An incident in which a man died while he was being baptized last Sunday October 8, has sparked a heated controversy over the United Kingdom based Life Changing Ministries.
The deceased Robert Yap was reportedly living with Parkinson’s disease, and had been a member of the church for the past four years.
Leader and founder of the ministry, Apostle Cheryl Reid-Bartley, who conducted the baptism, was subsequently charged with manslaughter and is now out on bail.
In a video posted to the ministry’s Facebook page, shortly after Yap’s death, the Apostle said if she cries over Yap’s death, it would be “tears of joy”.
“Life Changing Ministries baptism is not normal, it cannot be normal,” she stated.
In the video, the apostle is seen mostly smiling, as she spoke about the death of one of her followers.
Recalling Yap’s baptism on Sunday, Apostle Reid-Bartley said “All of a sudden, this man was just sleeping in the water.”
In the video which lasted just over 54 minutes, the church leader said during the baptism, Yap “had a glimpse of heaven.”
“So it was a fight…he just decided that he didn’t want to come back, he just passed on.”
Sunday’s baptism was being live streamed on the church’s Facebook page, but at one point while Yap was submerged in the pool, a female voice instructed that the streaming be cut. The video was also quickly removed from Facebook.
Apostle Reid-Bartley who is originally from Jamaica said Yap “didn’t even want me to call him back.”
“It was all planned, that is what he wanted…he was waiting to be baptized by me and Jesus.”
The apostle related that after the baptism, she went to her room to change her wet clothes.
While in her room on Sunday, she said “Jesus came and sit with me, I was taken to heaven instantly to see Robert.
According to the church leader, when she saw Robert Yap, he was dressed in white, and he was “dancing with Jesus in the garden.”
“When he saw me, he said it’s nice up here Apostle, it’s nice.”
She said that God had moved “powerfully” during Sunday’s baptism.
She spoke in glowing terms about her deceased member Robert Yap, saying he used to “sleep with my voice and he wake with my voice.”
The apostle said Robert Yap was “faithful to the ministry, and although people tried to persuade him otherwise , he refused to budge.
The UK based Jamaican said Yap lost “close family members “ because of his affiliation with her ministry, “but he did not care.”
“He loved me as his shepherd and had the utmost respect for me.”
She also recalled that on Sunday, Yap was the first person who went forward to be baptized and the baptism continued after he died.
In the video, Apostle Reid-Bartley had a word of caution for her followers and those loyal to her “you don’t need to hear from anybody, just wait until God gives me the utterance to come.”