United Pentecostal Church suspends Nation without pay

St. Louis Post-Dispatch/January 18, 2003
By Patricia Rice

The Rev. Ronald Oree Nation, a top official of a worldwide religious denomination based in Hazelwood, has been suspended without pay from his post, a church spokesman said.

Nation, who was the United Pentecostal Church International's worldwide Sunday School director, was one of 11 men arrested and charged with misdemeanor sexual misconduct Oct. 31, at DuSable Park in St. Charles. The men were charged with engaging with sex acts with men. Neighbors had complained about the activity.

Nation administrated Sunday school programs for the denomination, which claims 2.6 million members, including 760,000 in this country.

Nation will not return to the denominations' staff, no matter how charges against him are adjudicated, the spokesman said. Nation will retire effective Feb. 1, said a church spokesman.

"We are deeply shocked and saddened by this event and extend our prayers to both Rev. Nation and his family," said the Rev. Kenneth F. Haney, the denomination's superintendent, its world leader in a statement from his Hazelwood office. He stressed that the charges against Nation "did not in any way involve children."

Nation, 69, has held administrative positions for two decades at the denomination's world headquarters, a three-story office building at 8855 Dunn Road in Hazelwood. He was one of about 175 people on its world staff here.

The United Pentecostal Church International is distinctive worldwide for its rejection of a triune God. Its members teach that homosexuality is sinful.

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