RRT screams for worldly attention - look at us! Look how good we are!

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RRT screams for worldly attention - look at us! Look how good we are!

Post by abishag » Fri Aug 31, 2018 3:26 am

So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward.

RRT. Really? Anyone would think this lot were Christians. Taking a break from handing out sandwiches to starving firemen - we see the Brethren now tying massive 40 foot banners on semi trailers laden with hay for drought stricken farmers and screaming about their good doings. The message is that the world should look on them as being benevolent souls. That the world should view them as normal folk. Just wanting to do their bit for society.
You could argue that they are protecting their 'charity' and investment by sending feed to the starving cattle and sheep in Australia's drought zones - for without sausages and hamburgers -they cannot invite people into their car parks for a free hot dog and a bible. (The one they rarely adhere to and seem to have lost all interest in -particularly its core values.) But that would be silly.

As silly as going into their car parks when you cannot get into the actual church itself if you wanted to. Well not without a complete character suitability check from a couple of their home grown 'psychologists'. And then only the non-controversial 'meetings'. Imagine being let in on a Tuesday night - especially if there is some business afterwards. You have come for a bit of praise and a couple of decent hymns - only to witness some poor bugger being shown the door for eternity with his life now in tatters.

The RRT charity is a misnomer. For the Brethren - even having a charitable arm is almost insulting, given that thousands of people suffer in silence, having lost their families- their spouses - their children - their livelihoods- their assets and inheritance - and their relatives for life at the direction of this so called charitable 'church'.

If these people had committed some great unforgiveable sin -then their ejection might have some justification, but the majority of people cast into the 'outer darkness of the wilderness' by this group with the loss of everything, have not. It may have been a stray word of query or some obvious non -obsequiousness to the leaders. It doesn't take much to get thrown out of a Plymouth Brethren church - believe me. You can lose everything just for trying to better yourself - for going to a university - or failing to keep their unrelenting daily religious timetable.

As an example, there are hundreds of families in the world today who have been destroyed by this group for buying an early computer. Worse- for just saying that they would like one. (Made even more wicked by the fact that their leader had one in 1982 for his business). So they will happily destroy people's lives while they hand out hay to starving cattle while beating their collective chests and screaming - 'Look at us!" But they are the prophets of doom and destruction for thousands of people who were once a part of their religious system.

Too bad they didn't feel the same charity for the poor buggers who topped themselves - so deep was their despair at their treatment and their personal loss. The Brethren don't care about people like this. Their hopeless depression is no concern of theirs. They have been inhabited by the devil. Suicide is a sin in their eyes.

RRT is a ruse. A con. It is another way to try and legitimise themselves. Every single thing they do they scream about. Look how kind we are. Giving away sandwiches and hotdogs. And bibles. Their websites are packed with testimonials that you just know they have written themselves.

Real Church charities however just go about their business helping struggling souls on the wrong side of the tracks without a word really. It's just another day and what they do. The Anglican's 'Anglicare' helps everyone from single mothers to drug addicts to struggling families. They hand out grocery and pharmacy vouchers by the thousand costing the church millions annually.

The Catholics and Baptists also spend millions on charity every week. They even go to disaster scenes in far flung countries- something that the Brethren would never do. They only engage in charitable things that allow them minimal input and no real inconvenience. God forbid they should have to actually mix with the world's unfortunates. A Glad-wrapped sandwich proffered with a latex gloved hand is the closest these people will come to you. Or a truck load of hay. No contact - job done.

The PBCC buy a few truck loads of hay, make a few sandwiches and start printing up the BIG banners and flyers telling the world about how good they are. How legitimate they are.

Meanwhile - those who know them - know that charity is not something they really know anything about. Indeed - a few years back they were banned from giving to charities of any kind. But now that they have their own schools, they need Government grants and funding and for the world to give to them. The world that they say - they despise. So RRT is dishonest in its whole fabrication. They are not a charitable people. They never really have been.

And I am proof of that. As are thousands of us. We have missed out on seeing our families for 40 years or more. We don't understand the cruel severity of this group and we grieve for the loss of the normal family unit. This wonderful charitable organisation even prohibited people from attending the funerals of their loved ones. They didn't even tell people that a parent or a sibling had died.

