From: Tom Pierron <tpierron@Op.Net>

I have been to the "older" reunion around 1990.
It was a get together.
Then there was the one held by "the middle"
That's where I saw Steve Saxton and we had a
song fest around the camp fire - that was the
first "gathering".
Very inspirational.  The middle brethren are a
joyous fellowship.
I went to Baltimore around 1995?
No "get everyone together".
Just meeting and talking with whoever you wanted
And then Tobyhanna.  There was a guest speaker, and
this was the only time we sat around like a "meeting".
The fellow addressed us about cult matters and we
replied.  That was the closest to a "COBU type of meeting"
There was another sister in an e-mail who had trepidation and wondered
if we should have some sort of protocol and I replied that
perhaps we should.
Out of four reunions I have been to, only two had a gathering.
One was for singing - and the spirit was great!
And the other with the guest speaker - who Beth will
tell you - he was impressed with us.  That was the closest
thing resembling a "meeting".
The other two reunions, were just that - us assembled
in the same spot with the opportunity to talk with
and see whoever was there.
Someone mentioned they would like singing at this
meeting, and I think that would be great.
But as far as a "meeting" or an "open mike"
I don't know.
Bottom line - no pressure, sister.
Just seeing those from long ago face to face.
That is my impression.
And it worked well for me.
I hoped it worked well for everyone else.
But this reunion, and I think I have said it before,
given the very high profile, should be better yet.
Some fear actual COBU retribution.  I doubt that.
They're too busy with their business.
And they think we are serving the flesh and "backslidden"
Before I left COBU in 1990 we heard of some sort of reunion
this is probably one that I missed.
The attitude inside the compound was - what weird spirit
will they be uniting in?
And if they should get together and pray, what a weird spirit
that would be.
But as more and more comes out - who is subject to
a weird spirit - eh?!
In all the reunions I have been to, there has been no
assembly to pray.
I am not against this at all, however.
I remember being at John D's house long ago,
and a lamb who had just gotten out of COBU was
In John's living room, we all got together and prayed on
our knees all at once in "COBU style" -
or more accurately, as Paul and the brethren on the beach.
The young sister was very impressed.
It has been years since I got on my knees and prayed
en mass with other brothers and sisters.
Don't you kind of miss that?
I would not be opposed to that.
It isn't absolutely necessary, either.
Personally, I would like to sing.  As in one
e-mail recently John Watson was mentioned and
let me tell you,  at the middle brothers reunion he
was superb!
Trepidations are normal.  I don't know what to expect this
time either.  But I long to see everyone face to face.

From: "Jeff  C. Benninger" <jeffBenninger@compuserve.com>

>From jeff Benninger,

I have been to a couple of past reunions and I was very glad to see
everyone,especially that we were living our lives diferently in different
parts of the country, going to different churches as we saw God lead us,
and even if someone wasn't attending a church for whatever reason I was
able to be there as a friend.
Just sort of great knowing that we were not all stuck in the same mold. God
uses different ones in different ways. Just to have the friendship and
support , helps me a lot everyone that I gather with brethren even on a
small scale. But I don't think that we need a formal meeting or service ,
if anyone would like to go fine, or sing fine.
My wife gets very blessed by all the friendships there and loves to pray
for others.

Jeff Benninger

From: Dee Law-Jones <musicheaven@yahoo.com>

Carol -

I went to one reunion in the early 90's (I think?) and I really
enjoyed it.  I felt somewhat nervous on the way because I had very
little consistent contact with x-boo's (except for my dear friends in
the Lancaster/York PA area).  The last thing I wanted to be involved
with was a bunch of angry, disgruntled, mean-spirited ex-cult members!
(OK, I really didn't think it would be THAT bad or I never would have
shown up!  LOL!)

However, when I arrived, I  was so happy to see everyone and happy
that everyone was doing so well outside of the so-called "walls of the
sheepfold".  It really did my heart good to see that even after the
myriad of hurtful experiences from COBU, folks had moved on with their
lives and were not wallowing in sorrow and pain.

