Monday, May 09, 2011
What You Have Emailed To Me About Shekinah Fellowship And Brant Baker
Come and see the works of God
Here is what some of you have told me. I know that there are others who are waiting to see what comes of my efforts to tell the Shekinah story before they step up to the plate. I have left out some of what was told to me because it serves no point in our Christian progress. It is the parts from all of you who were there that tells the story and helps us to assemble the big picture.
"I have on my bookshelf, by David Edwin Harrell Jr., a book entitled "All ThingsAre Possible, The Healing and Charismatic Revivals in Modern American". It's anexcellent book on the healing revivals in America, going back to the 1950s, butit's greatest deficiency is that it entirely overlooks the story of SkekihahFellowship. If Harrell were ever made aware of it, I am sure he would haverecognized immediately how it connects with, and continues, the ministry ofKatherine Kuhlman, and also that it shows a important connection with the "JesusMovement." Furthermore, some people have endeavored to chronicle the history ofthe "Jesus Movement". Again, Shekinah Fellowship is curiously absent from suchaccounts, albeit during the early 1970s it had an important role in SouthernCalifornia area."
"Thank you David. It's incredible to hear Brant's voice again, takes me back 30 years
I just received an email from an old Shekinah person telling me about your video on the Google search engine. It is really nice David and you did an excellent job on the photos and informaton about Brant. He would have been glad that you did it."
"There were times that we all got together but mainly it was to pray for people and to discuss things about the ministry. Brant's parents were generally always there together or at least one or the other were there. If Brant partied at all it was completely away from the ministry. He generally got together with friends during the week for dinner. Weekends he was completely spent because of the services. It took a great deal of energy to travel to so many places as well as the Saturday night services at Shekinah. We traveled all over the place: Oxnard, San Diego, Riverside, Phoenix, Rubidoux, etc. And he always had to prepare sermons even though people thought he didn't prepare with text in hand at the services, he did read ALOT, generally the bible but he always listened to Chuck Smith on the radio and a few other ministers who's names have left my memory.I don't think he ever had a problem at all until TBN dropped him from the network and people in the ministry started to leave. He couldn't cope with everything. It escalated from there and sometimes he would come to the services where he could not minister so Kevin would take over. As time went on, it became more and more frequent. We went down to Laguna Beach several times as he was staying down there to really gather his thoughts away from everything. We would go down and take down notes or pay his bills or generallly just give support. We went down once together and stayed over for the weekend to see if we could help at all. This was at the beginning of the end when almost the entire ministry had left and he had to really reevaluate what was going on. He was estranged from his family and needed those who remained to stay close to him. Since all of us were working at the time, we went down on the weekends and take him to the services on Saturday night. "
"JoEllen was very protective of Brant and many times he felt suffocated by her. She and Bob knew exactly what shortcomings both Brant and Kevin had, but kept believing God would bring them through their struggles (Kevin was also gay and died of complications from aids).
As far as the inner circle was concerned, we were part of it for a brief time only because I volunteered for Brant in helping him with his bills (I did the accounting for him and kept his checkbook straight) and sometimes took him to the doctor or picked up his cleaning. I never asked a penny from him for what I did as I didn't think it was right. And because we lived so far away, there was only once that we were asked to attend a get together with Brant and his family and the Shekinah Singers ( that was the smaller group of singers) and we met at JoEllen's home in Brentwood. Not very many people know this, but JoEllen came from a very wealthy family and her mother, Muddy, left a large inheritance for both Brant and Kevin - there was a trust that gave them money each month. Bob was in charge of that and that way they did not have to take anything from the ministry. Many people thought that Brant and Kevin were paid by the ministry but that wasn't correct, they put all the money into the ministry for the associate pastors and the running expenses (rental, utilities, supplies, etc.).
Many in the choir were very shy, young teenagers and needed a lot of guidance. They weren't included in the meetings because they were basically financial or strategy meetings with regard to the services. They had numerous afterglow meetings that everyone attended and worshipped which were incredible."
"So many wonderful memories of that time and so many that are very painful. The emails with you have brought back both, but it's okay. Some day I will tell my story of all or most of what went on during that time, I have many journals of the wonderful healing services and how God used all of us then and the incredible Word of Knowledge and prophecies that flowed through us, it was a wonderful growing time for both of us."
"... thus the beginning of Brant's downfall. Pastor Tom (Changed) went to TBN and they removed Brant from the network. They didn't even confront him or talk to him. Brant was devastated and did not even have an opportunity to talk with Paul and Jan Crouch about it. That's when Brant started on prescription drugs through his doctor (the doctor was on Sunset Blvd - Samson's). You see Brant had been seeing Pastor Tom for counseling and until the associate pastor spoke up, it was kept in the strictest of confidences because Pastor Tom was trying to help Brant. But once that man started talking, I think Pastor Tom figured he should lay out the entire problem to Paul and Jan so it wouldn't escalate into a larger problem. What he should have done was to bring them all together including Brant and talk and pray about it together. I have always wondered what happened to that associate pastor - why was he at that bar? I kind of doubt if it was to witness to the gay community, but you never know."
