Monday, April 11, 2011

Smoldering Coals of Brentwood Press—Church Fuss

by Rev. Austin Miles
The purpose of this story is to keep a word given to Rick Lemyre, Editor of The Brentwood Press, who felt that this writer had misrepresented him in a piece in response to the front page stories of his papers regarding the eviction of Mountain View Christian Center and Trinity Christian School from their leased public school property in Oakley, California. I promised that if there were any errors in my story, that I would MAKE IT UP to him. And I WILL, as you will see in this story….
First of all, Rick Lemyre and this writer are friends. At least on the part of this writer who will never forget a past show of support when needed the most. Yet we have found ourselves to be dueling at sharp editing-pencil points over a dispute involving the church/school and The Oakley School District.

Lemyre's greatest complaint over my response to the confusing press reports was that I described his story as an ad hominem attack, which means an attack on a person rather than the issue at hand.The
front page Press story began with an opening paragraph pointing fingers at the pastor, Rev. Jerry Hanoum, with many unsubstantiated accusations, one after the other, and claimed he was" also under fire from his parishioners," which is not true. The congregation totally supports him. It is a couple of people who left the church that are flinging the arrows and fueling the publicity. None of that entire long opening paragraph had anything to do with the fact that the church-school was simply a couple of months behind in payments like many organizations during this international financial crisis.That is the issue.
Rick said there were no ad hominem attacks in his story. Interesting. This writer studied journalism in the same place Rick did, Los Medanos College, and I really thought that the opening, which centered only on Pastor Hanoum's perceived character, rather than the actual issue, qualified it as an ad hominem attack. OK, so I apologize for misunderstaning the definition of an ad hominem attack. But then again, what do I know?

Rick did catch this writer with a discrepancy: It was written that this is the first time in the history of The Press that the same front page was used on every area paper when it always had a different front page that would reflect each locality. Rick told me that this was not true, that many times the same front page story is on every area paper. I've never known Rick to lie to me so I will concede without hesitation that what he said was true, even though I have never seen the same front pages in The Press since the beginning of the paper. Again, I do not believe Rick would lie to me.
So here's how that will be made up to him. If he will agree to excuse me for that blunder, then I will excuse him from stating that Jerry Dillinger and Scott Dillinger are brothers, when they are actually father and son, and that the main house of the Hanoum Estate that he proclaimed was 19,000 square feet is actually 9000 Square Feet.

I will not bother with the rest. The church will not try to defend itself. Instead it will continue to carry out the community work that is ongoing throughout the year. The Helping Hands Ministry feeds hundreds of families each month and over 1000 individuals per month making it over 3000 people a month who otherwise would not have had food to eat except for this church. Meals are also taken to and served to Senior Citizens at The Commons Senior Park and Sycamore Senior Center. And on occasion the church reaches out to parks in the area with food and clothing.
MVCC has formed a Community Chaplain Corps to be there to help in emergencies and cirsis situations. It doens't matter if those who need help go to MVCC, or any other church, or no church at all. This is a COMMUNITY Chaplain's Service.

 MVCC will still have its annual Easter Celebration on Saturday, April 23rd, starting at 11 A.M. with an Easter Egg Hunt, entertainment including a puppet show and dance troup,music, face painting, outdoor games, hot dogs and barbecue, all at no charge…as usual.  It will be held on the Trinity School Grounds at 5000 Amaryllis Street in Oakley and everyone is invited.

 Mountain View Christian Center is still standing and serving the community. We will not try to defend ourselves from those who just don't like us. We don't need to.

 Rev. Austin Miles is a staff pastor and Community Chaplain Instructor/Coordinator with Mountain View Christian Center as well as Dean of Students for the MVCC School of Theology.