Brethren supporters flood Commons inquiry with submissions

Brethren supporters flood Commons inquiry with submissions

Brethren supporters flood Commons inquiry with submissions10

Governance | Tania Mason | 8 Jan 2013

Supporters of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church have submitted around 120 separate written submissions to the Public Administration Select Committee in a bid to influence its inquiry into charity law and regulation of the sector.

The submissions will all be published online over the next couple of weeks.

The Brethren have been denied charitable status by the Charity Commission.  The regulator felt that the exclusive nature of many of the Church’s activities did not meet the test of advancing religion for the public benefit, and so it turned down its application for charity registration.  The Brethren is to appeal this decision in the Charity Tribunal this year.

Dates have now been set for this hearing.  Five days have been allowed, from Friday 22 March to Thursday 28 March.

Church elders had already made a written submission to the PASC inquiry, setting out their case in support of their application for charitable status, and some Conservative members of the Committee have already made clear their support for the Church’s campaign.

But during December the Committee was inundated with submissions relating to the Brethren case, and a spokesman confirmed that virtually all are in support of the Church.

The deadline for evidence to the PASC inquiry has now passed and the next stage is for the Committee to publish its report, making recommendations to government.  The government will then respond but that could take months.

15 Jan 2013

It's good to see the Charity Commissioners giving much needed clarification on their website. Viz:

14 Jan 2013

Trustee, Tell me... Have you attended a 'Pack and Pie day’, or have you attended a church service yet? Don't tell me you can't because that is not true. If you have chosen not to, that's your decision but don't keep going on about these events because it's getting pretty wearing for all readers. If they're in Car parks, so what! I attended one and was met by happy faces, members happy to speak to me. Your arguments carry no weight; the only thing that is noticed is your volume of words which seem to get more and more to hold up your criticism and prejudice. Get to know these people and I guarantee your attitude will change. Start on the road Trustee... Happy ending.

John Handel
11 Jan 2013

I continue to follow with great interest this battle for the rights of Christianity.
It is increasingly obvious that the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church are fighting a battle for all believers, their efforts are outstanding and appreciated by all other Christians.
I am praying that in the face of obvious opposition and negative press, they find 2013 is the year that God will support them in a complete victory.

14 Jan 2013
Response to [john handel]

Mr Handel,

I am personally unaware of any bad press activities by me. Responding in a forum, yes.

Meanwhile the Open Brethren also do not share your view, but it seems are worried that the confusion around the new name of The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church may adversely affect them

11 Jan 2013
Response to [john handel]

I do not beleive this is on behalf of all believers. Nor do the Evangelical Allianace who represent the large evangelical wing of most church denominations/streams. Rather this is on behlaf of the Exclusive Brethren's financial interests. The Charity Commissioners have already said it's to do with the Exclusive Brethren's lack of public benefit, and their policy of separation who prevents genuine public access to their supposedly public facilities and worship meetings.

The general Christian church by contrast is only too keen to receive visitors and to offer the benefits of Christian living,service and community involvement.

Tell me Mr Handel, when did the 'pie and bible days' start. Before or after the Charity Commissioners refusal at Preston Down? Then how many of those 'pie and bible' days have happened inside the Exclusive Brethren's meeting halls, and how many were in tents in their car park?

I'm confident of the answers that would be they began after, and they were all in car parks.

Is it true that if they were inside the 'worldlies' would defile 'this holy space' according to this bizarre and non-christian separation doctrine/policy?

John Handel
13 Jan 2013
Response to [Trustee]

The answers to the questions you ask could be obtained by yourself as easily as by me.
How come your bad press activities have just started recently?
You are certainly proving my comments posted on this article.
Your reply to Andrew Ross below states points which I cannot agree with, knowing many of these persons and anybody can listen to the Parliament TV recordings which show members of the Brethren who certainly sounded the opposite to a monotone.
I am very thankful for the support shown for this church.

Andrew Ross
9 Jan 2013

It is good news that there is a groundswell of support for this group and I wish them well in their appeal against this erroneous decision.

From the contact I have with a good smattering of them as clients, I can vouch for their charitable way of life, although largely behind the scenes and not publicised much. They are serial do-gooders and I don't know where they get their energy from! God-given I suspect...

10 Jan 2013
Response to [Andrew Ross]

Fascinating that meeting the Exclusive Brethren as clients means you can vouch for their charitable way of life. How? Telepathy?

The ones I've met are almost all universally morose and talk in a monotone. How can I tell if that makes them charitable?

In the meantime I look forward to seeing the published documents from the EB/EB Supporters/EB PR Company.

Andrew Ross
11 Jan 2013
Response to [Trustee]

Without wanting to appear unprofessional, I happen to know that they give generously to other worthy charities (not their own connected ones I might add, before this accusation is heard), practically assist and support their staff and their families way beyond their call of duty (from within and outside their community, before we hear this complaint), and get involved in down to earth charity in their local communities. I'm certainly not telepathic, but if you have to do with these people you can't miss it.
As for being morose and talking in a monotone, we're not talking about the same people here; they are lively and humorous and a tonic to work with. Perhaps it's something to do with your approach to them when you met - in fact it's getting me down replying to you, all this negativity!
Happy new year!

14 Jan 2013
Response to [Andrew Ross]

I'm glad you've had such a positive experience. I wish this was more universal.


[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear


  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Wellcome Trust's investment portfolio reaches £18bn

19 Dec 2014

The Wellcome Trust has posted a 15.4 per cent return on its investment portfolio, earning £2.5bn for...

HMRC tax statistics suggest large rise in charitable giving

19 Dec 2014

Tax relief on giving is expected to rise by 11 per cent in the year to March 2015, suggesting a large...

Andrew O’Brien moves from NCVO to head CFG’s policy team

19 Dec 2014

Andrew O’Brien is to join the Charity Finance Group as head of policy and public affairs.

Camelot CEO says deregulation of society lotteries may not increase good cause money

18 Dec 2014

The chief executive of Camelot has said that reducing the regulation around society lotteries may not...

Ukip supporters trust charities less than other voters do, NPC study finds

18 Dec 2014

A survey by Ipsos Mori for NPC about how charities are perceived by people who vote for various political...

Tobin Aldrich leaves Sightsavers to set up consultancy

17 Dec 2014

Former director of global fundraising for Sightsavers, Tobin Aldrich, has announced that he has left the...

CRUK crowdfunding effort flops

15 Dec 2014

Cancer Research UK’s three new crowdfunding campaigns did not manage to raise even 10 per cent of the...

Volunteering platform Do-it relaunches

12 Dec 2014

Online volunteering platform Do-it has been relaunched today by its new owner, the Do-it Trust, with more...

‘The challenge is getting people to use IT systems’

28 Nov 2014

Whatever type of customer-relationship management system charities use, the biggest challenge is convincing...

Join the discussion


Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<