"As far as being supportive of Brant, it was not easy at times as our friends left and many in the congregation left also. Also during that time JoEllen and Kevin took over a lot of the functions while Brant was so ill after they were taken off of TBN. We lost a lot of our friendships during that time and some we have never gotten back, but there were a few that we still keep in contact with and that's been wonderful. Even some who left the ministry before us have seen our faithfulness, although they don't understand it, respect us for our beliefs in standing with Brant during the difficult times. So many Christians forget that we are like dust and nothing good comes from us, but the Lord. We are like filthy rags. Knowing that and acknowledging our short comings, made us realize without hesitation, that we had to help Brant during those months after everyone left. It was the only thing we could do, we couldn't abandon him, no matter what he had done. You just can't do that to a friend! We still carry those beliefs with us to this day."
"I don't know where Brant died as we did not hear about it until much later. We did not go to the memorial, but we went to Kevin's. It's so many years ago and Kevin died in August of 1987 which was right after my dad died, so I have lost about a year in my memory because of the trauma of my dad dying. I'll see if I have any archival information in my old computer and let you know. As I recall, Brant's name is not on the headstone and is buried with Kevin in the same grave or near it."
"We all have frailties and shortcomings and it's good that you put in thebrief part about his lifestyle and that you focus mainly on thewonderful healings. If I can find some of the sermon tapes, I can sendyou copies if you're interested."
"I'm so glad that you wrote to us. I've kept so much inside for so many years that I know I've rambled a lot about Brant the past week that I thought maybe it was a little too much. So thank you.We were very active in a church after we left Shekinah but have been wandering alot over the past decade. There is just nothing like Shekinah and the manifestation of those days. But I know that God is doing a mighty work as there are more and more people contacting me about Brant and Shekinah that went to those meetings 30 years ago. So many of us are hungry for that kind of closeness to the Lord and the purity that was there in the spirit. I know that God will raise all of us who were so blessed to be in that ministry again, I'm just not sure when. But I'm open to what the Lord wants from me."
"Thank you. Some of the photos are remarkable! Where did Jim get all of these? He must have received them from choir members or staff as they are from the choir loft. Amazing. Thank you."
"Thank you so much! I've forwarded your websites to several people and although it's been difficult for us to hear Brant's voice again, I'm getting encouraging notes from them and they want updates! That's really surprising for me as I had a LOT of negative emails when I first posted the webpage on the internet. Some very threatening also. This is a good turn and I feel it's God's perfect timing. I also think Brant would be happy that his story is getting out there as well as all of us who participated in the ministry."
"My wife and I were a part of that group from about 1973 to 1975. It may have been longer than that...that is a long time back. We married in 74 and we slowly left that misitry. Things were going on behind the scenes by that time which were unsettling to many. We were mostly involved durring Brants ministry at the Foursquare Church...and we helped with his outreach at the old Municiple Auditorium. Of interest to you, if I can find them, and if they still play, is a series of audio tapes I bought that were made at Shekinah Camp....which I think was the summer of 74 in Idlywilde. As I recall at that time Brant was anticipating a split within the group and there was a messege about people falling away. Well, we left not too many months after that. When Shekinah moved on from the Foursquare Church...we stayed there with Pastor Adams and a chunk of the Shekinah members. We never were part of the Westcoast theater ministry. It was an interesting time that did send us on a Christian path. For many years I was a church soloist and youth leader at Long Beach First Methodist Church (I am officially a Methodist) and am currently a section leader at a Catholic Church (I'm not Catholic). Anyway, I don't know if anyone else has given you copies of those tapes....if I can find them, would you be interested? There is some of Brant teaching, and tapes of other leaders of Shekinah at that time. Most of them left that ministry near or after the time we moved on. It was intresting to see the pictures and hear Brant again on your site, and Susan's site."
" I'll keep an eye out for those tapes, I'm not sure of their exact location, but I run into them when looking for other things.
I have moved on from the type of ministry that Shekinah offered. It had it's time and place in my life and left good and bad memories that shaped who I am today. I appreciate the thoughts you sent, though it was obviously a form letter after your initial response, but my path goes ever forward and not back. It will be interesting to see if Shekinah Fellowship and Brant Baker's influence are felt again in cyber space. I will try and follow it, but I will not be a part. Evaluate the Lords will carefully. I watched too many people over the years take what was a spiritual flame and instead of providing God's warmth, ended up burning down the building. God be with you."
"...this is awesome. I passed it on to some friends... and downloaded some."
"...that is so much fun...thanks. I had such a complex how I looked back then and I see myself so differently....thanks...I have no pics of myself whatsoever from that time, so this is precious."
"I've been watching your video on google. I was wondering if I could have some of the photos that you used for the video?"
" I used to go to Brant services and was active in it. I started going to them when there where only a handful of people in a strip mall church. We used to sit on the floor and listen to him. He had maybe 50 people which all became his helpers. I used to hold the microphone when people where healed up on stage. What a blessing that was. I was good friends with Lesa Green and Meg and Teddy etc. I still have a few pictures of everyone. I finally moved to N Cal when Keven Brants brother took over the ministry.I was not there at the end, but was there right from day one. I had heard of Brant while I was going to Calvary Chapel in the old days when Chuck was still in a house church and then in the tent."
