Home 22 › Forums › The Forum › Topix 2007-2009, Discussing: Financial Violations and Abuse at The Brooklyn Tabernacle › Reply To: Topix 2007-2009, Discussing: Financial Violations and Abuse at The Brooklyn Tabernacle
Long Lost Joe
Comments #867-#869, #875-#877
Comments #890, #897-898, #902
“I recently found this forum and spent about an hour reading through several of the posts. Reading all this brought back all the sad and painful memories of my time at Brooklyn Tabernacle. I was a member from 1977 to 2006. I was a choir member, led several ministries leader, an “armorbearer”, helped produce several of the Children’s and Christmas program when they used to be located at 290 Flatbush Ave and was very close to some of the associate pastors such as Dan Iampaglia, Charles Hammond, David Hannon, Carlo Boekstaaf, Ralph Byrd and Kenneth Ware. As I read all these posts its seems nothing has changed. I myself confronted Pastor Cymbala and the leadership there on several occassions on my own because noone had the courage to stand with me. What did I get from my confrontation, I was blacklisted as a rebel, and removed from my leadership positions. This is what happens when someone has absolute control with no accountability. This old quote rings true, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. I even had a family member who works on staff there. She was a faithful staff member for over 20 years. She was abruptly laid off, left in tears, and then told not to saya anything to anyone. Then to top it all off, Pastor Cymbala made up a story that she wanted to help the church financially had agreed to give up her salary, a whopping $410 a week, and work as a volunteer. What a lie! I was there at a Tuesday Staff meeting when it was said, and I confronted him after the meeting, and was given the typical Pastor Cymbala line, “if you don’t like it here, there’s the door”. I can sit here for ours and recount the pain and heartache Pastor Cymbala and his family has wrought on myself, family and friends. As a former member who was there almost 30 years, I have seen so much. There are many bodies left dead along the road. I too am a victim of Pastor Cymbala’s deceit. The church is more like a despotic dictatorship, or like a Mafia crime syndicate. I tried many times to organize people to confront Pastor Cymbala as a group, but all were too afraid, all I can remember who had the guts to confront him was Joni Schwarz, I have always held her in high esteem. It is shame that as a result of all this, I have lost so much, the years lost and the utter disgust of church. Many people here say that in the end God will have his way, well, as for myself, it wouldn’t hurt to see Pastor Cymbala and his manipulative family all walking on in orange jumpsuits and shackles. By the way, to show that I am not some person who is pretending, I just found out that they are firing the custodial staff. I feel sorry for people like Isabelle, and Ocasio who are people who can least afford to lose their jobs at a time like this….
I find all this writing incredible. It seems that all along many people saw these things and nothing has been done about it. Like I said in my earlier post, I confronted Pastor Cymbala on these issues prior to the move to 17 Smith Street and several times before I left. I even contacted the IRS and NY State Offices about this. But you all must remember that Pastor Cymbala has been very wise in courting the favor of many prominent politicians like Senator Schumer, Congressman Aldohus Towns and the like. I always found it revolting to see these men on stage at the churchm giving there political speeches while representing the very things the Bible abhors. But hey that’s the way it is, do and say what needs to be said to insure the Cymbala agenda and the legacy to his family. That’s what this is all about. I all know is that every time I confronted that man surrounded by his “YES” men, my pain and disappoint grew. Sadly enough, in the end, what it cost me was my faith. All I can say, is that those who remain should open their eyes. For the road of this journey is laden with the dead, wounded and dying left by the wayside.
To those here who say that we should be quiet, or that some people here are cowards, remember this, there are people here like myself who have confronted Pastor Cymbala head on, and to no avail. To those who say hateful things about people speaking up about their experiences, to quote your favorite Pastor, Pastor Cymbala, “Can all of us be wrong!!” To those who say that the can’t be hurting people like this and be preaching God’s word, always remember that the Pharisees were constantly teaching God’s word and yet held the people in bondage and took advantage of them. Just like myself, Pastor Cymbala and all these people in leadership, are sinful by nature and are capable of anything. Unfortunately many hide behind veils of spirituality to take advantage of people. People like this get used to the praise of men and start to believe their own advertising. When someone does not feel accountable to the people they supposedly serve, they are not the shepherd taking care of the sheep, just the ones who fleece them for the wool.
