Brick Lane Community Church Changes its Name to Community Evangelical Free Church of Elverson; Votes to Rejoin the EFCA for a Month, and Plans to Separate Again from the EFCA

Am update on the situation with CEFC in Elverson, Pennsylvania. Brick Lane Community Church is announced in January. Yet even though CEFC voted to separate from the EFCA and change their name, Brick Lane is going to rejoin the EFCA for a month, and then plans to separate again from the EFCA. Its my belief that this rogue EFCA church is experiencing incredible financial difficulty. That said I still have many questions and some gaps. Perhaps those from the Elverson area can fill in the gaps and flush out what is happening. 

“Habitual liars invent falsehoods not to gain any end or even to deceive their hearers, but to amuse themselves. It is partly practice and partly habit. It requires an effort in them to speak truth.”     

William Hazlitt 

“We never deceive for a good purpose; knavery adds malice to falsehood.”

La Bruyere   

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 NIV 

While I am taking a break there are some developments with Steve Estes’ Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania that need to be addressed. Early in January Brick Lane Community Church announced itself to the community of Elverson. You can see the announcement below. 

Brick Lane Community Church is planning on joining The Gospel Coalition. Steve Estes who practiced church discipline on an alleged rape victim, while defending the alleged rapist (his son Brock Estes) will find himself in good company in The Gospel Coalition. D.A. Carson, who teaches at the EFCA’s Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, issued a statement through The Gospel Coalition that attacked a rape victim while defending C.J. Mahaney. You can read more about The Gospel Coalition in “From D.A. Carson to Steve Estes the Following Question Must be Asked: Is the Evangelical Free Church of America a Safe Place for Sexual Assault Victims?

 

When Steve Estes Preaches on Gossip…

On January 21, 2018, Steve Estes gave the following sermon at CEFC – Elverson called “I Don’t Gossip . . . But Did You Know That So and So Does?” Now back in 2014 early in the year Steve Estes gave another sermon about gossip that is called “The Tongues Project.”  You can listen to that sermon right here. That sermon came shortly after Steve’s former daughter-in-law filed for divorce against Brock. Steve in January had to tell the elders that his son’s marriage was ending. Steve used the pulpit to try and stop “gossip” about his son. Some believe that Steve Estes knew what he was doing when he coached Hurit’s church discipline situation in December of 2014. That he used The Tongues Project to control discussion of the situation in the time frame of 2014. When Steve Estes preaches on gossip its because he is about to make a major change, or shift theologically. In the process Steve is trying to control the narrative. When Steve preaches on gossip one should be wary. The sermon about gossip in January 21, also has a rational behind it. Steve was setting up the church for some incredible gymnastics. 

 

Brick Lane Community Church Votes to Rejoin the EFCA for One Month, and Plans to Separate Again. 

On the June 12, 2017 congregational meeting CEFC voted to separate from the EFCA. I wrote about that issue in, “What the EFCA Wanted Steve Estes’s Community Evangelical Free Church to do to Rectify a Difficult Situation.” Before the vote this rogue EFCA church used its community group program to lobby and push people to vote to separate. Those who disagreed with this were basically told that if they don’t like it they can leave. During that campaign people were also encouraged to adopt the new name Brick Lane Community Church. After all since CEFC is planning on separating they need change their name, documents, etc… as they no longer will be a part of the EFCA. 

Christian Investors Financial, (CIF) which partners with the EFCA has called in the loan that was made to CEFC – Elverson. CIF partners with the EFCA and does lending for the denomination. CEFC, I believe had to find another source to pay back the loan that has been called. Steve Estes I believe told the congregation that the church needs to rejoin the EFCA once again, and in order to do that must change their name from Brick Lane Community Church back to Community Evangelical Free Church. The goal as I understand it is to rejoin the EFCA for a month, and then for the church to separate from the EFCA. Keep in mind that the EFCA is congregational, but in the case of CEFC it is elder ruled and not elder led.  CEFC needs to meet the qualifications I believe on the lending. In chewing on this behavior I believe that CEFC is having a problem getting a loan funded. They are probably shopping around and being declined by differing banks or lending agencies. Actually I would also wager that CEFC’s financial condition is much more dire than I previously thought. Recently John Barber left, I wrote about that in “Why did John Barber Leave Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania?” Today in re-thinking the situation after hearing of the other developments perhaps John Barber left CEFC because they could no longer pay him. When CEFC does meet the qualifications for their mortgage then the church plans to separate again from the EFCA. 

I have a lot of questions that are related to this situation, and as time passes I have more. These are some of them. 

  1. Has CEFC staff had their salaries cut due to these financial issues? 
  2. Where have they applied for lending? Who has turned down CEFC? 
  3. Where are they going to get the money to settle CIF? 
  4. Are people expected to tithe more under these circumstances? Are people giving money under duress? 