..."thank you for your reply. I know I have audio tapes from Brant that I would buy , after the services. I have them in storage in N. Cal. Iam looking for all the pictures I have, also have 2 from the retreats of everyone including JoEllen. Also 2 records of the coir and others. One of Lily Green. Jo ellen I feel caused Brant to fall away. Do I know you from the meetings? "
"Thank you for your reply. I know and feel that you are doing a great service to keep Brant's memory alive. I have treasured the few pictures I have and all the memories. I will make and send ail to you as soon as I can, probably by next week.I work in a psych Hospas a nurse the next 3 days and have 3 days of and will do this. I called my aunt to see if she will let me come up to N cal and find thoses tapes that have been in her storage for the last 25 yrs. I also have contacted David Koerner the orchastra director [ do you remember him ] and he has nothing left from those days."
"I used to live in Huntington Beach, right next to Newport and remember the baptisms on the beach. I will post on the web site what I remember from Brant. I wonder what ever happened to Kevin his brother. I remember him trying to preach. There at the end of the time we where in the west coast theater.."
"I find it also a blessing that I can write you and share the memories. I cant imagine Kevin dying also of aids. But Iam not surprised. Did you know that Brant was engaged for a short time to Lesa Green? She is in some of the pictures I think. I will point her out next time. But he could not go through with it, she was devestated and went into a deep depressin for a while, but thank God came out of it. I remeber when I was on stage at times holding the Microphone to let the healed people speek on stage, that at times the power of God was so strong around Brant that it was hard to stay standing up."
"I know after I moved away from Shkinah I fell away for many yrs. I thought God did not want to use me anymore and could not undersatnd why. I was young when I left about 20 yrs old. I lived in San jose at that time and had achurch bring Brant up there for a service."
"GOOD STORY.....I PASSED IT ON.......TOO BAD IT HAD A TRAGIC ENDING.....I WANNA GO LIKE ENOCH....!"
"Thanks for the good words. I definitely feel the anointing of God in these projects. You see God do something awesome everyday. God bless your efforts. Keep in touch."
"The wooden cross Brant always wore was not carved by his brother...He got it at the beach in a vending machine for 50 cents around 1971 or so and put it on a very expensive gold chain."
"Brant was the real article, while Hinn is a Word-Faith false teacher, and not one of the "miracles" in any of his meetings has been found to be genuine, so I hate to hear or see his name next to Brant's, in terms of genuine Spiritual gifting. I was there in the 70's for a number of Brant's meetings, as I'm sure you were, and the presence of God in those meetings was absolutely phenomenal- beyond description..I also went to one of ( Mr Bleep's) meetings, expecting the same Glorious Anointing, and I left disappointed and angry at the empty shirt named (Mr. Bleep), and in his pitiful attempts to whip up the crowd into a frenzy. Brant never needed to whip up anybody- God's presence was simply "there", and, like Miss Kuhlman, he never allowed any fanaticism in his services... Maybe others are fooled, or maybe they simply miss Kathryn Kuhlman and Brant so much that they're willing to put up with a second-rate look alike. As for myself, I miss Brant Baker and his ministry very much- Forgive me for going on about this, David- When I saw your site on the web, I caught the first real glimps of something I hadn't known in over 30 years, and it was a real blessing! Many thanks for doing that."
"The pity is that at one time there were over 400 of these messages available on audio tape, and I really have only a select few by comparison...Right after Brant's death, I called the ministry phone number and talked with Linda (don't remember her last name) for about 45 minutes, lamenting Brant's death and reminiscing about the glorious meetings he'd held- He did come up to the Seattle area a number of times, and I returned to the L.A. area to visit and attend some of the services there, too. She ended up saying "At least we still have the tapes", and said the ministry phone number would remain open for a while, but when I tried to call back just a few days later, the number had been disconnected- ending my attempt to ever get into contact with those who were involved with the ministry...Until I found Susan Dixon's website, and , finally, after another 5 years- Your site. Susan had told me that someone named Anne Hume had the remaining Shekinah material, and gave me her e-mail address, but after Anne had said she'd try to dig these things up, I never heard from her again, despite repeated e-mails to her...I began to wonder if people were hiding something from me, as if I hadn't known about the problems Brant was having at the time- problems which eventually ended his ministry, as well as his life...... Which brings me to you- As I mentioned in a previous e-mail, You a nd Susan Dixon are the ONLY people I've been able to contact from the ministry since Brant's death, and that after many years- I hope more will come forward in the very near future, but for now, you're it. One of the saddest of my expreriences came about 5 years ago when I made the trip To North Hollywood First Assembly to find someone- ANYONE who remembered Brant Baker and Shekinah Fellowship. Of all the people I spoke with- including the Pastor- Only ONE elderly man from the congregation had the slightest recollection of who Brant was..."Didn't he hang out with Kathryn Kuhlman."
"...I can see that you got some of the existing photos on your website from the little booklet, "The Anointing" by Brant- Great book! I could e-mail your friend, Pastor Tilson, but I don't know what I'd say to him that I haven't said to you already. Nobody but Susan Dixon has been willing to really talk about the Shekinah Fellowship days with me after all this time. It's sad that some of the old choir members are having a hard time accepting you- Maybe they want to just let the old memories lie or something, but I simply can't."
"Wow, what a touching website you put together....Funny, I had been told years ago of several of the things that the site mentioned, which confirmed to me that they were indeed true... Through the years, God had periodically put people in my path who had either been involved in that ministry, or knew swomeone who was involved, so I was getting, through different sources, a pretty accurate picture of the ministry, from the height of it to it's downfall- One man in particular, who was VERY involved in the ministry, responded to my inquiry about Brant and Shekinah by saying "My take on Shekinah was that it was a great move of God, and that Brant in particular was an unusually gifted man..." Someday maybe we can talk about it in detail, but it's as if God had prepared me for all of it, the good and the bad, over a very long period of time, so that I could have a complete picture of it in my mind. In the end, God had blessed Br ant and Shekinah Fellowship almost beyond measure, and that's what matters when looking back at it all these years later........"
