Pastor is target of watchdog group

Left: CHC executive pastor Aries Zulkarnain. Right: Sydney-based Reverend Phil Pringle has always felt a great affinity with City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and his wife, Ms Ho Yeow Sun.

New people have come on board City Harvest Church (CHC) after several of its leaders were suspended from their posts by the Commissioner of Charities (COC) on Tuesday.

On the same day that founder Kong Hee and four others were charged with misusing over $50 million of church funds, CHC appointed Reverend Phil Pringle and Rev A.R. Bernard as advisory senior pastors to continue providing spiritual leadership.

"Pastor Kong is still our senior pastor," executive pastor Aries Zulkarnain said on Thursday in a statement.

Rev Pringle is the founder and senior minister of Christian City Church in Sydney, Australia.

Now in Singapore to support CHC, Rev Pringle is himself the target of a self-appointed Christian watchdog group, C3 Church Watch.

The blog said it was "designed to watch and monitor C3 Church and its pastors, specifically Phil Pringle."

It has raised questions about the New Zealand-born pastor's religious credentials and teachings.

Rev Pringle moved to Australia in 1980 with his wife, Chris, to start Christian City Church in Sydney.

The movement has over 300 congregations globally, a far cry from the 13 people in the first service.

His Facebook biography said: "Our 2020 Vision is to plant and grow 1,000 churches and we're on target to meet this."

Local news reports first mentioned Rev Pringle in 2010, when Kong, 47, was called to help the police who were investigating the alleged misuse of church funds then. He had met the Kongs during their honeymoon.

"From the start, I always felt a great affinity with Kong and Sun (Ms Ho Yeow Sun)," he told CHC's online portal, City News last year.

"There are some relationships that God joins together, and you've got to recognise, respect and nurture those relationships, no matter what."

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City Harvest

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The accused and their charges
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City Harvest church founder, 4 others charged in court
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Church leaders questioned over misuse of funds
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: City Harvest Church, Wanbao, AsiaOne)

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