Query about a church / cult in Connecticut

339 views
Skip to first unread message

Martin Farmilo

unread,
Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
to
About 2 years ago I escaped from a rather heavy 'bible-based cult' in the
UK. I know this particular church has a 'sister church' in Connecticut, and
thought I'd just ask if anyone knew of it in any way. It's in Jewett City
and Norwich, Connecticut and the last I knew was known as either Dayspring
or Kings Chapel - I think 2 separate churches in the 2 towns mentioned. Like
the UK church it's based around what they call a ministry team, with both
churches looking for instruction to a 'prophetess' who lives here in the UK.
Funnily enough most of this womans family seem to be very highly favoured,
whether they actually attend the church or not. I found it a great help to
read some of other peoples experiences with cults, partly because I saw
recognisable patterns in how they had been programmed.

If anyone has any knowledge of this particular cult, or would like to know
more, please reply.

Martin Farmilo


Anton Hein

unread,
Nov 17, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/17/99
to
On Wed, 17 Nov 1999 08:56:14 -0000, "Martin Farmilo" <mfar...@cyberdude.com>
wrote (<82uY3.162$Sn.2...@newsr2.u-net.net>):

>About 2 years ago I escaped from a rather heavy 'bible-based cult' in the
>UK. I know this particular church has a 'sister church' in Connecticut, and
>thought I'd just ask if anyone knew of it in any way. It's in Jewett City
>and Norwich, Connecticut and the last I knew was known as either Dayspring
>or Kings Chapel - I think 2 separate churches in the 2 towns mentioned. Like

The New London Day, a Connecticut paper, has an article about this church:

Dynamic Church Leader Seen As Both Shepherd and Demagogue
http://www.newlondonday.com/special/prophet/prophet12.htm

There are at least a few things about Sam J. Wibberley that both his
detractors and his followers will agree on.

Wibberley, owner of a tire business and pastor of The King's Chapel, is an
intelligent, persuasive and committed man, according to people who have known
him over the years.

That is where their agreement ends.

While current church members describe the 47-year-old man as a loving,
concerned and faithful shepherd, ex-members see him in a far different light.
Wibberley, some think, has a dark power and a steely will.
(...)

John Hibbert, an English preacher, was scouting out churches in the United
States. Hibbert had his own independent, Bible-based church, the Bethel
Church, in England. Jean Spademan was in his congregation, and she had come
along with him. By her own account, she had been a foul-mouthed sinner until
Hibbert persuaded her to give her life over to Jesus Christ.

Spademan -- Syro, as she is known -- had the gift of prophecy, Hibbert told
Wibberley. Her power could guide the Jewett City parish, much as it did his
in England. Wibberley was persuaded. A relationship was formed. It proved to
be a critical bond that would change Wibberley and many others.
(...)

Today Wibberley is graying and wears metal-rimmed glasses. At 6-feet,
4-inches, he's a towering presence.

Numerous people describe how he can reproach others with frightening zeal. It
takes only a word from Spademan, they say, to convince him that someone needs
to be made straight in the eyes of God.

Landry, who was with Wibberley from the beginnings at Dayspring, thinks he
changed dramatically after Spademan arrived by focusing on people's
shortcomings and failings. Landry says he was kicked out in the mid-1980s for
not being pure enough.
(...)

Goldie McPhaul, a long-time follower, calls Wibberley a "loving pastor" who
is being criticized for showing people how to improve themselves.

"If someone tells you something about yourself that you don't like, your
first reaction is to turn on the person that is telling you, isn't it?" said
McPhaul. "No one wants to hear things that are not very pleasant about
themselves.
(...)

Julie Upton, a former church member, spent 1994 and 1995 as a housekeeper in
the Wibberley home.
(...)

What Upton saw in the Wibberley home convinced her to leave the church.

"I saw the treatment of Sam's kids and vowed I would not let that happen to
my son, even if it meant risking the wrath of God and Syro," she said.
(...)

Ex-members are divided over what his deepest motivations are. At least a
dozen see him as a phony who manipulates for power. An equal number say he is
sincere, though misguided, in believing that his church has a special
connection to God and that his counseling can lead people to salvation.

A person who has known Wibberley all his life but requested anonymity says
that, through the church, he has created a lifestyle that suits his
personality and interests. He is a powerful leader. He has a large, nicely
renovated 1930s-era home in Jewett City. He has traveled extensively.