"YOU WONT BELIEVE ME BUT i JUST LOST ALL THE ATTACHMENTS, COMPUTER WAS AUTO DISCNNECTING, TRIED TO SAVE THIS EMAIL AND LOST IT. iT TOOK ME 2 HRS TO UPLOAD THEM. i am trying not to get upset. will send and try again."
"You're absolutely right about God's anointing on Shekinah Fellowship and I have believed through all of these years, that even though Brant is with the Lord now, that that anointing- in all of its Glory and all of its power- has not disappeared forever. Maybe that's why I've kept all those magazines and tapes for so many years. You're right also, as I said before, that I MUST share this stuff with others, and you've made it possible by your website...I don't want to keep repeating myself, but it's as if God had me keeping all of those things safe and sound, through many moves, just for the purpose of bringing all of them out at this particular time in history, just as you had told me... I know the real from the counterfeit, and that is how I know that some ministries that have come to prominence since the Shekinah Fellowship days are simply "smoke and mirrors"...I'm not going to bad-mouth anyone or any ministry, but since you know from experience just how powerful that anointing was, I'm guessing that you know what I mean...Shekinah Fellowship is not finished and that wonderful anointing and God's Presence are not merely a thing of the past..."
"God is giong to once again perform a Mighty Move of His Spirit in the same way as before, and when it begins to happen, all counterfeits and false teachings will pale by comparison-simply because people will once again see the real thing- Once you've experienced the genuine, as you told me, then it's impossible to be satisfied with any cheap imitation! David, I want you to know that I'm not some fanatic who gets easily blown around by wild shows of emotional excitement or anything like that, and even though I miss Brant and the ministry so much, I will not settle for anything less than the reality of that anointing- no matter how long it takes to find and be a part of it, and I believe that your website may be the beginning of it- sure seems like it, huh? Thanks for the encouragment."
"The first time I saw Brant was in March of 1975. I had gotten saved two months before and some of my family and I decided to visit the L.A. area and witness to other family members and friends...We were at North Hollywood First Assembly of God and Pastor Sanders asked Brant to come up and tell everybody what God had been doing in the meetings. When he spoke, I thought he looked kind of silly, the big wooden cross and all. That nite we saw him on TBN and we decided to go to the Angelus Temple to see him the next day. It was the day before we saw Kathryn Kuhlman at the Shrine Auditorium. I was really taken back by Brant, just as much as when I saw Miss Kuhlman the next day. To make a long story short, Brant came up to Westminster Assembly Church in Seattle a y ear later and when I saw him and the ministry that night, I was never the same- To this very day! He came up several times during the year, as well as to Tacoma, 45 minutes drive from Seattle. I can't tell you just yet why his ministry had such a lasting affect on me (someday we'll talk about it, I'm sure). All I can say for now is that I was changed from that day forward. The Holy Spirit did quite a work in me and nothing since has affected me as much...It was through friends who were there when things went bad that I got a picture of the bad stuff that was happening...Funny, but I would run into someone who knew somebody connected with the ministry, or a friend of mine knew someone from the ministry....all at different times- but as I said before, I got a pretty accurate picture of what was going on. I could give you names and you'd instantly recognize them. Someday we'll talk about it all. The main thing is that I never lost faith in that ministry because I k new that God's Hand was upon it, even when friends told me I was a fool for not walking away from it all...I was constantly praying for Brant and his struggles at the time and there was actually a moment- several months before he died- that I knew that God was going to take him home. It broke my heart when I heard the news, yet I knew it was going to happen ( I'm not crazy-honestly). Let's talk sometime when you have an opportunity, OK? There's so much more to say about all of this."
"I'll tell you, I can really relate to the sadness about the demise of Shekinah- and I was one of those who knew the Glory that came from that ministry and the memory has never left me! On more than one occasion, I would uncontrolably weep, even sob, minutes before Brant would come from behind the curtain and onto the stage, so great was the Presence of God, and every time he came up to the podium, I could see the Glory of God on him- it was as if I'd been put into a different dimention. I'm not surprised though, that some didn't like him. I took a couple of my friends from my dorm while attending Northwest College to see Shekinah, and one of them didn't like Brant one bit. I wondered how he wasn't immersed in the Glory of God as I was, but I know that I was never the same after these services, regardless of how anyone else may have felt..... That Shekinah Magazine with Miss Kuhlman on the cover has a photo of Susan Dixon on page 21, with her accompanyi ng testimony. SHE has no doubt as to the Power of God to heal! By the way- as a side note, I'll tell you that the first time Brant prayed for me, I was standing in line for prayer at North Hollywood First Assembly of God and when Brant turned to me, I could feel waves of Glory coming from him. I can't explain it, but I was there and I remember it."
"I just viewed "Fear Not" and I'm impressed with the job you did with it!"
