The gospel according to the "Church of Wells" - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

The gospel according to the "Church of Wells"

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WELLS (KYTX) - We're taking a closer look into a controversial church in a small, East Texas town.

The "Church of Wells" is at the center of a battle between an Arkansas couple and their daughter.

Thursday night, more than 150 people attended a town hall meeting to hear the couple's story and learn more about the church.

When we first learned about the Church of Wells, a baby girl named "Faith" had died from respiratory problems. We were told by the Cherokee County Sheriff's office that the members of the church prayed over the girl, instead of taking her to the hospital.

 

The latest controversy involves an Arkansas mother and father, who claim their daughter is being held against her will.

The church and the couple's daughter say she is there by her own choice.

Street preachers with the Church of Wells took their message to the people of College Station last year.

Their methods of preaching are viewed as aggressive by some. So aggressive, that people of Wells and Cherokee County have made complaints with the sheriff's office.

"I think it's a cult. I think it's another Waco." said Peggy Bradley.

On the church's website, you can see some of the members. They're people of all races and backgrounds.

"I believe that within this group, they started out with a Godly plan, that was led astray," said Rev. David Goodwin, Falvey Memorial United Methodist Church.

 

We learned at a town hall meeting Thursday night that many people in Wells want the church to change their ways.

Patty and Andy Grove want their 26-year-old daughter, Catherine, to leave the Wells church.

"What needs to be understood is that when Catherine came to us, she came with the conviction of the holy spirit," said Richard Trudeau, deacon of Wells church.

 

Those with the church say Catherine can do whatever she wants, but those who join the church sometimes withdraw from their families on their own.

If you read some of the letters on the church website, some members believe their families are filled with sin.

"I don't know If I necessarily agree with their entire faith or their direction. But I absolutely support them trying to live a Godly life, " said Cindy Williams.

Cindy Williams is a doctor from Houston. She owns the two-story house where some of the members live.

Her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson are all members of the church.  She says they're paying her back for the house.

"I don't quite understand the controversy. I don't understand why people are so fearful of people who are living a Godly life," explained Williams.

Williams says she visits with her family often.  She truly believe it's Catherine's decision not to see her family.

"They open their houses and church to people who have no where else to go," said Williams.

But it's a different story for Catherine's family, who believe what's happening in the church house is not of God.

"Even though the leaders of this group are insisting she's safe, we don't believe she is," said Patty Grove, Catherine's mother.

While some doubt the beliefs of the Wells church, the members say they continue to do what they believe is the Lord's work.

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