Today’s show is a continuation of the examination I’ve been doing around the relationship and practices of Gloria Jean’s Coffee, Hillsong Church and Mercy Ministries. Today’s guest is a former resident of Mercy Ministries in the United States. She spent 7 months inside Mercy about 8 years ago and is still today too frightened of them to use her real name, so she is using the alias “Vickie Lucas”. Vickie tells me about how she entered Mercy trying to find help for her bulimia nervosa condition but instead of psychological and clinical treatment, she was subjected to exorcisms, neglect and emotional abuse. She talks about how she was chastised in public by Mercy founder Nancy Alcorn, who claims to be a lifelong celibate, for getting her haircut – apparently according to Mercy that’s a clear sign she is possessed by demons making her into a lesbian.
As you might be aware, there have been allegations over the last six months that Mercy Ministries has been treating it’s clients (mostly “troubled” young women) with techniques including exorcisms and prayer readings.
As an ex-franchisee (yes, if you will pardon the pun I “saw the light” and got out) it disturbed me that we were given Targets for our “voluntary contributions”. In fact, we were required to audit the donations from our Mercy “box” on the counter and explain why were not at our required target every month. Everything this franchise stood for was, in one word, MONEY; and they would do anything in an effort to make more. It’s easy to feel Christian when you can screw your franchisees over 6 days a week and then go to Hillsong on Sunday and get absolution. This franchise is the single most evil facade masquerading as a Christian “feel good” company we ever encountered. Stay away.
There’s nothing wrong with a business chasing revenue but if “Paul Barista” is correct, Gloria Jeans’ franchisee’s are pressured to increase their takings for the Mercy Mission, a very scary fundamentalist group preying on weak young women.
I urge everyone to stay well clear of Gloria Jeans. Buy your coffee somewhere else. The more I learn about the way Gloria Jeans works, the more they sound like a scary fundamentalist group. Every dollar you spend there helps them financially support the Hillsong sect and their equally-scary offshoots like Mercy Mission. If we’re not careful, Australia could end up like the US, with right-wing Christian fundamentalist groups playing an increasingly large role in politics.