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Daily Record

News Scottish News East Kilbride
By Mark McGivern
Unholy row as parents at primary school infiltrated by hard-line religious sect discover new chaplain has the same beliefs

5 Oct 2013 08:07
KIRKTONHOLME PRIMARY in East Kilbride has brought in another chaplain who does not believe in evolution across species to preach to children.

Kirktonholme Primary
Tony Nicoletti/Daily Record
A SCOTS school which allowed a sect to teach children that evolution is a myth has a new chaplain – whose church shares the same beliefs.

Kirktonholme Primary in East Kilbride was forced to boot out members of the Church of Christ after chaplain Alex Gear handed out books which reject the widely accepted science on evolution.

But it has now emerged their new chaplain, Lenny Prentice, is from a church with the same beliefs.

And Prentice admitted yesterday he does not believe in evolution across species, despite that being accepted scientific teaching.

He said: “I don’t believe that man originated from monkeys or sheep came from fish.”

Two head teachers were removed from their posts at Kirktonholme after an outcry from parents.

Now they have been further enraged to discover that Prentice has been taken on.

He is an elder at the same church – Westwoodhill Evangelical – as Dr Nagy Iskander, widely described as one of Europe’s top creationists.

One parent who contacted the Record said: “It beggars belief that we boot out one bunch of religious extremists and we get in someone else whose church believes the same stuff.”

Prentice sought to play down the row last night.

He said: “There is as much evidence for evolution as there is for creation. There is no conclusive proof one way or the other. People need to get off their high horses about this issue.”

East Kilbride’s head of education, Anne Rooney, said Westwoodhill had been represented on the school chaplaincy team for two years and their representative worked with those from other churches.

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Creationist row: Headteachers removed from school

Kiktonholme Primary School in East Kilbride, where two headteachers were removed after allowing US sect members access to their classes. Picture: Andy Buchanan

Kiktonholme Primary School in East Kilbride, where two headteachers were removed after allowing US sect members access to their classes. Picture: Andy Buchanan

  • by SHÂN ROSS  Published on the 13 September 2013 11:00

                  TWO head teachers at a Scottish primary school who allowed members of a US creationist Christian religious sect into classrooms have been removed from their posts, it emerged last night.

Headteacher Alexandra MacKenzie and her deputy Elizabeth Mockus – who job-share at Kirktonholme Primary School in East Kilbride – are to be “redeployed” to backroom duties while South Lanarkshire Council carries out an investigation,

Education chiefs want to determine why the Church of Christ sect had been allowed into the school to work as classroom assistants for the last eight years.

South Lanarkshire Council last night issued a statement confirming both 
senior teachers had been removed from their posts and temporary headteachers put in their place.

Both Mrs MacKenzie and Mrs Mockus continue to work for the council in an education role, but the council did not say where they were working or what they were doing.

Jim Gilhooly, the council’s director of education, said: “A full investigation into the management practices within the school has been instigated.

“In order to assist with this, the current headteachers have been moved from the school and redeployed to other duties within education resources, with immediate effect.  A temporary senior management team has been put in place.

“The council will continue to work with the parents to ensure that Kirktonholme Primary School now moves forward with educating and caring for the community’s children.”

The Alabama-based sect’s presence at the 400-pupil school came to light when pupils took home creationist books they had been given at assembly, as reported in Saturday’s Scotsman.

The creationist books given to pupils were How Do You Know God is Real? and Exposing the Myth of Evolution, 
denouncing the theory of evolution and warning about a world without God.

The sect does not believe in evolution and denounces homosexuality as sinful.

Alex Gear, from the Church of Christ, had been invited into the school by Mrs Mackenzie to take on the role as one of the school’s chaplains. He regularly spoke to pupils about beliefs as part of their religious education lessons.

After details about the sect came to light a number of parents complained to the council, while others threatened to take their children away from the school. Parents at the school were yesterday given a letter from Mr Gilhooly outlining why the teachers had been removed.

In it he said: “I have instructed that an investigation into aspects of the management practices within the school takes place. In order to assist with this process, I have decided to redeploy Mrs MacKenzie and Mrs Mockus to other duties elsewhere within education resources.”

He added that alternative arrangements would be made for the management of the school for the duration of the investigation and that Andrea Reid, who worked as a quality information officer, would take over for the “interim period.”