"David- I certainly agree with you about Brant's teachings- He was unique and he really got the point home...you could sense the Holy Spirit's anointing when he spoke. I'm excited to be a part of bringing this all together, I certainly couldn't do what you do with the tapes and photos, but it's cool to even have a bit in the process. All these years I thought I was saving the tapes and magazines for me, but God had other ideas, and I'd rather go with His plans than mine! ...I am missing ONE issue of Shekinah Fellowship Magazine (Winter 1975- I've never seen it), I have all the others that were printed- Maybe an old Shekinah member has one that I can copy, you never know. I AM expecting many more people to come forward with more tapes and other memorabilia, it's just a matter of time...and God dealing with hearts! As I said, there were originally more than 500 tapes available, so I may be just scratching the surface with the ones I have....you'll soon have them in your hands- God Bless you!"
"His teachings, as you said, are really unique, and after you're finished listening to a tape, you walk away wanting that intament relationship with Jesus that he always talked about, not trying to follow a bunch of rules, but just abiding in Christ...very powerful and life-changing! I'm praying for the tapes' influence on many people, both who've never heard Brant before, and those who remember him and knew&nbs p;that anointing that God placed upon him. God bless you and all your efforts"
"Thank you, David, for the kind words.....I know without a doubt that God will bless this endeavor, and your untiring efforts! Some- maybe many- people will be hesitant to get into detail about Shekinah, but others will come forward, I know it...I must tell you that I spoke with Joe over the phone about three years ago and he did give me his perspective on the ministry, which I shared with you in a previous e-mail, but I left out his name. He wrote a number of the articles in Shekinah Fellowship Magazine and as you well know, was a huge part of that ministry."
"I was absolutely speechless during my viewing of your video- I hadn't seen Brant in so many years, and it only confirmed what I'd told you before... Nothing today- and I mean NOTHING- even comes close! Anybody with the slightest bit of Spiritual discernment could see that....What a blessing that was to me...I still don't know what to say, I haven't been the same since viewing it."
"David- I got the DVD today and watched it. It sure looks better on the TV than it does on the computer. I tell you, I'm still coming down from watching it....It made me so sad to realize that Brant's gone, and that so many people will never know of him, but then- that's what your website is all about... My 12 year old son came into the room while I was watching the video and asked, "Why are those people fainting when that guy touches them?" I told him that I would explain it to him later on...I was really involved in it and didn't have time to explain. I did tell him that "that guy" had prayed for me like that many years ago. He then asked, "Did you fall down too?" I've got lots to explain to him.... Your website is so important- Just keep on doing all you can, David! Many thanks again for the DVD- I really appreciate it!"
"The last time I checked, your first video/audio had almost 900 hits...That's great! This is just the beginning...I prepped a long e-mail to Pastor Tilson (took me almost an hour, slow as I am), but looks like his e-mail has been changed and it didn't go through- Good thing too, because after that, I looked at your (Mr.Bleep) photos and saw that Pastor Tilson had his picture taken with him, and if my e-mail had gone through, he probably wouldn't have appreciated some of what I'd expressed about (Mr.Bleep) and his ministry."
"David- I'm really taken back by your last e-mail....I don't have time now, because I have to work early tomorrow (Friday), and as I've already said, I'm a pitifully s-l-o-w typist, but I will e-mail you fully tomorrow evening in response....Suffice it to say that any apprehension I may have had in terms of who you are or what you're about- has been completely laid to rest. As I read your e-mail, I was hit with the fact that you are genuine, that you know what you're talking about (anointing, etc. and you were there), and that we are one in the Spirit- My mind kept saying AMEN to the topics that you addressed, and I'll go into that more fully tomorrow evening....God bless you!"
"Hi, David- I’m an acquaintance of Susan Dixon and recently saw your feature on Brant Baker on the web- I e-mailed Susan to see if she’d seen it and she said that she had, and that she’d given you permission to use some of her photos- I remember the ministry very well and wondered if we could talk about Brant and the ministry..."
"I honestly don't have anything good to say about that ministry. I guess I not only saw too much but then there was what the Lord was showing me. What I can say is that God is Always teaching, exhorting, and blessing his people no matter what. I had some incredible times in the Holy Spirit but Shekinah reminded me of elementary school, which, if you were unpopular, was like Nightmare from Elm Street.In other words there was a giant pecking order at Shekinah. The gay insecurity was the root of it I am sure, but there was this 'inner circle,' that no one could penetrate and everyone wanted to be 'part of them.' It was made up of Brant, his brother, Claudia, Joe Dallas (the pianist who last time I heard had a ministry for recovery from that lifestyle), and when they were part of the ministry in the early days, Randy Smith, and Greg Laurie. Randy was the worship leader when we met underneath the big church and that was the only time I remember it being really sweet and the Holy Spirit being the true focus and not Brant.When 'Brant's Bible Study' moved up into the big church it turned into this monstrosity. I was told, nearly ordered to be 'part' of the choir. There was this assigning of people to things. I did not feel led to be part of that choir for a second, although I certainly loved worshipping. Many people thought I was an angel, for real, as the HS was upon me when I sang to Jesus, but I will never forget that someone in the ministry 'rebuked me,' telling me that I was calling attention to myself when I worshipped.I have to say, they were lucky to have us all doing that for free and backing up Brant. Of course that would have been the farthest thing from my mind at the time. How we grow up! But I was horrified to think that I was 'sinnning' in that way. I also didn't actually believe it underneath, but you know, when someone tells you something like that it can be jarring or traumatic. That was not the only time I as rebuked. There was a girl name Martha who I lived with and she was 'higher up,' in the ministry, and she was continually telling me something was wrong."
