Thursday, September 11, 2008
As of today, the South Australian police have yet to charge Michael Gugliemucci, the AdelaideNow reports.
Michael Guglielmucci is currently receivng psychiatic treatment but police say that the former pentecostal preacher may not face further investigation "unless further information comes to light or people that may have been affected... come forward," said Detective Superintendent Jim Jeffery.
No one has made any formal complaint to the police interstate.
As of yesterday, 4 people had received refunds from the Edge Church for their donations to the previous cause of getting Michael healed of cancer.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
This is an online video greeting from the Senior Pastor of Hillsongs for his congregation
On September 3, Pastor Brian wrote the following on his blog:
"I have been away overseas while a drama has unfolded in Australia about Michael Guglielmucci... writer of the song 'Healer', which has blessed and encouraged so many people.
Michael has confessed to making up the story that he was diagnosed with a rare form of terminal blood cancer and multiple secondary cancers.
This is easily the biggest and most elaborate hoax I have ever personally witnessed. I still am perplexed by it.
I have never felt any reason to question the validity of Michael's story. I guess you don't greet such horrific news as cancer with cynicism, and it's a sad day when we have to do that.
I have known Michael's parents since we were young people ourselves and they are great and genuine people. When Danny called me in 2006 to tell me of his sons illness I felt absolutely lost for words as he sobbed on the telephone. This family did not deserve such utter pain.
I just didn't have any reason to doubt his story. There were one or two things that were hard to work out such as how anyone could function with multiple broken bones (I was in agony with one broken elbow, but I just thought I must have been a wimp.)
I saw Michael as an unbelievably gutsy and courageous man who was refusing to just lie down and accept his diagnosis.
I can only ever remember spending any significant length of time with Michael once. Apart from that it was short conversations here and there, and mostly I would hear how he was doing from his dad or from others. If I did get to say hi, I would ask him how he was and he would tell me where he was up to... but after a service one Saturday night when Michael was supposedly in Sydney for "specialized treatment," I arranged to meet my son Joel outside a tiny apartment in the cities inner west. This is where Michael and his wife were staying. Joel had already been there for a few hours hanging out with Michael, as were one or two others. Michael was apparently in immense pain that night, as the pain killing medication he was taking was wearing off well before the four hours the doctors had instructed it should be, before he take any more.
When I went inside, Michael was sitting on the floor and had... I think... an hour and a half to go before he could take that next dose. The pain was obviously becoming more and more intense as he shook and groaned with sweat-beads clearly breaking out across his brow. Those around him began to gently pray and do what they could to keep him comfortable while Michael himself turned on a recording of his song Healer which he had made in his own bedroom a year or two before.
As the discomfort seemed to be getting worse and worse, I placed my hand on Michael's head and prayed for healing with all the faith I could muster, whilst inwardly feeling helpless to do anything else but trust God for the miracle that this young man claimed to be SO diligently pursuing.
Eventually Michael could take no more of the pain and said that he was ringing his doctor, which he proceeded to do. (I don't even know now whether anyone was on the other end of the line or what the pills actually were...but there was nothing to make me doubt it then).
The "doctor" told Michael it would be okay to take another half-dose and that's what he did. Soon the pain eased again and things became much calmer, though he certainly still looked and acted very sick. A few other friends of Michael's arrived, pizza was ordered and after about 45 minutes I said my goodbyes and left.
I drove away that night feeling an overwhelming heaviness for Michael, his wife and his family. I also felt a real sense of pride as I watched those young people rallying around him as indeed they have done all over Australia and in other parts of the world.
That night was the closest I got to seeing first-hand what others witnessed many times. His friends saw him coughing up blood and were there when vomit had to be cleaned up. At other times they dropped him off at the hospital, picking him up hours later as he insisted that he did not want them to come in. There had been a time prior to this, I am told, when Michael's hair was even falling out in clumps as a result of the "chemotherapy."
So now we all know that so much of this was not real... but was I personally sucked in?
It was a two year academy award worthy performance as far as I am concerned.
I never met one person including any doctor, who expressed doubt about Michael's claims during the two years of this very public farce (or in fact, in the years before that.)