But they think that a few truck loads of hay and a hotdog or a sandwich will make the politicians sit up and smile upon them as a wonderful charitable group. Trust me - they are anything but.

The Questioner
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Re: RRT screams for worldly attention - look at us! Look how good we are!

Post by The Questioner » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:02 pm

And the idea that you need a character check before entering one of their halls somehow seems to miss the whole point of the Christian gospel..

Posts: 2858
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 3:22 pm

Re: RRT screams for worldly attention - look at us! Look how good we are!

Post by fisherman » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:23 pm

I suggest the EB merely copied the ‘Church’ of Scientology who engage in the same ‘good works’publicity stunts..as to running the gauntlet for even getting into an EB ‘church’,where does Jesus words ‘Come unto me,all who are weak and weary,my yoke is easy and my burden is light’tally with what is ‘current amongst us ‘?(quick answer-it doesn’t,which begs the question-are the EB even a church or are they a private ‘members only’ business club run by the ‘Family’ masquerading as a ‘church’ more for tax purposes than saving souls ?)

Peter Flinn
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Re: RRT screams for worldly attention - look at us! Look how good we are!

Post by Peter Flinn » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:49 pm

I have been pondering over the ongoing and well-publicised activities of the Rapid Relief Team, especially their latest project involving the transport of hay to drought-affected areas in NSW.

Naturally, that mythical creature “the man in the street” will be impressed with the apparently generous efforts by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church in this field. With the passage of time, and the collective short-term memory of most media junkies in today’s world, few people will probably associate this “church” with the negative coverage given to the “Exclusive Brethren” in the past.

The “leopard’s spots” have been carefully hidden under the guise of not only a corporate re-branding exercise, but also a giddying range of charitable activities across the world – or rather, in defined areas of the world within the operating range of neatly uniformed RRT personnel. It is also vital that such activities are not too far from smiling politicians and TV cameras. We all know the reason why.

But we also know that the leopard cannot change his spots. Even if the so-called PBCC can impress and charm the public with their ostensible care and concern for communities under pressure from natural disasters and other problems, they will never be able to sweep a terrible history of arrogance and cruelty under the carpet. It will still be there – unless a miracle happens. By that, I mean a full acknowledgment and unreserved apology to all those individuals and families whose lives have been destroyed or severely damaged over many decades; complete and normal access to long-separated family members; and a frank admission that the appalling policy of separation as insisted on by all world leaders going back to JTJr was just plain wrong.

That would indeed be a miracle; but then miracles do happen sometimes. The disappearance of the Berlin Wall was one. The peaceful unification of the two Koreas would be another, however unlikely that may be.

When I saw the newspaper photograph of new Australian Energy Minister Angus Taylor talking to RRT officials Merrick Grimshaw and Ron Arkcoll, with a backdrop of a huge hay transport, I was struck by the irony of it all. Not only did I know the fathers and especially the grandfathers of these two gentlemen very well, but I also recalled one of the most dreadful and tragic family law cases in Australia’s history, involving the marriage of a Grimshaw and an Arkcoll. Now Family Court lawyers are by nature a pretty resilient breed – I guess they have to be – but I know that one of them involved in this case is still haunted by it, years later.

Back to charity. It is commonly observed that such activity undertaken by the PBCC is a comparatively recent phenomenon. That is certainly true in terms of what is clearly a world-wide policy, with “corporate coordination”.

But is it true that, over the years, individual Brethren members have never participated in charitable acts towards the world at large? No, it is not.

I would like to highlight one notable example, in Australia, dating from the 1930s. It relates to a member of the well-known McKay family (sorry Ian, in this case the pronunciation of “McKay” rhymes with “today”).

Firstly, some background. Hugh Victor McKay was one of Australia’s most famous industrialists. He is best known for his invention of the “Sunshine” combine harvester, which revolutionised cropping in this country, with many machines also exported overseas. In the 1920s, H.V. McKay’s company was the biggest employer of labour in Australia, and, because of him, the western suburb of Sunshine, in Melbourne, is the only place I know in the world which was named after a piece of machinery!

