Wirral Christian Centre
IN THEIR OWN WORDS

WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID

The Wirral Christian Centre has long been regarded by many as a controversial church with an unenviable reputation. With its unusually high congregation turnover one doesn't have to search too hard to find people expressing less than flattering opinions of the church and its authoritarian leadership.

Below are some of the comments found online about the church.

  • "I believe that there is a curse over our church that is stopping us from reaching our full potential. A curse over our finances, a curse that prevents salvation, a curse over the health of the congregation."
    - Allan Saunders Former WCC team member (Quoted from email)

  • "Over the years many have left our body [The WCC] damaged and hurt. Situations, which could have and should have been resolved, have not been. And where restoration and unity should have and could have been sought, they have not."
    - Julie Ellis-Gowland Former WCC team member (Quoted from a letter to Rev. Paul Epton.)

  • "Pastor Paul Epton is a inexorable old hellfire and brimstone preacher who shouts his sermons in an authoritarian style that mirrors the way he runs what he calls 'his church.' The Bible teaching is lacking as the spiritual emphasis is placed upon experience rather than knowledge. The heavy shepherding approach of the leadership has lead to an unhealthy lack of openness and a whirlpool of gossip which is unhelpful to say the least. The church has an extremely high congregation turnover and younger members are frequently asked to leave. Pastor Paul will eventually hand the church over to his son Greg who shows no sign of running the WCC any less like a family business than his father has. In short I would urge everyone to avoid the WCC as there are a great many other churches which would be more edifying."
    - Malcolm Trent* (Malcolm Trent was a former WCC Deacon mentioned in 'Love In Action' It is unclear if the author of this comment is that same person. For more information see footnote of page.)

  • "I agree wholly with Malcolm Trent. Of all the churches on the Wirral, I'd give this one a wide berth. The astonishing thing is the preaching is good but the preacher can and has lambasted the congregation from the pulpit - referring to them as a bunch of losers at one point. Any dissenting voices are immediately stamped on (usually told to leave the church) and there is lots of religion but little evidence of Jesus."
    - J Smith (Google reviewer.)

  • "This Church sadly falls into the cult of personality trap that 'happy clappy' churches so often fall into. Paul Epton has run the church as a family business for over 30 years and rules the place with an iron fist with which he also pounds the Bible while routinely rebuking his fearful followers. I was hoping that Elim's presence in Birkenhead would be a blessing to the town, but sadly it is a curse."
    - Craig Cowly** (Scoot review.)

  • "This church appears to be normal until you begin to scratch away at that thin veneer of normality. Even as a casual observer who attends another church in the region, it's almost impossible not to meet people who have been seriously emotionally scared by this terrible place. I think the church deserves the bad reputation it has across the region. [Partial section ommited. See the source for full review.] The sheer number of reviews here is evident of a deep problem within the church and while I am sure this review will be deleted, I felt compelled to write a review to offset all the bogus positive reviews written by leadership and the lackies. For example, can someone please tell us why Hannah Epton is calling herself Hannah Murdoch?"
    - Megan Abbingford (Google reviewer.)

  • "I was at WCC 1998 - 2006 (ish). I left in 2006 and subsequently spoke to Ian Carter who ran a sister church, The Narrowgate Centre which mysteriously closed. Ian spelt out why plus other things. He gave me letters from Elim describing Epton as an "autocrat." I have evidence of: charity payments gone awry, Anita Delaway, his PA, getting a grilling from Martin Bashir (the reporter), Epton calling her a fool for being loyal, allegations of false accounting, the sale of Narrowgate back to Ian for an inflated price, plus other allegations. I wrote an aggressive letter to him which he gave to my new Pastor and demanded an apology. I'd be happy to send scans of the letters and details. This lying, cheating cult leader needs stopping."
    - Sean Cotter (By email.)

  • "A hateful place full of gossip "
    - OPENdi review

  • "When we left WCC we first went to the regional superintendent for this area. We found that he was afraid of Paul Epton and had allowed himself to be bullied by him for years. So we wrote to John Glass (General Superintendent Elim Pentecostal Churches) and pointed out the long history of damaged lives. We were given the brush-off at this the highest level in Elim. We discovered by this bitter experience that the Elim organisation has protective mechanisms in place for the leaders (shepherds) but nothing for the sheep. It is assumed that the shepherd must always be right."
    - Ruth Ferguson (By email.)