"Sam has a desire for power and luxury," said the person. "He is very
artistic and articulate and loves beauty and was once a very sensitive
person. He loves wonderful things and adventure, and he got
all that."
[...more...]

The article is not dated.

>the UK church it's based around what they call a ministry team, with both
>churches looking for instruction to a 'prophetess' who lives here in the UK.
>Funnily enough most of this womans family seem to be very highly favoured,
>whether they actually attend the church or not. I found it a great help to
>read some of other peoples experiences with cults, partly because I saw
>recognisable patterns in how they had been programmed.

Are these testimonies online?

Anton
--
Apologetics Index: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/
Apologetics and Countercult Information about Cults, Sects,
and Alternative Religious Movements - for Research and Ministry.

Martin Farmilo

unread,
Nov 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/18/99
to

"Anton Hein" <ahein....@xs4all.nl> wrote in message
news:dq8yOF9xuRrLhWCZ=vOyidHfOE=B...@news.xs4all.nl...

Wow ! Thanks a lot for this info - I read here things even I didn't know.
Much of it, of course, I did. I personally know people here in the UK whose
lives have been damaged by this place, and although having left are still
affected by the 'programming'.

The testimonies I spoke about (other cults of course) were in these
newsgroups & on various websites. One I did find interesting was
http://www.ifas.org/wa/index.html if you haven't already seen it.

Thanks very much.

Martin Farmilo


Anton Hein

unread,
Nov 18, 1999, 3:00:00 AM11/18/99
to
On Thu, 18 Nov 1999 09:04:19 -0000, "Martin Farmilo" <mfar...@cyberdude.com>
wrote (<BfPY3.230$Sn.3...@newsr2.u-net.net>):

>Wow ! Thanks a lot for this info - I read here things even I didn't know.
>Much of it, of course, I did. I personally know people here in the UK whose
>lives have been damaged by this place, and although having left are still
>affected by the 'programming'.

I'd like to hear more. Contact me privately, if you will.

You may also want to join Jan Groenveld's ex-cult support mailing list:

http://www.onelist.com/community/ex-cult-support

>The testimonies I spoke about (other cults of course) were in these
>newsgroups & on various websites. One I did find interesting was
>http://www.ifas.org/wa/index.html if you haven't already seen it.

I have been meaning to add that site. So many sites, so little time...

Family

unread,
May 20, 2018, 9:51:03 PM5/20/18
to
So Martin, I see it's been a long time since you wrote this, but I know a thing or 2 about this "church", and I do use that term very loosely. I have an immediate family member who happened to become deeply involved with them while working at Wibberley Tire in CT, back in the late 90's. He ended up marrying into it with a woman of their choosing...Sryo, their prophet or oracle,as I believe they call her, directs absolutely everything such as who your marry, where you live etc. She may have you up and move to England saying it's what God wants, and you do it....today, often without your wife and or family! Bye, bye, gone....God's will. As I got to know these folks, I couldn't believe my eyes, to me it is clearly a cult. Don't get me wrong, everyone I met was kind, friendly and giving, but just a bit off. It reminded me of the Stepford wives movie, just a bit creepy. Don't really want to say more as to cause any issues because in the end, the life of my family member was ultimately torn apart the church. He's better now, but suffice to say there definitely appears to be something nefarious going on, in some way shape or fashion. I say, run, don't walk, as fast as you can away from there.

mfar...@gmail.com

unread,
Sep 18, 2018, 6:29:41 PM9/18/18
to
Hello - I just saw your post from this year! You may have heard (or perhaps not) that the church here in the UK is now closed thank goodness. Unfortunately it seems a lot of people have been left seriously at a loss due to the collapse of a project of theirs that was intended to put on an arena show around the UK. A number of newspaper reports talk about the sudden collapse - Google 'heaven on earth musical' for the reports. Apparently some folks in the church invested quite heavily in this and have been left many thousands of pounds out of pocket. One of the chief ministers suddenly went missing from the church around this time then a few months later the whole thing shut down. Still intrigued what may have happened to huge sums they collected recently to build a new church in Mansfield (another project). But it's now in the hands of liquidators, so hopefully they will account for all the funds.