When H.V. set up his manufacturing complex at Sunshine in the early 1900s, the place was known simply as Braybrook Junction, where one railway line went to Bendigo and the other to Ballarat (both major centres of the gold-rush of the 1850s). It was a flat, barren, wind-swept landscape, full of rocks and Scotch thistles, but when H.V. decided to move his growing company there from Ballarat, it was totally transformed.

Hugh Victor was the fifth of twelve children of Nathaniel McKay and Mary Wilson, who arrived in Melbourne in 1852. The family were members of the Scottish Clan Mackay, but had lived in Ulster for generations. They were a deeply religious family, part of the Free Church of Scotland (formed in 1843 following a schism from the established Church of Scotland), and eventually settled on a farm in a district known as Drummartin, north of Bendigo.

However, there was one member of the family who did not remain a Presbyterian all his life – William, the eldest son of Nathaniel and Mary. Born in 1858, William became a bank manager. He also joined the Plymouth Brethren. This caused much concern and disruption within the family.

William married Lucy Cunningham and they had five sons and three daughters. This dynasty reads like a Who’s Who of Melbourne EB. I knew many of their descendants. Looking at the family tree, as part of the publication “The McKays of Drummartin and Sunshine – Their Personal Story” (Dorothy McNeill and the McKay Family, 1984), the names just hit me in the eye, one after the other.

The eldest son of William and Lucy was George, who married Eleanor Ramsden. Their children were Colin (married Elizabeth House), Bessie (married David Pritchard), Muriel (married Herbert Unwin), Neil (married Judy Stokes) and Nora.

The second son of William and Lucy was William Cunningham (known as “Willie”) (1883-1938). Willie married Jeanie Urquhart, and among their six children were Donald, Harold, Ross (married Myra Rogers), Alison, Jean (married Stan Chirnside) and Jim (married Beryl Dickinson).

Jessie, eldest daughter of William and Lucy, married William (Willie) Hills of Launceston, Tasmania. Their children were William (married Jean Cunningham), Lucy (married Frank Knight), Graham (married Margaret Rose) and Gavin (married Elizabeth Cruikshank).

Nellie, the next daughter of William and Lucy, married Eustace Kelsey (Melbourne leader in the pre-Gadsden era). Their children were Helen, Geoffrey (died young), Norwood (married Isobel Young) and Kathleen (married Jim Ohlmeyer).

Nelson, the youngest surviving son of William and Lucy, married Tilly Brauer, and had two children – John and Dorothy (married John Salisbury).

Note that Dorothy McNeill (main author of the McKay book) had some difficulties recording the family of William and Lucy. She writes:

“It should be noted, that as many of William senior’s children are Plymouth Brethren, their faith has kept them from associating with members who are not. It has thus been difficult to acquire extensive information on them.”

Dorothy tells the story of her mother Jessie (married to another George McKay, a younger brother of both William and Hugh Victor). Apparently William visited Dorothy’s parents just after their marriage in the early 1900s, and Jessie told him about the wonderful concert she and George had attended the previous night, when Dame Nellie Melba sang. William was horrified, and proceeded to lecture her in no uncertain terms about the sin of attending such devilish functions.

Dorothy also said she met George, the eldest son of William and Lucy, one day on Flinders Street station in Melbourne, just after she had become engaged. George, a very dour man like his father, instead of wishing her happiness, asked her whether she had chosen a suitable father for her children. Dorothy was somewhat taken aback!

I would now like to return to Willie McKay. His marriage to Jeanie Urquhart opens up more interesting connections (at least to me). Jeanie’s sister Christina married William C Ball, with whom I was “local” as a boy. I always deeply respected Mr Ball. Jeanie’s brother John married Ella Bertha Ray. Their children included Connie (married Allan Gadsden), Jack (married the daughter of Mr and Mrs Leroux) and Margaret (married Frank Penhall). Those relationships alone would lead to another story!

Dorothy McNeill paints rather a different picture of Willie McKay to his father and older brother. She writes that he was also a member of the Plymouth Brethren but “more of the world in many ways” and was always approachable. He was a very kindly man, and Dorothy’s parents saw a lot of him and his wife Jeanie and their family. Willie was a well-respected engineer and became Factory Superintendent at the Harvester Works. Dorothy writes that Jeanie (nee Urquhart) was a bright fun-loving woman and a good foil for Willie, who was of a very quiet, retiring disposition.

