A few weeks ago Mary Stone got a letter from her church telling her that if she didn't begin paying tithes, her membership would "be in jeopardy". That's when she knew something wasn't right. She and fellow church member called 27 NEWSFIRST to get the word out about what some could call a "pay to pray" policy.
They told us, they felt taken advantage of by Pastor Tim Van Cleve, and they vowed never to return, and wanted others to beware.
Tuesday, the women got another letter on behalf of the church. They expected it to be an apology. But instead it was a letter telling the women, they were wrong, for talking about the church on the news. "It's not us [that's wrong] it's Tim", says Mary Stone. Gladys Sparks adds, "It's between a person and God if they pay tithes". Both women readily admit, they do pay tithes, just no longer to Victory Time church.
They say there, they felt forced to pay to: pray, sing, or worship. But they say when it comes to forgiveness, they are offering it to Van Cleve and Victory Time Church. "I forgive them, but I'm not going back to that church. There's no way they can get me back in there", concluded Stone.