The Trustees have asked us to clarify the situation with the Jesus Fellowship ex leaders who have been removed from community houses because of three or more separate serious sexual allegations against each one. The national safeguarding rules state that it is unsafe for them to remain living with other members of the community.
The Trustees and NLT decided that the JFCT should purchase houses specifically for them to live in. They felt that the trust deed bound them to a duty of care to house them.
This trust deed states that anyone not living to the ‘standards involved in such covenant membership’ loses their right to be housed by the trust. It is our understanding that they are living within ‘style 3 membership’.
It also states in the trust deed it is the ‘decision of the elders of the appropriate household as to the particular property any member resides in’.
It also states; ‘The right (to be housed) shall also be subject to any other conditions which the trustees may from time to time deem necessary to impose’
This means it is completely at the discretion of the current trustees whether these ex leaders are housed at the expense of the trust and kept within ‘Style 3 membership’, or whether they are removed from the covering of the Trust and given exactly the same help as any other member wanting to leave the JFCT.
Declaration 3 of the Covenant Declaration of the Covenant Members Style 3 states; I pledge to be in…’submission to the authority and practices of this Church-brotherhood’.
Declaration 15 states; Fully to practice the covenants in…‘embracing a lifestyle of self-denial…’
To be clear, these ex leaders do not accept the allegations against them and therefore are not repentant.
According to the Land Registry these houses are owned by JFCT Nominees Ltd, they are then ‘rented’ back to the ex leaders through a ‘board and lodging rent’ from their relevant common purse.
The properties used to house four of the accused leaders, the location and current valuations at the time of writing are:
Flore – value £335,000 (Purchased)
Nether Heyford – value £370,000 (Purchased)
London – value £695,000 (Purchased)
Northampton – value £225,000 (Purchased)
It is worth noting that at the time of writing, three of the houses are not occupied exclusively by the couple concerned, there are offspring and in one case a lodger in residence.
There have been other leaders removed from their positions for similar allegations but these are currently living in their existing trust owned houses within the community due to being the only occupants, and have stayed ‘style 3 members’ of the JFCT.
In summary we, the survivors, offer the following clarification:
The houses listed are for the express purpose of removing the ex leaders from the immediate vicinity of other residents and for the sole use occupancy of them and their immediate family or spouse. The purchase of these properties was made under the obligations the trustees felt they were bound to within their trust deed, and because they were instructed by the safeguarding body to remove them immediately as a result of the nature of the allegations of abuses committed by the ex leaders. Ownership of the properties has not been passed to the occupying ex leader.