Simony Confirmed? Midway Treasurer Exposes Session’s Access to Giving Records

Somewhere Simon the Magician is blushing.

A letter written by a man who has faithfully served as Midway’s treasurer for nearly six decades has been obtained by The Midway Guardian – and it exposes what is referred to as ”a disturbing trend of control of the church’s people and processes.” Others have observed that Midway’s leadership appears to be engaging in Simony – that is selling access to the sacraments for money – through their new membership standards that appear to require giving as a precondition to maintaining one’s membership. These standards were never voted on by the Session and blatantly violate the church’s constitution. These observations are confirmed by the letter below, which refers to a document written by Midway Clerk TE Marc Harrington. Readers may recall that TE Harrington was called out by the Standing Judicial Commission of the PCA for improperly adding witness testimony after a trial into the record of the case in the RE Dudt appeal. Apparently not satisfied that violation alone – he has now adopted the tactics of the corrupt medieval Catholic Church.

If you are a member of Midway Presbyterian Church, there appears to be a very high chance that the pastoral staff and Session are looking at your giving records… are you ok with that?

A New Membership Requirement at Midway?

Dear Church Family,

I have been Midway’s Treasurer for 58 years.  You read that correctly – 58 years.  It has been a guiding principle for all of that time that members’ giving records are between the member and the Lord.  While my role has been as bookkeeper to accurately account for and prepare members’ donation records for tax purposes, at no time in my tenure have the Midway staff or session been able to access the amounts or frequency of member giving.

Therefore, I was bewildered to see the “Clerk’s Statement on Removing Members” (attached) contains a new and, to me, offensive requirement of regular attendance or giving.  At no time in my long tenure has this ever been, nor do I believe it ever should be, information available to anyone other than the member, the Treasurer, and the Lord.  However, with the advent of the church’s new software system, Realm, administrative access, even down to each member’s giving details, is now at the fingertips of the church officers, despite my protests to the contrary.

The problem I see is that new and increasingly invasive requirements like this erode trust between members and the church’s leaders and demonstrate a trend toward unhealthy control of the membership by inching the church toward more and more centralized control and power by the church officers – something which lends itself to the abuse and manipulation of members. 

We are in uncharted and unhealthy territory in the life of our church.  Pray with me that this disturbing trend of control of the church’s people and processes will soon be reversed and trust may be restored between all the church’s members and its leaders.

Fred Warren