Former navy engineer replaces late Hopeful Christian as new leader at Gloriavale

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Former navy engineer replaces late Hopeful Christian as new leader at Gloriavale

Post by LadyKiwi » Fri Nov 02, 2018 6:43 am

Former navy engineer replaces late Hopeful Christian as new leader at Gloriavale
18:24, Nov 02 2018

Former US Navy engineer Howard Temple has been confirmed as the new head of Gloriavale religious community.

A former member, who still has family in the community, said Temple was appointed the new "overseeing shepherd" after the death of controversial Gloriavale founder Hopeful Christian in May. Temple, whom Christian had appointed his successor, had recently spent several weeks visiting a Gloriavale off-shoot in India, he said.

Gloriavale has a long relationship with India, supporting an evangelical organisation and setting up a community in Tirunelveli, in southern India.

Temple, formerly called Howard Smitherman, is an American mechanical engineer, who served in the US Navy. He visited New Zealand during his service, prompting a move here and a marriage to a New Zealander.

He and wife Joy joined the Gloriavale church when it was based in Rangiora, with Joy becoming the head of its school system. His main role until his promotion was principal of Glorivale's "Community Garden of Children" – one of three early childhood centres within the community.

Temple heads a group of senior shepherds that includes Hopeful Christian's son Mark Christian, Samuel Valor and Enoch Upright. Fervent Steadfast is the secretary and treasurer.

Hopeful Christian, formerly Neville Cooper, founded the religious community in 1969. The group later moved to the West Coast in the early 1990s and has about 600 members.

Cooper was found guilty of three charges of indecently assaulting Yvette Olsen at the Springbank Christian Community in Cust, North Canterbury, where the community was based at the time. He was sentenced to five years' jail, but spent just under two years behind bars.

Temple is travelling and could not be contacted. j

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