Follow the Money

Synod Chasing after Second Presbyterys money

Follow the Money

At sixteen, I was chosen out of my Civics class to spend a day with a councilman on the Winter Haven, Florida, City Council. I attended a council meeting and was the councilman’s guest for a very nice lunch. I was so excited. I was to watch how democracy worked and report what I saw to my Civics class.

I was disappointed in what I saw. I was young and naīve. I expected something grand and wonderful, not something so mundane as discussions about money. At lunch, the councilman I was shadowing explained to me that the political system was mainly about money — knowing who has it, how to get it, how to spend it, protect it, and politically benefit from it. He said, “Charles, if you want to know what’s going on in government, FOLLOW THE MONEY.”

Sad to say, in the world of ecclesio-politics, the same is true: FOLLOW THE MONEY.


In the last issue of ARPTalk (“How to Throw Away a Million Dollars”), I reported that Erskine College had lent $1,000,000 to Icelaven Corporation, the parent company of Reason & Republic, a for-profit charter school management organization, founded by James Galyean, and that Erskine was suing Icelaven and Galyean for non-payment of the loan.

I also reported that Galyean was a member of the Christ Reformed ARP Church in Anderson, SC, that he was a member of the Session (the governing body of the congregation), and that his pastor, Alex Campbell, was a member of the Erskine College board.

I asked, “How does one spell N·E·P·O·T·I·S·M ?”

I was told yesterday (6/6) that Rev. Campbell has resigned from the Erskine board. That’s noble! Good for him!


At Due West and in the folds of the ARPChurch, the pessimist says, “Good grief, things can’t get worse!” The optimist says, “I bet you ten dollars they can!”

The situation on the Erskine board is muddier. The oncoming chairman of the Erskine board is Alan Runyan. His son is Cameron Runyan, the CEO and Chairman of Charter Institute at Erskine. The spending of monies by the Charter Institute has attracted the attention of the South Carolina legislature.

At this point, there is a new question: How does one spell I·N·C·E·S·T ?


Transparency is not a virtue at Erskine. Below is a copy of the letter sent out yesterday (6/6/2024) by Erskine President Steve Adamson.

I have some great news to share with you!

As you may know, Erskine’s fiscal year ends June 30. This has been a year of tremendous opportunity, growth, and excitement. You may have seen an open letter I recently wrote celebrating the academic and fiscal achievements of the past year. Here are some of the highlights:

Erskine’s total 2023-24 enrollment exceeded 1,000 students. - Exceptional new faculty joined the college and seminary.

  • We launched six new majors, opened the Honors Institute at Erskine, and introduced the Global Theological Diploma.
  • We lowered Erskine’s endowment spending for fiscal year 2023-24 to $2.5 million, the lowest in five years.
  • If we exceed projected donor gifts by June 30, this should position us with a 17 percent revenue increase this year over last year, the most significant single-year increase in over 50 years.

This is just a brief summary of the many improvements happening at Erskine. For more details, click here to read my letter.

Your Board of Trustees, my executive staff, and I are working tirelessly to finish this historic fiscal year on solid financial footing, strengthening Erskine for the future.

There is still more work to do—and we need your help!

The financial results described in my letter are projected and depend on continued support during these next few weeks. Now is not the time to sit back and relax. Instead, it is critical to help Erskine finish the strongest financial year the College has seen in five decades!

If we finish the fiscal year with the surplus we are currently projecting, this will give us a strong footing during our accreditation review in December. Your generous contributions in June will help us reach our goals.

I am humbled and so encouraged by all that we have accomplished together.

Now is the final push for our team to successfully conclude the 2023-24 fiscal year. Will you stand with us and support Erskine? Will you consider making a generous contribution today?

Give Today!

Read the PDF Synod Report to understand the notes below

Here are a few questions the interested reader should ask.

  1. Where is information about the $1,000,000 loan to Icelaven and the suit against Icelaven for non-payment?
  2. Where is information about nearly two dozen layoffs of faculty and the story of staff and individuals taking reductions in salaries?
  3. Where is information about Erskine’s involvement in charter schools?
  4. Where is information about the impending investigation by the South Carolina Legislature into Erskine’s involvement in charter schools?
  5. Where is information about SACS’s continuing investigation of financial operations at Erskine?

Flat out! How can Adamson write such a rosy letter and ask people to give when the Erskine elite has flushed down the toilet


When Adamson’s letter was posted on the Erskine FACEBOOK page, there were critical comments. Some of the criticisms, I am told, were taken down. Below is a sample of the comments.

Comment #1

A "successful fiscal year" achieved by paying employees significantly less than industry standard for their roles, taking overtime away from employees that count on it as part of their salary, and refusing to give raises to employees who consistently receive excellent performance reviews over years of employment. Great job Erskine!

Comment #2

And how many employees were laid off in order to reach this ''successful financial year’'?

So, how will the delegates at the meeting of General Synod respond to Adamson’s letter and the Erskine Report? Well, the only thing higher than Erskine’s ineptitude is the gullibility of ministers and delegates at a meeting of General Synod. They will be like a troop of chimpanzees attempting to fathom the workings of a computer. As the English poet Ralph Hodgson said, “Some things have to be believed to be seen.”


Below are beginning statements from the report on Second Presbytery and Chuck Wilson.

First, no one was asked to serve on this committee. Instead, Synod appointed men who had already invested a considerable amount of time the previous year on the Miller Commission and Synod’s investigation of Mr. Chuck Wilson. Busy men with busier schedules were appointed to serve on a committee whose size alone made scheduling regular meetings a real challenge.