The director also told parents the East Kilbride school would no longer be used to hold a youth club which was run by Mr Gear on Monday evenings

A source close to the school said: “The majority of parents think Mrs Mackenzie and Mrs Mockus do great work, but have been naive about this business.

“The parents all knew there was an American or two in the school helping out, there was a constant stream of them, but most just thought they were teaching assistants undergoing training. The current ones are a young man and woman.

“They went on trips with the kids to things like cinemas and worked for a couple of days a week or just half days.”

Last night, Linda Fabiani, MSP for East Kilbride, revealed she had been contacted by parents whose children attend other schools in the area alarmed that their children may be exposed to a similar situation.

She added: “They (parents) should always be aware of who is dealing with their children on a regular basis, and of course what materials are being used in class and given as gifts.”

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: “I very much welcome an investigation. But I hope it doesn’t just focus on one school, but take in other schools so that pupils aren’t exposed to this sort of extremism.”

Mr Gear also worked as chaplain at Greenburn Primary School, a special-needs school, also in South Lanarkshire.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Officials have been contacted by concerned parents in the school and have indicated their support for the actions being taken by the director of education.”

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Church of Christ response to Daily Record and East Kilbride

Church of Christ members pray, respond after Scottish tabloid calls congregation an extremist cult
           

 
Erik Tryggestad | The Christian Chronicle
September 06, 2013

Christians in Scotland and the U.S. are praying as they respond to a newspaper story that refers to Churches of Christ as an “extremist religious sect.”

The article also says that parents of elementary school students in Scotland are worried that church members are “trying to brainwash their kids.”

The front page of the Daily Record (VIA

 

DAILYRECORD.CO.UK)  The headline “Parents’ outrage as extremist US religious cult hand out creationist books and preach to kids at Scottish school” appears on the website of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail, a tabloid newspaper based in Glasgow, Scotland. It was a front-page story in the paper’s print edition and details a controversy at a public school where church members distributed two religious books recently.

Underneath the headline is a blurry, ominous photo of Jared Blakeman — his face painted to resemble Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” The photo caption reads: “Face-painted Jared Blakeman is one of the ‘missionaries’ that has been in classrooms at the school.”

“That picture is totally unwarranted,” minister Alex Gear told The Christian Chronicle

Gear, a native of Scotland who preaches for the West Mains Church of Christ in East Kilbride, supervises Blakeman, an apprentice in Adventures in Missions, or AIM. The 40-year-old program is a ministry of Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Texas.

Recently, the church hosted an annual community day, which included games and crafts for children. Another AIM apprentice painted multiple eyes on Blakeman’s face — to resemble actor Johnny Depp’s character in the popular Disney film. Blakeman posted the out-of-focus photo on his Facebook page, which the Scottish newspaper lifted for its story.

Blakeman never entered the school wearing the face paint, Gear said. (Nor would the minister have allowed him to, he added.)

Gear said he has hosted students from the AIM program in East Kilbride for seven years — about the same amount of time that he, fellow church members and AIM workers have volunteered at Kirktonholme Primary School, where the controversy occurred. 

On the Facebook page of Adventures in Missions, Christians ask for prayers for the AIM team and fellow Christians in Scotland. (PHOTO VIA FACEBOOK.COM/ AIMSUNSET)

Sandra McKenzie, head teacher at Kirktonholme, invited the West Mains Church of Christ into the school eight years ago, the Daily Record reports. Gear said he served as a chaplain for the school, occasionally teaching Bible lessons and speaking at school assemblies. Members of the church and AIM students volunteered in classrooms, hosted a Monday evening youth club for students and built wooden garden huts for the school’s agriculture projects.

On Sept. 2, with the school’s approval, Gear and Blakeman distributed copies of two books to students — “Exposing the Myth of Evolution” and “How Do You Know God is Real?” — produced by Alabama-based Apologetics Press, a publishing ministry associated with Churches of Christ.

Some of the students’ parents complained about the books. One parent told the Daily Record that they contained “crazy, right-wing nonsense about how evolution never happened — real flat-earth stuff.”

McKenzie sent a letter to parents and explained that, “whilst I appreciate that not every family in our school are practising Christians, I was only too happy to accept this generous gift on your behalf,” the Daily Record reports. “I hope you will all accept it in the spirit with which it was offered.”

