PERTH, Australia --- East Perth Church's tithe numbers are shattering historic records for Adventism in Australia. While the booming tithe figures have made it highly popular with administrators at the Australian Union Conference, East Perth has increasingly come under fire from sister churches annoyed at being financially outdone by the congregation.
"Their tithe numbers are only high because of their membership policy which can be summed up in four words: 'You can never leave,'"complained exasperated church secretary, Jane Silverspoon of Avondale College Church. Silverspoon says she has "absolutely had it" with East Perth and has given up trying to transfer their members to her congregation.
While membership transfers into East Perth are handled expeditiously, the church's office staff claims requests for transfers out have been held up in processing. "In the meantime, they get the credit for member tithe," said Siverspoon.
"I asked for my membership to be transferred a month after I moved to Sydney," said Donna Wilson, a former East Perth praise team leader. "That was three years ago and my transfer is still being processed."
"People need to lighten up a little," said East Perth Senior Pastor, Bruce Crowe. "Rather than faulting us for being so good at retention, maybe our hot-headed sister churches should take some notes."
Crowe said that there was a lot to be said for hanging on to your members. "Contrary to some of the accusations that have been flying around, East Perth is not obsessed with shut-door theology. We believe in a wide open door," said Crowe. "Just not a revolving one."