There’s a phrase about “Waiting for the shoe to drop”. This expression comes from the experiences of residents of apartment buildings in various large cities where the bedrooms were in a vertical stack one on top of the other. When someone dropped their shoe on the floor, that created an expectation that there was another shoe to come – hence the term “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
This expression is also used when it comes to bad news because if one thing goes bad it almost always follows that its friends will be coming along behind and it’s just a matter of time before they make themselves known. Once enough time passes without any more bad news you start to think you’re safe, all the bad news there is to know is out there and you can start working to put the whole mess behind you.
And then then you learn something new and the process starts all over again.
In this case the revelation is from the March 1, 2018 affidavit of Cameron Sherman outlining that Prince of Peace Church and Schools owed CEF nearly $11M and how that debt was resolved. From the affidavit one can see that the debt came from funds spent on building the church and school, unpaid interest, and “other church activities”. Since the affidavit broke out everything but “other church activities”, here’s some math to find out:
- $11.3M total indebtedness
- -$4.6M to build the church and school
- -$3.5M in unpaid interest
- = $3.1M to “fund other church activities”
Looking at the balance sheet that was attached to the affidavit and it was clear that Prince of Peace would never be able to pay what they owe. So why did CEF give them as much as they did?
Loaning money for building and improving churches and schools is one thing and completely within CEF’s mandate at the time.
But handing over this kind of money without security when they’re not paying in order to “fund other church activities”?
There comes a time when “it got away from me” and “we had good intentions” no longer works. An organization that has been lending money to churches and schools since the early 1900s does not allow itself to be used as a personal piggy bank like this.
And it’s not just the financial aspect that makes this so odious, it’s the way peoples trust and savings were being being squandered.
As “SM” posted on Sola Gratia in response to Synod declining to talk about CEF at the convention:
…and the breach of trust continues. The church at large trusts its leaders and Pastors to be honest and forthcoming about the situation and defers to them, even though these people have remained silent and allowed others in the ranks to warp the truth and simply follow the advise of lawyers i.e., referring to this event as a “funding shortfall”, a normal business and investment failure, erred on the side of the gospel and the likes.
You expect differently from a Church. This is a theological issue when you do not practice the basics of Christianity which is confession of sin and absolution and dealing properly with the consequences and making amends to those you’ve hurt. These have been the worst years of my life. The impact of this crisis has been absolutely devastating to our family.
I look forward to the governing authorities getting to the bottom of things and holding the people responsible for this to account.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. Romans 13:1-5
Update 2018-05-08: The way this article was written resulted in some confusion about how much was actually lost. You can read my clarification in “CEF: The Prince of Peace Church and School Settlement and Recovery“