The newspaper also claims that parents at the school were “furious to learn that cash raised by children, which they thought was intended for school funds, had been given to the sect to build a church nearby.”

Gear told the Chronicle that the school occasionally raises money for local charities and had selected the church as the recipient. School children donated their spare change over the course of a few months, and the school presented the church with 220 pounds (about $343 U.S.). 

The school “sent a letter with all the children to let them know what was happening,” Gear said, and presented the money to the church at a ceremony attended by parents in June.

The recent controversy has forced Gear to resign from the chaplaincy at Kirktonholme and another school where he served, he said.

Truitt Adair, president of Sunset International Bible Institute, told the Chronicle that he had spoken with Gear to confirm that the AIM students were in no danger. He voiced support for the minister and said that he and the institute’s staff are praying for the congregation and the people of Scotland.

Bill McMurdo, a Scottish writer, speaker and consultant who blogs about football (soccer), was critical of the newspaper’s characterization of the church as an “extremist U.S. religious cult.”

“This is so typical of our media’s propensity to use smear and slogan to vilify people,” he wrote in a blog post. “The ‘cult’ in question is the Churches of Christ, a well-known denomination in Christianity and one considered fairly orthodox in the Protestant mainstream. The East Kilbride congregation sound a zealous lot and may have been a touch over-exuberant but this doesn’t make them a cult by any stretch.”

Since the article appeared, Gear said at least 20 church members and neighbors had stopped by his home to check on him and show support.

“I believe God’s got us here for a reason,” Gear said, “and that some good will come of this.”

 
 

– See more at: http://www.christianchronicle.org/article/scottish-tabloid-calls-church-of-christ-an-extremist-u-s-religious-cult#sthash.eeOelyfv.dpuf

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More on the Church of Christ and East Kilbride (via the Daily Record)

Revealed: Blogger from the slums of Mexico says Scotland is a dark and Godless country as she tries to influence pupils

7 Sep 2013  

EVELYN Galvan Gracianom describes teaching Spanish lessons at Kirktonholme Primary School where she works as an unpaid classroom assistant to help her spread the Church of Christ’s message to pupils.

 
 Evelyn believes god chose her to work for the church
Evelyn believes god chose her to work for the church

 

A BLOG written by a Church of Christ disciple lays bare the sect’s attitude to Scotland – and how they attempt to foist their extremist views on to children.

The blog is written by Evelyn Galvan Gracianom – who the sect have based in East Kilbride 5000 miles from her home in the poverty-blighted Mexican city of Leon.

Her entries give a terrifying insight into the gulf in thinking between the right-wing, gay-hating, evangelical church and people in Scotland.

And it is clear that she herself may have been indoctrinated by the sect after one of their missionaries befriended her family in Leon, a teeming urban sprawl of 1.5million people, 200 miles north of Mexico City.

Statistics compiled in 2010 by Mexico’s council for the evaluation of social development Policy say an estimated 600,000 people in the city live in poverty.

Evelyn's blog
Evelyn’s blog
So it’s not suprising that 22-year-old Evelyn has become so devoted to a sect which helped her travel the world.

So swayed is she by the sect that she is convinced that only 600 people in Scotland are proper Christians – out of our 5million strong population.

Worryingly, she nonchantly describes teaching Spanish lessons at Kirktonholme Primary School where she works as an unpaid classroom assistant to help her spread the sect’s message to pupils.

Talking of living in East Kilbride, Evelyn writes: “Even though they are very friendly and nice, they have a really closed minded way to think or at least about God.

“This country was funded as a Christian nation but today the reality is other, most of the people don’t have a firm belief and most of them are either atheist or agnostic.

Evelyn's views on Scotland
Evelyn’s views on Scotland

 

 “There are Catholics, Presbyterians, Mormons, Jehovah witnesses, Baptist, between others.

“But I know thanks to some friends’ research that out of 5.1million people only around 600 are actual Christians or at least Church of Christ members, which is tragic.

“Because a nation that claimed to be Christian a few centuries ago, today is a place full of darkness and emptiness that is in a big need of Jesus.”

She goes into great detail about her routine at the school. Evelyn writes: “Every Monday and Wednesday some of my teammates and I volunteer in Kirktonholme Primary School, we are in different classes.

