• Report: #929136

Complaint Review: Prayers by Letters, Saint matthew's churches

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  • Submitted: Sat, August 18, 2012
  • Updated: Mon, August 20, 2012

  • Reported By: T — Bend Oregon United States of America
Prayers by Letters, Saint matthew's churches
po box 21056 Tulsa, Oklahoma United States of America

Prayers by Letters, Saint matthew's churches my grandma has been sending them money for years. they do not do what they say with it Tulsa, Oklahoma

*Consumer Comment: What I found out

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My grandmother who is in her seventies has been sending this church money for years, all that has happened is that she is broke.  These people say they will be praying for you but just throw your letters away and take the money out.  If you send them something and it bounces they don't even tell you because they know what they are doing is wrong anyway and just move on to the next letter.  Please do not send them your money.  If you feel the need to donate money for religious purposes do it locally, give money to your church, or local soup kitchen, somewhere you can see what the money really goes too.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/18/2012 12:58 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Prayers-by-Letters-Saint-matthews-churches/Tulsa-Oklahoma-74121/Prayers-by-Letters-Saint-matthews-churches-my-grandma-has-been-sending-them-money-for-y-929136. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

What I found out

AUTHOR: Myra C - (United States of America)

I always enjoyed the letters, they were pretty inspirational. I never expected instant gratification when I prayed for anything, or when I pray for things now. I just know that I believe in the power of prayer and what God has for me, He has for me and no one can hinder that besides me for not believing in what He can and will do. It's unfortunate that folks feel cheated and it is sad that the name of God is being used to take away from those in need if that is indeed what is happening. But understand this: If these individuals truly believe in God's power, then they will wait on the Lord and continue to pray. I send them something every once in a while, but I have never believed that my prayers will not be answered or my needs will not be met simply because someone of this world told me that. I know neither I or anyone else can "pay for prayer", but God knows my heart and He knows that when I sow a seed it is from my heart and I will be blessed. There is no time frame on the return on blessings, I just know that we are operating on God's time and we will receive what we need right on time. That being said, I did find some interesting information, but it was on Wikipedia (not such a reliable source!):

Origins: The ministry is led by its founder James Eugene "Gene" Ewing, a former tent minister, who, according to the Trinity Foundation, lives in Beverly Hills, California.[2][3] Ewing, a native of Kaufman, Texas, was born in 1933 and has written fundraising letters for other evangelists, including Oral Roberts[4] as well as Don Stewart, WV Grant, and Rex Humbard.[5]Ewing operates Church by Mail Inc., which had a several decade long struggle with the IRS before being denied tax-exemption in 1992, which was appealed.[1] Ewing was a revivalist in the 1960s with revenue at $2 million.[1] He then began writing fundraising letters for Oral Roberts. By 1971 Ewing renamed organization Church of Compassion as a "mail-order church with half a million 'members'" with income exceeding $3 million.[1] In 1979 he started for-profit advertising and printing "to provide printing and mailing services to nonprofit religious groups."[1] Then in 1980 his business Church by Mail applied for tax-exemption.[1] However, by the 1990s his businesses owed back taxes to state and federal agencies.[1] Nonetheless, in 1993 he bought a $2.2 million, 6,400-square-foot (590 m2) home above Beverly Hills. Subsequently, a year later the U.S. Tax Court ruled Church by Mail Inc. is "operated for private rather than public interests" and "is not a church" within the meaning of federal tax laws.[1][edit]

Operations and fundraisingThe ministry has been accused of preying on the very low income and the elderly by using census records to target their mailings. Initial mailings often only speak of the "power of prayer"; once a recipient responds and is placed on the church mailing list, they are targeted with letters saying that monetary donations are required for their prayers to be answered[6].Although for several years the ministry operated without a church building and conducted its direct mail donation operation through the Tulsa address, a physical location to hold services a then-78-year-old Baptist church in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood[4]  was purchased in Houston in 2004. St. Matthew's Churches' lawyer says weekly services draw about 1,000 people.[4] According to the Trinity Foundation, an evangelical watchdog group, the physical churches are only associated with the mail-based ministry as a cover that allows the lucrative operation to retain tax-exempt church status.[7] The status was granted by the Internal Revenue Service in 2000 after a 17-year court battle.[2]One of the organization's mailings consisted of a paper "prayer rug", on which recipients were encouraged to kneel and pray. This mailing, along with others, have been mentioned by the Attorney General of the State of Arkansas, among others, as not providing information about their financial and fundraising practices.[8] [9] While the ministry does hold tax exemption status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, it has been the subject of numerous complaints to the Better Business Bureau, whose evaluation conclusion was that the organization did not meet two standards for Charity Accountability.[10]


All I can say is trust in God, He is our source and He will always make things right, eventually.

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