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BRENTWOOD: Church is thriving as scandal is forgotten

By This is Essex  |  Posted: March 03, 2010

  • LEADING THE WAY: The Rev Peter Linnecar

  • Peter Linnecar taken from Michael Reid Ministries website – the new home page.

  • Michael Reid Ministries in Coxtie Green Road, Pilgrims Hatch in Brentwood. Peniel Academy.

  • Subject:NEW pic of Peniel Church Location:Peniel Church, Coxtie Green Road, Pilgrims Hatch, Coxtie Green

    Start:Tue 15/04/2008 10:00 End:Tue 15/04/2008 12:00

    Area:Brentwood Contact Name(s):BG office Phone Number(s):01277 219222

    Publication:Gazette [Brentwood]

    They have apparently taken down the Michael Reid Ministries Big Sign.

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A THRIVING church has welcomed newcomers into the fold in the wake of a scandal that shook it to the core.

Revelations about Bishop Michael Reid's affairs have led to major changes at the Peniel Church, in Coxtie Green Road, Pilgrims Hatch.

Worshipper Anne Brown explained that some members quit after hearing the news.

She said: "People have left but people have joined. It is just different.

"Some people certainly left with Michael, and I guess some people left because they felt it wasn't for them for whatever reason."

Last week, the church founder lost his claim for unfair dismissal against the trustees and now everyone at the Peniel is hoping they can finally move on.

The Rev Peter Linnecar, who started the church with shamed Bishop Reid, is leading the way.

Anne said: "He has been at the church almost since the beginning and has been a significant figure for many years.

"He has helped everyone through this."

She explained that its priorities and practices have changed.

"Since Michael left, I would say that we have renewed our focus on the community," she said.

"Pastor Linnecar has been going out into the community and visiting people in their homes if they cannot make it to church.

"It is more about outreach work now, addressing groups of young people and inviting people into the church.

"Everyone is involved – that is one of the amazing things Pastor Linnecar and his team have done. They have made everyone feel like they have a place and that they belong.

"It is a lovely church and it really is thriving."

Anne added: "There is a success story here, and that is the fact the church is recovering from this major blow."

At last week's employment tribunal it was revealed Michael Reid and his wife, the Rev Ruth Reid, are still living on church property and that an eviction could ensue.

However, Anne explained that the church trustees are still discussing what action to take.

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  • Profile image for This is Essex
    Tony, Pilgrims Hatch  |  August 06 2010, 3:24AM

    I am a member of peniel church but. I wish to speak about the issues in the church. The issues are Bishop Michael Reid did commit a sin, but as people do we have the right to condemn him and his wife. I have been in this church close to twenty six years and I have seen many things happened over the years. I recall an incident at church where one of the ushers committed the same sin with a member in the choir. We all know he was a womanizer its is disgraceful that he was made chairman of the trustee¿s. I was there to see Archbishop Benson idahosa raise the money to secure a home for the Reid family. Am tired of reading stories that are not true in my local newspaper. The church was eight hundred strong but some week we will have ninety members why is that. We need to be honest has Christians because over half the members has left and form there own meetings in their homes, why is that. Over half the members do not have confidence in the present leadership at peniel church because we changed our name from Michael Reid ministries back to peniel church and now it¿s changed again to Trinity church. Is it because one of the church members cousin is the Chaplin to the queen he does not understand what is happening in the church. But now this man is going to run the church. So the leader and the trustee's decided to call the church trinity and we now know the school will have a name change. please can some say why that is? I here that people say that the leader of peniel church also made mistakes in his life which I can recall, the reason why he was not active in the church for five years, he embezzled church funds. To pay off his bad debt we all know what he had done. And now the church is paying him over £75.000 to ease his money problem. I am very unhappy how this has turned out but I have to tell the truth if we are meant to be children of God. The devil is a liar. I use to enjoy the church when it was at it height. Now it¿s lost. Good people have left because the preaching is so bad you feel sleepy as I said we need to forgive and move on. I object to the eviction it¿s not good for the church of Jesus Christ how will you feel if it¿s was your mother & father. I hope the new leadership will reconsider I will await for either the coming back of Bishop Reid or for God to choose a man who fears God but that is God's will not the will of man .

