Status of the Geftakys Ministry Since 2003
On April, 2014 George Geftakys had a stroke and a fall. He was admitted to hospice care and given two to six months to live. Several former Assembly leaders considered visiting him to make one final appeal for a change of heart. However, George's opportunity for repentance had passed. According to a family member, he was not capable of coherent discussion due to increasing dementia.
On August 11, 2014 George slipped into a coma and died. He was buried in a private service at the Riverside National Cemetery. His granddaughter Elizabeth Esther Geftakys Henderson reflected on his passing on her blog and on her Facebook page. So far as we know, Betty is still living at Plymouth Village in Redlands, CA.
• Status of the Assemblies
• Updates about Former Members
• Post-Assembly Events
• Former Leaders are a Concern
• George Was a Concern to the End
• Readers' Comments
• Related Articles
• Assembly Locations & Leaders
Following George Geftakys' excommunication from the Fullerton Assembly in January, 2003, many Assemblies disbanded. In 2015 the following former Assemblies were still continuing to meet: Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Chicago, Annandale VA, West Los Angeles, Fullerton, San Francisco, Sacramento, Pasadena, Riverside, Champaign, IL, Charleston, IL, Riverside, CA.
Overseas, the following former Geftakys Assemblies are continuing: Manchester in the UK, Otukpo and Makurdi in Nigeria; Beijing, Changsha, Nanchang, and Hong Kong in China. The following gatherings were influenced by the Geftakys ministry, but had independent leadership: Eldoret, Kesses and Nyaru in Kenya; Korogwe in Tanzania; India; Paris, La Vesinet and Nanterre in France; Middleburg in the Netherlands; Olesa, Abrera, Cobrera in Spain.
Several former U. S. Assemblies are actively engaged in outreach. San Luis Obispo is still meeting for worship and is actively recruiting students. They avoid disclosing any connection with the former Geftakys Assemblies. Jeff and Nancy Lemkuhl have students live in their home to be trained. One such student has now been sent out to form a new Assembly.
There seems to have been little change in teaching and practice, although there has been some change in language and terminology. Most of them continue to perpetrate milieu control by discouraging people from reading this website or speaking with former members. They do not disclose their previous association with the Geftakys ministry, and refer to themselves as "just a gathering of Christians".
To our knowledge, none of the groups have openly and seriously addressed doctrinal issues, nor offered public apologies for perpetrating the controlling abusive Assembly system under George and Betty Geftakys. The assumption seems to be that George Geftakys was the problem, and now he is out of the way, the problems have been dealt with. This was expressly communicated in a meeting in the Fullerton Assembly with Samuel Ochenjele in 2003.
Placentia, CA Following G. Geftakys's excommunication from the Fullerton Assembly in January, 2003, the Placentia Assembly renounced him and severed all ties. The group continued to meet on Sundays at the Placentia Round Table until 2017, when they disbanded. They had a website, stated that it was founded on March 18, 2012, taking the name 'Placentia Christian Fellowship'. Newcomers since 2003 were not informed about the Geftakys origins and training. See the article The Placentia Assembly for more details.
Here is a complete list of Assembly locations and outreaches. Groups that are known to continue to meet are marked with an asterisk.
Of particular note are the former Assemblies in Riverside, Pasadena, San Francisco and Sacramento, that remained strongly loyal to George Geftakys and did not accept his excommunication. George preached at Bible studies, gave Sunday stated ministry, and preached at least one seminar to these groups in 2005. Betty was invited to at least one bridal shower.
The leaders considered the testimony of the women that were abused by George to be lies; that it was his word against theirs; that there was no proof; that these women were as guilty as he was before the Lord; that things were not handled spiritually. They believe that there needed to be "two or three witnesses" to the actual behavior in order for there to be an accusation against an elder. They likened it to the false accusations brought against priests in the Catholic church. It was reported that the leaders continued to exercise tight control over the members.
San Francisco, CA The letter of George Geftakys' excommunication was not read there. The members were uninformed of the facts of the situation. George was invited to hold a weekend conference weeks after his excommunication in Fullerton. It is reported that George held a seminar there in May, 2005. The leaders are Scott Testa and Jim Karditzas. Both men lived in George Geftakys' home and were personally trained by him and Betty.
Sacramento, CA The Sacramento group is led by Carlos DeLeon, who reported to Scott Testa. George's excommunication letter was read in Sacramento in a special meeting where brethren were permitted feedback. Publicly, the leadership gave the impression that they were through with the Geftakys regime, but privately they were meeting and talking to Pasadena, San Francisco, and Riverside, with the result that all four Assemblies remained loyal to George.
It was reported that the Sacramento group attended George's May, 2005, seminar in San Francisco. This group is actively reaching out to the community to bring in new members, with campus Bible studies, possibly still called "Studies in the Old and New Testament", at Sacramento City College, American River College and Cal State Sacramento. Campus outreaches still use an Assembly method of recruitment, "The Four Anchors".