  • "This church is hamstrung by the leadership who rule rather than lead the congregation. "
    - A Google User (Google reviewer.)

  • "To all the people who think things r not right here, please do something about it, speak to someone, eg police, teacher, friend, someone you feel you can trust. Do it NOW. Its not fair on the people this is happening to, who are to scared to speak. YOU CAN MAKE IT STOP. "
    - Tina (Google reviewer.)

  • "I began to suspect that this man [Paul Epton] was a devious, womanising liar soon after joining [the WCC] although I didn't succumb to his charms! However, many other women older than myself did and they always seemed to be those who had some money or a business! Money was loaned to the church with the promise that it would be returned 'three-fold' etc but it ended up being a gift! We know of one poor elderly man who has since died who gave the most part of his redundancy pay and lost in by this means. - My husband gave himself utterly to Epton's cause and nearly ruined his health in the process. - My eldest daughter, who was about seven at the time had bad experiences while we were at the church and is only now, approximately twenty -five years later shedding the memories."
    - Pat Willis (By email - Wife of former WCC deacon Bob Willis.)

  • "Come on, this church is about as close as you can get to a cult without actually being a cult! Have you seen all the stuff online and facebook about these jokers?!"
    - Carl (By email)

  • "While it is wonderful to see the Oxton Congregational Church in use as a church once more, it's sad that it has fallen into the ownership of a group as unsavoury as the Wirral Christian Centre. If you are looking to find the love of the Lord and a gain a deeper knowledge of Christ and God's word, then this is not the place for you."
    - Barbara (Google reviewer.)

  • "After years of what can only be described as spiritual abuse I left the centre and didn't attend any church for a long while. It's taken a great deal of time to mend the damage caused by Paul Epton and his awful awful ways. Maybe today the church has changed, but I still live locally and we still have people come to our church suffering from the effects of similar abuse from the centre. It would seem that things have changed very little and that the youngsters are, as ever, the ones who are most at risk of being spiritually damaged to the point where many of them simply walk away from the Lord entirely in the belief that our faith is about manipulation and favouritism."
    - CC (Google reviewer.)

  • "Wow! I am amazed that this church is still getting a bad press as it were. I left 17 years ago and the reports now are as they were then. I guess some do not learn by their mistakes. Personally I would say stay away. 13 years after I left I was still being slagged off by "the leadership". A man that has to lie about another man because of his insecurity surely is not the pastor for you. God's grace is amazing go look for it elsewhere for your own sake."
    - Anon (Unamed reviewer on Google.)

  • "I recently moved to the Wirral and decided to try out Elim churches in the area. I did a little research on the Wirral Christian Centre before I attended and I was concerned to find so much negativity surrounding the church online and among local christian groups. However, I put this aside deciding instead to form my own opinions. After dropping in for various services and one recent music event at the church I have to say that I was disappointed to find that much of what I had heard was correct. It is rampantly cliquey and unfriendly and the quality of teaching is poor and somewhat old fashioned. The congregation seemed unengaged and the place, while enjoying a shiny new renovated building, seemed to lack the life and love of the Lord Jesus. I'm not one to bash a church, but this deflating experience has left me feeling a little sad because such a magnificent church should be a beacon to the locality not a flickering dim flight."
    - Anon (Unamed reviewer on Google.)

  • "More like a cult than a church. A terrible place ran by terrible people. Please think twice before taking your family anywhere near the Wirral Christian Centre."
    - DDM (Google review.)

  • "Awful awful awful awful church. A horrific number of people have been badly damaged by the Epton clan."
    - Rob (Google review.)

  • "I left the WCC a while back because of the practice of heavy shepherding carried out by Paul Epton and the leadership. Before I left I thought the place was fine -- lively praise + worship -- a fairly decent program of activities, but over the years there followed a string of controversies that were badly mishandled and appallingly dealt with by Pastor Epton and the leadership."
    - Anon Google reviewer listed only as 'Northern Bounty.' (Partial quote. Click the name to read full review.)