Josh, it is easy for you to speak because you weren’t there long enough to see the abuse and corruption. As someone who attended Brooklyn Tabernacle from 543 Atlantic Ave to 17 Smith Avenue, I can attest to the changes in his personality and values. I too saw him as a mentor and a father figure in my life. Many times it is very difficult to come to terms with a father figure who does wrong. There was a time in my life where I would have defended him to the highest heavens but when I began to see the abuse, waste of money, saying one thing and doing another, the hypocrisy was more than I could take, especially when it began to hurt innocent people who could not defend themselves. Yes I prayed that God would reveal all of this, but God spoke to my heart to confront him on my own, then with two witnesses as the Bible teaches, but all I received in return was rebuke, ridicule and to have my own reputation tarnished. I personally paid the price in coming forward with the truth. Many times are affections towards the man clouds our judgement and we refuse to see what is right in front of our eyes, but ultimately as leaders, as people who loved God, our ulimate allegiance is not to a man but God’s people. When the people Jesus died for are abused and taken advantage of, then you must act. I loved Pastor Cymbala like a father, and confronted him, when he was doing wrong, like a good son should, as I would expect my son to confront me, if I were doing something wrong. What happened in the end was that Pastor Cymbala, ridiculed me, and threw me by the wayside like he has done to so many others in the past. Ask some of the refugees from Brooklyn Tabernacle who attend other churches like Time Square Church, and Christ Tabernacle. You will be surprised at the response you will find and it is not good….
The bottom line for the change of heart, is what all men are susceptible to, Fame and Money. No one is immune to it. Fame affected his ego, and having people coming to his doorstep as someone who has all the answers, made him to believe his own advertising. It made him believe that it was either his way or the highway. Also the need for money and the need to leave a legacy. That was the whole purpose of the Learning Center, to leave a legacy for Jim Cymbala. He saw what other pastors were doing to leave a legacy for themselves. How do I know, I was in his office several times hearing him talk about it when I would get a ride to church on Sunday’s with him and an associate pastor.
I know it sounds over the top, but it’s a very effective brain washing technique. Except you use the word “vaccinate”. Look I don’t mind having my brain washed by Jesus through his word, but ultimately Cymbal is not adhering to Gods kingdom, just his own little empire he set up. And he uses that little ceramonial techinque to scare people so they won’t organize against him. Jesus did say we are like sheep you know, we’re very easily manipulated.
First of all I dont have to vaccinate myself for anything. A vaccination is required when a person is infected with a virus. Since when is TRUTH a virus. It is only a VIRUS to those who live in LIES and DECEIT. I have no qualms about what I am writing about because I confronted Pastor Cymbala personally regarding all I have written and have witnesses to that affect. The VIRUS affecting the church is LIES, SIN, HYPOCRISY, THEFT, in the name of Jesus and the GOSPEL. Always remember the story of JESUS and the moneychangers in the Temple. I don’t think Jesus needed to vaccinate himself when he confronted them.
Yes I have heard him say that since my days back at 543 Atlantic Avenue, the YWCA, 290 Flatbush and 17 Smith Street. But when the rubber meets the road, he never apologizes or asks for forgiveness. Personally, I confronted him about several lies he had said to me about money for the particular ministry I was overseeing. I was told personally by him that someone had donated $10,000 specifically for the work the mininstry. Pastor Cymbala then he called me and told me the funds were here and to start making preparations, then when all was finalized the money could not be found. Money specifically given for this particular ministry was used for something other than what the donor had set it aside for. When I contacted the donor to inquire, he was unaware what had happened. Pastor Cymbala asked me through his personal secretary, a close friend of mine, to come see him because he “wanted to resolve the issue and personally apologize to me” I went to the meeting expecting that and I all received was a rebuke and a stern warning not to contact the donors ever again….
Trust me, in the 29 years that I attended Brooklyn Tabernacle I saw too much. In the end it cost me my faith, my family, my reputation and alot of my “so-called friends”, people who chose loyalty to a deeply flawed man instead of the TRUTH. Those who chose not to embrace TRUTH are destined to remain captive to DECEIT. They are willing captives. Who have sold themselves into spiritual slavery. This is why I miss my long and deep conversations with Pastor Byrd, Pastor Dave Hannon and Pastor Carlo Boekstaaf, all who were brave enough to confront the lies. Thank God they are all with the Lord so they are no longer are associated with the nonsense. I have my own sins, failures, and weaknesses, which I am man enough to admit to. Howeverl it is the arrogance of power that Pastor Cymbala and family display that they feel make them above reproach and any sort of accountability. They are only accountable to themselves. It’s like looking in the mirror and asking your reflection to say anything different than you are saying yourself. I hope that one day God will heal all those who have been wounded, devastated or destroyed by these people….
Angry at God, Pastor Cymbala and Brooklyn Tabernacle most definitely YES!
Discouraged, that word does not even come close to describe what I continue to feel.
Closure, I wish, I am far from it.
In the fold, HELL No! I am not.
I am not alone in this. Just goes to show you the destructive power people like this yield over others. I was a fool to believe and for so long.
So as Scotty once said on Star Trek, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” I dont intend to be fooled again….
