Monday, March 5, 2007

Kenneth Copeland - Flying High While His Congregation Foots the Bill

Some may say a way televangelists can measure their success is that they have the ability to fly their own corporate jet to spread the gospel.

For the past several months, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Fort Worth have been traveling the globe in a new $20 million jet. They pledged that the aircraft would be used for the purpose of serving their ministry.

Are the Copelands practicing what they preach?

The Copelands are regarded by many as the most successful televangelists in the world, and they certainly look the part these days—jetting about in their new Cessna Citation, operated, they say, in exact accordance with federal tax law and used solely for ministry purposes.

But flight records News 8 obtained raise questions.

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland’s Believers’ Voice of Victory ministry is broadcast around the world. The couple preaches not only the gospel of prosperity, but the promise of healing through faith.

It was the prospect of wellness that for years lured Bonnie Parker of Winnsboro, La. to the Copelands’ broadcast every Sunday morning, said Parker’s family.

Believer after believer, much like Parker, lined up to be healed by the Copelands. For many, they believed all it took was faith. And according to Parker’s husband Alvin and their daughter, it also took something else - money.

“We know it was a lot, a whole lot,” said Kristy Beach, Parker’s daughter, talking about the amount of money Bonnie Parker donated.

She said the total reached into the the tens of thousands, and possibly even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Parker also spent money on the lottery. Handwritten notes reflected her desire to remit her winnings to the Copelands, whom she said she believed could stop the cancer ravaging her body.

“I can’t see how they can sell something that doesn’t even belong to them to begin with, but that’s what they are doing,” Beach said. “They’re selling something that you can’t sell.”

While buying up lotto tickets, Parker’s family said she was also paying and praying for healing.

Meanwhile, the Copelands needed $20 million in their aim to buy a new jet that Kenneth Copeland said would be used only to spread the gospel.

“It will never, ever be used as long as it is in our care, for anything other than what is becoming to you, Lord Jesus,” he said.

But what “is becoming” is becoming less clear.

According to flight records obtained by News 8, the Copeland jet, on its way to an evangelical seminar in Australia last October, made a two-day layover in Maui. Then it was on to the Fiji islands for another stop.

After seven days in Australia, the Copelands headed to Honolulu for another three days of what they called “eating and rest.”

Last December, amid other evangelical stops, there was a jet ride to the Yampa Valley Airport in Colorado, just a few miles away from Steamboat Springs Ski Resort.

That same day, the jet flew back to the Copelands’ private airport north of Fort Worth.

Five days later, the jet traveled to the Yampa Valley Airport near Steamboat and returned to Texas.

One week later, there was another trip. This time, to the LaFonda Ranch in Southwest Texas, a favorite stop over the years for Kenneth Copeland and his son, John.

The La Fonda Ranch is described as a working cattle and hunting ranch located in the arid brush country.

A picture taken of Copeland and his son John shows them proudly posing with a pair of axis deer indigenous to India and Sri Lanka.

So, is a jet trip to a South Texas wild game ranch a proper use?

“You can’t take the assets that are supposed to be used for a religious or charitable purpose and use them for your own purposes without some tax consequences,” said Wayne Shaw, a former IRS agent and current Southern Methodist University business professor.

Concerns about Kenneth Copeland’s jet travel came as no surprise to Pete Evans of the Trinity Foundation in Dallas.

The organization has tracked the Copelands’ aircraft and more than $20 million in property assets for years.

“It tells everybody that Christianity is about getting stuff, and not about giving your life for the people around you,” Evans said.

Meanwhile, Parker’s husband said Bonnie died believing she hadn’t given enough money to Kenneth and Gloria Copeland.

Parker and Beach said they asked the Copelands for an accounting of Bonnie’s contributions.

“I can’t believe, I can’t comprehend them going on vacation in a jet that my mom paid for with her life,” Beach said. “I can’t imagine that.”