“On Monday I am usually in the morning with primary four. After lunch I am in a therapy class where I take some kids from different classes so they can learn how to interact with other kids.

“On Wednesday I have a busier day. I start with the kids in primary seven then again I help in language class.”

It appears from the blog that she and a colleague, called Rafael, are left alone with pupils to teach them Spanish – and preach about their extremist religious beliefs.

She says: “I have a Spanish class for the primary four kids, and we have around 30 kids; that’s not all, actually there were about 60 kids wanting to join the class but we only could take 30.

“They all are very receptive and willing to listen and learn. Hopefully at least we can let the kids know who Jesus is, and maybe someday that seed that we have planted can be grown by God.”

Evelyn also talks about a church-led Monday night kids’ club which aims to get children into the sect’s beliefs through football and game-playing.

She says: “We get together in the community hall where we usually gather to worship on Sundays, to have a night where older teens and young adults can come to hang out.

“The purpose to this club is to get to know younger folk and be able to bring new members to the church.

“We just started but we got a couple people already coming, please pray for us and that God blesses this new ministry. We usually have a craft club on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm, along with free guitar classes that one of our church members gives.

“Basically we have some kids and we make some crafts with them, just like the youth club and seventy times 7 club, it’s to give kids a place to go – also it gives us the chance to influence them.”

Also online is her account of how she came to be in Scotland – which will many will find disturbing reading.

She says: “I grew up and studied most of my life in a Catholic school.

“But thanks to God, and for what he had planned for me and my family, we got to the Church of Christ in 2006.”

She reveals her family were recruited by one of the “missionaries” whose ranks she has now joined.

Evelyn writes: “This guy later came back to Leon as an AIMer (Adventures in Mission worker) to work with the church.

“My sister and I started taking Biblical classes in English with some of the AIMers, and after a few months I got more involved in the church and with the members in the congregation.

“After several months, I took the decision to give my life to Christ. And since then I have been a part of the Church of Christ.”

Evelyn was initially reluctant to commit to travelling on the church’s behalf – but she was talked into it and was sent to the city of Lubbock in Texas to be “trained”.

She says: “I started to work and spend time with the AIMers and missionaries that came to Leon, and they encouraged me to think about AIM.

“We talked about it, prayed, saw the possibilities and opportunities that I had, because I wasn’t sure about my decision.

“But as always, God intervened. Through the missionaries and their contacts, I got the support that is required for living in Lubbock during our training time.

“In that moment I saw that God is in control of all situations, so I decided to go to AIM.

“Now I am serving faithfully in East Kilbride, Scotland, with the Church of Christ here.”

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Creationism alive in Scottish state primary school – from “Leaving Fundamentalism”

Examining Christian Fundamentalism in the UK

  • Creationism alive in Scottish state primary school

Posted: September 7, 2013
3

Today I can reveal that children in a Scottish primary school have learned that humans once rode on carts pulled by triceratops.

DinoPicB

The estimable Paul Braterman, of the British Centre for Science Education, sent me these pictures which are apparently from a book handed out to pupils at the school.

The Scottish Daily Record reports:

HORRIFIED parents fear an extremist religious sect has been trying to brainwash their kids after it was allowed to infiltrate a Scots primary school.

A head teacher invited the US Church of Christ, which rubbishes evolution and counts homosexuality as a sin, to minister to pupils.

Many parents at 400-pupil Kirktonholme Primary in East Kilbride only realised their children were being exposed to the evangelical group’s agenda when kids brought home alarming books they had been handed at assembly.

The creationist books, defended by head teacher Sandra MacKenzie, denounce the theory of evolution and warn pupils that, without God, they risk being murdered in a harmful, disgusting world.

Parents have called for emergency talks with education chiefs, where they will demand the sect’s removal from the school.

Good old Scotland. Having seen the way ACE gets covered by the local press in the USA, I’m pretty sure American media would have given this story a different slant.

Still, I’m not sure if I would have reacted quite the same way as some parents have (admittedly, I’m not a parent):

One angry dad, Paul Sanderson, 33, told how his five-year-old son burst into tears when he took the books away.

He said: “I think it’s fair to call it brainwashing because when I took them from him he started crying.