It is amazing how quick some are to comment now... but I guess that is just human nature, as is the premature way in which some lay blame, post blogs or comment in a self serving and self righteous way.
But with Michael's short confession now readily available, can I say to anyone who doesn't understand why someone would do so much to hurt and betray so many, that it all makes no sense to me either.
But will it affect my faith in Christ, the power of His Word, and the truth about His heart to save, heal and transform the lives of people?
Will it discourage me from believing in people, and desiring to see them flourish? Or will it stop me from giving people opportunities in the future?
Do I believe the result of this will be catastrophic for the cause of Christ
in our nation?
Definitely Not. I believe that quite the opposite can be true.
Should it cause us all to 'look honestly at ourselves and endeavour not to
let anything like this happen again?
Yes it should.
Do I feel an empathy with anyone who is feeling angry, confused or betrayed?
Yes I do.
Ultimately only one person really knows what was going on in Michael Guglielmucci's heart and head... and that is Michael himself.
The scriptures say,
Galatians 6:1 - "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently but watch yourself, or you also may be tempted."
This is a very sad situation but I pray it will spur you to be even more committed to 'fighting the good fight of faith' and leading an over comers life.
To live a lifetime in the service of Christ, you will have to make a decision that NO disappointment with an individual or with people generally, can sway you away from that course.
I pray for every person who has been hurt or confused by Michael and I challenge you to... "Having done all, still stand".
Remember, there are many, many genuine people out there serving God faithfully, and setting an example of faithfulness and tenacity."
On August 22, 2008 01:10am, Chief Reporter KIM WHEATLEY of Adelaide Now, an Austrailian online newspaper, broke the news that Pastor Michael Gulielmucci faked his cancer illness:
" The Australian Christian Churches told The Advertiser yesterday that it was auditing Mr Guglielmucci's bank accounts, which included money donated from people touched by his hit song Healer.
Mr Guglielmucci confessed his two-year fraudulent cancer battle at a national executive meeting of the ACC on Saturday, and was stripped of his credentials." - Adelaide Now
In October 2006, Guglielmucci revealed how he had gone to the hospital for a series of tests which revealed that he had "quite an aggressive form of cancer". He said that it was this diagnosis and moment that inspired his song Healer:
"I just went home. I knew I had to go home and needed to get alone with God," he says in the video. I walked into my studio at home and for some reason. . . I sat at a piano and began to worship. I sang that song from start to finish. I was crying. I just realised that God had given me an incredible gift and I realise that song was going to be my strength."
Shortly after the news broke, Hillsongs withdrew the music DVD, This Is Our God, poised to be a top charter out of the distribution channel. The financial losses are not certain, but Hillsongs Music is still "working with (their) distributors and retailers to assess what further action is required."
"We were obviously shocked at Michael Guglelmucci's confession that he does not have a life-threatening illness... we are removing all footage of Michael and... replace the current stock with the re-mastered DVD shortly."- Hillsongs Music Website
The DVD in question
Response from the Christian Community and Blogosphere
Response to this episode range from support and forgiveness to outrage and cynism.
On Facebook, as many as 13 groups were formed to support or condemn the transgressor, slamming him as a hypocrite and liar.
Probably the people most affected in this episode is Michael's immediate family. Danny Guglielmucci, also a minister in Edge Church internation, said his son Michael's bizarre double life was underpinned by a 16-year addiction to pornography.
In an exclusive interview with TodayTonight, Danny expressed his thoughts:
"As a father... I can only say I'm so happy that he is alive and can get help but (also) devastated by the damage caused."
"As a professional minister I've stood in front of my congregation and cried and said to pray for my son," he later said.
The two year lie includes funds raised to help Mike through the "terminal illness." In Danny's address to his congregation at Edge Church International, he announced that Michael Guglielmucci's bank accounts are currently being audited by his church and leaders have promised any money raised deceptively will be returned or donated to charity.
How should the church respond? Should there be legal action taken against Guglielmucci? Should the song, so inspiring and beautiful, be taken down from the DVD? There are no easy answers for these questions.