A week ago Monday and a few hours after my father passed away, I was notified of his death. Since then, the funeral has taken place and I could not help but to note that Stan's wife, Elaine, nor my sister Judy had sense enough to even notify me. Many others did though and I am appreciative for them. I also noted with interest that in Stan's obituary in the Sarasota Herald Tribune that I was omitted along with my husband and my son - Stan's youngest grandchild. I was not surprised in the least as in the last couple years as my father's health failed, I was told many times I would be excluded not only from the funeral, but the obituary as well.
Though I did not attend my father's funeral, many attendees knew well in advance I would not be invited and as a result, I was sent a couple recordings and listened with great sadness as it appears, even in my father's death and afterwards, the lies and deceit will continue regarding him, his ministry, and our family. Michael Taillon, my sister Judy's husband, eulogized my father and in apparent reference to the tragedy that my father brought to our family said,
"Several years ago there was a plot to destroy Stan. Lies were told about him, and sadly some people believed them. A lesser man may have turned and run, but Stan stood firm in the face of allegations, and was found blameless."
The facts simply do not support Michael's claim. There was never "a plot to destroy Stan." There was, however, an audit conducted regarding Stan's handling of donor money and it was Stan's response to what was uncovered that led to such tragedy for my family and others. The audit findings ultimately led to Stan being the subject of a criminal investigation opened by the Manatee County Sheriff's office, the FBI, and the TEGE Division of the IRS which subsequently forfeited and closed Stan Telchin Ministries.
Cover from the funeral program.
Since his funeral, I have received several dozen letters, emails, and phone calls from other members of the extended family and general public, expressing their condolences and almost without fail, each person has expressed real discomfort over what Stan did and how he lived his final years at the direct expense of so many - including his own family. This is particularly true of many who attended his funeral and knew him well and knew what he had done to his family because of his ministry. One gentleman wrote, "I realize most comments made at funerals emphasize what a great person the deceased was, so I expected that. But some of the words were really over the top for me, especially in light of what I knew about the man."
This really does sum up my father's legacy; he was one face in the pulpit but an entirely different face in private and at home.
While certainly my father knew right from wrong, as he preached from the pulpit, in his later years his eroding standards, moral ambiguity, and preservation of self led to unimaginable tragedy in the lives of so many people. Sadly, it was all done in the name of Christ. My father did not love integrity in his personal or professional life; he did not practice trustworthiness in leadership; he did not seek purity in spiritual formation or theology. He did not facilitate fairness with his family or community, and most important of all, he was accountable to no one but himself. This is the great tragedy of Stan Telchin's life and ministry and this is the great lesson that others can learn from my father,
Where there is no accountability, there is no ministry.
Shortly after Stan's passing, Jews For Jesus (with whom my father served as a missionary) issued the following statement on their website concerning my father's latest book,
"We also recognize that (Stan Telchin's) book, 'Some Messianic Jews Say, Messianic Judaism Is Not Christianity: A Loving Call to Unity' to which we had inadvertently been connected at the time of its release in 2004, has been a source of great consternation and hurt to some in the body. We truly regret that Jews for Jesus was ever associated with this book. We have never endorsed it, published it, carried it, sold it, nor do we have any copies for distribution at our disposal."
This tragic chapter comes to a close now. I will always remember fondly the good memories I had with my father, my mother, and my sister. But for my remaining days, I will always look back on my father's ministry with derision for ultimately, it was his ministry, his love of money, and his love of a public position that he loved most. He loved it with such passion that when held to account, he sacrificed his family for it. My family was destroyed because of my father's ministry and he died leaving many people confused, hurt, and divided.
While in the public domain my father mastered the art of presenting a pastoral face and that of an elderly God-fearing man, at home with his family and in his personal life the fruits of the Holy Spirit were never made manifest. While in public he proclaimed the power of God, it was that very redeeming power and ministry of the Holy Spirit he denied to his own family. In short, he practiced a juvenile form of Christianity that served only his interests.
I suspect many would be shocked to know that other than a nine month course of study in 1980 at Kenneth Hagin's Rhema Bible Training Center, my father's only other education was a bachelors degree in speech and masters degree in drama from Catholic University when he was studying to be a Shakespearean actor in the 1950's. Contrary to what he claimed over the years, he was not ordained and he never had a Ph.D. In short, my father was not qualified to be in ministry. In this celebrity-driven modern culture of Christianity we live in, he used his professional training as an actor and found his stage and a receptive audience among unsuspecting Christians. Barry Rubin, Rabbi of the oldest Messianic congregation in the U.S. and director of Messianic Jewish Communications, summed it up best when he said in an article in the December 2004 issue of The Messianic News Times,
"Stan Telchin is not a theologian, he is not a leader of any Messianic Congregation,
This is a fair assessment of my father as ultimately, he was just an actor masquerading (as my father said many times) "as God's personal agent to the Jewish people." I can only quietly hope that perhaps in the years ahead, the truth will continue to come out and in so doing, bring peace and restoration to so many who were left so hurt and deeply wounded by how my father lived his life. After all, it is only in the truth that we are made free.
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