Second, the scope of this case was massive. The more the committee examined, the more issues we found with how this case was handled. One committee member remarked that if we had the resources of a congressional committee, we could have easily produced a report in detail of over 1000 pages.

Third, there were difficulties in dealing with members and officers of Second Presbytery. The committee asked for documents that were used in the Mr. Matt Miller case, but to date, have still not been turned over to our committee. This is particularly troubling as Second Presbytery requested Judicial Reference and according to Book of Discipline 6.2, when a lower court requests Judicial Reference from a higher court, “All evidence and records shall be transmitted to the higher court, that the case may be heard with as little delay as possible.” Additionally, Mr. Scott Cook who served as chairman of Second resbytery’s Minister and Work Committee during the time in question, transferred out of Second Presbytery. Despite the multiple challenges that have been expressed thus far in this report (and countless others hat are not expressed), our committee was able to complete an investigation and presents to you the indings listed below. The following events all happened in time and space, and therefore, the court must contend with the reality they present.

A number of comments are due.

  1. Why the self-deprecation regarding the committee? None of the members of the committee was coerced to serve. If members were too busy to serve, why were they not noble enough to resign?
  2. The statement that documents were not turned over to the committee is gaslighting. It’s a lie! The documents were turned over to the Clerk of Synod, Kyle Sims. I know, for I sent them to him. I am also aware that others sent them to him. The problem is that the written documents were not read, the tapes were not listened to , and the videos were not viewed.
  3. The problem with their investigation is that the committee was made up of those who mismanaged the case. That is, the fox was asked to examine the fox’s activities to see if he had been eating chicken. The conclusion of the fox’s report was a foregone conclusion!
  4. The report declares that documents were not handed over to them. How would anyone on the committee know that if they were not privy to documents? And, if they were, why would they ask for the documents?
  5. If the documents were not handed over to the committee, how did the committee complete its work?
  6. How did the committee come up with the idea of dissolving Second Presbytery? Did anyone consult with the congregations of Second Presbytery?
  7. Which members of Second Presbytery did the committee consult with? What are their names?
  8. Why did the committee not meet with the Minister and His Work Committee of Second Presbytery? I know the members of the Minister and His Work Committee, and they don’t remember a meeting.
  9. How does the committee plan to dissolve the corporation that is Second Presbytery? How does one dissolve a corporation involuntarily? This is a legal issue! Is General Synod ready to tackle this ( Profile/6aafe746-2276-429a-9aa5-b83e09e9e256 and search for "Second Presbytery")?

Now What's the Real Issue?


The committee makes a big deal of Second Presbytery being dysfunctional (and which presbytery is functional?). Therefore, dissolve the presbytery. But I remember that authority in the ecclesiastical system of the ARPChurch flows up, not down. General Synod exists because of the presbyteries; the presbyteries do not exist because of General Synod.

When First Presbytery was embroiled in the matter of Scott Robar which took years, and many were calling First Presbytery “toxic,” no one suggested the dissolving of First Presbytery. But First Presbytery did not have $6,000,000 in assets.

At this point, Catawba Presbytery has been consumed for four or five years with First Presbyterian Church in Columbia regarding their questionable treatment of Jeffery Prato, and no one has suggested dissolving Catawba Presbytery. But Catawba Presbytery does not have $6,000,000 in assets.

At the first meeting of General Synod at First Presbyterian Church during Covid, the floor erupted in debate because of a matter coming out of Virginia Presbytery. Patrick Malphrus and another members of Virginia Presbytery were at odds with each other. Malphrus advocated for the dissolving of Virginia Presbytery. He wanted to be in another presbytery. He called the presbytery a “dumpster fire.” However, there was no motion to dissolve Virginia Presbytery. But Virginia Presbytery didn’t have $6,000,000 in assets.

Second Presbytery has $6,000,000 in assets. That is, (depending on the market) there is about $5,000,000 in liquid assets (cash, savings, and stocks). There is another $1,000,000 in mortgage loans which are being paid.

I recently asked a member of the Board of Stewardship the value of the liquid assets managed for Synod. He said they managed just over $2,000,000. Synod’s liquid assets plus the liquid assets of all the other presbyteries do not equal the liquid assets held by Second Presbytery. And as far as the assets of Second Presbytery are concerned, as chairman of Second Presbytery’s Stewardship Committee, I raised those monies through the liquidation of the properties of failed congregations and by finding folks who knew how to invest successfully in the market.

As the old councilman on the Winter Haven City Council said, “Charles, if you want to know what’s going on in government, FOLLOW THE MONEY.”

If you want to know what’s going on in the ecclesiocracy called the ARPChurch, FOLLOW THE MONEY.

The paragraph below is a reminder of the Associate Presbytery in Scotland. And remember, history tends to repeat itself.

At the General Assembly of 1722, a group of men including Ebenezer had been rebuked and admonished for defending the doctrines contained in the book The Marrow of Modern Divinity. In 1733, a sermon he preached on lay patronage at the Synod of Perth led to new accusations being levelled against him. He was compelled to defend himself from rebuke by appealing to the General Assembly, but the Assembly supported his accusers. After fruitless attempts to obtain a hearing, he, along with William Wilson of Perth, Alexander Moncrieff of Abernethy and James Fisher of Kinclaven, was suspended from the ministry by the Commission of Assembly in November of that year. In protest against this sentence, the suspended ministers constituted themselves as a separate church court, under the name the "Associate Presbytery". In 1739 they were summoned to appear before the General Assembly, but did not attend because they did not acknowledge its authority. They were deposed by the Church of Scotland the following year.

With a few remaining thoughts, I am

Charles W. Wilson

Leave a Comment