One View of the United Pentecostal Church
I have been so encouraged by the emails I have read regarding UPC. I was in the church since a child. I did not understand all the situations, but was so in "Love in Jesus" that I wanted to do anything I could to be right and go to heaven. I read "Duane's Journey" and have had similar almost identical experiences that he has had.
After 14 years of marriage I divorced my husband (he wanted the divorce) and I was not encouraged nor given support when I did not do exactly what they wanted. During this awful time my minister called one night and told me my daughter's dresses were getting too short. She was approx. 12 or 13 at the time.
I told him I could not afford new clothes for her. He said he would help, but no help came. His wife ridiculed and talked to me in such a fashion that I was depressed for days. When her name was mentioned to me for years a lump came to my stomach. One occurrence I called and asked to speak to the minister. His wife told me he was busy and I asked if he could call me back. She said "well, he is going to be pretty busy" (in other words, get lost).
That in itself made me disrespect her and her husband (the minister). Finally the minister asked (or told me) I just wanted a reason to leave the church. Finally after 10 years the minister's wife wrote me a letter (without a forwarding address) to ask my forgiveness. This made me feel somewhat better, but if she knew how hurt over her "talk" to me I am sure she would have done it much sooner.
I knew something was terribly wrong with my feelings at the UPC, but could not put my finger on just what it was. I did not agree with the lack of compassion and even heard ministers talking about a fallen minister and them hoping he would not come to their church. I thought this was the most horrible way a Christian could have responded to a person in need. I asked different ministers if I could go to their church after and during the divorce.
One minister told me: I could go there, but should not share my beliefs re: television, etc with the church. His wife had treated me also very coldly at a wake for a member of the church. I never could understand this and had known for a number of years that she did not like me I felt, but did not know that a person would treat me in such a manner. No one knocked on my door to encourage or strengthen me except my minister whom I had known for years and did not cross. However, when I crossed him I was accused of just "wanting to leave the church."
I was in such bondage. I now am free (thank God) and have learned to love the Lord and know he understands my every need and thought. I still cringe when I hear about something of the UPC faith.
My husband happened to be from a ministerial family. The family was not encouraging to me. My mother-in-law came by on a Sunday (she rarely visited us or her grandchildren during our marriage and did not visit me during my divorce). She went straight to the den where we kept our books. She immediately took the books she wanted from MY home.
She did not ask permission if she could have them, but just took them. They were previously her husbands. My brother-in-law who came with her asked what she was doing and she said if Bill wanted them back he could have them. I was just crushed that she did not even value my feelings at all.
My brother--in-law, who was also a UPC minister called me and absolutely insulted me over and over on the phone. He didn't say anything positive to me or my children. (He ended up getting a divorce and being put out of the UPC organization.) He came to me and said very emotionally if I would not say anything to others what his wife had told me about him. He had secrets in his life that are to be unmentioned in this article.
Instead of him encouraging me he just wanted to make sure I didn't tell anything his wife told me. I could again not believe the crass he had. Later it got back to me that I was the reason she had divorced him. This was totally untrue and I had no part whatsoever in their divorce. I feel there just needed to be someone to blame. I felt I was at their mercy. I was distraught over the separation and divorce and then dealing with all the other persons who were judging me so harshly nearly broke me. I felt I was totally alone.
I do not hate these people, but I feel "people from the world" whatever that means, were more compassionate and loving to me and helped me much more than UPC did. I could go on-and-on, but I just wanted you to know how very encouraged I feel regarding your articles.
What really changed me to another church was the following: A man came to my door and asked if he could see my husband and I told him my husband was no longer there. He then said "I knew he was no longer there, but I just wanted to reach out to you in some way and this was the only way I knew." He began praying and I never felt any more humbled or encouraged in my life by a stranger. I then began going to another church and felt such warmth and love I didn't know how to feel.
I think at one point some (UPC'ers) had the idea that I had another man on the side, which I did not. I had never been unfaithful to my husband in any way. That experience was one of the most horrid of my life. I now am so very thankful God had been in my life all along.
I was very active in the UPC church. I played the piano for camp conferences and for my home church for many, many years. The way they treated me made me wonder if they had God in their lives at all. I know they had also been taught the same as I had, but through all this I learned compassion, non-judgementality and how it is to be free in Christ. To do his bidding, etc. I am now much older and remarried and have had many, many very good years with my husband before he passed away.
I am now a widow and thank God for watching over me and my children all our lives. I think if I had stayed with my first husband I would have never been free in Christ, and have found out things about him since his leaving the home that I am very thankful for a divorce. God saw ahead all along and was protecting me even when I didn't know it.
I don't for one moment mean to be disgruntled, but have felt for years the peace of Christ and am so thankful to be free in Christ and not scared out of mind re: judgment, others who disagree with me, etc.
God Bless, Anonymous
I attend a UPC church, and it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. i used to attend a first assembly of God church, but was still empty. It wasn't until I met my husband(friend at the time) that I truly realized that God was real. The Lord has truly turned my life around and My church and Pastor are extremely supportive. Sometimes, however, I guess people can really let you down. But there is one thing that should always be remembered. A person should follow the Lord and not man. A human man is exactly that...human.
We all tend to fall. But our trust and faith in the Lord is what keeps us on the straight and narrow. Our Pastor always tells us that if he, for some reason, begins to turn or teach wrongly, for us to leave and find another church that will continue to teach the truth. I'm sorry you went through so much. But I do hope and pray that you trust in Jesus, and spread his light.
God Bless, LC
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