A sad, but necessary, New Years Day commentary on the events surrounding the firing of Interim Senior Pastor, Dr. Lawrence Wilkes.

An editorial by: Jim Kirkland, Webmaster for Pens-Opinion.org – Posted: January 1, 2013

You can bet the idea of one service is seen as an expedient way to dump Lawrence. Doing so clears the way for promoting their agenda– one service– we gotta have a Schuller as Senior Pastor. Many HOP viewers or those from afar that believe one service is not a bad idea, don’t realize that will either destroy groups such as the Homebuilders and Pastor James Richards class, both of which meet during one or the other services. That means those groups will continue to meet as usual and elect not to attend church, or the other way around.

Getting back to Bobby, before I get a flock of emails accusing me of being “anti-Bobby,” I personally have no problem at all with Bobby. I like him. Not long ago, Bobby and I hung out together a few blocks from the church at the Strarbucks and we plan to do it again soon after Bobby returns from Oklahoma. The problem here is that Bobby is being exploited just as Lawrence was exploited. Bobby is being exploited to promote the Hour of Power just as the congregation is being exploited once again to be the “warm bodies” to fill the seats in the church for “the Show.” Don Neuen and Marc Riley are also being exploited to help draw in the warm bodies. Guess what? Don Neuen may will walk out and if that happens, so will the choir. Then what?

So now what we have on our hands is a backlash from the congregation once again. They are now in the mood to vote with their wallets and/or their feet. The Jim Dawson John Charles crew is now in damage control mode once again, hastily crafting a letter of nothing more than “spin.”

The remedy:before this ministry become totally unrecoverable is to understand John Charles has demonstrated he is in way over his head. Therefore, he needs to be immediately terminated from the position as CEO. Nothing personal here, John.

Secondly, Jim Dawson should resign from the Board. He is the one that sold this congregation out by seeing to it the sale of the church property would be sold to the RCBO (Catholic Church)  At the so-called board meeting addressing the “issue of Lawrence retiring, I can bet I can guess how individual members of the board voted. I’ll bet Jim Dawson, Bill Bennett and Ruby Rinker (residing in Florida) voted to accept Dr. Wilkes resignation while Jack Chalabian and Dianne Highum voted not to accept his resignation

Also, a massive campaign needs to begin immediately. The congregation needs to stand firm in reversing the firing of Dr. Wilkes by protesting by U. S. Mail, and by telephone calls to the church. (714) 971-4000

Happy New Year 2013

The circumstances surrounding the dismissal of Dr. Lawrence Wilkes on Sunday afternoon, December 30, 2012 appears to have been intentionally clouded with misinformation by CEO John Charles and Board Member Jim Dawson.in a letter sent out to the membership of the Crystal Cathedral. Click here to see a copy of the letter.

On this particular Sunday morning, I unexpectedly stumbled on some information that Dr. Wilkes was about to be blind sided over an action he initially took on December 12. On December 12, Dr. Wilkes resigned from his position as Interim Senior Pastor, due to the way he was being treated and the constant interference he was experiencing in trying to carry out the duties of his position.by someone in the television area.

I did not learn of Dr. Wilkes resignation until Friday morning, December 14 and promptly telephoned Lawrence. When he answered, I bluntly asked, “Lawrence, did you quit?”  “Well, yes,” he said, “but I met with the Board and was asked to stay, and I agreed if certain conditions are met and the Board agreed to meet those conditions, over time.”

So, Lawrence Wilkes was back as Interim Senior Pastor. I had hoped that was the end of the story. However, in my long time experience at the Cathedral, I had the feeling it was not the end of the story. I also felt at the time that when Lawrence unexpectedly resigned, some in leadership panicked because Christmas Eve was coming and they needed him. Probably, more likely, they needed to “use” him, but only until they could see their way clear to do without him and resume their own agenda.

The information I stumbled upon last Sunday morning was vague and sketchy at best, but somehow I had the feeling it involved Lawrence. When I asked a volunteer at the Sunday Brunch to let me know when Lawrence arrives at the Brunch after the second service, I was told that Lawrence wouldn’t be coming because he had to leave at the conclusion of the second service. How unusual. I’ve known Lawrence personally since he first came to the Cathedral in 1991 and I have known Lawrence to be one who mingles with the flock, and since he has been Interim Senior Pastor, he always greets and talks with anyone in the church after the second service that wishes to talk with him. Based on the information I had, I went back into the church just as he was giving the Benediction and waited for him to come down from the Pulpit. However, he didn’t come down from the Pulpit but immediately went down the back stairs to the Mezzanine, most likely to exit by the ramp at the north side of the cathedral. I bolted for the ramp and, since the Mezzanine door is always locked from the outside, I rang the bell. The door opened and I told Mike I needed to see Lawrence right away. Mike said, “He was here but he went back up to the church.” On my way back to the church, I phoned Lawrence on my cell and let him know I need to see him before he left. He agreed and waited for me.

When I got there, Lawrence was in the middle of a crowd of people. He saw me, excused himself and met me halfway with a concerned expression on his face. Immediately, I warned him to “watch his back.” Quite frankly, I told Lawrence I had a bad feeling– I don’t know why you are in such a hurry to go, but I just have a feeling you are walking into a trap. My parting words to Lawrence, was, “I don’t know if anything is about to happen, or if nothing is going to happen, but if it does, stand your ground. We parted and Lawrence went on his way.

Satisfied that I had talked to Lawrence, my wife and I stayed on campus and chatted with friends. While on our way home, I got a phone call on my cell and was asked, “Have you heard the news?” The caller then said, “John Charles just fired Dr. Wilkes!” Not only was I stunned, I was downright angry.

For John Charles and most likely, Jim Dawson, it was business as usual. This, of course was even more outrageous since Dr. Wilkes was a volunteer.

Playing into this scenario is John Charles ploy to have only one Sunday service. The Sunday before Christmas was only one service with an attendance of 778, down from the normal average of over 1000. The “spin” on that one that having two services costs too much money when revenues were supposedly not what was expected. However, many of the TV are only working on Sunday and that is on the “half day rate.” Whether they are there one or two hours, they still get paid for the half day.

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