I remember that we had a cook out and did a whole lot of catching up.
It was really cool...nothing like the old Big
"Beatings"...er...uh...Big Meetings!

So...come on out and catch up with old friends.  I'm sure you will be
glad you came.  I plan to come but I'm not sure yet if my family is
coming with me.  My husband says that I know far too many people - LOL!

Take care and love to you and yours!

- Dee Law-Jones


From: BRENDA H TALAMANTEZ <brendarudytalamantez@juno.com>

Dear Brethren,
       Hello from Brenda Talamantez, Believe me its very normal to have
butterflies, even bats in your stomach if this is your first reunion.
But this I can say honestly I've never heard anyone say they wish they
had not come just the opposite.
Being able to e-mail is one thing, but seeing each other face to face
is altogether different.  Its wonderful!! As Big Bird would say on
Street (hey I have a 2 year old) we'll hug you and love you till you feel
There is no one leader. We know better than that.
God has put the desire on Bill and Noemi heart to organize this for us
and I'm sure we are all grateful. I pray this is the Grand Daddy of them
all, I hope there are more brothers and sisters then ever!! Oh yes!
And all the precious children.

From: Bill & Noemi


From Noemi

I do not welcome the thought of inviting Stewart and all the members that are currently in COBU.  I do not disagree in whomever is up for the confrontation, however, I for one, am not interested.  If anyone is interested, I believe that they ought to get some sort of meeting, group or whatever and plan it out and invite whomever is of the same mind and are interested in getting it going.  We are pretty much free to do as we please.  I would rather just keep the Reunion as SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE for the sake of the FIRST TIMERS.    And have a GOOD TIME TOGETHER.  Personally, I am not up for any kind of "Official" meeting and or have a guess speaker.  I just want to see brothers and sisters whom I have not seen in many, many, years, since we have left COBU and taken different paths in our lives.  Plus, the only days that we are going to have together at Gretna Glen, would be Saturday, depending on time different ones arrive and Sunday, Monday is a school and work day.  So we want to make whatever time we will have together most memorable.  Especially since many of us live many miles away.  These two days will be very short.  I think of a song that a  young Christian woman sang, that says: "take a perfect night and fill it up with things we don't mean"....and before you know it, the weekend can become a disaster instead of a blessing.  I am looking forward to praying with different ones, not necessarily  in this fashion: "STOP EVERYTHING, EVERYONE,  WE ARE GOING TO SING OR PRAY".  No, not like that, by being sensitive and allowing the Holy Spirit to move amongst us, praying and singing will happen automatically.  We know that.

So far I have attended 3 Reunions, and I read that there were others who also attended various Reunions, and each Reunion was different and enjoyable.  There were times that we would automatically gather together in the same spirit and hum a familiar song and who ever was in the same mind, would join in and we start singing and again, someone would start praising and thanking Jesus just because they are thankful for what he has done and is doing and automatically we would join in and start thanking Him and break out into praying.  Is so much easier when we allow the Holy Spirit to have his way.  Things work out better.  And we get a sense of Jesus being there by the peacefulness and seeing many brothers and sisters fellowshipping and sharing.

As for suggestions, let's just let it rest, and let's move on and look forward to seeing each other, and in the mean time, let us lift one another up in prayer as well as the Reunion and ask God to have his way.

Your Sister in Christ



MGriffo@aol.com wrote:

From: MGriffo@aol.com
Hi Tom...The only reason I would want someone from the outside is if we
started doing things together as an entire group.  Otherwise, like you, I see
no point in it.
Though I can't go to the reunion, I would have to agree 137.5% with Noemi. Don't overplan this thing, don't start adding new agendas and try to accomplish other purposes. Stick to the original purpose and keep it simple. If I were going (and I wish I could), 2 days would not be enough to simply hang out with all the ones I would want to hang out with. I wouldn't think there should be any official anything ("yes, they are invited", "no, they are not.") They are not the issue. This is an ex-COBU reunion, simple as that. Should we invite all the Owners of Carpet Cleaning companies that we drove out of business? Should we invite Norwegian Plumbers From the South Bronx? What do they have to do with anything?


