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Thursday, November 25, 2010

 

Neptune pastor may take time off after Facebook decree

Neptune pastor may take time off after Facebook decree, three-way relationship landed him in news

 

NANCY SHIELDS • STAFF WRITER • November 24, 2010

 

FACEBOOK PASTOR: In a Jan. 17, 2010 photo, Pastor Cedric Miller, delivers the sermon during a service at Living Word Christian Fellowship in Neptune, N.J. Miller said 20 couples among the 1,100 members of his Living Word Christian Fellowship Church have run into marital trouble over the last six months after a spouse connected with an ex-flame over Facebook. Because of the problems, he is ordering about 50 married church officials to delete their accounts with the social networking site or resign from their leadership positions. 

FACEBOOK PASTOR: In a Jan. 17, 2010 photo, Pastor Cedric Miller, delivers the sermon during a service at Living Word Christian Fellowship in Neptune, N.J. Miller said 20 couples among the 1,100 members of his Living Word Christian Fellowship Church have run into marital trouble over the last six months after a spouse connected with an ex-flame over Facebook. Because of the problems, he is ordering about 50 married church officials to delete their accounts with the social networking site or resign from their leadership positions.

(STAFF PHOTO: MARY FRANK)

 

The Rev. Cedric A. Miller, who has received wide publicity for both his decree that church leaders to get off Facebook save their marriages and for the details of his own past marital indiscretions, appears headed for some time off.

Miller said Wednesday afternoon an official statement from Living Word Christian Fellowship Church will be read at the 9:30 a.m. service Sunday.

The Associated Press reported earlier Wednesday that Miller would be taking time off following a church vote Tuesday night. Miller told the AP that church members gave him a vote of confidence subject to some restrictions he would not list.

Later Wednesday, Miller again declined to say what those restrictions were. He said he would be at both the Thanksgiving service today and the Sunday service.

Miller, 48, leapt into the headlines a week ago after calling the Asbury Park Press to get coverage for his plan to ask his married church leaders — perhaps a couple dozen — to set an example and remove themselves from Facebook because he believes the social networking website was causing infidelity among people coming to him for counseling.

He said the church officers would have to step down from their leadership positions if they did not give up their Facebook accounts. Miller gave up his account last week.

Soon after that story came out, it was revealed that in court proceedings in 2003, Miller admitted to a three-way sexual relationship that had been ongoing, but ended, and included a close church male assistant and Miller's wife, Kim.

Hazel Samuels, chairwoman of the church board of trustees, said Wednesday she could not did speak for the church or congregation about the Tuesday night meeting because she did not attend.

At the service Sunday, a day after his previous indiscretions were in the news, Miller appeared to have strong backing from most of the 250 to 300 people attending, with many going up to stand behind him as he spoke.

He said that day that for many members, the revelations were old news, but "for others of you, it was shocking."

He said that Tuesday night there would be a church meeting where questions would be answered. He mentioned that if people wanted to leave the congregation, the elders would help them find another church.

Miller charged the church elders to do all they could do to protect the church.

The pastor and his wife founded their independent church in their then home in Neptune in 1987. They now live in Millstone Township. The church is on Route 35 in Neptune.

In his 2003 testimony concerning charges — later dismissed — on another matter he had brought against the man in the three-way relationship, Miller painted a picture of having near total control over the church.

He said in his testimony that for accountability purposes, he had an outside pastor he did not name who would listen to church tapes and look at the church's financial records.

And Miller testified that according to the church's constitution, he could be fired for gross, moral misconduct and refusal to repent.

"And who would fire you?" an assistant prosecutor asked.

"That's a very tricky question, because the trustees would have to do it, and they're appointed by me," Miller answered.

"OK, so if someone were to recommend that you would be fired, who would that be?" he was asked.

"I never thought of that. If somebody was to recommend that I'd be fired, they probably wouldn't have a job," Miller testified.

"Could it be a situation where the board on their own might decide to take up a vote?" he was asked.

"I guess it's conceivable, but it's not very probable in an independent church," Miller answered.


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