Tuesday, 27 August 2013

At the centre of the CHC storm

City Harvest Church trial: Singer Ho Yeow Sun received over $500,000 in bonuses, advances

City Harvest founder Kong Hee and wife Ho Yeow Sun showed up in court hand-in-hand for yesterday's proceedings. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

Pop singer Ho Yeow Sun received more than half a million in bonuses and advances, including a $30,000 birthday cash gift and an $80,000 "special performance bonus for hits in the US or the United Kingdom" in 2006.

But to divert attention from some of these extra takings, leaders of City Harvest Church allegedly doctored documents to show that sponsors had given the money to her as "personal gifts".

These details emerged on the first day of the second leg of the trial involving six church leaders accused of misusing millions of church funds. The high-profile trial had resumed after a three- month break.

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Trial of City Harvest Church leaders: Who's who
City Harvest Church's former finance manager Serina Wee leaves on a lunch break during the first day of the resumed trial at the subordinate courts in Singapore on August 26, 2013.

Trial resumed for the leaders of a Singapore-based Christian church accused of embezzling millions of dollars to finance the singing career of the pastor's wife

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and five other church leaders are accused of misappropriating church building funds.

The funds were allegedly used to help further the music career of Kong's wife, Ho Yeow Sun, an aspiring pop star.

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City Harvest founder Kong Hee's trial resumes

Pastor and founder Kong Hee, 48, and four officers were charged last year with varying degrees of involvement in a scheme to siphon off S$24 million ($19 million) to finance the singing career of his wife, Sun Ho.

In addition, more than S$26 million in church money was allegedly misappropriated to cover up the original diversion.

Before the case was adjourned back in May, prosecutors alleged the accused channeled money allotted for the church's building into buying sham bond investments in church-linked companies so they could finance Ho's secular music career.

Related links
The embezzlement case
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Who is Ho Yeow Sun?
Singapore presses embezzlement case against church leaders

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'God apologising to Kong Hee' section was taken out of context: City Harvest Church

The seemingly controversial video excerpt of a sermon by City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee was taken "wildly out of context", a spokesperson for the pastor reportedly said on Wednesday. 

The Christian Post reported a response to questions raised about Kong regarding a sermon he made at a church conference in Australia.

The spokesperson was quoted as saying in a statement emailed via CHC's corporate communications department that "the use of 'I'm so sorry' here is not in the context of an apology, but a word of comfort".

Article: Singapore presses embezzlement case against church leaders
Article: Emails revealed in City Harvest trial: 'We are just instruments
Article: Commissioner of Charities acts to remove City Harvest leaders
COC defers removal proceedings of City Harvest church leaders

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Video of City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee’s sermon ignites online outrage

City Harvest Church founder and senior pastor Kong Hee has found his way in controversy again — this time for a comment he made in what appeared to be a sermon at a church conference held in Australia last year.

In a video posted on YouTube by user anointedforworship on Sunday, Kong, who is accused of criminal breach of trust and misappropriating church building funds, claimed that God apologised to him for his struggles.

"'Father, Father, why, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me and thrown me to the dogs?'" he was recorded as saying, after relating the experience of Jesus Christ on the cross at his crucifixion and sharing that he identified with that kind of suffering.

Singapore presses embezzlement case against church leaders
'We are just instruments to make things happen'
Commissioner of Charities acts to remove City Harvest leaders

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The man who posted the God-Kong Hee video speaks to Breakfast Network

The Youtube video clip that went viral showing City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee “speaking” to God was posted by a church member who said he did it to “expose Kong and his lies”.

In an exclusive interview with Breakfast Network, he said that the 3½-minute clip he uploaded was a recording of a sermon the senior church pastor had delivered during a religious conference in Australia in April last year. He said he had obtained the clip last year from C3 Church Watch, a group that monitors the activities of a Sydney-based church, whose founder Phil Pringle is currently an advisory pastor with City Harvest Church.

According to the member, who posted the clip on Youtube under the id “anointedforworship”, Kong had made the same remarks during a church service last year to City Harvest members as well. He said he decided to make it public only now because he wanted to “show the sublimal messages embedded in the sermon and delivered through the pulpit”.

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Kong Hee demands public apology, after being accused of misusing funds

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City Harvest Church Gave Pastor Roots and Wings

It is rare to find a church that is directly responsible for turning out independent and mature leaders. For Mr. Darren Tan, City Harvest Church (CHC) is spiritual home and a nest from which he takes off for ministry.

CHC ended Darren's, then a young army regular, long search for a church where he could experience God in a real way.

"When I got to know about City Harvest, I started to visit and it straightaway for me it was like home," he said to The Christian Post Wednesday in an interview. "It was almost everything that we (Darren and his wife) felt that God is leading us into."

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A Viral Joke???