Status of the Assembly Since 2003
George Geftakys died in April, 2014. Betty died in May, 2022. It is the end of an era. As of this writing in 2022 these former Assemblies are still continuing to meet, to the best of our knowledge:
San Luis Obispo
West Los Angeles
Daly City/San Francisco
Otukpo and Makurdi, Nigeria
Beijing, Changsha, Nanchang, and Hong Kong, China.
None of these groups have openly repudiated abusive practices or seriously addressed doctrinal issues, to our knowledge. None have offered public apologies on this website for perpetrating the controlling abusive Assembly system under George and Betty Geftakys. To the best of our knowledge they are still steering people away from this website. The assumption seems to be that George was the problem. 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.
Some of the groups have made outward changes, such as fewer meetings. Most of them seem to continue to perpetrate milieu control by discouraging people from reading this website or speaking with former members. Some of these groups still operate with the cult dynamics of the Assembly--Pacentia did. To our knowledge, none of them disclose their previous association with the Geftakys ministry, and refer to themselves as "just a gathering of Christians".
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 married another Assembly member and they have now been sent out to form a new Assembly.
The former Assemblies in Riverside, Pasadena, San Francisco and Sacramento 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.
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.
List of former Assembly Locations, Outreaches and Leaders
In 2022 Former Leaders Are Still a Concern
Some former Assembly leaders and members are involved in other churches, and are beginning outreaches or home churches on their own. They seem to 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". Tim and Ginger and Dan Notti are of particular concern, and the continuing legacy of Samuel Ochenjele in Nigeria even though he died in 2020.
To other Christians 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. In one case in Canada former Assembly members and leaders went to another small church, and eventually took it over.
But....they were thoroughly indoctrinated in George's way of thinking. Has their theology been purged of the performance element and reroriented to Christ? Have they been mentored and taught in their own personal recovery? Have they openly acknowledged the errors and the damages of the high-demand Assembly system, and their part in it?
On May 29, 2022 Betty Geftakys died.
October 9, 2020 Jeannie Magnuson died.
In July 2020 Samuel Ochenjele died from Covid-19.
December 18, 2018 Mike Zach died after a struggle with cancer.
March 2, 2016 Bruce Barrett died.
August 12, 2015 Dennis Hittle died.
August 10, 2014 George Geftakys died.
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.
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.
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."