“When I asked why he was crying, he said the man who gave them to him told him they were really, really important.”

What do you do in that situation? I’d be tempted to let the child keep the book, tell him it’s just what some Christians believe, and give the child a load of good quality science books for children as well. But how on earth is a primary school meant to weigh the evidence properly?

But the Record can reveal sinister undertones to their eight-year involvement at the school.

The Church of Christ have targeted Kirktonholme as a “mission” and have several members helping with classes and giving lessons in religion.

Church members like Blakeman – photographed as a scary Pirates of the Caribbean character – were allowed in to work as classroom assistants and help with homework and in other mainstream roles.

Parents were also furious to learn that cash raised by children which they thought was intended for school funds had been given to the sect to build a church nearby.

One of the church members, Evelyn Galvan Graciano, 22, from Mexico, describes Scotland as “a place full of darkness and emptiness that is in a big need of Jesus”.

And she has told pals she uses classes to get into the heads of Kirktonholme pupils. She said: “They all are very receptive and willing to listen and learn.

“Hopefully at least we can let the kids know who Jesus is. Maybe someday that seed we’ve planted can be grown by God.”

The Church of Christ, based in the US Deep South, believe the Bible predicts the future and is 100 per cent accurate. They have called Scotland “A Field Ripe for Harvest”.

Church leaders told their US flock in a video blog about their “work” at the school, and claimed that, out of a population of 5.1million, Scotland has only 700 practising Christians.

One of the informants for my PhD recently observed that you can spot a fundamentalist whenever they refuse to accept any label other than “Christian”. They tend to reject terms like “evangelical”, and denominational ties. They’re simply “Christians” – and anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe isn’t a Christian. Hence the number of 700 Christians in Scotland – all the Catholics, Methodists, and Presbyterians don’t count.

Read the rest of the article here. It’s worth it.

Paul also sent me these pictures from the book:

Cart pulled by dinosaurAnd check this out:

Added together, these three numbers equal about six thousand years. It may be that a few hundred years could be added within the geneaologies, but it is impossible for millions of years to fit in them... We can know for sure by consulting the biblical genealogies that the Earth is not millions or billions of years old, but only a few thousand years old.

Added together, these three numbers equal about six thousand years. It may be that a few hundred years could be added within the geneaologies, but it is impossible for millions of years to fit in them… We can know for sure by consulting the biblical genealogies that the Earth is not millions or billions of years old, but only a few thousand years old.

ARTICLE FROM THE DAILY RECORD:

Parents’ outrage as extremist US religious cult hand out creationist books and preach to kids at Scottish school 6 Sep 2013 07:30

THE US Church of Christ which rubbishes evolution was allowed to minister pupils at East Kilbride’s Kirktonholme Primary.

 

Face-painted Jared Blakeman is one of the 'missionaries' that has been in classrooms at the school
Face-painted Jared Blakeman is one of the ‘missionaries’ that has been in classrooms at the school
Daily Record

HORRIFIED parents fear an extremist religious sect has been trying to brainwash their kids after it was allowed to infiltrate a Scots primary school.

A head teacher invited the US Church of Christ, which rubbishes evolution and counts homosexuality as a sin, to minister to pupils.

The “missionaries” at the school include face-painted Jared Blakeman, pictured in a T-shirt with the slogan AIM – short for “Adventures in Mission”.

Many parents at 400-pupil Kirktonholme Primary in East Kilbride only realised their children were being exposed to the evangelical group’s agenda when kids brought home alarming books they had been handed at assembly.

The creationist books, defended by head teacher Sandra MacKenzie, denounce the theory of evolution and warn pupils that, without God, they risk being murdered in a harmful, disgusting world.

Parents have called for emergency talks with education chiefs, where they will demand the sect’s removal from the school.

Head teacher Sandra McKenzie
Head teacher Sandra McKenzie
East Kilbride News

One angry dad, Paul Sanderson, 33, told how his five-year-old son burst into tears when he took the books away.

He said: “I think it’s fair to call it brainwashing because when I took them from him he started crying.

“When I asked why he was crying, he said the man who gave them to him told him they were really, really important.”

The book row, which broke out this week, has brought the group’s presence at Kirktonholme into focus.

But the Record can reveal sinister undertones to their eight-year involvement at the school.