"What I want to emphasize is that it was OUR walks in the Lord and not the 'ministry' that caused the Spirit of God to move. Yes He was given an opportunity to move there, but it was also so sick and clothed in deceit that I think there was just a sourness underneath everything. I know what it is to be in the ministry and not be 'quite right' with the Lord. It is such an easy place to hide, Oh man, no one ever suspects that you might be in sin, and those that you minister with never ask...,at least it was like that at Chuck Jr.'s church. It was more like going to a job in some ways, and the competition was what finally did me in there. All that to say, I later understood to a point what Brant meant when he said that he had gotten to the point where he could 'sin right in front of Jesus and not feel guilt.' I wasn't in outright sin but my heart wasn't in the place I felt it should have been. That was another reason I got out of the ministry. I always thought it was so strange that I ended up in the ministry when I wasn't as on fire and when I was, people thought I was unstable or whatever..."
"There were many awesome people, but the ministry was tweaked in a Big way. God Told me to leave and gave me a scripture in Proverbs. I came back one more time. I told Brant to look at Ezekiel 44 as that was a sermon I had just heard Frank O'Neil give in Santa Cruz. Brant ministered on it the next service. That kind of blew me away. There was such an 'awe' of Brant and that secrecy added to that. When I came back to visit, the awe was gone for me and I think that Brant realized that. At that time he told me I would be back and part of the ministry again, and of course I knew that was the farthest thing from the truth..., he got a phone call at that moment and said, "No, not Lonnie! and for some strange reason I just intuitively knew he was talking about Lonnie being gay, although at that point no one, not even I knew that Brant was gay, or Lonnie. I had taken my friend Kevin Laubach to a service at the Vineyard and he got really angry. It was the night that Lonnie called all the young people to come down. Kevin's emotion was so strong and it was because he could tell Lonnie was gay, and told me so. He thought it was a sham. Again, at that time I didn't think that was true, but between that phone call and Kevin, I was beginning to wonder."
"... it is a strange story. People from Calvary were praying for me the whole time I was there I found out after I left. I decided on Shekinah over Calvary because of the moving of the Spirit. Too bad I had to make a choice and end up in that situation. It's just sad that the Holy Spirit couldn't have been given a equal footing at Calvary. At least very sad to and for me."
"I would suggest to those who raise the question that some aspect of truth should be hidden—whether it be a leader who does not want his ministry to be tarred with the guilty by association label or a friend who thinks it best to leave some things unsaid—I would simply point both to the Bible and the manner it deals frankly with these issues. The Bible is brutally honest about its heroes; their triumphs and failures lay side by side in its pages. If the truth is what sets us free, then we can never suggest anything other than its bald recitation, regardless of where those truths may lead us."
"I am very curious about your connection with Shekinah Fellowship ofthe 1970s and Brant Baker, especially since I have noticed that you have posted regarding this subject on the Internet at various places.You seem to know something about it.Could you explain more?My wife and I were much involved with it for several years back in the1970s, and we knew quite a few of the principal players at that time.We still have some contacts with various people who were formally apart of the ministry."
"First of all, besides the great personal tragedy of Brant Baker himself, theother great tragedy is that Shekinah Fellowship has been elided from church history. It is unconscionable that this has happened. It has always been, for many years, my wish that someone could tell this story adequately. After all these years, a small beginning has been made."
"The biggest problem with telling the story of Shekinah is doing the research and conducting the necessary interviews. It is very unfortunately the case that many of the principle people involvd with Shekinah Fellowship are still very reluctant to talk about their time there. And many of them are now scattered across the country."
"Early in the 1970s, I was a senior at California Baptist College in Riverside,California. (The college has since changed its name to Calif. BaptistUniversity.) I just recently was introduced to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit(at Calvary Chapel in Riverside of all places, but that is a story of its own). It came to pass that someone invited me to go to the Riverside YMCA. This was sometime in late 1972 or early 1973, as I recall. At that time, Shekinah was holding healing ministry services at that location. I was entirely blown away by the experience. Having known nothing but a staid Southern Baptist upbringing, to encounter the power of God working in people's lives was unlike anything I had ever seen or heard before. After that, my involvement would last for several years, from 1973 to around 1977."
"All during those years, Shekinah steadily ran a "Riverside group". I call it that for lack of a better term. During most of that time, the Riverside group would be headed up by some Shekinah elder who would make the trip from Long Beach to Riverside to conduct a home Bible study. At its largest, this Riverside group had around 30 or more fairly regular attenders. For a time, Brant would, on a weekly basis, hold services in Riverside, at various venues. I attended nearly every one. The first one was the Riverside YMCA. Another location would be Arlington Foursquare Church. Another was another smaller Foursquare church on11th Avenue in Riverside. And another was, as I recall, a old Presbyterian church somewhere on Magnolia Avenue."
"Many of the people in the Riverside group would make the trip out to Long Beach to attend the services at the Neighborhood Foursquare Church, or even the smaller "afterglows" held at the old "strip mall" location, before it was shutdown. Many were involved in the music ministry or ushering. My wifesometimes would be one of the "word of knowledge" ladies during the services. At other times, she served in the choir (which was top notch in my opinion). Naturally, she got to know several of the primary music ministry people, such as Kelly and Lilly Green, Meg Rafferty, Randy West, and several others. My wife was also fairly acquainted with Brant's brother Kevin. On on occasion, New Year's1977, Kevin had invited us to his home in Belmont Shores, with several other friends from Shekinah. Kevin was a fairly nice fellow, a little vain perhaps,who had some role in the ministry."
"Besides, attending the services, many in the Riverside group would take the time to attend the other services held in other locations in Southern California.Thus even though many in the "Riverside group" lived in Riverside, and not in Long Beach, they were nearly as heavily involved in Shekinah as anyone else. On several occasions, many of the Riverside group would be invited to attend various social functions with the ministers in Long Beach. One of these occasions was the summer camp held at the Calvary Chapel Conference center up in the San Bernardino mountains. It lasted for at least two days. I also attended.There I had a very brief meeting with Brant on a balcony and was struck with how shy and frail he seemed."
"By 1977, it was increasingly becoming obvious that the Shekinah ministry was inserious trouble. Sometime during that year, around the summer, my wife and I began to drift away. We started attending Calvary Chapel (now Harvest) in Riverside."
"...also pointed out that when she first met him, Greg struck her, even then, as a rather shy person, someone not possessing a sociable personality. As I said earlier, there may be many understandable reasons for this, his difficult family life, etc. But what is interesting is her memory of Brant back when he first started appearing in Riverside. My wife was still in high school at the time, and Brant was holding services at the Riverside YMCA. Adjacent to that location was a large vacant lot. On one occasion, Iola found Brant walking around there by himself. She approached him and started up a long conversation with him, as they walked around together in that vacant lot that evening. She found him very amicable and "warm", to use her word, very much a friendly and open person who cared about others and was interested in them. She told me that, in her opinion, only someone like Brant, who wants to reach out and touch people, can be in a healing type ministry. She pointed out to me this contrast between how she remembered the young Greg as compared to Brant Baker."
"She also pointed out to me what she considers a turning point in the Shekinah ministry. When you think about it, it was an odd event, mostly a nuisance at the time. During the middle of a Saturday service at the Neighborhood Foursquare Church someone exploded a firecracker or cherrybomb up near the stage, off to one side. You can imagine the commotion it would have caused, especially considering the services were always very crowded. Although I later heard mention of this event, I was not at this particular service, but my wife was there. She recounted to me how, from the point forwards, it seemed to her that Brant started to drift, to become increaslingly nervous and less accessible to people. Soon after that incident, Brant adopted the unfortunate practice of having "bodyguards", thus becoming more isolated from ordinary people. For her, the explosion was a turning point for Brant."
"I myself never played in Shekinah Fellowship anything that could be called a"big role". In fact, you could say I was mostly ignored. But because I was around often enough, the Long Beach people knew who I was, but that was about the extent of it. There was never any serious move to enlist me for any long term purpose, even though I wanted very much to play some sort of useful part.On one occasion, I ushered at the series of services held at the erstwhile LongBeach Municiple Auditorium. I was way up in the balcony, passing out flyers and then collecting the offering. On another occasion, I was allowed to usher, but once, at the Neighborhood Foursquare Church, but was later deemed unsuitable. On the other hand, my wife was on rather friendly terms with many of the key players, and she was often involved in the music end of things, mostly in the choir. On many occasions, she was one of "word of knowledge" ladies who percolated through the auditorium praying for people. And for a short time, she was even close to Kevin Baker. She pointed out to me that Kevin, for a time, worked in his Dad's business and was pretty well off."
"For a time, various members of the inner circle surrounding Brant shared residence together with him in a large house in Long Beach. It was a sort of semi-communal arrangement. They shared a kitchen and many of the expenses. This made it easier for them to function on limited incomes. After all these many years, my wife is unclear on exactly who was there and when, except that it varied over time. At one time, Randy and Marla West were there, along with Bill and Stacey Jensen, and Kelly and Lilly Green. She doesn't recall whether Joe and Linda Dallas, or Eric and Claudia were there. (Eric and Claudia were for a longtime Brant's "personal assistants". Unfortunately, we no longer can recollect their last name, and we have no idea what became of them.)"
"There came the time when Shekinah Fellowship made a transition when it rented the old Fox-Mann theater. I came there that evening when many of the people involved in Shekinah were working late into the night cleaning up the interior,which had accumulated many years of dust. Some of the seating needed repair. It was a huge effort to get the theater in usable shape. Why this move to theFox-Mann was made is not entirely clear to us now. My wife thinks that the Saturday services had simply outgrown the Neighborhood Foursquare Church. I vaguely recollect some mention of a disagreement having happened between pastor BillyAdams and Brant. But we are not sure on this point, as memories begin to fade after so many years. Other people might know, but most of them are not talking, unfortunately, as they dis-relish the whole subject."
"Personally, I suspect that pastor Billy Adams must have exercised some sort of beneficial influence on Brant by providing a source of stability and guidance.When I look at the pictures now of Brant, which you've posted, I am astonished at how young he seemed. Advice from an elderly pastor would have been invaluable to Brant, especially being in such a stressful ministry. Therefore, I suspect that the loss of Billy Adams' influence constituted another unfortunate turning point."
"The point I am trying to make is this: a healing ministry is probably the most perilous ministry there is. It is extremely stressful and the pressures are very great. It can bring a great deal of attention and celebrity, and consequently the temptations are very great. There are so many people in the world with incurable and hopeless situations that they will come in droves, desperately looking for help. For such a young man like Brant to be thrust so quickly into such a stressful and high-profile situation produced huge pressures on him, I amsure. He was a frail young man, a recovering homosexual, who came from an unhappy family situation, who needed sources of seasoned guidance, truthful support, and wise counsel. For him to become increasingly isolated as he did was a recipe for disaster. It also didn't help that many of the other Shekinah ministers begin to hold him in too much awe, thus becoming increasingly disinclined to correct him when he was wrong. His being turned into a celebrity came upon him before he was spiritually ready to handle it--and it destroyed him."
"This is one of the valuable lessons that I think can be learned from Shekinah. All the members of the Body need each other. Brant needed everybody else, because it was dangerous, to begin with, for such a young xtian to be thrust so quickly into such a stressful, high-profile ministry. Brant had a heart for this ministry, but he also had great weaknesses. In some ways, he was let down by all of us who unduely idolized him. I don't say this to excuse his sin, by no means,but I say these things because the Church needs to stop forgetting its mistakes,to stop sweeping them under the rug. It needs to remember its mistakes, totruthfully enter them into the historical record, so that perhaps it will begin to learn from those mistakes. It has to stop covering things up."
"After all these years, I didn't recollect the death threats against Brant, but I am sure at the time someone probably mentioned it. But it does explain plenty."
"As I was never part of the inner circle, I can only speculate on what factors contributed to Brant's relapse. For a recovering homosexual to surround himself with young, male body guards was probably one of those contributing factors.My wife speculates that the Metropolitan Church may have deliberately planted, forlack of a better term, "agent provocateurs" in the church. If there is the one thing that bothers the "gay agenda" and its proponents, it's when someone"leaves the plantation", so to speak. There would certainly be a motive to try to conduct a campaign of sabotage. But this is all speculation on our part."
"We had a unfortunate soul in our Riverside group who struggled terribly with homosexuality, and he confessed to me personally on this subject. It was very sad. There is nothing "gay" (as in gayety) about homosexuality; it's a form of slavery that keeps men trapped in bondage. Another aspect of the situation, is the fact that we also had other homosexuals who frequented the Riveside services, but later it became apparent to me that they were completely and unrepentantly determined to pursue their own rebellious course. I some times wonder what roles they were playing behind the scenes."
"Shekinah Fellowship brought together a great number of young men and women.Naturally, this led to romance and matrimony. Indeed, Shekinah was where I met and married my wife. For a time, there was a flurry of marriages at Shekinah. One of the unfortunate after maths of the ruination of ShekinahFellowship was that a large number of these marriages later ended up in divorce. Stephen and Teddi Boyd divorced, as did Joe and Linda Dallas, and many others.Mark Turney, the young deacon who oversaw the Riverside group, eventually divorced from Darlees. Ron and Sue Schloss were divorced not too long after losing a baby to crib death, an event which happened at a dinner my wife and I attended with several of the Riverside Shekinah people. That was especially sad for us. Out of all the many marriages, it seemed as if the only ones that survived were mine, Randy and Marla West's, Kelly and Lilly Green's, and Randall and Debbie Slack's."
"Earlier this year I had a strong desire to try to try to track down some of theShekinah people. This is difficult to do as they are scattered all over thecountry now. The only place where I could start was by looking on the Internet.My first break was when I stumbled across a web site for a church in Oklahoma.It turned out that Randall Slack (who was once a drummer for the music ministry)was now pastoring a church in the town of Harrah. He and Debbie live in Croctaw,Oklahoma. I got a hold of his email address and contacted him. He turned out tobe exceptional in the sense of not being too reluctant to talk about Shekinah,and that he had maintained contacts with several of the people he knew there. He explained that Stephan Boyd was now pastoring a Calvary Chapel in Oregon (in the town of Newport, it turns out). Bill Jensen was working for a book publisher inOregon. (I have reason to believe this was Multnomah Publishers, located inSisters, Oregon.) After that, I was able to locate Randy and Marla West, who are now living near Temecula. Later, my wife would have a long phone conversation with Marla, and she was quite talkative and friendly. And Randy is the same mellow person I knew before. Finally, I was able to locate Kelly and LillyGreen. We rejoiced to find out they were still married, are living some where near Lancaster, California, and they were still involved in the music ministry in a Vineyard church. They are currently employed together at a large xtian school. Although Lilly would answer our email, I got the feeling that they were not inclined to discuss Shekinah Fellowship. They do have several wonderful children, who are grown up now. One of their sons has a interest in the Mongolian culture and language. In fact, he's married a young lady fromMongolia. On the other hand, my email to Stephan Boyd was never answered. It's entirely possible that he doesn't want to be reminded about Shekinah, especially considering that he is pastoring a CC church."
"Although Shekinah Fellowship has been mostly forgotten by men, given up and thrown "down the memory hole", still I some times suspect that God hasn't entirely forgotten about it."
"It seems curiously ironic to me that Shekinah Fellowship, as a legal incorporated entity, managed to survive and was passed on to Tilson Schumate byTrish Trabuco. It's a strange twist of history that, after all these many years,I would be exchanging email with someone ordained by Shekinah Fellowship. And I also got a kick out of hearing about your street evangelism ministry, with the power outlet, a PA system, and a spotlight.Well, I can't think of much more to say. Until next time..."
Look around over at this link for the pictures we have gotten from you of Brant Baker And Shekinah Fellowship. You may have to click around abit over there to find them: http://shekinahfellowship.socialgo.com/