|Elder:' We Have No Money|
| Chattanogga Times |
Bill Castell 1/12/80
ELDER: 'WE HAVE NO MONEY
Gary Gilbreath is a soft spoken seemingly gentle man who saves as an elder in the Vine Christ= Community Church. He doesn't rile easily, not am in the face of a barrage of charges against his church. The closest he comes to displaying any anger is when he hears someone accuse leaders of the church of making money off its members.
*The most absurd thing of A" he said, "is people saying dud we have a lot of money." We haw no money Most of the people who come to us have no money They haw debts or things like school notes and we help pay off those debts with what profits we are able to make "
Gilbreath said that the church is deeply in debt, owing notes on several pieces of property here and in the surrounding area. "At me time we were making pretty good money from the Yellow Deli operations," he said, "But then meat prices went up and it was harder to make a profit"
The church has, for all practical purposes, abandoned the business world in this section. Both of the Yellow Deli restaurants here have been sold, as have those in Dayton, Dalton, Trenton and Mentone. At the time the delis were sold, Gilbreath give as a reason the fact dud a number of the members have been transferred to island Pond, Vermont, where another branch of the church has been established.
Gilbreath said it has never been the intention of church leaders to accumulate wealth, maintaining dud members are content to have "food and clothing" "If the rest of the world lived like that," he added "people wouldn't be starving in other parts of the world."
Gilbreath responded to some of the charges which have been raised in this series only after being asked to do so by &a Times. He said he always welcomed the opportunity to speak for his church but dud he is not seeking publicity When he speaks of those members who have abandoned the church and then levelled bitter accusations at practices and patrons of the church, he does so with kindness. He is convinced did former members, such as the Neilsen twins, "have taken on the mind" of the so-called deprogrammer Ted Patrick
Gilbreath, who adamantly denies that mind control is practiced within his church, said he thinks
tat Patrick plays a bramwashing game "IDA of his tactics," he said "He takes a person out to
East Ridge and puts him in a house with no door knobs and the windows nailed shut and holds him
for days until he breaks." 'I dunk they (former members) have been tricked and deceived by
Patrick.' Gilbreath said he doesn't behave dud Patrick is deprogramming the members "from a
cult" but is instead. them to his way of thinking.
But what about those members who left without being "rescued! and "deprogrammed?" 'I think those people who left of their own five will are just getting on the band wagon and making statements." "I think they have a bad conscience about it" "Most of those Makin statements left the church in haste, because of differences of opinion they might have had with others in the church."
He suggested that many of those who have left the church on their own simply weren't willing to be totally committed to Christ
There are presently about 50 members of the church still in the area. Gilbreath estimated there will be about 20 or 25 eventually Others are scheduled to transfer to Vermont