The Church of Christ have targeted Kirktonholme as a “mission” and have several members helping with classes and giving lessons in religion.

Church members like Blakeman – photographed as a scary Pirates of the Caribbean character – were allowed in to work as classroom assistants and help with homework and in other mainstream roles.

Parents were also furious to learn that cash raised by children which they thought was intended for school funds had been given to the sect to build a church nearby.

One of the church members, Evelyn Galvan Graciano, 22, from Mexico, describes Scotland as “a place full of darkness and emptiness that is in a big need of Jesus”.

And she has told pals she uses classes to get into the heads of Kirktonholme pupils. She said: “They all are very receptive and willing to listen and learn.

“Hopefully at least we can let the kids know who Jesus is. Maybe someday that seed we’ve planted can be grown by God.”

The Church of Christ, based in the US Deep South, believe the Bible predicts the future and is 100 per cent accurate. They have called Scotland “A Field Ripe for Harvest”.

Church leaders told their US flock in a video blog about their “work” at the school, and claimed that, out of a population of 5.1million, Scotland has only 700 practising Christians.

At an assembly at Kirktonholme on Monday, the sect handed each pupil two books, one called Exposing the Myth of Evolution and another titled How Do You Know God is Real?

Paul told the Record he could not believe their content.

He said: “They looked fair enough at a glance and one had a dinosaur on the front, but it didn’t take long to see they were spouting crazy, right-wing nonsense about how evolution never happened – real flat earth stuff.

“The second book talked in such threatening terms about other religions, and compared those who didn’t believe in God to those who carry out abortions.

“It was really creepy and alarming. I can’t believe these people could be allowed to infiltrate a school to this extent.”

Paul said he confronted MacKenzie about the books, but she stood her ground. He is refusing to let his children to be involved in any religious observance at the school until the issue is dealt with.

Other parents have made official complaints to South Lanarkshire Council about the books, and some have threatened to withdraw their children in protest.

One told us: “I could not believe a head teacher could sanction this crazy stuff. It’s sinister as hell. I don’t want any of these people anywhere near my children.”

In a letter to parents, MacKenzie defended the decision to distribute the books.

Blakeman at work
Blakeman at work

She admitted the Church of Christ was part of the school chaplaincy team. And she said of the books: “Whilst I appreciate that not every family in our school are practising Christians, I was only too happy to accept this generous gift on your behalf.

“I hope you will all accept it in the spirit with which it was offered.”

Both books were written by American Kyle Butt, whose other works include a book called Homosexuality – Sin, or Cultural Bad Habit?

His books are printed by Alabama-based Apologetics Press, who are closely affiliated to the Church of Christ.

MacKenzie invited the West Mains Church of Christ into Kirktonholme eight years ago. After initial contact by church minister Alex Gear, church leaders in Rogersville, Alabama, were told East Kilbride could provide fertile ground for the church’s doctrine.

Gear wrote to HQ last year to tell how the “outreach” was progressing. He said staff had “gone the extra mile” to make the group welcome – and told how pupils had raised money to build their church.

He wrote: “Many of you will know Kirktonholme Primary have been raising funds to help with our church building fund.

“Yesterday, just before the worship service finished, I was presented with a check for $350 from the children. They had been collecting change and saving it up for us.”

Gear also told in the letter how Kyle Butt had given him “absolutely fantastic material on creation and exposing the myth of evolution” to take back to Scotland

Gear confirmed to the Record: “Our mission team has been helping out in the school. Whatever the staff can use them for, they have done, on an outreach basis.

“We believe the teachings of the Bible, which tell us evolution is a myth. The Bible also states homosexuality is a sin.”

He denied trying to indoctrinate children, saying: “We have not been trying to make people change their minds about anything. We believe information in the books is accurate and not otherwise in the public domain.”

South Lanarkshire Council say they were only told on Monday about the religious leanings of volunteers at the school.

A spokesman said: “We have received complaints from a small number of parents at Kirktonholme Primary after books were given out at assembly.

“We have investigated, and the head teacher has been advised that the material should not have been distributed through the school.

“The books were gifted by West Mains Church of Christ, who spoke at an assembly and are part of the school chaplaincy team.

“The membership of the chaplaincy team is being considered, as is the role church groups play in school life.