The Copeland ministry declined requests for an interview, and pointed to an accounting firm’s declaration that all jet travel complies with federal tax laws.

A request to see their annual tax filings and list of Board of Directors was also denied.

The reason they cited for the denial was that as a church they are not required to disclose that information.


Pastor R C said...

It has been said that Gloria C. (Mrs.) can out preach Kenneth C. (Mr.), said fact!

Pastor R C said...

I meant the typo to say SAD FACT

obelle said...

my pastor in london is affliated to the copelands ministries .he speaks great of them all the time and we buy their books at church.but err my problem is i dont believe in prosperity gospel..they say poverty is a curse but i say its not a curse.previouly i hv ecountered wht has been not explained to me by these people.i must hv wronged them in some way.infact i was made to beleive i was mad and i heard lots of voices in my head.i was told the only way to get a second chance was to worship the devil.with lot of pain in my head.i went thru this for along time and it even affected my Job status and i hv npot been able to get a Job until dte..I still Go to the church i love Jesus and will stand anywhere his words stand truth.i have been force to do stuff like trying to kill people,,just to put me in trouble..many more of these happend to me lately i hv been expelled from university becuase they said i breeched the peace..meanwhile everything that happend to me was a mirror of wht happned to the pastor while he was seekin to stay in united kingdom..from sitting down on the floor to moving the spirit not all started like a dream asleep in bed in basildon a i believe i was hypnotisize and operated on some thing was incerted into me thru my belly style ..i tot it was a dream but i felt the pain when i woke up..but i saw no cap it all i feel as was peeing in my bathroom ..i hit my head on the floor and after that day my life changed..but one day i was asleep i woke up and saw by the window Jesus saves in a cloudy smoke on the left side a red circle with an arrow ...which to me means the only way is Jesus ..after tht day i was meant to beleive i was put 4 some sacrifce..i nver understood the whole me it was like all the movies put together as one movie and day after day ..i try to understand my steps with wht happened..i faced whole uk mockery and insults in clubs on the street and even in the church i cap it up i was sent to scotland yard as the pastor proclaim on that service ..the voice in my head asked for brain lewis but insdie i never asked for brain lewis rahter i asked them if i was a wanted man..the police went inside and checked and said no..till today all the muscial mostly the black music mock the fire in my head ...guess wht it was the fire burn in the head ..the Only way i subded the pain was looking at the light there by energy encountering another decreases the pain ..i was in a state of total hatred by everyone for reason not known to me ..I have let it go but i know if the truth is not seen people will never understand why things happen..i understand how they might have wanted to give me light thru the source of darkness..on may occasion in service things happen and they always try to control me somehow and in the end i turn it around ..i have been mocked by white ,black and all in the buses and every where it is part of me naw ..i see the whole thing as a practice or a ritual they perform ,,,i dont know..dont get wrong Jesus is the only Jugde and he always stnds for the oppressed and that is where i come in ..becuase till dat i believe wht ever happend must have been for my downfall but i dont give up for who i am ...more of these happened but i guess to God is the glory and he sees all that happens to his children..and he knows that poverty is not a curse..I remember chris the man that did the connection and i know he has link with such hypnosis ..yes agents may be invovled and they do the undergrond God i always will give my life and thru Jesus all is possible ..a time a go my pastor wanted to introduce the ark of convenant but it still hangs in the back of the church ..thru Jesus is all that we must Get ..I beleive we are not meant to believe everything we hear...with Jesus all is possible in our lifes

George said...

Dear Christy I seen the video news clip about your mother. She in a better place now. As you told your story, She seemed like a lady who loved the LORD. I'am sure the LORD admired her faith. Now about Ken and Gloria Copeland, If they dont correct thier ways they will stand before the LORD and give an account for what they are doing. Please Alvin, Please Christy dont let this incident cause hate between you and the Lord. The LORD will bring justice in his own way and in his own time.

God Bless you
and your father.