Cult sued by former chaplain

The Times Higher Educational Supplement (London)/September 10, 1993
By Claire Sanders

A religious sect noted for targetting students is to be sued for defamation of character and financial impropriety by about thirty former members plus a former chaplin at the University of London.

The London Church of Christ, which has been banned from using premises at Manchester, Birmingham, Aston and Bristol universities, as well as several at several London colleges and universities, has also been accused of a drive to enlist more white, rather than black, members.

The Reverend Graham Baldwin, who has worked to expose the sect, said: "The LCC says that I am a liar and a kidnapper who 'deprogrammes' people not to believe in the church. I am concerned to counter these accusations as it is important that people listen to what I have to say with an open mind."

The church stands accused of using members' donations for its own organisation, rather than donating them to the poor. In particular, the 1989 accounts show that only œ1,000 from the $105,000 "poor collection" actually went to the poor.

Ayman Akshar, a former treasurer and member of the church who was kicked out in March, said: "The church is being investigated by the Charities Commission, Inland Revenue, and the Home Office." He also claims that the church has had a policy in recent years to recruit wealthy white, rather than Afro-Caribbean, members. "They want people with healthy bank accounts" he says.

Reverend Baldwin was active at King's College when the London Church of Christ actively recruited there. He now counsels former members of the church, particularly those who were expelled in March. "They got rid of the dead wood as they saw them. Two of my clients have become paranoid and one had to be sectioned earlier this year," he said.

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