“All our schools acknowledge the Christian tradition and encourage young people to engage with and explore a wide range of beliefs and religions.

“However, the theories explored in these books do not feature in mainstream teaching. It was not appropriate for them to be given to pupils in this way. Guidance on the distribution of commercial materials will be reviewed.”

THE Church of Christ, who preach that homosexuality is a sin and evolution never happened, should never have been allowed access to Scottish kids, says RECORD VIEW.

6 Sep 2013 08:42

Missionaries have been working as classroom assistants
WE cherish our children – and we want to raise them in a safe and forward-looking environment.

We give them moral guidance to help them forge their future based on a clear idea of right and wrong.

In their earliest, formative years, such lessons should provide the most basic of building blocks. They should not be handed tablets of stone that scare the living daylights out of them.

School – like home and holidays – should be a time where learning and fun go hand in hand. Sending primary-aged kids home with fire-and-brimstone-style tracts is entirely the opposite.

Telling them that, without God, they are disgusting and risk being murdered, is itself disgusting.

Parents have rightly been horrified, as we report today, to discover this extremist literature has been thrust into their sons’ and daughters’ tiny hands.

And if that’s what the school saw fit to send kids home with, they’re justified in demanding to know what else they’ve been exposed to in class.

Here’s what beggars belief – the ignorant and extreme views of the gay-hating, right-wing US-based Church of Christ sect can be unearthed by the most basic research.

If the school’s headteacher or her bosses in the education department at South Lanarkshire Council didn’t check out this sect before inviting them in, it represents the most basic of failures.

But if they’ve been preaching their twisted agenda to children with the blessing of those entrusted with their education, that is far more sinister.

People in the chain of command must have known this was going on. Question is, why didn’t they do anything about it?

There must be a full and transparent investigation into what has been allowed to go on at Kirktonholme Primary School.

But the first priority is that the whole sorry sect are thrown out of the classroom.

And they can take with them their vile agenda of hate and doom.

School bosses kick out extremist US religious cult as parents demand answers from head teacher after Daily Record’s revelations    7 Sep 2013 08:23     

PARENTS of pupils who attend Kirktonholme Primary were sent letters saying their children would no longer be exposed to the extremist teachings of West Mains Church of Christ.

 Blakeman with kids at outing to the theatre
Blakeman with kids at outing to the theatre
Daily Record

THE US sect exposed by the Daily Record for infiltrating a Scots school were kicked out by council bosses yesterday.

A letter was sent to parents of pupils at Kirktonholme Primary, saying their children would no longer be exposed to the extremist teachings of West Mains Church of Christ.

South Lanarkshire council chiefs also launched an investigation into the sect’s eight-year involvement in the East Kilbride school.

And they admitted that the group had infiltrated another school in the area whose pupils have learning difficulties.

The council took action after the Record revealed how “missionaries” from the sect were invited into Kirktonholme by head teacher Sandra MacKenzie.

Unbeknown to many parents, several of the extremists worked as classroom assistants. They also helped with homework and performed other mainstream roles.

And at assembly, pupils were handed two alarming books spelling out the sect’s controversial theories.

A council spokesman said the group would no longer be involved in any school in the area.

Referring to the books given to pupils, he added: “The theories explored in these books do not feature in mainstream teaching and it was not appropriate for them to be given to pupils in this way.

“We are carrying out an investigation into how this came about.”

The spokesman said the sect’s Jared Blakeman will no longer be a chaplain at Kirktonholme or at Greenburn, the other East Kilbride school involved.

The decision to hand out the books – one of which warns pupils they risk being murdered in a world without God – was staunchly defended by MacKenzie.

The head teacher was not at Kirktonholme yesterday to witness parents venting their fury about their kids being exposed to the sect.

Council chiefs are under mounting pressure to suspend her – but last night she remained in post.

MacKenzie, who shares the head teacher post with Elizabeth Mockus, was due to face a meeting with parents on Tuesday.

But she will no longer attend. Parents will only be able to discuss the issue with her if they make a one-to-one appointment.

One parent said: “It’s the head teacher that caused this mess, so it’s ridiculous that she is the one to sit there and take the sting out of any complaints.”

Yesterday, parents were sent a letter from the school saying: “You will be aware that earlier this week, pupils received two books which had been donated by West Mains Church of Christ.