P.S. Nancy is funny, as usual.
From: BigMac55@ix.netcom.com

At first I thought,"of course we should invite them", but then after reading some of the messages
I thought,"No, this is about X-BOOs." I would be perfectly happy to have another meeting where
all are welcome, including Stewart, but this one started out(at least to me) as a non-threatening
event for those who need that. I am personnally not threatened by Stewart or any substantially
larger brothers and would be thrilled to have something that was specifically set up for
the purpose of confronting the abuser, but there are still many who would just freak if he showed
up. If any of you have dealt with sexual or physical abuse issues you may understand how similar
they are to emotional abuse and how important it is to confront your abuser to take the power away
fromthem and then to forgive them( not absolve them from responsibility) in order to be free,
but the process of healing takes a long time, differant for each person depending on how strong
the victim is inside and the quality of the support people in their lives. Please don't tell me
that I am spouting psyco-babble, I have been there in both roles.
Love to all God's children
Rick MacLean

From: Beverly Diehl <bevsfun@earthlink.net>

I'm not going to be able to attend the reunion, but the thought occurred
to me that inviting Stewart would be a lot like those churches where
they hold services draped in venomous snakes, to demonstrate... whatever
it is they're trying to demonstrate.  Sure you COULD do it - but why?

From: DHuntxyz@aol.com

Hi everyone,  this e-mail is in response to the topic of having some one from
the outside help moderate if we get into any kind of formal meeting  (I am not
exactly sure of the definition of a formal meeting but I thought I would like
to resond to the discussion).  I think that it is important to remember that
we are all in so many different places (spiritually, emotionally, ect)
concerning COBU,  that any kind of "formal" meeting ( what ever that is )will
be very difficult.  We are all very wounded by the abuse that went on in COBU
and coming together again as a group will both be healthy and frightening.  As
I have read the e-mails over the last few days I see such an encouraging
pattern.   We seem to have the ability to "self-correct" when one of us gets a
little out there  ( but we do it with much more gentlness than when we first
started our e-mails).  Yet, coming together will call up many different
feelings that we have all worked hard to manage in some fashion.  There may
indeed be pressure to fall back into patterns of how we responded to each
other while we were still in COBU.   I think that we saw a little bit of that
in the beginning of our e-mails ( which has decreased over time).   I went to
the last reunion and a brother came to me with some anger about the way that I
had treated him while we were in COBU.  I was shaken because I had forgoten
about how I had treated him.  The point here is that there will be many
wonderful surprises about old friendships being re-kindled but  there may also
be guilt, sadness, and regrets.  Perhaps one of the moderating factors will be
the friends or spouses that come that were not in COBU.
I am convinced that this reunion can  be a gift from our Lord.  It seems that
it is time for those who are so called to come together.   But let us also be
wise and realize that not one of us can truly be objective about all these
issues.  And, one of the most important issues for people like us whether we
can verbalize it or not is emotional safety. I think that small groups and, as
one brother put it,  "milling around" offer that kind of safety.   I also
think that communion would be a wonderful idea.   However,  if we plan to meet
as a whole body I would suggest that we have someone from the outside help us.
Perhaps someone who has some experience with these issues could help us,  not
as a leader but as a friend who isn't carrying the same hurt and pain that
many of us have worked so hard to manage.  I am looking forward to seeing all
of you in September, . . . . God bless . .  .Dan Hunt