But as I see it, Pastor Cymbala and people like him are representatives of Christ on Earth. Therefore, since the Bible teaches that Christ is the Head of the Church, He is therefore ultimately responsible for the actions of those that represent Him. No different than any other organization, the leadership is ultimately responsible for the actions of those under there leadership. Because if we are to believe, that as Christians you represent Christ here on Earth, remember what a wise person once said many years ago, “You may be the only Christ that a person may see in their lifetime”. So if He is Christ’s representative, he is a poor example of one who has caused pain and heartache to many many people. So why would I want to serve a God like that. Since Christ has not chosen to take corrective action, who else do I hold accountable. But in all honesty, I am trying to move beyond this in my life. I wasted most of my adult life (age 16 to 45) “serving Christ” in the Brooklyn Tabernacle and what do I have to show for it but pain, heartache, disappointment, loss of faith, loss of my good name and reputation, loss of a marraige, loss of family and friends.
So much for your living a life as a ” living sacrifice unto God” not much of a payback.
Many here after reading my posts my consider me just a backslidden christian who is very bitter and hurt. Some may dismiss what I say because of that.
All I can say, is that for those who continue to serve in any leadership capacity in Brooklyn Tabernacle and continue to support the deception and corruption there, are not furthering the kingdom of God. They are only furthering the Cymbala Empire. He is so similar to Roman Emperors used slaves, and lowly people to die on the battlefield to extend the Empire, of which only those in power truly enjoyed its fruits. Pastor Cymbala, while he sits in an office that even some CEO’s would envy, not to mention much larger than the homes of those people in Haiti, Dominican Republic, etc He is no different than the Pope or any other religious leader who lives off the backs of the unfortunate. Let me say this much, if there is a heaven, people like Sister Byrd (abandoned by BT), Isabelle Camacho, Jose Ocasio and the like will live in the very best parts of that heavenly neighborhood.
While those who participate and continue to support this abhorrent behavior at Brooklyn Tabernacle, better make sure that in the end, that they may just make it by the skin of their teeth, if at all.
Joey Vasquez is a contradiction because when the church was still at 290 Flatbush Ave, he and Michael Archibald, were caught stealing from the church. They were purchasing items for themselves, and sending the bills to be paid by the church.
They were sending another brother named Raymond
to purchase the items and telling him, these purchases were approved.
Well,after all hell broke loose and everything came to light, who gets fired Raymond!
Joey and Michael were kept on the staff because Carol could never survive without her favorite and precious bass player and drummer. But Raymond was only a maintenance guy so he was let go….
You ask if Cymbala is to blame??? Did you remain strong for your family and let them see Christ in your suffering? Are you kidding me?????
Hmmm Let’s see… When your Pastor lies about you and your family in a staff meeting with outside guests and to my own face. When you confront him privately and then with witnesses, and then goes about to ruin your reputation for standing up to him. When your Pastor removes you from leadership positions as a result of me standing up for the truth and confronting his lies and tells people that I was replaced because I was rebellious. When your Pastor, makes your famiy cry because I was humiliated in front of them for again bringing up financial indiscretions at the church. When your Pastor threatens peoples jobs because they were standing with you and all you are abandoned by them. I tried to to remain strong for my family but there is so much a person can take, no matter how spiritual you are. When friends that have known you for years abandon you because the Pastor had called them about me.
You tell me, who should I blame myself?? For what doing things biblically, for standing up for the truth. I dont think so! Yes I blame him because he is to blame….
People like you are amazing. Because you accuse a person of being spiritually sick, when it is people like Pastor Cymbala and others who create environments that are filled with spiritual filth and spiritual viruses. Those who are complicit with people like that become immune to the spiritual virus, while others who fight for the truth become weakened by it and become sick and sometimes die.
Let me paint a picture for you. Let’s say you are standing on flat plain with the adversary in front and a deep cliff behind you. You fight and fight against your adversary until finally, you are left at the edge of the cliff with your adversary still in front of you. Because you are so exhausted from the battle, you faint, lose your footing and fall off the cliff.
Who is to blame? That is what happens at Brooklyn Tabernacle and with people like Pastor Cymbala. Through their lies, manipulation, self-righteousness and deception they push you to the edge of the cliff. You become so weary, you fall. Then they turn and say to everyone, Oh look at their condition, it wasn’t our fault, it was their fault. That is the problem with many christians, the only deal with the final outcome of the situation and never have the courage, the wisdom or discernment to deal with the environment or causes that led to the person’s ultimate condition. Like I said earlier, Pastor Cymbala infects people with a deadly spiritual virus and then they are to blame for getting sick and dying, I dont think so.”
Segments of the original Topix Discussion can be found on The Wayback Machine, HERE.