“In discussions between the school and the church, it has been agreed that the chaplain will withdraw from the chaplaincy team and neither he nor the AIM (Adventures in Mission) workers will have any further input into Kirktonholme Primary.

“This brings to an end the association between the school and the church. The headteacher will discuss the matter with the parent council next week.”

The Church of Christ, who denounce the theory of evolution and believe homosexuality is a sin, are based in the US Deep South.

Mum Michelle Blackwood, 28, came to the school to demand answers about how the sect had been allowed to infiltrate Kirktonholme.

She and her husband Gary were disgusted by the books given to their son, who is in primary three.

She said: “My husband has posted the link to the Daily Record article all over Facebook to warn other parents of what has been happening. The books went straight in the bin. I was christened Catholic, my partner is Protestant but we wanted our child to make up their own mind.”

Karen Maxwell, 52, whose grandson goes to Kirktonholme, said: “It is shocking.

“Parents should give consent for any sort of preaching at all. It’s a nondenominational school.

“I will be going to that meeting on Tuesday and I will have questions.”

There was also shock from across the political spectrum.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie said: “It’s very disturbing that this extremist group has been peddling its absurd ideas in Scottish schools.”

Labour’s education spokeswoman Kezia Dugdale said: “The involvement of external organisations within the school environment must always be carefully considered.”

East Kilbride MSP Linda Fabiani said the books handed out by the sect were “entirely inappropriate”.

She added: “I was contacted by several local people who had very real concerns.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said the situation in East Kilbride is being monitored.
also from the Daily Record:

TEXAN Jared Blakeman was a well-known and trusted face at Kirktonholme and Greenburn schools.

This week, he supervised pupils from Kirktonholme on an outing to the King’s Theatre in Glasgow to see the musical Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat.

But many parents had no idea about his extremist religious agenda – and they were horrified when they found out what their children were being exposed to.

Blakeman, from Wichita Falls, was taken on by the 400-pupil school as a volunteer to help with non-educational support.

He is a key member of the church’s Adventures in Missions (AIMS) Team Scotland, who seek to indoctrinate kids and implant their version of Christianity on Scots.

Arrogantly, the Church of Christ targeted Kirktonholme as a “mission”.

The Record revealed yesterday how the church tell followers back in the States that Scotland is a spiritual wasteland, where only 700 of a population of 5.1 million are practising Christians.

The reality is that there are 700 Church of Christ parishioners in 20 branches UK-wide.

Blakeman lined up with Heidi Carter, from Castle Rock, Colorado, Heather Powers, from Virginia, and Rachel Pearson, from Sheridan, Arkansas, as outreach missionaries sent forth to East Kilbride by the church in the States.

And they were very successful in worming their way into the community.

The infiltration at Kirktonholme Primary is the most alarming example of progress by the church.

They even managed to get pupils at Kirktonholme to raise funds to build a church for the sect – although some parents thought the cash was being used for school funds.

The sect managed to gain a foothold at Greenburn Primary, a school for pupils with special needs. Parents with children at Greenburn were also alarmed at receiving the sect’s books.

The church’s minister Alex Gear has written glowing dispatches for the church’s HQ in Alabama to tell of huge success in connecting with Scottish youngsters.

Last year, Gear wrote “June was a busy month and also a very productive one.

“The Greenburn visit turned out to be a memorable visit and the children had a fantastic day.

“The head teacher at Greenburn cannot stop talking about the day.

“She continually reminds me of how special the day was for the children and the staff.

“My aim is to hand out the books to all the children at Kirktonholme Primary and Greenburn Primary.

“The 1000 books are on route as we speak and hopefully they will arrive sometime in July.

“This material I hope will open up a few doors for us and I pray that many people will be challenged to have a serious look at the truth about our creation.”

Incredibly, East Kilbride has been targeted by other rival Church of Christ movements.

A ministry set up by New Zealanders Richard and Mary Harp arrived in the town in 2010 for a five-year mission aimed at setting up a youth club to build relationships in the community and evangelise families through fundamental Bible study.

The mission brazenly set about indoctrinating kids first, in the hope of then reaching parents and the rest of the family.

The Harps’ website states: “After a child comes to the club, we will visit their parents and family, informing them that we are there to help their children and to help them as well.”

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