Circle of Hope girls school

ALAYMAN

Well-known member
Doctor
Registered
Joined
Feb 2, 2012
Messages
5,557
Reaction score
76
Points
48
Just watched a Dateline expose about this (allegedly abusive) reform home for wayward girls. They are/were located in one of the cradles of IFBism, Springfield Missouri, and affiliated with a KJVONLY IFB Church. Anybody here familiar with the story?
 

illinoisguy

Active member
Registered
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
409
Reaction score
90
Points
28
Some info about Circle of Hope in Humansville, Missouri - founded in 2006 as an IFB ministry, and apparently complaints started pouring in about them right away:

Girls Tell of Terror and Abuse at Missouri Christian Boarding School Under Investigation | BCNN1 - Black Christian News Network

Seems like support of these abusive private prisons for teens, run by IFBs, has been a test of fellowship in the IFB movement for as long as I can remember. I still have some of Lester Roloff's "Family Altar' magazines from 1979 describing the battle of the Roloff Homes against regulation by the State of Texas. Roloff had the big guns of IFB on his side - Pastor Earl Little of the Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, also Jack Hyles, Dr. Bob Jones III and David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association. More recently, Ron Williams of Hephzibah House was a regular speaker at the IFB church where I was a member. On one occasion some of our members made a fuss about Ron condemning anyone who had a TV set in his home, but the pastor brushed off the complaints, and our "missions" dollars continued to flow to Ron. On his most recent visit, maybe 10 years ago, basically all of us gave Ron the cold shoulder - we wouldn't look at his literature table or talk to him after the service, and all he could do was lamely stand there and say "The Lord bless you" as we walked past him and out the door. I expressed my disagreement with the Hephzibah House "ministry" to our pastor, and he politely but firmly stated that our church was going to continue to support him no matter what, and that was that.
 

Sherryh

Well-known member
Doctor
Registered
Joined
Jan 26, 2012
Messages
2,516
Reaction score
34
Points
48
Some info about Circle of Hope in Humansville, Missouri - founded in 2006 as an IFB ministry, and apparently complaints started pouring in about them right away:

Girls Tell of Terror and Abuse at Missouri Christian Boarding School Under Investigation | BCNN1 - Black Christian News Network

Seems like support of these abusive private prisons for teens, run by IFBs, has been a test of fellowship in the IFB movement for as long as I can remember. I still have some of Lester Roloff's "Family Altar' magazines from 1979 describing the battle of the Roloff Homes against regulation by the State of Texas. Roloff had the big guns of IFB on his side - Pastor Earl Little of the Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, also Jack Hyles, Dr. Bob Jones III and David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association. More recently, Ron Williams of Hephzibah House was a regular speaker at the IFB church where I was a member. On one occasion some of our members made a fuss about Ron condemning anyone who had a TV set in his home, but the pastor brushed off the complaints, and our "missions" dollars continued to flow to Ron. On his most recent visit, maybe 10 years ago, basically all of us gave Ron the cold shoulder - we wouldn't look at his literature table or talk to him after the service, and all he could do was lamely stand there and say "The Lord bless you" as we walked past him and out the door. I expressed my disagreement with the Hephzibah House "ministry" to our pastor, and he politely but firmly stated that our church was going to continue to support him no matter what, and that was that.
Not to sound stupid but was your pastor brain dead? I would have left that church in a heart beat.
 

illinoisguy

Active member
Registered
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
409
Reaction score
90
Points
28
All I can say is that as IFBs, we were all brainwashed over a long period of time to believe that support for IFB private prisons was a vitally important part of our ministry and identity. Complaints against the abuses within those prisons were routinely rejected as being lies that were motivated by a desire to destroy fundamentalist Christianity. Nobody ever asked why it was that, as part of the process of reforming these wayward fundy teens, they were not allowed to have unrestricted contact with their IFB pastors or even their own IFB parents. While I do not envy the situation of inmates in our federal and state prisons, they have one advantage over teen inmates of our IFB private prisons - inmates in government prisons are allowed to communicate their gripes to the outside world, if they rightly or wrongly feel they are being abused and mistreated in prison. From now on, I would be extremely suspicious of any IFB private prison "ministry" that does not allow their captives to have unsupervised communications with their pastors and parents.