guarant...@gmail.com

unread,
Jan 15, 2019, 6:35:19 AM1/15/19
to
On Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 5:29:41 PM UTC-5, mfar...@gmail.com wrote:
> Hello - I just saw your post from this year! You may have heard (or perhaps not) that the church here in the UK is now closed thank goodness. Unfortunately it seems a lot of people have been left seriously at a loss due to the collapse of a project of theirs that was intended to put on an arena show around the UK. A number of newspaper reports talk about the sudden collapse - Google 'heaven on earth musical' for the reports. Apparently some folks in the church invested quite heavily in this and have been left many thousands of pounds out of pocket. One of the chief ministers suddenly went missing from the church around this time then a few months later the whole thing shut down. Still intrigued what may have happened to huge sums they collected recently to build a new church in Mansfield (another project). But it's now in the hands of liquidators, so hopefully they will account for all the funds.

Hi. just read your post I would like to talk. Glen I need to talk. lost son and wife there

joma...@gmail.com

unread,
Apr 1, 2019, 4:13:23 PM4/1/19
to
I grew up in Kings Chapel in Norwich CT.
I have severe ptsd from growing up in an environment with so much intense fear. Every small and large personal and family decision had to be run through the leaders and adults in this church. If you did anything or said anything out of line in their book as small as rolling your eyes or saying a critical joke you would be interrogated by powerful leaders and adults for hours. You were made to confess serious crimes and sins that you didn’t commit. There was no arguing anything with them or your life and everything you knew would be in danger. You could not argue your innocence ever.
The ministers said they cared about purity and holiness but were always making members confess to disgusting sexual thoughts and feelings and acts that the leaders themselves would concoct for the members to be forced to admit to.
Members were encouraged to live within walking distance of all other members and leaders.

We were taught that anyone who leaves the church or is critical of the church is evil and to never speak to them. They weren’t following Jesus and they were persecuting the church so that means the church was doing something right.

Members worked for the church and Leaders of the church and did not get paid appropriately. The records of finances were never revealed and giving money was required by members but they never got to see where the money would go.

I never saw a report or how money would be used but I saw my parents give money for over 18 years. Money they didn’t have. I also witnessed leaders showing up at my parents house or calling them at all times of the day and night to rebuke or interrogate or discipline them or myself for whatever reason they created.

You could not miss any meetings or services or youth group or you would be in trouble and you would be targeted and interrogated.

The leaders and adults instilled intense fear into each other within the community.
Members were taught to snitch on each other in order to keep each other right with God. Any small thing out of line would be rebuked, dealt with, disciplined however the leaders saw fit.
The leaders would stop at nothing to brainwash and manipulate the members.

We were told we were a light on the hill and the only true way to heaven.
We were told Syro heard directly from Jesus about our sins. She carried our sins and burdens in her body so she was sickly.

We were told that certain hobbies or interests were sin. We were told having a self esteem was sin. We were told going to a college that is not local was a sin.
Members were not free to come and go and be supported. We had to stay and be a servant in order for Jesus to be happy with us or for us to go to heaven.

The group did not believe in mental illness or going to a psychologist. They believed that if you need mental help of any sort that it is a spiritual matter and you are in sin.

I witnessed families and lives being torn apart. Marriages end.
Marriage partners swapped within the group. And Suicide.

I witnessed ex members be shunned.
I witnessed endless interrogation.

Members were sent to England to be further brainwashed and isolated and held there against their will. Our immediate or extended blood relatives were not considered true family. True family are people who followed Jesus aka were in the church.
From the time I was born to the time I escaped when I was 18 I lived in absolute fear.

sylva...@gmail.com

unread,
Apr 2, 2019, 5:05:08 PM4/2/19
to
King's Chapel has had several name changes over the years. It has moved to a new location this year, and Adam Bowles is the only pastor they are using as the "face" of the church.

There was a rumor that they found a new prophet in Brazil after Syro died. I don't know the truth of that though.

My family and I left in the 90's. There were several newspaper articles published here and in England about the churches, here is a link to an archive of the articles:

https://culteducation.com/group/1013-king-s-chapel-of-norwich.html

There is also a Wikipedia article, based on these articles:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethel_Church,_Mansfield_Woodhouse

There is also a new private Facebook group made for survivors.
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages