Church of Wells/YMBBA Ministries

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9/07/2014 1:59 pm  #1

Faith Pursley/Baby death news archive

Parents of dead Cherokee County baby choose prayer over calling 911 
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

WELLS, TX — Cherokee County officials are investigating the death of an infant, whose parents chose to pray over the baby before calling for help 15 hours after the child's death.
At around 4:00 a.m. Sunday, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office received a call in reference to the death of a 3-day old infant.
The caller told dispatchers that the child was born on Wednesday and had passed away around 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The caller admitted to praying over the child before calling 911.
Deputies, emergency crews and investigators responded to the Wells Manor Apartments on Wright Patman Drive and found the infant in a bassinette next to the bed in the master bedroom of the apartment.
The mother, father and several adults, who identified themselves as elders of the church with whom the parents are members, were present and cooperated with detectives when they arrived.
The identities of the family members and witnesses are not being released at this time.
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Vera Foreman pronounced the infant at the scene and ordered and autopsy.
The investigation continues.


9/07/2014 2:03 pm  #2

Re: Faith Pursley/Baby death news archive

ETX parents pray for 15 hours over dead baby before calling 911

CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -Deputies with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office are investigating the death of a three-day-old infant whose parents waited 15 hours after her death to call 911.
According to Capt. John Raffield, the sheriff's office received a call at 4 a.m. Sunday in reference to the death of a three-day-old infant. The caller said the baby was born on May 23 and died around 1 p.m. on Saturday. The caller said they had been praying over the baby over the previous 15 hours before calling 911.
Deputies, EMS and investigators responded to the Wells Manor Apartments on Wright Patman Drive and found the infant in a bassinette next to the bed in the master bedroom of the apartment.
The mother, father and several adults who identified themselves as elders of the church with whom the parents are members, were present and cooperated with investigators when they arrived, Raffield stated.
The sheriff's office is not releasing the names of the parents or witnesses at this time. An autopsy has been ordered on the infant and deputies continue to investigate the case.

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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9/07/2014 2:16 pm  #3

Re: Faith Pursley/Baby death news archive

Baby's death draws attention to Wells religious group
May 30, 2012
By Francesca Washington

WELLS, TX (KTRE) -They walk up and down the streets of Wells. Bibles in hand, ready to preach a word from God.
"They run around telling everybody they are going to hell," said Samantha Shelton. "They ride their bikes all throughout the night. They're strange."

A religious group investigators believe has ties to the Church of Arlington have found an East Texas town to call home.
Residents are less than thrilled.
"I think it's reeked some havoc on the town," said Kristy Tobure. "We've made it known as far as the town they are not welcome."
Sunday morning, investigators were called to an apartment where a three-day-old infant died. The six adults that were inside are all members of the religious group.
Officials say parents, friends and church members prayed for the baby inside the apartment instead of calling the proper authorities.

"My neighbors, they said it sounded like a bunch of howling and it went on for hours," Shelton said.
"Investigators arrived on the scene and that's when we learned the child actually passed away on Saturday," said Capt. John Raffield of the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.
While the cause of death hasn't been determined, Raffield says the child did eventually go into distress.
It's even unclear where the child was born.
"It was not in a hospital," Raffield said. "I don't know if it was born in the apartment or another church member's house."
William, a member of the church, says the group has been told to keep quiet about the situation.
When asked about their religion, he said to look in the New Testament. Those teachings are the foundations of their beliefs, he said.
On the surface, the church's website doesn't appear to be to radical compared to other Christian denominations.
Wells resident Kristy Tobure says members of the group have approached her and she finds them intimidating.
"They try to force their beliefs on the weak," she said. "They kind of talk down to you."
Up until this weekend, law enforcement has not found a reason to be concerned about this group, except for one disturbance.
"There's been an incident where they disrupted a church service at a point a couple of months back," Raffield said.
The situation was resolved before deputies arrived and no report was filed.
Now residents are trying to adjust to life with neighbors and make sense of Saturday's tragedy.
Raffield said the following websites have been connected to the group:
Calls to national organizers of the group for comment were not returned Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 KTRE. All rights reserved.

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9/07/2014 3:01 pm  #4

Re: Faith Pursley/Baby death news archive

Baby's death bringing attention to religious group
By Anthony Austin

WELLS (KYTX) - We're learning more about the East Texas parents who reportedly prayed over their dying baby instead of calling 911.

The parents of the baby girl, who they named Faith, said the baby appeared to have respiratory problems before she died.

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office received a call Sunday around 4am. It was from the baby's father at the Wells Manor Apartments on Wright Patman Drive. Wells is a small town between Alto and Lufkin. The father of the child said his daughter had been dead since Saturday afternoon. But he and 20 more people had been praying over her body.
When deputies arrived, the baby was bright red at the top of her body and dark and purple at the bottom. Deputies said the baby was in a bassinet in the corner covered with a blanket.

CBS 19 knocked at the door of the Wells Manor apartment where this all happened. No one answered. But soon neighbors were rushing to tell us about the people who lived inside.
"They have their heads dropped, they usually have a bible or a backpack on their shoulder," said Teresa James. Teresa James lives near the family and said she didn't know the mother was pregnant. She could hear people inside the apartment praying over the weekend.

"For about three hours they had a constant hum coming out of the apartment. A lot of different members walking to and from the apartment and of course we didn't know what had happened," said James. She said the family is extremely religious often knocking on their doors at all times of the day.  They would tell them they needed to be saved from the sins of this world. "They walked in and they turned my Dad's television off. They told him they needed to talk and they don't even know my dad. I think that's really bold," added James.

The sheriff's report said at the time of the baby's death the father told investigators he had delivered his daughter by himself. He reportedly said the baby would not drink milk from the mother's breast. He fed the baby girl breast milk with a dropper. The report said when the baby started having health problems he asked members of his religious group to come and pray. The sheriff's report said when they arrived, the people with the group would only tell them their names were "Christian."

"There were several church members. I believe they came out of the Dallas area," said Cpt. John Raffield, Cherokee County Sheriff's Office.

People in the community said something needs to be done immediately about the child's death.
"I just believe what they did was wrong cause that baby may have had a chance to live," said Kristy Toburen.
"I was angry. You just can't let things like that happen in your community and let it go unnoticed," added James.

The sheriff's office is not releasing the names of the people involved. No arrest or charges have been made at this time. Charges are possible in the future.
Child Protective Services was called out to investigate, because the parents have other young children. No word if those children are in CPS custody.

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9/07/2014 3:09 pm  #5

Re: Faith Pursley/Baby death news archive

Church group explains 15 hour prayer for deceased 3-day-old
By Francesca Washington

CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KLTV) -Audio from a memorial service for three-day-old Faith surfaced on the You Must Be Born Again Ministries website. The church's speaker attempts to shed light on why their group believed prayer would save the infant. Faith was only three-days-old when she passed away; after her death, she was surrounded by prayer for 15 hours.

"We weren't being foolish; we wanted God to be glorified,"said  Sean Morris, YMBBA Ministries. During a memorial service for the infant, Church of Arlington member Sean Morris said faith's death was a part of God's plan.
"Concerning the place that we've sinned as elders and as a church after that child died we believed it was God's will that the child would be raised," said Morris.

Officials in Cherokee County say Faith wasn't born in a hospital.

Neighbor Tamika Harrison says the family told her Faith was born healthy but with some alarming symptoms. "They told me the baby was fine but her hands and her feet were blue," said Harrison.

"Investigators have learned the child might have been born in distress," said Captain John Raffield, Cherokee County Sheriff Department. A condition often caused by rapid labor and delivery complications that reduce blood flow to the baby.[sic]
Instead of taking the child to the hospital, parents called their church members and prayed their faith would save the child.

"We've seen many miracles as a church and as individuals, I'm not boasting but I'm just giving you something from our mindset," said Morris.
The group took instruction from a story in the Bible about a king who sought help from physicians rather than God.
"We're not against hospitals or medical fields or medicine we use hospitals and medicine. We're not against any of these things all we're against is that putting those things supremely over Christ," said Morris.

While the family mourns, Morris believes God's truth will honor Faith's death.

Faith's parents have three other children all under the age of five. The Cherokee County Sheriff's Department is working with Child Protective Services on the investigation.

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9/07/2014 3:18 pm  #6

Re: Faith Pursley/Baby death news archive

Update: Audio released by Wells religious group of baby's memorial
By Anthony Austin

Released by "You Must Be Born Again" Ministries:
To whom it may concern,We are not ignorant of the slander of many, nor are we desirous to answer all of the accusations which have been cast in our teeth, adding sorrow to sorrow. Nevertheless, we thought it expedient to inform all of the earnest desire which we (here at the church of Wells) have to walk in the light and do the truth. We have done nothing "in a corner", but have sought to do all things openly, for, "he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God" (Jn. 3:21). We have nothing to hide, and yet we did not (neither do we plan to) make a statement to our earnest inquirers (the news reporters)… We find it inconsistent with holiness to thus join hands with backbiters and talebearers in their fabulous tales. Thus have we refrained our feet from this way, and have declined open communication with such reporters.

We desire the sermon preached at the memorial service of Faith Shalom Pursley to suffice as a response to the many reports given (public and private). This sermon was preached to the purpose to answer the questions surrounding the the death of Faith, and various beliefs of the church which have been deemed (by the general public) everything but moderate. This is our humble stance upon these matters. There are specific allegations that were made concerning Kristin Pursley (who was saved earlier this year at the church), the mother of Faith, which are answered directly in this sermon.

A more extensive post to come shortly, Lord permitting.

(Any further questions concerning these matters may be submitted to the author of this post, Jake Gardner, at the contact given on that page).

For Peace,
Ryan Ringnald, Sean Morris, Jake Gardner

To listen to here. 

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