability for more than 3,500 students, according to the province—but it also means WISDOM will no longer be involved in any of the governance or financial involvement in the education of students.

In a news release, the province said the agreement filed in a Grand Prairie court Thursday is the end of the legal battle between Alberta Education and Trinity.

Education Minister David Eggen said they will appoint a financial administrator, for at least a year, to help Trinity’s board of directors in developing financial policies and practices that meet taxpayer expectations. The administrator will also have oversight over public funding directed to Trinity.

“Our priority has been ensuring that the funding we provide for education is being used to support students. We believe that today’s agreement achieves this goal. It also ensures stability for more than 3,500 Alberta students,” he said. “I stand behind the actions we have taken in this matter and officials will now move to assisting Trinity with developing governance and accounting practices that are at the standard expected by Alberta taxpayers.”

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley echoed these sentiments at a press conference Thursday and said the administrator will play a vital role in ensuring funds reach students (although she couldn’t say how much the administrator would cost Alberta Education).

“They’ll be tasked with making sure they have the proper procedures in place, so everyone can see transparently where the money is going,” she said.

When Trinity was shut down in October, Alberta Education said they would be providing the findings of their review to both the Canada Revenue Agency and the RCMP to allow them to determine if further investigation is warranted.

“In terms of other investigations by the RCMP of CRA, those folks will determine the outcomes of their investigations and the government has no influence over that,” said Ganley.
Click on the link to see the Trinity Christian School Association Consent Order.

Graham Thomson offered a critical view of the whole affair in his column in the Edmonton Journal, January 6, 2017:

Something here doesn’t add up.

How can the Alberta government publicly decertify a school association one day over allegations of “financial impropriety,” then recertify the association another day while the allegations still hang over the school board’s head?

Either the government recertified the association prematurely this week, or the government unfairly decertified the association in the first place back in October.

We’re talking here, of course, about the Trinity Christian School Association.

It was on Tuesday, Oct. 25, that a sombre Education Minister David Eggen called a news conference to announce he was immediately shutting down the province’s largest provider of home schooling after a government audit had discovered “significant misuse of public funding.”

The government had been giving Trinity Christian about $5.5 million a year, which was directed to a third party, Wisdom Home Schooling Society, to run the home-schooling operations.

Among the apparently troubling things discovered by the audit: Wisdom leased a modular from a “non-arm’s length party” for $105,000 a year — 10 times what the government thought reasonable.

Eggen said the “financial impropriety” was so great he was sending the audit to the RCMP for further investigation.

At the time, I said Eggen was so unhappy he looked downright sick. But I wasn’t sure if he was ill at the possibility of government money going astray, or if he was queasy at the thought of a showdown with home-schooling parents.

Politically, the latter is a much larger problem than the former — as Eggen discovered thanks to a very loud and heated reaction from parents who supported Trinity.

The association defiantly told the parents to ignore the government’s recommendation to enrol their children with another board. Keeping the fight alive, the association won a court injunction to keep the board open.

All the while, home-schooling parents — always a fiercely independent lot — accused the government of interfering with their rights to educate their children.

Thanks to a court ruling Thursday — that criticized both sides in the tussle — the government and the association have reached a truce.

Eggen recertified the organization after it agreed to be placed under a government-appointed financial adviser for the next year.

Yet, the RCMP is still investigating the government’s complaint against Trinity.

How can the government climb back into bed with an organization it apparently didn’t trust a few months ago?

You get the impression that maybe the government overreacted in October by decertifying the school association. Maybe the government should have waited.

Or, at the very least, it should have done the decertification with more tact and more planning. Instead, its abrupt move left thousands of parents and students confused.

The government should have listened more intently to the Wildrose Party, which managed to manoeuvre though this political minefield with some agility.

The official Opposition has said all along that while any financial mismanagement must be investigated and dealt with, the main focus should have been on the students, ensuring their education was not interrupted.

In a news release Thursday, the Wildrose happily gave itself a pat on the back: “The decision to appoint a financial administrator to handle their concerns surrounding financial management of the school was what Wildrose initially called for. It’s disappointing that it took months of legal battles and court filings to come to what was an obvious and appropriate solution.”

This saga is not over. If the police find evidence of wrongdoing, people will ask why the government is in bed with such a troubled organization.

If the police don’t find enough evidence to lay charges, people will ask why the government was so quick to shut down Trinity.

Either way, something doesn’t add up — and the education minister is the one doing the math.