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October 14, 2006

Empty vessel

It’s always heartening to hear how religion can make a real difference in kids’ lives:

For Vincent Field, it was the highest honour a boy in the Exclusive Brethren could have - the chance to meet the Elect Vessel, the minister of the Lord in the Recovery, essentially God’s man on earth.
So when John Hales graced Vincent’s Christchurch con-
gregation, the 10-year-old did exactly what he thought a boy in the Brethren should do.
He waited while other children and followers swirled around the Australian accountant whose face he knew from the pictures up in every Exclusive Brethren church and home. And when he came free, Vin-
cent rushed up and gave him a $20 note.
“He barely even acknowledged me, he just took it and that was that,” says Vincent, now 25.
“I still felt real cool though - it was like ‘Oh wow, I just gave $20 to Mr Hales’.”
Vincent has since left the Exclusive Brethren. Hales has died, the mantle of Elect Vessel passing to his son Bruce, a Sydney office supplies businessman.
These days, Vincent is nonplussed about the donation he once thought of as “bonus points for God”.
“It was all a crock of shit of course,” he says. “It is not like the guy needed money. The Hales family are rolling in the stuff and they got my twenty bucks tax free and all.”

Given that Hales specialized in child abuse and money laundering—as his sad little sect still does—Field should probably count himself lucky. But not that lucky.

More on the Exclusive Brethren here.

Posted by Stephen at 10:04 PM in Religion + cults | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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