An Insider’s View of Elverson’s Community Evangelical Free Congregation Meeting and Leadership

Recently I received an email from a member inside Community Evangelical Free Church.  After discussing this with my sources I was encouraged to publish this email. This post also includes the Youtube video of the new building going up at CEFC.

“For every good reason there is to lie, there is a better reason to tell the truth.”

Bo Bennett

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant.

Matthew 20:26 ESV

CEFC1

In the Lion’s Den! One of the many pictures I took in January 2016 of Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson

CEFC New Building Time Lapse

Before Community’s congregation meeting I wrote a post saying what members should ask, and what I would be asking. At this blog I put out a call for information and recently someone from the inside emailed me their thoughts and feelings on both the membership meeting and the church leadership. This is going to be a stand alone post as I am not going to comment or write anything on the email. After discussing this I was encouraged to publish this note. I hope you guys have a good day, and know that I love you!


Greetings –

The membership meeting was quite interesting – Chairman of the elder board Mike Rudolf read a totally arrogant, pathetic, self pitying letter that made me cry for the membership.

Here he was, the self-anointed master of the church, dispenser of grace, absolute leader of the totally lost idiots who are members, and someone indicated that his actions might not have been perfectly ordained by God himself.

His view is that the sheep need to be reminded that the LEADERSHIP (especially his) of the church is all that matters.

Elder Mike Culbert is another interesting person to pass judgment – about half of the time I talk to him he complains about money – his wife asked the church to pray for their finances. Mike is a teacher in a rich school system – he makes about 80,000 a year, and his wife works for the school also, and makes about 40,000 per year. That is well over double the Berks County’s average of 54,000. They have awesome health benefits, and phenomenal retirement benefits, and unbelievable job security. Merle and Dave Stoltzfus were very bright in putting a dupe like him on the finance committee – multi million dollar no-bid, no competition contracts, here we come!

For an example of how this elder board looks at women, a while back Pastor Steve Estes said that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, went to the local Twin Valley High School (Mark went to Philips Exeter Academy). When the only African-American woman member of the church (who works at Twin Valley School District) tried to get that statement corrected, Pastor Steve shouted her down pretty aggressively – he was not going to be corrected by a black woman.

The Church’s bylaws state that no elders can also be employees of the church. Henchman William Richard Renninger was an adjunct professor at a local college, (earning less that 20,000 dollars a year) (good thing his wife holds a legitimate job), so the church funnels a bunch of money to him by laundering it through a small scale ministry, Equipping Leaders International. This ministry is run out of a spare bedroom, but somehow manages to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on administrative expenses, and a similar amount of money on board compensation.

Best Regards,

Concerned

11 thoughts on “An Insider’s View of Elverson’s Community Evangelical Free Congregation Meeting and Leadership

  1. Interesting reading for sure….only question is if this “insider” feels so bad about the church and seems very angry with church leadership why are they staying in the church? Just to get this kind of information? What is this person’s real purpose? “Double agent” ? Just Sayin’😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jen…I discussed this with a number of people in Elverson and they verified many parts of the email. I was asked by several people in the Elverson area to publish this. Your concern about misinformation is real, and that is why I sat on this for a while and had many discussions with a number of people. Have a good day!

      Like

      • I would guess (it’s only a guess) that the writer is probably a long-term member for whom leaving would be a painful experience. I could be wrong. But there are people who think, “This is my church”, and don’t realize that they can worship God anywhere, not just at one particular place. Also, leaving a place where one has many long-term friendships can be difficult.

        I can also attest that it is extremely difficult after leaving a church, to stop being a “rubber-necker”, and to stop caring about what transpires there. It takes time. It’s especially difficult when one has many friends there that they still care about.

        Eventually, one must get to a point where one must leave because it is so toxic, but also, after leaving, one must eventually get to a point of healing where one realizes that the place they left is “not my circus, not my monkeys”. That takes a long time to happen.

        I’d be surprised if it’s someone who joined the church recently for the purpose of getting info out. Even what is said makes it seem as if they’re very well connected to the congregation there. Again, I could be wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

    • That e-mail makes me cringe. If I was visiting the church I’d be afraid to use the ladies room lest she was in there. I’d be afraid of what she might say about me.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elder Mike Culbert is another interesting person to pass judgment – about half of the time I talk to him he complains about money – his wife asked the church to pray for their finances. Mike is a teacher in a rich school system – he makes about 80,000 a year, and his wife works for the school also, and makes about 40,000 per year. That is well over double the Berks County’s average of 54,000. They have awesome health benefits, and phenomenal retirement benefits, and unbelievable job security.

    But one must keep up with the Furticks and the Kardashians…

    Like

  3. “The Church’s bylaws state that no elders can also be employees of the church.”

    This is an excellent rule.

    After the experience I had with elders at a church, I would opine that the rule should be extended to elders’ spouses/families. In one case, an elders’ spouse was employed by the church. After he witnessed how my wife & I were treated by the leadership, it wouldn’t surprise me if he just went along with the other elders & pastors so it wouldn’t happen to his wife. In a way, I don’t blame him. In any other normal circumstance, he was one of the nicest & most upstanding people I’ve ever met. But in another way, it made his failure to stand up for what is right that much more painful. Just an unfortunate circumstance to put one in, and I’ve had to learn to forgive him.

    Also, at the church I was at, pastor(s) can (but don’t always) serve as elders also, and the elder board always includes the senior (lead) pastor. One can debate the advisability of that. I can see both sides, but the potential for conflict of interest when the conflict is *with* the pastor(s) involved can be (but doesn’t have to be) problematic. And the pastor(s) are always free to recuse themselves, which in our case, some of them did, to their credit, though one never knows the extent to which pastors may be advising the elders behind the scenes.

    Food for thought.

    Elverson sounds disfunctional.
    I sincerely hope & pray the congregation/sheep (and the EFCA denomination) set things right there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are probably right ejj that the person is a long time member….but regardless of what the issue is, change is very hard for someone especially leaving a church with the guilt associated with that.

      Being an Elverson resident for 15 + years I can say the only disfunction in this small town is from the church. The Stoltzfuses run the church and try to run the town but newer residents along with many many more residents keep them in check regarding the town. There are good people here but the scandal of the “giant mausoleum” is beginning to cast a shadow over those good people. So sad!! But good will overcome evil as I know God will make it right when it is time.🙏

      Liked by 1 person

      • @Jen,

        Thanks for the perspective. Sad, indeed, but your final sentence is what some of us cling to. I guess that’s what true faith is about, right? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: A Closer Look at Mike Culbert, Dr. Schrier, Dr. Kenney and the Community Evangelical Free Church Elder Board; Plus do Sexual Assault Allegations Qualify Brock Estes for Elder? | Wondering Eagle

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