Secretive sect’s blasted by Rudd setting up new home
A SECRETIVE religious group has been given the green light to construct a new Brisbane place of worship on an almost 2ha parcel of land.
Brisbane City Council last week approved the one-storey church that will provide enough parking for more than 230 vehicles on New Cleveland Rd at Tingalpa.
The application was lodged by Town Planning Alliance on behalf of Gospel Trust No.1 in May last year.
The trust is the trading name of the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church, formerly known as the Exclusive Brethren.
Brethren members are excluded from eating or socialising with "worldly" people.
Members who are excommunicated are often prevented from seeing their own children and families.
The religious group has faced allegations of brainwashing and bullying and the successful application for a new church was at least its third this decade in Brisbane.
Former prime minister Rudd lambasted the secretive conservative Exclusive Brethren while in opposition in 2007.
"I also believe that it breaks up families, I also believe that there are real problems with the provision of modern education to kids under their system where they, for example, are not given full range of access to the full range of information technology systems,' Mr Rudd said at the time.
Three years later, as prime minister, Mr Rudd personally endorsed a bushfire book produced by the Exclusive Brethren's Glenvale School in Victoria in 2010.
Also in 2010, the Brethren proposed a church for 1200 worshippers at Manly West.
In 2013 they proposed a place of worship in Dianthus St, Wakerley.
Like the Manly West proposal before it, the Dianthus St application attracted a mountain of opposition from stern locals who even started a Facebook page to pushback against the proposal.
The Dianthus St site, with a 144sq m meeting room and some two dozen car parks, was approved. It was only one kilometre west from the church council approved last week.
In the 2018 application to the council, the Brethren stated that the "current church" at Balmoral was no longer fit for purpose or central to the congregation and the New Cleveland Rd site was within an industrial development precinct.
The development includes a 2000sq m building that contains an 800sq m place of worship, while a retention pond will be positioned within the grounds near the corner of New Cleveland Rd and Ingleston Rd.
"The current church location in Balmoral is no longer central to the congregation or fit for its use," the application stated.
"The subject site is better located to serve the congregation compared to the current premises."
The religious group was started in the 1840s in London, and is often referred to as the Plymouth Brethren, which runs four independent Queensland schools under the brand name Agnew at Toowoomba, Nambour, Maryborough and Wakerley.
The new place of worship at Tingalpa sits directly opposite the Wakerley campus, a coeducational facility for Years 3-12, under the OneSchool Global brand.
The Wakerley campus opened in 2008 after the original site at Norman Park, which opened in 1994, was too small.
The school is "operated by the members of the congregation".
"Students (and families) that attend the adjacent Agnew School will benefit from the convenience and accessibility of the church developed at the subject site," the application stated.
The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church usually meet on Sundays.
Their websites states that church evolved because of growing dissatisfaction within the Anglican Church in the early to mid-1800s.
The Plymouth Brethren Christian Church has been contacted for comment.