  • "The WCC is the most Satanic & disingenuous church I've ever encountered on my Christian path for circa 30 years. The leaders (mainly the Epton family), are wolves in sheep clothing that are only really interested in some kind of false power over people to make their reptilian egos feel superior, & to con as much money out of the ignorant & needy as possible. The majority of the congregation that attend there are vulnerable people that have been preyed (not prayed) upon by the unscrupulous leaders there. & sadly, then use that church as a crutch instead of actually taking up the cross, so to speak. To list a few words that are apt in describing the WCC: Corrupt. False. Unchristlike. Pretentious. Hypnotic. Selfish. Plastic. Bloodthirsty. Insincere. Sanctimonious. Unbiblical. Tribal. Predatory. Darwinian. Demonic. Nepotistic. Pharisaical. Fake. I could go on & on, but this will suffice. At the end of the day, the WCC is just another worldly business like any other these days. I pray that the LORD will one day reveal all the iniquity that goes on in there for all to see, in Jesus' name. Amen."
    - John Smith (Google review.)

  • "It [the WCC] is rampantly cliquey and unfriendly and the quality of teaching is poor and somewhat old fashioned. The congregation seemed unengaged and the place, while enjoying a shiny new renovated building, seemed to lack the life and love of the Lord Jesus. I'm not one to bash a church, but this deflating experience has left me feeling a little sad because such a magnificent church should be a beacon to the locality not a flickering dim flight."
    - Ali (Partial quote. Click the name to read full review.)

  • "I found this book [Love In Action] to be a rather self-congratulatory egotistical work of over embellished stories. First published back in 1988 the book tells the story of the beginnings of local church. However it very quickly seems to descend into a tale of 'empire building' which ultimately has failed miserably. Read today and with the fact that the schemes written about in the book have all since crumbled, this book is a very sad example of how God can only work through the hearts of a humble servant."
    - A Stockly (A review of Paul Epton's book, 'Love In Action.')

  • "A friend recently lent me this book which is quite simply a shockingly unpleasant read. It's a nauseatingly arrogant piece of work devoid of love or compassion and positively oozing with pride and the authors overblown sense of self importance. Honestly, I wish I had never read it."
    - Andy (A review of Paul Epton's book, 'Love In Action.')

  • "As other reviews have have said, this is a shockingly self aggrandising piece of bilge. I suppose the old saying 'there's now't as cold as charity' applies perfectly here. God save us from people like this man [Paul Epton] and his prideful social gospel ... he may of started of with good intentions but this book reveals nothing more than a total ego maniac out for his own glory, an empire builder."
    - Alex (A review of Paul Epton's book, 'Love In Action.')

  • "I left Elim - because I have found them to be prone to legalism and harshness. To habitually court error, and attack those who stand firm on the Word of God. To have a leadership who consider themselves above reproach, and to be a denomination that seems to fail in every meaningful way in meeting the biblical definition of what a church should be."
    - Bryan Muirden (Exerpt from his article 'Why I left Elim.')

  • "Ah, the Wirral Christian Centre is still rightfully getting negative replies I see, lol. Followed by quick positive replies by sheep that obviously don't care about truth and justice. Oh well, to be expected. I've been occasionally perusing the comments on here for about a year now, and I must admit, I have found them interesting, funny, and also quite sad."
    - Ex Christian (Unamed reviewer on Google - See the complete review.)

* Malcolm Trent was mentioned in Paul Epton's book 'Love In Action.' Of him Paul wrote with remarkably detailed recollection and in a disturbingly condemning and dismissive tone; 'Malcolm,' I said, meeting his gaze. 'You have charged me with misusing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But I am now going to speak to you, because I believe God has given me a word.' I trained my finger on him, and went on in a soft, level tone, 'The word is this. You will leave this church. You will become a spiritual nomad, wandering from church to church, finding no place to rest.' . . . Within days of that rally Malcolm and Ann Trent had resigned from the church, and to the best of my knowledge never found another spiritual home.

** Pastor Craig Cowley of the Centrepoint Elim Church in Bournemouth contacted us to deny that he wrote the Scoot/LocalMole review that had been on the Scoot website under the name Craig Cowley for some years. At no point did this website claim those comments were made by an Elim Minister (something we most certainly would have done had we known that to be the case). However, while it might seem like a rather unlikely co-incidence to some, WCC Watch is willing to stipulate that Pastor Craig Cowley, a man who shares his name with several hundred other Craig Cowley's across the UK, strongly denies that he was the author behind those comments which he has since removed from the Scoot/LocalMole website.

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