From: Bill & Noemi
From Bill Willis

I agree with Dan wholeheartedly with what he said.  Everyone who is coming will bring their own fears, anxieties, and scars from the past.  The purpose for getting together is for healing, just like you said someone came up to you and spoke about the hurt that you caused him.  There are many of us who have those kind of scars inside of us and the enemy is more than willing to have us approach this Reunion to produce greater pain than healing.  That's why is so important to be sensitive and bear one another's burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.  The hardest part is to be able to communicate without damaging one another.  If we come together with that in mind, Jesus will have the opportunity to bring healing and a sense of fellowship. As for communion, to try to organize something like that, will be very difficult, considering many will come fearing that their relationship with Jesus is not right and so want to avoid coming at all.  I'm amazed how Jesus can bring things together.  There will be a time when we will be able to have communion as a body, but for now you'll find that small groups will get together and fellowship in breaking bread, one thing I do hope to see is that others will be motivated to rededicate their lives without a sense of hopelessness and the fear that there is no live in Jesus outside of COBU.  If that hope can get across to those who feel that they have no hope, than our Reunion will be a success.  And that should be our goal to encourage and show hope to those who feel that they're too far gone.

From: dococ@prodigy.net

     Dear All
       About the reunion:
    I have 2 ideas.  BUT they should not be implemented unless there is A) consensus on our part and B) no strong opposition on anyone's part:

        1) Should we invite current CBU members?
        2) Should we invite ST?

        ST wouldn't come and I doubt that many current members would either.  But it would be a psychological triumph!  They're avoiding us and not vice-versa.
        Now let's meditate on this, BUT don't invite any of them until we are of one mind.
                                      Yours Truly
            Owen Camp Bronx NY dococ@prodigy.net
From: Tom Pierron <tpierron@Op.Net>

I think it would be "nice"
but they would not want to be around a bunch of gameplayers.
Backslidden brethren living for the flesh and against "their" way.
What sort of sick spirit would be at a gathering like that, anyway?
- Those are the things they will be saying.  That's what was said back
in '89 or '90 while I was still in COBU we heard about a reunion
and mocked it.
But if they, or anyone else wish to debate scripture,
( I deleted this thought)
The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome.
If you, then, are arguing, then (as Jimmy used to
say) guess what?!

From: Fred <fred@mitchellware.com>

The reunion will be one of great joy and sorrow, a searching "of the soul", if you
will, a closure to an interesting chapter in our lives that we've all experienced.
Why else meet, except to bring closure? To finalize, to have that one triumph over
"The Big Man", and to make peace with each other -- and ourselves.

I myself do not hold grudges against anyone -- with the possible exception of
Stewart Traill. I barely remember all the mistreatments -- except those of
Stewart, of course. I imagine there may be some provocative memories as I see some
who I have not seen in almost 20 years. 20 years is a long time.

I will try to make it to the reunion - though the timing may interfere with
holiday plans. I am hopeful of a solution.

As far as the need for a mediator, if we even need one, an outsider would not
understand. It would have to be one of us. I therefore volunteer for that, if all
agree, assuming there's even a consensus that we need one. Or perhaps I could
"spring into action" on an as-needed basis. I dunno. We can discuss it. I feel
that I have fully recovered from the COBU experience, and understand what effect
it has had on others.

To see my write-up on COBU and another cult, Heaven's Gate:


Be sure to check out the "Own experiences" section -- this is about COBU.

But I think we all have a good amount of time to reflect and consider before the
reunion. We should all consider the following:

1) What are you looking to get out of the reunion?
2) How do you deal with "flashbacks" of bitter episodes experienced in the cult?
3) How do you help your fellow ex-COUBers?
4) How do you reach closure? What will it take?

Perhaps we can discuss some of these points here.