As previously stated, it is not known whether Sacramento severed its ties with George Geftakys when Pasadena and Riverside did so in 2007. Leading Brother Dan Matson-Bose left the group over a family matter.
In 2007, for reasons unknown, Jim McAllister's Pasadena group severed ties with George. Also Mike Almanzor's group in Riverside no longer allowed George to give stated afternoon ministry. These decisions apparently had nothing to do with a change in their position on the validity of George's excommunication.
At that point, mid-2007, George left the Riverside group, taking about half the people with him to start a separate meeting in his home at Plymouth Village in Redlands, where he conduct weekly Bible studies and Sunday meetings until his stroke and death in 2014. Possibly his assistant Dave Miller is continuing the meetings.
Former Leaders Are a Concern
Former Assembly leaders and members are becoming involved in other churches, or are beginning outreaches or home churches on their own. They feel that their many years of Bible study and training in the Geftakys ministry qualify them to assume a leadership role elsewhere, especially in a home church or "simple gathering".
They appear to know the Bible well, and are willing to take on responsibility in a church. Pastors concerned about the spiritual commitment of their congregations may be delighted, and be inclined to put them in positions of influence as elders, Bible study leaders, Sunday school teachers or mentors. In home groups they are quite comfortable presenting themselves as qualified and experienced Bible teachers.
But....have they openly acknowledged the errors and damages of the high-demand Assembly system, and their part in it? Have they been mentored and taught in their personal recovery? Has their theology been purged of a performance element? Leaders were thoroughly indoctrinated in George's way of thinking.
Dan Notti visited other churches for years after the break-up of the Geftakys ministry in 2003. He told Steve Irons several years ago that he was dissatisfied with all of them, and was looking for a way he could make a unique contribution.
He is affiliated with "Standing Stone: Shepherding the Shepherds". He contributes to "God's Leader: Loving His Family by Equipping, Discipling, Fathering, Sharing". Note especially Dan's article on "7 Principles of Authentic Community", and the comment section that follows.
Dan collaborated with Keith Giles to produce a series of podcasts, primarily on the topic of house churches. In Podcast #16, "Hard Conversations", Dan demonstrates that his attitude method of exhortation have not changed noticeably over the years. Dan blogs at Dan Notti: Teacher, speaker, entrepreneur and follower of Christ; with a passion to be a catalyst for authentic community. He is employed by Sales Fish.
Former Assembly members discuss Dan's post-Assembly career on the FaceBook group, "The Geftakys Assembly", beginning at February 3, 2016.
Jeff Lehmkuhl initially renounced the George Geftakys and the Assembly ministry, then recanted in 2004 with a public letter on the Assemblyboard. Since then he and Nancy have been hosting a Sunday meeting in their home and reviving the Assembly pattern in San Luis Obispo. See above.
They recruit students from Cal Poly and from the high school where Jeff teaches auto shop. You can read and join the discussion about Jeff on 'The Geftakys Assembly' Facebook page, beginning on January 27, 2016.
Tim and Ginger are very active at Kindred Community Church in Anaheim Hills, CA. Tim teaches one of the two adult Sunday classes, and one of the two men's weekly Bible studies. Tim and Ginger host a Kindred Shepherd Group in Orange.
LinkedIn lists Tim as an "Independent Sports Professional". Ginger is a lecturer at CSUF in the Elementary and Bilingual Education Department. Ginger sells her artwork and photography here, and can be reached at gingergift at aol dot com.
Tim and Ginger have never issued a public apology to people who were badly hurt under their leadership. They have made no public statement about where they stand in regard to the errors in teaching and practice in the Geftakys ministry.
You can read and comment on the discussion about Tim on the FaceBook page, "The Geftakys Assembly" page, beginning on October 4, 2016. You can also email the editor of this site if this concerns you.
Information about Tim's and Ginger's Assembly involvement is referenced in the following articles:
• Tim was called out to make a public statement when corruption was revealed in the Geftakys ministry
• Tim and Ginger's knowledge of his brother's domestic violence
• Tim's unorthodox theology
• Ginger's child training pamphlet
• Tim's pamphlet on the (non)Celebration of Christmas
• A letter illustrative of Tim's instruction to Campus Workers in the Geftakys ministry
• Tim's early history (first three paragraphs)
• Tim and Ginger's daughter Elizabeth Esther wrote a memoir of growing up in the Geftakys family in the Assembly.
In July 2020 Samuel Ochenjele in Otukpo, Nigeria, died from Covid-19. A video of the funeral on August 1 is posted on his FaceBook page.
On December 18, 2018 Mike Zach died after a struggle with cancer.
March 18, 2014
Elizabeth Esther's Assembly memoir was published,
Girl at the End of the World:
My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of Faith with a Future.
Elizabeth, George Geftakys' granddaughter, grew up in the heart of the Geftakys ministry in the Fullerton Assembly.
She recounts with poignant clarity how certain experiences deeply affected her, spiritually as well as emotionally.
