Recommendations have been issued following an investigation report over complaints made against Thanet’s Global Generation Church former leaders Mike and Stella Andrea.
A total of 36 individuals contacted the independent investigator raising concerns about some of their experiences of Glo Gen.
The independent investigation was carried out by employment law and HR specialists Loch Associates and completed in February, although it was not made public.
A second report has now been issued outlining steps that Global Generation needs to take.
These include reviews of policies to make sure there is a clear process for making complaints, reviewing cultural practices and boundaries; reviewing financial procedures; reviewing and providing training on data protection; regular mandatory training for all staff for discrimination issues; ensuring up to date work contracts and proper support for staff’ regular safeguarding training in relation to both children and vulnerable adults’ training to look out for staff who may be struggling with physical or mental health issues and also ensuring proper health and safety training.
Employment and finances
The report says the lines between church, family and work became blurred from the outset due to Glo’s creation originally being by families who lived and worked very closely together. This resulted in resentment amongst later employees and volunteers who were expected to work until ‘the job was done.’
Glo Trustees and elders say: “we recognise that there needs to be protections in place to avoid volunteering commitments that negatively affecting an individuals’ wellbeing. This can’t be a one size fits all approach as every person is different.”
A recommendation for proper contracts, staff appraisals and support is also included, with the report noting: “Several individuals raised historic concerns about not having a contract or other clarity about what their contractual obligations and rights were, including around requesting leave.
“Many also highlighted working excessive hours during their employment within the church and potentially in breach of the Working Time Regulations 1998. Lines also appeared to have been blurred between working hours and volunteering which may have had implications for the application of the National Minimum Wage.”
Financial concerns were also raised with the report noting “clear examples given of irresponsible labelling and communication around how funding streams were managed and how church money was being spent,” and outlining one instance “where an individual had been asked to take out a financial agreement on behalf of the church in their own name.”
A clear process for raising grievances and whistleblowing is also recommended. The Trustees responded by saying: “We also regret that a number of concerns had not been raised to those in leadership over the years either because people didn’t know how to do so or they weren’t confident that they would be dealt with appropriately. We fully accept that there is more for us to do to ensure that everyone involved in the church has a clear route to raise any concerns that they might have.”
Training and discrimination
Training around data protection is also recommended with the report noting: “There appear to have been poor choices made previously around sharing church members’ sensitive information inappropriately.”
Mandatory training around discrimination is also included. The report says: “There was evidence that individuals had experienced or observed discriminatory language and behaviour in relation to race, gender, sexual orientation and disability.
“Whilst some of the examples given occurred some years ago, there were also much more recent examples given including in 2021. Discrimination is a challenging and nuanced topic, and it is encouraging to hear that Glo has already reached out to 3rd party experts for training and development, to understand what needs to change culturally around race.
“Sexual orientation is clearly an ongoing debate within the Christian church and no doubt will continue to be so for some time to come. However, there were examples of the treatment of gay members of the congregation which I understand would not have been in keeping with the values of the current leadership of the church, which were not inclusive, and which could be regarded as discriminatory. There were also some worrying examples of inappropriate conversations and decision making around job applicants that could amount to sex discrimination and/or harassment.”
The Trustees and Elders say: “We intend to undertake a full review of our existing policies on bullying and harassment and equality and diversity. With regards to the question of sexual orientation, we recognise that this is an area of ongoing discussion across the contemporary Christian Church.
“We will continue to prayerfully seek wisdom on the practical application of the teachings of scripture. This is a process which will take time and in which we will seek external theological input including from the wider 24-7 church community.”
There is a recommendation that Glo Gen elders and leaders undertake regular safeguarding training in relation to both children and vulnerable adults. The church says all staff and volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults are DBS checked and also required to undertake safeguarding training.
Report author Laura Foster concludes: “I fully understand that as a charity Glo’s resources and capacity to implement these measures are limited, and so it may take time for some of these changes can be fully implemented, but hopefully this report will provide a broad framework from which improvements, where needed, can be made.
“Lastly, in making the above observations and comments, I would like to acknowledge the openness of Glo’s Trustees, elders, and leaders in recognising the need for improvements, their readiness to engage with the process and desire to drive positive cultural change.”
The report follows allegations of misconduct, coercion and abuse of power that were made public at the end of last year 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.
Her allegations consisted of claims of coercion, unethical employment practices, gaining control with ‘love bombing’ through gifts and trips, verbal aggression, inappropriate comments and an alleged ‘exorcism’ incident.
The church also received allegations from other former members.
The claims related to church team leader Mike Andrea and wife Stella. Global Generation Church and organisation 24-7 Prayer, where Mr Andrea was CEO, suspended the couple while the investigation took place.
The couple have since stepped down from their roles within the church with Mike resigning on February 22 and Stella leaving on March 16.
Recommendations,that’s that sorted then. Moving on
lessons have been learnt ! – bla bla bla
Lol. Maybe like TDC. He will get coaching….
These entitled people in high positions and organisations that are involved in horrific behaviour need holding to account not endless chances to “improve”……
I’m sick of seeing, what amounts to a blind eye being turned. Have we learnt nothing from Saville?
Have I missed something? What’s Saville got to do with it?
It’s a cult. It was always a cult. It was run by predators, preying (and praying) on the weak and vulnerable. It took the business model of ‘good old Roman Catholicism’ and ran with it… The place has always given those with the power of critical thinking the creeps. And yet, it is still heavily supported and funded by the statutory sector. TDC have pumped VAST sums of taxpayers money into that place, along with money from the NHS and others. They were all warned. Whistles were blown long before this revolting situation was disclosed. It staggers me that many community organisations continue to use it as a venue, too!
The whole place needs to be disbanded, liquidated and all capital distributed to support the survivors of abuse. As for Mike and his Mrs… Good job there isn’t a heaven or hell, because predators and enablers like them would surely only be going down.
Agree wholeheartedly, Margate Jim. Tried it on me & another older woman but we were too savvy to fall for it so were dropped. Always a cult, never a church.
From childhood, and for many decades, I have experienced many forms of religion, and eventually came to the conclusion they are all “Coercive & Controlling”.
My response to Global Generation Church – you had the chance to do better here, you could have been humble and focused on the areas where you are obviously lacking. However, you chose to be self indulgent and focus on the areas you perceive yourself to be good at!
Your response minimised the victims experiences and was full of excuses and justifications which were very much like Mike As agenda. I truly hope that as a church leadership you can get to a place where you do better for your community.