UPDATE: The church did apparently return (some of?) the funds after the story broke (and started to go viral). It goes to show what can be accomplished through advocacy and word of ...computer.
But I'm not changing a word of my original piece, which follows (we may choose to forgive, but never forget):
Most of the scam artists I write about are selling "medical" products and they profit off peoples' pain and desperation. The worst of these -by far, is Gordon's Herbal Research Center, which is supposedly based in New Zealand, but is actually based in Pakistan.
Today I heard about a new scammer, who is really
based in New Zealand this time (Napier). This guy is every bit as despicable as the snake oil vendors. His name is Bruce Collingwood. Bruce purports to be a pastor, and is based at this ... um "church". Here is Brucey with his wife, looking buff, wearing what looks like a sparkly-accented shirt and a fetching medallion.
You can find the "church's" website here. Note how they mention their new building, right on the home page.
So somewhere along the line Brucey came in contact with a gentleman by the name of Whetu Abraham, a man who suffered a serious accident several years ago, leaving him with brain damage and in a wheelchair. Brucey Baby and/or some of his congregation used to visit Mr Abraham in the nursing home where he lives, soliciting donations, leading Mr Abraham to believe that if he didn't give generously, he wouldn't go to Heaven. It so happened that Mr. Abraham had a nest egg of about $20,000 dollars.
He doesn't have it any more.
Yes, Mr Arbaham's money somehow all made it to the "church" of Bruce Collingwood, "freely" given by the poor man under threat of Hell.
Now he can't even afford to have his teeth fixed, while the "church" got itself a new building.
...and -funnily enough- they don't come to visit him anymore.
Except once this story broke, Brucey suddenly stopped by with a disclaimer for Mr Abraham to sign, and loomed angrily over the poor man's wheelchair until he had to be removed from the premises by staff (I can't make this shit up).
Here he is, sitting in what looks like a new leather comfy chair, wearing what looks like a silk shirt, while the man who probably helped PAY for those things can't even afford dental care.
...all in the name of "God".
Really? Is that how Jesus would behave?
Please let Brucey Baby know what you think of him. His contact details are below."The Oasis" 15 Owen Street
I was going to contact the head of the Elim Movement, to which this "church" belongs, and ask if Brucey's behaviour is in keeping with their philosophies. And then I saw a picture of their brand new headquarters, opened in 2009.
...nevermind. I think I probably know the answer.
I should give a shoutout to the nursing home staff, who seem to have really tried to look out for Mr Abraham's interests. Too often we hear bad things about nursing homes, but there are many good facilities out there and a very great many caring and dedicated staff.
They are much needed.