March 18, 2012 The former Geftakys Assembly in Placentia, CA, took the name 'Placentia Christian Fellowship, with a website and a FaceBook page. The group disbanded in 2017.
In April, 2011, Remedy Drive announced a new line-up. Brothers Paul, Philip and Daniel dropped out of the band to spend more time with their families. David Zach is continuing Remedy with three new band members.
July 15, 2008 The Casa de Sion project remains in limbo. The Velascos retain personal ownership of the property and refuse to communicate further with those who contributed substantially to the project when it was under the Geftakys ministry.
July 15, 2008 West Los Angeles had a Teen Team July 25 - August 4. They went through Have We No Rights? by Mabel Williamson.
On June 14, 2008 an Assembly wedding was held in Pasadena, between a Pasadena groom and a WLA bride. There were about 300 guests in attendance from the Assemblies in San Francisco, Sacramento, WLA, Pasadena and Riverside. The format familiar - hymns, preaching about the man and women’s relationship likened to Christ and the church, Jim McAllister saying, “You may salute your bride”.
There were differences from past weddings though - there were no headcoverings, and wine was served.
One sad testimony to how narrow-minded the groups still are: The groom’s brother (a former Assembly member) was told he was not invited to the wedding because of negative things he said about George and his followers when he left the Geftakys ministry over five years ago.
Even though he had done all he could to reconcile with his own brother, the group still dictates this family relationship. All the rest of the groom’s family (aunts, cousins, and grandparents) were in attendance regardless of their religious beliefs. Several who are church elders and pastors could not tolerate the message and left immediately after the service.
Of the 300 guests, about 80-90 were family and friends from outside the Assembly. The rest were Assembly folks - current and former members, of which many were children (Jim McAllister's and Scott Testa's families accounted for 16 of them). On June 28, 2008 Brent T. had a response to this.
April 2008: Sometime in mid-2007, Mike Almanzor refused to allow George to continue to give stated ministry on Sunday afternoons, and consequently George Geftakys began all over again with, a weekly Bible study and Sunday service at his home in Plymouth Village in Redlands, CA, located at 242 Carver Circle.
He preached at a conference in Tanzania. He was invited by a brother named Herbert who is involved in a ministry that builds orphanages. George seemed to be attempting to gain a position of influence in that ministry. Amazing. It's like the Robert Duvall character in "The Apostle".
July 15, 2008 Readers ask, "Why were some Assemblies shaken to the ground, while others were not as effected?" Here is the editorial 2 cents. I think the answer is that in order for GG's demise to have an effect, there had to be an influential person or two in an Assembly, or enough ordinary members, who were able to engage their critical thinking to break out of the mind control to the point of renouncing the system and leaving.
In the SFV and Omaha, on the other hand, the leaders wanted to carry on, but after a lot of public debate, the members all left, so the leaders gave up. Similar scenario in Annandale, but the Workers carried on with just themselves - 4 couples, of whom 2 have now left.
San Francisco, Placentia, Pasadena, Riverside and Sacramento are a different story. They all have leaders who are ambitious to keep something going, to the point of hiding their past association with the Geftakys ministry, continuing the GG-style control over the members, and being willing to keep information from them by forbidding them to read this website.
Other groups most likely continue with one of GG's second lieutenants who really liked to "wear the pants" rising to the fore, or even someone who was on the sidelines under GG now seizing their opportunity to lead.
A few groups seem continue for the sake of friendship and familiarity, and are not concerned to exercise critical thinking. These all have something to lose if they were to break out of the mind control and really look at things.
Probably a few groups continue without a strong leader solely because of the mind control - they truly believe the false teaching that other churches are worldly, that the only correct way to worship is the Assembly way, headcoverings are essential, etc.
The situation is probably more nuanced than I've described. The mixture of mind control (denial), ambition and the comfort of the familiar is murky from the outside. A visit to each Assembly might clear up the picture. Well, that's just my 2 cents. What do you think?
November, 2003, Becky W.: "When the facts change," said economist John Maynard Keynes when asked once about his shifting positions, "I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" I love this quote. When confronted with formerly covered up facts about the Assemblies and its real history, we all have choices to make. We can change our minds about our involvement in and support of it. To me, that's called "repentance".
"Or we can stick our heads in the sand--'Don't worry, be happy'. We can attack those who brought the facts to light. i.e. shoot that messenger. We can pretend we're made of teflon and were absolutely unaffected by the corruption, false teaching, and aberrant behavior of the unrepentant main leaders and their training, and the resulting effects in all of our lives.
"If we stay in an existing Assembly we can keep doors of fellowship open with those who leave, or we can tell ourselves and other members, 'Have nothing to do with those who leave.' You can even choose to actually say things like, 'They all had issues in their lives they were unwilling to face,' 'They speak evil,' 'Are you going to write about me on the website?'
"We who leave can talk about it, or not. We can encourage others to talk about it, or we can reinforce the code of silence by discouraging discussion. We can learn from those out longer, and other Christians in many places, or we can say, 'God is sufficient for us, brother.' So many choices. I'm sure I've left out many more."