I left that IFB church, and the movement, not long after the final visit by Ron Williams of Hephzibah House. One of the many accusations made against me by the new pastor,, just before I left, was that I had advocated cutting off support to missionaries. The new pastor refused to talk to me about his accusations, so I never found out whether or not he was talking about Hephzibah House, but if he was, then I plead guilty to that accusation. Members of IFB churches who question their support of abusive homes for wayward children should be prepared to find another church, if they ask too many impertinent questions.
 

illinoisguy

Active member
Registered
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
409
Reaction score
90
Points
28
The article I posted from the Kansas City Star on Saturday, about Circle of Hope Girls Ranch, also mentions a nearby private prison for boys called Agape Boarding School in Stockton, Missouri. Their web site describes it as nondenominational and King James Only. Looks like Agape has also had some bad press and dissatisfied customers over the years. And I thought maybe Hephzibah House was the last of these abusive IFB private prisons for teens - how silly of me to believe that.

Suit says former student with disabilities abused at Agape | The Kansas City Star
 

illinoisguy

Active member
Registered
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
409
Reaction score
90
Points
28
More on Agape Boarding School in Stockton, Missouri, operated by Agape Baptist Church (IFB). Former Agape inmate Brett Harper is alleging that he was stomped on and otherwise abused there. "Clemenson's family" is identified as operator of the school. "It is clear that Agape Boarding School and the Clemenson's family that runs the school found a safe haven in Missouri after being shutdown in both Washington and California for child abuse. There should be state records. I ask you that they be reviewed. . . . My name is Brett Harper. I'm 33. My neurologists I've spoken with, surgeon, and spine care team all agree that my sciatica, spinal stenosis, bulging and herniated discs that required me to have a lamenectomy discectomy on my L5 done was because of child abuse and neglect. During my stay at Agape numerous times I complained of my back pain but they did nothing. In fact work crews where we carried large boulders, logs, cleared whole fields were frequent. Several staff members stomped on my back while I was doing push-ups or would apply weight there and tell me to straighten my back."

Petition · Agape Boarding School: Shutdown Agape Boarding School For Documented Child Abuse In 3 States · Change.org

This article states that James Clemensen moved his boarding school from Washington State to Stockton, Missouri after complaints about the school in Missouri. "Another boarding school that used to operate in Othello [Washington], about 60 miles north of Tri-Cities, also relocated to Missouri. The Agape Boarding School was in Othello from 1992-96. A Tri-City Herald story from 1996 said that Franklin County officials ordered the facility to close for code violations over removing and burying asbestos-containing material on school grounds. The school permanently closed in 1998. Agape’s owner James Clemenson told the Herald in a letter in 1996 that he was working on buying property for another boarding school, and that his family, staff and 63 students had relocated to Stockton, Mo., where they were living in a complex of small buildings." (The story also reports on complaints about other Baptist boarding schools in Washington).

Christian boarding school near Tri-Cities ordered closed | Tri-City Herald (tri-cityherald.com)

This article by Allan Domelle on his IFB "Old Paths Journal" web site, dated February 17, 2021, commends Jim Clemensen: "One of the greatest builders whom I have been acquainted with is Bro. Jim Clemensen. Bro. Clemensen is the founder of a boy’s boarding school that takes troubled boys and helps them to turn their life around. Anyone who has ever been around him knows how he takes rundown places and have the vision to rebuild them into great complexes. If you were to go to the home at the writing of this devotional, you would see a great, up-to-date complex; however, it didn’t start this way. It started as an old camp in a wooded area that needed a lot of work done. Bro. Clemensen took those few buildings and has built a great complex for the LORD’s work."

The Builder’s Mindset – Old Paths Journal

In spite of all the massive complaints and bad publicity about abusive IFB private prisons, support for such "ministries" continues to be upheld and promoted in some segments of the IFB movement. It almost appears that child abuse is considered by some to be one of the venerable "Old Paths."

[Note: In various articles about Agape Boarding School on the Internet, the operator's name is variously spelled as Clemenson and Clemensen. It appears that Clemensen is the correct spelling].
 
Last edited:
Top