Controversy brews surrounding small Texas church

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Monday, October 21, 2013

The Church of Wells, based in the small town of Wells, Texas has been at the center of significant media activity in recent days. Wikinews spoke with a Tyler, Texas minister who had an encounter with Church of Wells members recently.

In the media, reports have surfaced surrounding Catherine Grove, a 26 year-old Arkansas woman who recently joined the Church of Wells. Grove's parents and other family say they've hardly communicated with her since July. Grove's parents have been in Wells since July, hoping to have a chance to speak with her directly.

A Latin Cross, a comon symbol of Christianity.
Image: Tinette.

Tyler, Texas is a city located about 70 miles north of Wells. The Tyler minister explained to Wikinews, he and several of his church members were distributing food and water to homeless citizens in downtown Tyler when they were accosted by members of the group. He described the individuals as appearing "[...] very robotic, kind of disengaged and had very big eyes." The Church of Wells' group's leader became "very agitated" and yelled at the minister and his parishioners. The minister said he recognized the Church of Wells members from recent news coverage. Elaborating on the encounter, he recalled, "At one time, I happened to call him 'brother'. He replied, "Don't call me brother. I don't think you and I serve the same Christ." He reported the Church of Wells leader also insulted one of the other church's volunteers, stating, "Look at you. You look just like the world."

The minister reported the Church of Wells members even followed his group on foot for about two city blocks, and began yelling and hurling insults at them when they arrived at the city's square plaza. When asked if he believes the Church of Wells to be a cult, the minister replied, "The way they were yelling and the leader seemingly believed that our church member absolutely had to share his testimony aloud with him, specifically him, that's why I can say with comfort that this group is a cult. A cult is controlling and exclusive. All the women dressed the same. He resorted to name calling. He called me a blasphemer, he called me a wolf in sheep's clothing. Often, when someone begins to feel as if they're losing traction on an argument, they'll often shift over into name calling." The minister continued, "As we were about to leave, [the Church of Wells group leader] said, 'Prophets of God are not to be mocked.' I said, 'Brother, there are no more prophets. It ended with Jesus. Yes, there are preachers and ministers, but the prophets have ended.' I believe the man thinks he is a prophet."


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.