Willie McKay died in 1938 at the relatively young age of 55. I remember my parents speaking highly of him.

In fact, I have a particular personal interest in the McKay family. The Sunshine Harvester Works of H.V. McKay was the reason my grandfather James Flinn and his family emigrated to Australia from England in 1924. James, at the age of 60, was employed there as a skilled fitter, and my father Charles also commenced his apprenticeship there in the same trade. The family settled at Sunshine, and my parents also lived there for some years after they married.

I will now come back to the main point, regarding charity. When Willie McKay died, the local newspaper, the “Sunshine Advocate” published the following impressive obituary in the edition of 23rd September 1938, almost 80 years ago. It speaks for itself.

“Death of Esteemed Sunshine Resident.

Mr William C. McKay passes.

By the death of Mr William Cunningham McKay, which occurred at his residence, 150 Durham Road, on Saturday last, Sunshine has lost one of its most valued and esteemed citizens. He was a deeply religious man, being actively connected with a Christian organisation known as “The Brethren”, which meets regularly for devotion at the little hall in Sun Crescent, Sunshine. Possessed of a quiet and unobtrusive personality and kindliness beyond measure, he was an example and inspiration to anyone who came into contact with him. He was a perfect gentleman, and a gentle man in all his associations with his fellow man. His charitable acts were performed with a secrecy which typified the real character of the man. During the dark days of Depression particularly when many Sunshine people were sore pressed to obtain sufficient necessities of life, they were often the recipients of parcels of goods and firewood to help them on their way, but as the traders were bound to secrecy, the name of the benefactor was never divulged. In a considerable number of these instances it was the charitable heart of William C. McKay that was behind the kindly actions.

He was a sincere and loyal friend, a devoted husband and a loving father, and his passing will be mourned by a large circle of people. The funeral, which took place on Monday last to the Footscray Cemetery, was considered to be the largest that ever left Sunshine, over 100 motor cars following the cortege, and at the graveside there were nearly 1,000 mourners. The service was conducted by members of the church to which the late Mr McKay belonged.

The deceased, who was 55 years of age, was a nephew of the late Hugh Victor McKay, founder of the Sunshine Harvester Works. He was educated at the Ballarat School of Mines, qualifying as an engineer, and joined the firm when the industry was located at Ballarat. At the time of his death, the late Mr McKay was chief engineer of the works at Sunshine, and he leaves a widow and six children to mourn their loss.

Walter A. Warne, of Footscray, had charge of the funeral arrangements.”

I suggest that Willie McKay would have been horrified, had he known of the slick publicity machine that is now used to publicise the RRT juggernaut.

He clearly understood the message of Matthew 6. Willie’s many descendants, and the rest of the PBCC, need to deeply reflect on this passage, especially as their website states that:

“The Holy Bible is central to the Brethren way of life, beliefs, morality and code of conduct. We believe the Bible to be the true Word of God, providing guidance for every part of our lives.”


Just a final word about Sunshine.

I still remember the “room”, of dark red brick, in Sun Crescent, which would have been visited many times by my grandparents and later by my parents as well. It was demolished in the early 1960s, when a new room was built in Monash Street, Sunshine. That also no longer exists.

As I was perusing the history of H.V. McKay’s Sunshine Harvester Works (later to become Massey Ferguson, and now all gone), I was staggered to find a photograph of two men in white coats, working in the laboratory.


The white-haired man with glasses, on the right, is none other than Harry Grace, a prominent Brethren member in Melbourne, and a Sunshine man to his bootstraps. His occupation was listed as a metallurgist. I had always thought he was an analytical chemist (the same career as I had) but there are similarities. I had never seen this photo before.

The memories rushed back. I knew Mr Grace very well – the same R.H. Grace who composed hymns 159, 285 and 417 in the 1962 hymn book. He was an unforgettable figure, but in my estimation was a gentle, humble and genuine Christian. I always respected him, but really wonder how he managed to cope with those awful days from 1970 onwards. I note that he died in 1972, aged 73.

Forgive this rather rambling missive – I got somewhat carried away.

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