Ex-members say church uses power, lies to keep grip on kids

Source: Associated Press

By MITCH WEISS and HOLBROOK MOHR

SPINDALE, North Carolina (AP) — As a court-appointed advocate for two foster boys, it was Nancy Burnette’s job to ensure they were in good hands. So as part of her casework, she visited Word of Faith Fellowship, the evangelical church they attended with the couple seeking to adopt them.

What happened next haunts her: In the middle of the service, the chanting and singing suddenly stopped, Burnette said, and the fiery pastor pointed at Burnette, accusing her of being “wicked.” ″You are here to cause strife!” she recalled Jane Whaley shouting, as she sensed congregants begin to converge upon her. “You don’t think these kids are supposed to be here!”

Terrified, Burnette left, but not before promising the boys, ages 4 and almost 2, that she would return — a promise she ultimately could not keep.

“What I didn’t know was how hard Word of Faith would fight — and the tactics they would use — to keep the kids,” Burnette told The Associated Press.

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