An investigation has been launched following a public statement made by a former member of Thanet’s Global Generation Church containing allegations of misconduct, coercion, grooming and abuse of power.
The statement has been made by a woman who was a member of the church between the ages of 12 and 24, She says she was suicidal by the time she quit. Explaining why there has been an 11 year gap between quitting and making her statement, the woman says: “For a long time, almost 11 years, I wanted to ‘cut and run’ from the experiences I had, and thought that it was possible to simply move on. Much therapy, and introspection, has made me realise that this position is no longer tenable for me and for my health. I need to speak.”
She also says a complaint was made at the time but was dealt with “poorly” with responses ranging from disbelief to being told to move on.
Her claims are of coercion, unethical employment practices, gaining control with ‘love bombing’ through gifts and trips, verbal aggression, inappropriate comments and an alleged ‘exorcism’ incident.
Her allegations relate to church team leader Mike Andrea and wife Stella.
The woman is calling for an external investigation with an impartial, qualified investigator; clear Terms of Reference; making a public call for survivors to come forward safely, and anonymously if they prefer; communicating with survivors and keeping them updated and sharing, publicly, a written report of the findings of the investigation, outcomes, and the action to be taken.
Actions are also requested to cover the Pipeline youth charity, Hang 10, Lark in the Park, The Healing Rooms, Listening Rooms, Love Thanet, Dignity, Glo Torbay and Glo Ashford.
Mike Andrea has been running community and church-related projects in Thanet for more than 25 years. He started the Pipeline Youth Initiative and is a founder of the church, now based at the Westwood Industrial Estate Margate, as well as being involved in numerous community programmes including Aspire services for the homeless, Pipeline, the annual Lark in the Park family fun and the Hang 10 mobile activity scheme for youngsters.In 2018 he was awarded the BEM (Medallist of the Order of the British Empire) for services to social empowerment in Thanet.
Allegations and investigation
This afternoon a statement has been issued by the Elders – Global Generation Church Thanet, saying: “As an Eldership we have been made aware over the last few weeks of allegations against Mike Andrea from several former church members.
“These have become the subject of an ongoing investigation by the elders and trustees of Global Generation Church. This process has been in consultation with our external advisor from 24-7 Prayer International. This will be reviewed by an independent professional organisation specialising in this level of complaint.
“We will commit to an independent and thorough process.
“Yesterday allegations of a historic nature were posted online, against Mike and Stella Andrea, leaders of Global Generation church in Thanet.
“The allegations have been made by a former member of the church and relate to events prior to 2011. We receive all allegations with deep concern, and we would urge anyone else who wishes to make any kind of complaint to come forward by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org Any communication will be handled discreetly and with confidentiality.
“The church leaders are committed to carrying out a robust and thorough process. The Elders and Board of Global Generation Church have suspended Mike and Stella Andrea immediately to allow this investigation to take place. We would appreciate your patience as this process continues.”
The allegations have also been reported to Kent Police and the county’s Local Authority Designated Officer (Kent LADO) who deals with any allegations against people who work with children.
A Kent Police spokesperson said: “Kent Police was contacted on the 16 November 2021 and a woman told of her concerns about how she was treated between 1997 and 2003 after joining a church in the Thanet area.
“Initial enquiries are under way to establish whether any criminal offences have been committed.”