From: Tom Pierron <tpierron@Op.Net>

Having been to four prior reunions -
a mediator is not needed.  Tobyhanna had a
nice visitor leading brother who had at least been through a similar
situation, but having read a lot, I knew what he
was saying, blah blah blah, and I ran off after my
girls friend's three year old.  (and had more fun)
I suppose there were those there that needed it,
and most stayed in a group for at least an hour.
I don't expect rededications, I don't expect much,
but just want to see faces of those I remember.
we're survivors.
But making everyone feel at home is very important because
we all are fellow survivors.  Fred included.
Fred is helping out a lot.
I got an e-mail or two that he's this and that
and don't even entertain him.
I also got an e-mail or two to be kind and pray.
What if someone wants to come and tell us they
are happy with life now, and now that they're
out of the closet?
What reaction would that cause?
Why are some Christians so quick to hate and condemn?
That is not the Jesus I know.
Sinners seemed to want to be around him while the only
people Jesus lost his temper with were those who used
His Father's word to condemn others - that got him ticked.
But Christians condemning non believers?
That's not how you win souls.
I could go on and on about this, but you get the point.
I f I can lend a hand or help or advice - fine.
But I try to stay away from that - I am there to
get reacquainted.  To rejoice in surviving.
If I start waxing eloquently, it'll be nap time.
As for closure.
I remember JD asked the Deep Steam brother years ago
what about this and that and lawsuits and other
stuff and the fellow refused to talk about it saying,
"I've turned the page on that part of my life"
For me, I think closure will be heaven - entering heaven.
I am permanently scarred by my experience.
But I want to use my hurt to help me to understand others.
Who went through the same experience, and who
also are suffering for who knows what reason.
To be non judgmental.
An ambassador.
more at bottom - - -

From: Dee Law-Jones <musicheaven@yahoo.com>

>         1) Should we invite current CBU members?
>         2) Should we invite ST?

Inviting the current members...there would definitely be some tension
there.  If they came, they would probably be pretty uptight but maybe
they would get to see some true happiness for a change?

But, to invite Stewart?  Yesh...I'd have to vote "no" on that one.  I,
for one, probably would not come if he was there!  I just can't
imagine having anything close to "normal" with him there.  I am not
afraid of him anymore and I do not think that he can hurt me any
longer, but, geez...it just doesn't sound too good.
Maybe I need some serious growth in this area, but, honestly, the
thought of it just makes me want to lose my lunch!

Now, if the situation was different...such as...if he showed true
repentance and humility...I would probably welcome him to come.

- Dee
From: MGriffo@aol.com

Hi Tom...The only reason I would want someone from the outside is if we
started doing things together as an entire group.  Otherwise, like you, I see
no point in it.
From: Chris Hirtler <chirtler@snet.net>

Hi All,
Chris Hirtler here. I think that the reunion could be open to the
current COBU-ers but the invitation is closed to ST and to all current
members who would want to raise a ruckus, verbally or otherwise. When I
talked to Joe Strenkowski last November he told me that he monitors the
website so I'm sure all of what we say is known to them. I know that
there are some like Joe who I would very much want to see again since we
were close. And anyway, we could always have the cops throw out anyone
we don't want. After all, we're paying money for this.
And I would see a benefit for those who may be about ready to bolt but
need a little encouragement. I would be more than happy to open my house
to someone who needs a waystation, or transportation somewhere. This
might be their chance to get out.
I'm for a limited invitation.
From: Fred <fred@mitchellware.com>

Chris Hirtler wrote:

> From: Chris Hirtler <chirtler@snet.net>
> Hi All,
>         Chris Hirtler here. I think that the reunion could be open to the
> current COBU-ers but the invitation is closed to ST and to all current
> members who would want to raise a ruckus, verbally or otherwise. When I
> talked to Joe Strenkowski last November he told me that he monitors the
> website so I'm sure all of what we say is known to them.

If that's the case I'm surprised they have not made a ruckus over my grabbing the
cobu.org domain yet.

> I know that
> there are some like Joe who I would very much want to see again since we
> were close. And anyway, we could always have the cops throw out anyone
> we don't want. After all, we're paying money for this.
>         And I would see a benefit for those who may be about ready to bolt but
> need a little encouragement. I would be more than happy to open my house
> to someone who needs a waystation, or transportation somewhere. This
> might be their chance to get out.
>         I'm for a limited invitation.

And what purpose would ANYONE from COBU have in showing up? To try to drag us back
in! That limited invitation had better be very limited indeed.

