15 Nov 2010

Pastor of church that settled for $3.1 million in corporal punishment case asks for donations to cover "what the devil stole"

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH - December 16, 2009

Rod Parsley says ministry threatened by lack of funds


World Harvest Church said in a statement this afternoon that the church has no plans to close any ministries in 2010, including its schools, despite its Web site's assertion that ministries are "in jeopardy."

The Rev. Rod Parsley has issued a desperate plea for money, telling his flock that he is facing a "demonically inspired financial attack" that is threatening his ministry.

Parsley is asking for donations by Dec. 31, calling that date an "unavoidable deadline" during an episode of Breakthrough posted yesterday on www.rodparsley.com. Breakthrough is Parsley's television show.

A message titled "Crisis -- Urgent" on the Web site says ministries such as Breakthrough and World Harvest Bible College need help.

The headline of the appeal for donations reads: "Will you help me take back what the devil stole?"

When asked to comment yesterday, Parsley's World Harvest Church issued a statement saying the recession caused a decline in member giving in 2009, which has led to a fourth-quarter deficit of $3 million despite a 30 percent reduction in the budget.

This year, the church settled for $3.1 million with a family whose son was spanked at its day-care center in 2006, to the point his buttocks and legs were covered with welts and abrasions.

The boy, then 2, said he was spanked with a "knife" by a substitute teacher. His parents, Michael and Lacey Faieta, believe it was a ruler.

The Faietas said the payment was made this year. During yesterday's Breakthrough broadcast, Parsley referred to a $3 million check he had to write from the ministry.

"The Faieta decision imposed against us earlier this year has made our circumstances more serious," the statement said. No indication was given as to why the money must be raised by Dec. 31 or what specifically could happen if it's not.

The Faietas said Parsley refused to meet personally with them and that the church did not apologize or take accountability for the beating.

The Faietas said today that they had seen Parsley's Web appeal.

Mr. Faieta said he and his wife were "disgusted" and "saddened" by Parsley's words.

This afternoon, in a second statement, the church said, "We continue to pray for the Faietas and acknowledge that this experience has been difficult for them as well."

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