If there are people in the Elverson and Morgantown area that are in the know please comment below and share what you know. If they plan to separate again from the EFCA I take it that will be in late February. Its also my understanding that this news didn’t go over well inside CEFC. Some people were angry and it appears that more people are in the process of leaving. The total amount of people who have walked away from CEFC is now at 200. Expect that to rise. Back in 2014 the Stoltzfus clan was about 15 to 20% of the church population. If I had to take an educated guess, today I would wager that may at least 40% of the church is a part of the Stoltzfus clan. 

I am taking a break but when I get back at it full speed there is still a lot to write about CEFC. These are some of the posts I have in mind. 

  1. An open letter to Merle Stoltzfus.
  2. Why Brick Lane Community Church will be far more dangerous than Community Evangelical Free. 
  3. A comprehensive overview of what the EFCA can learn from CEFC situation. 
  4. Why the EFCA should plant a church in Morgantown, PA. 

That is it Elverson, please know that I love you. 

18 thoughts on “Brick Lane Community Church Changes its Name to Community Evangelical Free Church of Elverson; Votes to Rejoin the EFCA for a Month, and Plans to Separate Again from the EFCA

  1. Eagle…Glad you are taking time to rest! Hoping your mind, body and spirit is renewed! Thanks for the update. Just unbelievable and I am completely speechless. To the Congregation; 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. Pray that God gives you a clear and sound mind. The indoctrination and misleading of God’s people inside of this church is heartbreaking. I plead with you to Make a stand…..PLEASE!

    Liked by 1 person

      • They do control what is said outside also. If you ask anyone from the church everything is great. Plenty of money, people joining, etc..blah blah. They all drank the purple kool aid. The Stoltzfus’s have so much money and claim
        to,love and support their church, then give some of that money to save it. Hypocrites too! And can the EFCA be that dumb not to see Steve’s plan?

        Liked by 1 person

      • The situation at CEFC honestly baffles me. I could not go along with such a church. How Merle and Dave can go about the community and act like all is well stuns me. Are they that corrupt?

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  2. Steve Estes I believe told the congregation that the church needs to rejoin the EFCA once again, and in order to do that must change their name from Brick Lane Community Church back to Community Evangelical Free Church. The goal as I understand it is to rejoin the EFCA for a month, and then for the church to separate from the EFCA.

    Just long enough to take the money and run?

    (Anyone out there, feel free to Filk.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The sad truth is I feel bad for Brock and Hurit.I feel bad for Brock that he probably won’t get the help he needs and this story will fallow him the rest of his life. I feel bad for Hurit for what she endured and the things she has to work through.In all reality they both have been left down by efree.I am not taking sides with Brock however I do feel like if he isn’t getting the help he needs his father has enabled him to probably go deeper into his problems.The actions of efree have not only hurt Hurit they have probably hurt Brock also.In this whole process they have made a joke out of themselves to anyone who has a shred of dicernment.

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  4. Luke 14:28-30 New International Version (NIV)

    28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’

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  5. From this article in crosswalk:
    https://www.crosswalk.com/home-page/todays-features/lending-borrowing-and-the-bible.html

    “As we lend or borrow money, let’s be careful not to do either based upon the commonly accepted practices of today. You see, greed hides behind both foolish borrowing as well as behind predatory lending. We borrow out of greed for more, bigger, better…and we lend to get more, faster and at a higher interest.
    Consulting God’s word and honoring God though the process of both borrowing and lending is what we should do. After all, those who honor Him, He will honor!”

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  6. Agree with God not man.We can all fall into the debt trap often times when people do it’s a pride issue.Or we want instant gratification. I’m not against debt I’m against to much debt. How much is to much debt? Is the question. I live in the area if efree or whatever there name is now are in hock 4million plus who would buy that property somebody would be left holding the bag. I don’t think the property would bring that on the real estate market I could be wrong.If I had to guess they are under water on there mortgage they probably owe more than there physical value just a guess just speculation. I guess that it is me just gossiping .It is just a poor example as a church to be in debt up to there eyeballs if they are the elders have done nothing but enslaved themselves and the people who have a covenant contract with the place.I hope they enjoy as a christian being bound to a big old loan to pay for a big building with stinky carpet.They look nothing at all like the churches in the new testament.Just a typical over leveraged American consumer .who lives beyond there means and will need bailed out just speculation and just gossip. Time will tell.

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  7. Let’s pretend they end up with a thirty year fixed rate mortgage.The men who made this decision probably have and average age of let’s say 50 that puts them at 80 before this project is paid for. Maybe they plan on paying it of in 5 yrs great or 10 great however if they take a lone for thirty yrs expecting the next generation to pay for there over spending they have acted irresponsibly. They will be old men living of retirement and social security if it’s available leaving the next generation to pay for there overspending . Sound familiar?

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  8. Pingback: Why the EFCA Should Plant a Church in Morgantown, Pennsylvania and Issue a Public Statement on Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church Situation in Elverson | Wondering Eagle

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