The Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) says it is counting its losses, including loss of members, after The Fourth Estate’s publications on six of its pastors who have resigned and sued the church for economic exploitation.
The six have said repeated exploitation and emotional abuse forced them to resign from the church.
“In the immediate aftermath of the publications there was a complete uproar in the plaintiff’s [Lighthouse] branches throughout Ghana with many of the members completely horrified and threatening to leave the church, which some actually did,” the church said in a defamation suit against some members of The Fourth Estate team.
The suit named the Editor-in-Chief of The Fourth Estate, Manasseh Azure Awuni; the reporter who worked on the story, Edwin Appiah; the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa, Sulemana Braimah and the Media Foundation for West Africa(MFWA), as defendants.
The Fourth Estate is a non-profit journalism project of the MFWA.
Eight months after the publication, the church said it was unable to “quantify and or particularize the loss it has suffered or sustained” after the series of stories on the issue.
The LCI said it would amend the suit when it is done taking stock of damages and the losses “become available.”
Six former ministers of the church sued the church in April this year for non-payment of their pension contributions, economic exploitation and emotional abuse.
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They say they were drawn into the ministry by their spiritual father, founder and Presiding Bishop of LCI, Dag Heward-Mills. Most of them, who served as student-leaders in the gospel, said they were not given employment letters. There was no formal employer-employee relationship when they transitioned into full-time service of the Lord after graduation. This, they said, the church took advantage of and mistreated them.
The six have resigned and sued LCI, which used to be the epicentre of their spiritual and social lives. They are praying the court to compel the church to pay their SSNIT contributions and damages for the rights, which the church violated.
They believe there are more silent victims among the 111 bishops and over 2,300 pastors of Lighthouse, who are currently shepherding more than 6,070 churches in 92 countries across the world.
Apart from enforcing their rights, the six former pastors say the reason they are speaking up is to ensure that those still serving in the church do not suffer what they have been through.
The church, in response, counter-sued its former pastors and now The Fourth Estate for the fallout.
In its statement of claim, the LCI said the relationship between the church and its founder, Bishop Dag Heward-Mills, was inseparable.
Bishop Heward-Mills, the medical doctor who dropped the stethoscope for the cross in 1991, preaches unalloyed loyalty– one the resigned pastors no longer want to be part of.
“It is the plaintiff’s contention that the relationship of the plaintiff [LCI] and its founder is a closely fused and inseparable that an attack on the plaintiff’s leader is as good as an attack, both directly and indirectly, against the plaintiff.”
The church claimed that The Fourth Estate’s publication meant that, The Lighthouse was engaged in a “long term deceptive agenda of inducing its employees and volunteers into untoward reliance on the plaintiff and so succumbing to subservient dependence on the plaintiff.”
The LCI claimed the publications sought to suggest that the church was “not only intolerant but extremely callous, insensitive, inconsiderate and cold-hearted in its treatment of and abandonment of its volunteers and employees with exacting demands calculated to house them out of their posts.”
That is not all.
LCI contended that the publication dented its image and it had “suffered considerable damage distress and embarrassment, and has also suffered special and aggravated damage.”
The church wants the court to restrain The Fourth Estate from publishing “similar words defamatory of the plaintiff.”
It also wants The Fourth Estate to apologise for the stories and also pull down all the stories.
Those stories also contain the former pastors’ accounts of the sacrifices they made in establishing churches they were forced to abandon because of a church policy.
I am sure you know very well how this will end….
You are just proving stubborn, but trust me you will be on your knees begging when all this is over.
And please, the church is as solid as ever.
Eric God is the only solid person that ever exist! Any other thing including your church can and will fall some day!!
You have been indoctrinated so much so that you do not realise you have been enslaved by this man called Dag Heward Mills in the name of a church. Many church members have given testimonies about how this crook of a minister milks them dry. Wise up bro and break the chains of spiritual slavery around your neck
Someone of you guys speak or write ✍️ like …… Whacky logic on full display. You and your church will burn 🔥 to ground soon.
Lots of people are just following this guy because of his skin color. Am sure they now see that he’s a colonialist. Where have all their subordinates left their senses? It’s time they come out of this spell!!
I’m a South African. You clearly don’t have an idea what you are talking about. You are type of a naive South African who’d always use color in their stupid narratives. I’m sure you are still blaming Afrikaaners for the current state of blacks in SA even after ANC had been in power for over 20 years.
Renew your mind and think like a wise person.
You have no idea how this very same man has affected and changed many lives in south Africa. Many young men and women who are now stable in life, potential serial fornicators, drunkards, armed robbers an muderers., who are now married and stable because of his teachings. Some of them like could have easily died of AIDS if it had not been for his Holy Spirt – filled books.
Don’t respond to things you have no clue about. And don’t use color to explain things. You turn into a fool when you do that. I’m sure you support the killing of foreigners that you don’t identify with in South Africa because you are too much into color and race.
With you The Fourth Estate…
Keep the good work !
For Public Good.
This is cheap to say, but the reward is very expensive. Don’t kick against an everlasting mountain. Do you know the impact the Man of God has on people? The reward lurks. Repent!!!
The leadership of LCI must know that there are certain battles that the good Lord alone must be allowed to fight for us. Aren’t they making themselves unpopular with this defamation suit? God handles issues like that better than man.
Whoever advised the head Pastor and by extension the Church to go this tangent has done more damage than the issue in question itself.
I do not want to be cited for contempt else i can tell with some degree of certainty the end of the road, except to ask, would Jesus have bothered that much on the issues raised by those resigned Pastors and the publication of the Fourth Estate on same thereof, granted that the account of the Church is sacrosanct and to be preferred to warrant going to the world (the court) instead for judgement or justice?
Christianity is losing its core value and I pitied the wisdom that informed the decision to go to court on this issue (given its form and substance), the outcome of which is res ipsa loquitur for even the blind to at least conjecture. Shalom!
Don’t talk about things you don’t understand. It will be better to keep quiet and think clearly. This man (Bishop Dag) is one of the best gifts God has given to our generation. He is a inspiration to the church and an example of how believers should serve God with whole-hearted devotion. Perhaps if more church leaders were to pursued their calling with similar intensity and conviction, we may see a revival of the Faith in our generation. God bless you Bishop for your faithfulness to the call.
Enough of your scanty wisdom laced with verbose jargon you can’t even understand yourself.
Christianity is losing its core value because of people like you who would lay back and watch people like these degenerate pastors, their cohort like Manasseh and the Forth Estate tear down everything astute men of God.
After Lighthouse, they will target another church and then on they go…
This nonsense must end at a point and it ends here.
We shall all see the outcome of this suit.
There is a new awakening in consciousness, the people will not be enslaved to the caprices of religious and politricks no more. They are rising to see that which is important, that which has been lies for many centuries. It’s a new dawn.
The sheep’s spend its entire life afraid of the wolf but its the Shepherd who fleece, rape or sell the sheep. This LCI is retrograding progress in Ghana & Africa, imagine the amount of money invested by members into the church if used for research purposes, we would have had answers & ways to solve lots of our problems.