From: dococ@prodigy.net

       Dear All
       It seems that we have reached a consensus (and well in advance of  the reunion):  NO we won't invite ST or his groupies.  We're not afraid of  them, but that's not the point.  We're meeting for different reasons altogether.  We wish to be edified by fellowship with old friends, not  toughened by another battle.
                                      Yours Truly
           Owen Camp Bronx NY dococ@prodigy.net


From: Tom Pierron <tpierron@Op.Net>

I'm in Owen's "camp".

Michael Montoya wrote:

Well done Owen....I think a round of applause for this unscientific poll and  the controversy it aroused.....way to go Bro.....I was ready to go into my "save the flock" mode in case we did invite ST and he did appear. Glad to know that we are choosing sanity.
From: Dave&Vilma Paradis <jdv.paradis@juno.com>

Personally, I think inviting ST is a moot point because he'd never come
(nothing in it for him) but for the sake of those who might not come if
there were even the possibility, I agree with the majority who have
responded that we ought not to. It was a good question, though, Owen. I
was surprised at the responses.

As far as inviting current members, my first reaction was, "cool, we
might win some over". But I can see the point that maybe some would be
discouraged from coming because they either aren't ready for or just
plain don't want the conflict that might invite. (although I don't think
that would happen either) So my vote is no to both. I want as many to
come as possible.

If anybody is in contact with somebody in there who wants to come and
will have an open mind, or better yet is thinking about leaving, I think
that is OK, but if even one person will be kept from coming because of it
I take it back. This is for fellowship and healing of the survivors. What
does everybody else think?

From: Lori <lori.ledonne@ncx.com>

I agree that inviting Stewart wouldn't be a good thing. The brethren that
are still in COBU think that we're in error. Otherwise, I think they would
have left by now. I doubt they'd come unless they wanted to prove something
to us which could turn the reunion into something that many don't want. I
know I don't. And I guess I think that they won't be won over as a group.
We weren't. It was one or two at a time usually as Jesus had us face what
was really going on there. I'm having problems here trying to say what I
want. Let me illustrate. Tony and I were done for good with COBU after that
grace meeting. A few years later, we had some other brethren who had left
COBU over to our home. At one point, I was working in the kitchen and
looked out the window to see one brother standing in the middle of a circle
talking to all the rest who were seated around him. I had no idea what he
was saying but something inside me shut down temporarily and I just didn't
like it. I wasn't alone. A few weeks later, Tony invited this brother over
to talk and when I listened I realized he wasn't trying to "do a Stewart".
This happened at least a year after we'd left and after we'd received help
at Times Square Church in NYC where one of the things I liked best was that
there were three pastors. I felt safer that way. To this day, I think I'm
pretty good at spotting pastor worship. Anyways, my point is that if this
happened to me a few years after I'd left, I can't imagine what the impact
of Stewart actually being there would be. I'd like to think I'd stand tall,
but if he humiliated us or preyed upon our weakness to pull us down, I'm
not sure what I'd do. I don't see it helping us and I don't see it changing
him. I wouldn't want any cult leader at the reunion. Time to head for the
bus stop. Sorry this wasn't worded better. Lori
From: Tom Pierron <tpierron@Op.Net>

I understand exactly your
trepidations - and would think everyone else does.
I thought your writing was great - as I could see your
After being in fundamentalist COBU, we, like Paul,
who did his own fundamentalist stint, can see graceless
teaching coming from a mile away.
From: sneuman@exit109.com (Scott Neuman )

Why would I want to see Stewart Traill on a reunion? I almost had a breakdown
20 years ago because of his Hitler tactics. I also don't see any reason to want
to see anyone in the current COBU at the reunion. It's like me going to a
big meeting
and hoping for one or two lambs to leave just because I showed up.
I can't think of a single reason a current COBU member would want to come to
"Hey, let's go witness to our fallen brethren before they go to hell". IF
you aren't in
COBU, then by all definitions, you are backslidden. Don't care that S.T.
says it?
Neither to current members of COBU care that you feel that way. COBU members
have only had one reason to be in COBU. Remember??
Scott Neuman