Council of bishops denounces Pathways leader's 'demonic behaviour'Friday, October 22, 2021
BY VERNON DAVIDSON
The International Council of Pentecostal Bishops (ICOPB) yesterday denounced the behaviour of Pathways International Kingdom Restoration Ministries leader Kevin Smith and confirmed that it had severed ties with him because he has breached the council's code of ethics.
“We have known the leader of that church for quite some years and have never seen or known of any of this kind of behaviour or false belief systems which are diametrically opposed to the teachings of the faith,” ICOPB chief prelate and president, Archbishop Dr C Lloyd Battieste stated in response to questions posed by the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.
“In the strongest way possible we denounce and reject his present belief system, practices and demonic behaviour!” Archbishop Battieste said, adding that the ICOPB was “heartbroken by the diabolical events that took place at Pathways” last Sunday.
The throats of two members of the religious organisation were slit during a ritual and a third person was killed in a confrontation with the police, who said they were fired upon as they approached the premises Sunday night.
The police said they were forced to enter the building in Albion where Smith operated Pathways International to prevent more people being killed in what was believed to be a human sacrifice ritual.
Forty-two members of the congregation — 31 women and 11 men — as well as 14 children were taken into custody. The children were placed in State care, while the women and seven of the men were charged with breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act and granted bail. Four of the men, including Smith, remain in custody. The other two, the Observer was told by police, had been released.
Yesterday, the Observer had reported that the council had dropped Smith from its membership as his name was not seen on the list of bishops on its website on Tuesday. On Monday, though, the Jamaican pastor's name was on the list.
Yesterday, Battieste said the council was still in shock and was outraged upon hearing of what was taking place in Smith's church.
“Our hearts go out to all the individuals affected by the horrible events,” he said.
“Kevin Smith was a part of the International Council of Pentecostal Bishops Inc. Upon learning of this incident the ICOPB has severed all ties and has removed his name from the record, due to his breach of the council's code of ethics,” the archbishop said.
The council's code of ethics for members is divided into three standards — personal, pastoral, and partnership. Among the requirements are that bishops must be always conscious of their high and sacred calling; give diligent attention to their soul in prayer and devotion; give adequate time to study in preparation for their preaching ministry; maintain a high moral standard in both speech and conduct; always conduct their financial and business transactions above reproach; regard their services and ministry as primary and their remuneration and rewards as secondary; always retain high standards for their church/ministry in the community, realising that their conduct and statements are representatives; become engaged in only those community activities that have to do with their own ministerial duties; and refrain from inviting into their jurisdiction questionable methods of evangelism that would harm the standards of the ICOBP and its affiliates or cause undue hardship to a neighbouring church.
The archbishop also said that Pathways was never a part of Redemption Faith Ministries International Inc as reported by the Observer yesterday, pointing out that Redemption Faith and the ICOPB are two separate and different organisations. “The only connection is the president that serves both entities separately,” he said.
Added Battieste: “Let us continue to pray for the mental health and wellness of our brothers and sisters of that church and the church worldwide. We are living in a period where we all need to seek the Lord wholeheartedly.”