John Copeland’s “Inheritance” Money
by Donna Vermillion
Ah, yes. The 2007 KCM Minister’s Conference. What a special time for Kenneth and Gloria Copeland.
Creflo Dollar and John Copeland had sent out a letter to everyone on the “privileged” Minister’s Conference list (you know, it is a real honor to be “invited”). It stated that they were secretly taking up a one-million-dollar offering for Kenneth and Gloria.
Quiet…it’s a surprise! (I wonder now if they were just trying to keep it secret from the news media.)
The letter was on very nice stationery from Creflo Dollar’s ministry and signed by Creflo and also by John Copeland (Kenneth and Gloria’s son). When Rich and I received our copy in the mail, we were shocked and appalled. We were also certain that if Kenneth found out about this abuse of his “precious” Minister’s Conference mailing list, he would really have a problem with this. (This was because of the false image that we had of him, which was so brilliantly portrayed by “humble” Kenneth Copeland.)
I thought, “I can hear Brother Copeland now—telling Creflo and John they had no business using the Minister’s Conference mailing list to receive personal money for him and Gloria.” I told Rich, “Boy, Creflo and John are really going to get rebuked for this one.” Much to our surprise, however, Kenneth and Gloria were very receptive.
We were also told around that time—first-hand by a KCM staff member—that Kenneth Copeland “Ministries” had received many phone calls from some very irate ministers who had received the ridiculous letter. They were pretty angry about it—to the point that they called the ministry to complain. I would have loved to have done that, but I figured that the honorable “Brother” Copeland would take care of the job himself, once he found out about this.
Then the time came for the Minister’s Conference. KCM had even set up extensive “overflow” seating, because this was the big “Fortieth Anniversary Celebration” of Kenneth and Gloria’s (alleged) “ministry”! They just knew that multitudes would want to attend, so they extended their “invitation” to many new ministers that year. The additional seating was ready to accommodate this crowd…but a funny thing happened. They never had to use it. Only a “normal” number came that year, although it looked like there were a lot of new faces there. (Maybe John and Creflo’s “offering” letter had something to do with the apparent low turnout of the veteran attendees.)
So there Rich and I were, sitting in the third row during all three days of the conference. Although this was our sixth year there, this one was really exciting for us. We had gotten the special “name-on-the-seat” seating because of the Angel Flight 44 book that my husband had written about Glen Hyde and Kenneth Copeland, so we had a really good view. They offered free copies of the book to all the ministers attending. (See the Angel Flight 44 section of this website for more information about KCM’s apparent fraud associated with the alleged Angel Flight 44 ministry.)
More, More, More!
Finally, the night came to give the big “love offering” to Kenneth and Gloria. This was during the last session of the conference, on the third evening. We ordered the DVDs of the entire conference. However, large portions of this part of the service were conveniently omitted from the DVD for the last session. (This is another fact that makes me believe that they wanted it to remain “a secret”—for the probable purpose of keeping the local news from reporting on it.)
So, Creflo jumped up onto the platform before Kenneth could get the microphone, and announced the big event. (I am actually assuming that Kenneth and Gloria were being honest when they acted like this was the first time that they had heard of all this.)
The letter had said that Creflo and John were trying to get $1 million for the couple. (They were trying to collect most of that money before the conference, so they were accepting offerings ahead of time.) At the actual minister’s conference event, however, Creflo Dollar announced that he felt like one million dollars was just not enough! (I guess he was trying to scrape up enough money for jet fuel for Ken’s hunting trips and Gloria’s shopping ventures in the “ministry” jet.)
So the $1-million fundraising goal turned into $2 million! When he announced that, I thought, “This is really going too far.”
Den of Thieves
They brazenly set up a table near the front of the auditorium, to the left of the platform (as you face the platform). Two KCM employees took their posts at the table, as they established the equivalent of a retail store checkout register. They even made it easy to give, so we wouldn’t have any excuses. They received checks, credit cards, and cash. (What a blessing!)
Yes, we actually broke down and gave something—just like the rest of the cattle (uh…I mean, conference attendees).
It was a baffling thing. On the one hand, we were very surprised Kenneth was “putting up” with such madness. On the other hand, we started to think it might be “okay” to give because we trusted that Kenneth Copeland was a man of integrity. So we thought, “It must be the right thing to do…or is it?”
We had limited time to give and very little time to really think this thing through—and no time to go off alone as husband and wife somewhere to discuss this perplexing situation—so we went ahead and gave something into the offering. Any salesman will tell you it is much better to try to “close the sale” on the spot, rather than to give the customer a chance to think about it (for they might just change their mind).
So they did it! With much pulling and prodding, they reached their goal. Good job, Creflo.
After the offering was taken up, a teary-eyed Gloria Copeland said from the platform, “No one has ever given us this much money before.” Wow. (As “Larry the Cucumber” once said to his tomato friend in one of our children’s VeggieTales videos, “I laughed, I cried…it moved me, Bob.”)
What a touching moment. Gloria’s tears seemed so genuine. “More shopping money!” she probably thought to herself. She acted like she was a poor orphan receiving an unexpected windfall—who up until that moment didn’t know where her next meal was coming from.
I wonder how many attending ministers suffered financially just to get to the conference, while Mr. and Mrs. “Good Ground” raked in their harvest. (By the way, did any of you ever notice what Proverbs 22:16 says about giving to rich people? We have, and we repented.)
Unfortunately, there never was an offer given to the shell-shocked attendees to request refunds. I am sure that more than a few of us experienced “buyer’s remorse” for our contributions. It is a very good thing that Rich and I didn’t give a “suicide offering” and clean out our bank accounts for this one. I hope no one else did either.
But hey, at least we know Kenneth’s and Gloria’s bank accounts are okay!
Towards the end of the “celebration,” John Copeland, who had partnered-up with Creflo to put this whole mess together, got up on the platform and—after thanking Creflo profusely for his fundraising efforts—distastefully joked, “I will gladly share my inheritance with you, Creflo Dollar.’” (This is an exact quote from the service video that they must have forgotten to edit out before shipping the DVD.) Creflo thanked John for his “gracious” promise and beamed with a large smile.
So congratulations, John. Working with Creflo Dollar, you’ve helped build an “inheritance” for your children! Just don’t tell your kids how you got it, and maybe they will still respect you when they grow up. (Oh, and John…please do not forget about your commitment to Creflo. His kids are surely lacking their own “inheritance” at donor expense, aren’t they?)