I have taken sometime and also from my knowledge of the Hope History to provide a quick summary of Hope Perth . As there are many comments which has alot of emotions running. I Hope by providing only factual accounts and summarising the issues in a neutral way that we can be objective. I believe everyone has a point.
Hope Perth began very early on and was among the first few international churches started by Hope Bangkok, under Dr Joseph Kriengsak. He preached during one of the OCF camp and challenged many people to start a church. I believe one of the teachings was One Man One World.
The first leader was called S.C. But the leader left the movement but still resides in Perth . Leaders from Singapore were then assigned to comeover to help out in the interim. Then a leader from Canberra decided to heed the call and come over to Perth to help the church. He was indeed ordained as a Pastor and its a title he held and conferred by HGI. The church at that time was around 40 over people strong. The number was as high as 70 people at the time
Due to personal reasons he had to change his role but was still serving in the Church, and interim leaders were asked to help out, until a new coordinator came from Malaysia, she was challenged by the Pastor from KL to come over. She held the co-coordinator role until around 2002-03, where she decided to return back to KL, there are a number of reasons given for her decision to leave to KL not just about the people in Perth. The number I believe was around the 30-50 people region depending on the season.
As in most Oceania Churches, the numbers usually drop during the holiday period as most are student dominated and church number usually drop when Student return home for holiday.
During this time, a family from Bangkok was challenged to go to perth. This family was the pitavanik family. Ps Stephen was asked to come over and head the church. He came over on a student visa and as mentioned by YLC regarding remuneration, which i believe should be a factual account as his comments were never attacked by anyone.
Taken from YLC post :
The remuneration packages for Pastor Stephen and his predecessor were exactly that – a package, never 100% cash in hand. Accommodation costs like rent and the electricity, gas and water expenses were paid directly to the landlord or creditor without going through the pastor’s bank account. Original invoices and receipts were retained on file. The pastor would only receive the food, petrol and honorarium allowances by cheque. All church cheques were crossed “not negotiable” and had to be banked into an account. I left detailed written summaries on the church’s accounting files that show how the amounts on each cheque were calculated. Pertinent details were written on the relevant cheque butts. A clear paper trail existed for audit purposes.
The actual amounts paid to Pastor Stephen and his predecessor were not disclosed to the church generally or made publicly available. For the reasons set out above and in instalment 2, I think we should be comfortable with that position.
In my view it was sufficient that during my watch:
a) the system of checks and balances I have explained was in place and functioning;
b) the church’s authorised signatories who signed cheques with me knew the actual amounts being paid and had no objections; and
c) the actual amounts paid to the pastors every financial year were included at the end of that financial year on the revenue and expense statements made available to the church leadership team for them to examine.
Here are some actual numbers for the accountants:
In the 2003-2004 financial year, Hope Perth spent $38,044.49 against revenue of $46,888.98. Of the $38,044.49 spent, $13,780.52 went to supporting the pastors. Not earth shattering numbers. Of the $8,844.49 operating surplus, $7,351.05 (20%) went to HGI and $735.11 (2%) went to Hope Australia.
In theory this left a $758.33 surplus. In reality the position was more challenging as $1,907.95 of the revenue was comprised of interest earned on the money in the building fund. While the building fund and interest earned on its principal was preserved, we had in effect run a $1,149.62 deficit to fund regular activities.This was as far as I was prepared to let things go.
In the following 2004-2005 financial year (my last since my family left not too long thereafter) we had tithes and offerings revenue of $55,881.63 and spent a total of $54,347.83. There were also other sources of income. The operating surplus exceeded $1,533.80 and compensated for the deficit the previous year. In addition, interest was earned on the principal in building fund. The entire building fund of approximately $32,000-$35,000 was intact.
In 2004-2005, Pastor Stephen received a larger package than his predecessor. That was logical. He has a wife and 2 children to support and Pastor Hannah, Joseph and Benjung contributed significantly to the spiritual well being of the church. The increased revenue had allowed me to present a larger remuneration package. A package I would have been delighted to present to his predecessor.
It is in my belief that Financial numbers were presented and were available to anyone since the inception of the church. Though it might not be on a regular basis, I believe it is Hope standard practice to show at least the figure once a year even in Hope Bangkok.
Hope Perth during the whole period of its existence average around 40. Hope perth grew under Ps Stephen from around an average of 40 people to an average of around 100 from 2003- current.
Issues did arise, as per what was discussed and there are number of different opinion as to the reasons why this occurred.