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    MM, Brentwood  |  July 20 2010, 7:17PM

    I see the old sinning bishop is having a positive influence on you. You should not spend so much time with the man he has filled you with his arrogant name calling and gross exaggerations. Hallmarks of Michael Reid all over you James. Watch yourself my friend he is capitalising on your ignorance of the other side of the story and Peniel as it now is. You need to check it all out with the church and his former flock before you repeat his sour grapes like this.

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    Jimmy, Brentwood  |  July 15 2010, 5:03PM

    Membership down 75%, 600+ left as not happy weith new leadership. mainly three families controlling everything and most members related to them. Income down by millions, Bible School closed...was best in country. Peniel Academy low on pupils, income down, grades down.... thriving? dont make me laugh! The preaching is so boring now Peter Linnecar can cure anyone of insominia with 5 mins of his preaching!

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    George, Chelmsford  |  June 22 2010, 9:03AM

    I think you mean that this church is a Sect rather than a Cult JT . Whatever, I find Christian hypocracy amazing and that they all whine and complain they are being Tared with the same Brush . Perhaps that is because they are all from the same Tar Pot and the excuse they always make is that is never them ..always someone else like we dear non God lovers at fault for their own troubles .

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    Rufus Makinwa, Essex  |  June 21 2010, 4:28PM

    A leopard never changes its spots. Peniel is the same as it always was. Any normal-minded person will avoid this oddball church like the plague.

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    Dan, Brentwood  |  June 21 2010, 12:08PM

    Oh, and further to my previous comment, I see someone makes some extrapolations about the fact that Reid is still living on "church property". Well he is living in a house owned by the church, but not on the church site. It is an unresolved matter that was part of his employment contract. He is a very shrewd man. Now that his employment is terminated however, as the article says, they should leave the property, but they are currently refusing to do so, sadly.

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    Dan, Brentwood  |  June 21 2010, 12:08PM

    Oh, and further to my previous comment, I see someone makes some extrapolations about the fact that Reid is still living on "church property". Well he is living in a house owned by the church, but not on the church site. It is an unresolved matter that was part of his employment contract. He is a very shrewd man. Now that his employment is terminated however, as the article says, they should leave the property, but they are currently refusing to do so, sadly.

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    Dan, Brentwood  |  June 21 2010, 12:00PM

    Hi I am a current church member and have been for just 5 years, though I've visited the church many times upto 10 years before that. Just want to set a couple of things straight. 1) Unlike under Michael Reid, the church isn't interested in any PR offensives 2) The church however 30 years ago started off very healthily. Things only soured in the last 10 years: A. The church changed it name FROM Peniel to Michael Reid Ministries. B. Peter Linnecar was set aside, unknown to many in the congregation when this actually happened - it was just noticed that he wasn't involved in anything anymore. So, though having been core to many things at the start of the church and the school, he actually wasn't involved in the last decade. C. The church was not a cult. Visitors were welcomed and made at home. The stuff that happened hardly anyone knew about and it all happened behind the scenes. Obviously the extra-marital affair:behind the scenes. Any manipulation of people: behind the scenes. The congregation wouldn't have stood for that if they'd known! And obviously when they did find out, Reid was sacked, mr Linnecar became pastor and the church changed it name to Peniel. Now the leadership is very open, they don't think they have all the answers and the church is centred on Christ, not one man. Well, I'm happy there now and we are indeed already out there in the community, doing many projects and hopefully showing the love of God to people, not for our church's sake, but for the people we reach's sake.

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    CoCo, Brentwood  |  June 09 2010, 6:42PM

    Thrown to the lions? You are welcome to say so but I must say that owing to 'incitement to religious hatred laws' campaigned for by our Isamic compatriots you would find yourself taken to court if it was their followers you jested about throwing. So if there is only one reason you should be grateful to Christians is that their tradition has so far given you have freedom of speech not to mention a humane society. You seem to have no idea how much you owe to Christianity living in this country and please do not tar all Christians with the same brush.

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    Rufus, Brentwood  |  June 01 2010, 2:06PM

    I seem to recall a saying about a leopard and its spots...

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