Town hall meeting focuses on 'Church of Wells'
POSTED: Friday, September 6, 2013 - 9:55am
UPDATED: Monday, January 6, 2014 - 11:55am
Wells, TX (KETK) — Catherine Grove, 26, disappeared from her home in Arkansas in July. Her parents finally found her here in East Texas, in the small town of Wells.
Catherine had joined a church known as The Church of Wells, which her parents, Andy and Patty Grove, believe to be a cult.
On Thursday night, the community gathered for a town hall meeting to hear Catherine's parents speak about the church. They also heard from other people who have children in the church.
"All the parents that we have been in touch with are very distraught," Andy Grove told KETK. "They have loved ones that have been involved in this group that they have not heard from for years. They haven't seen their kids, daughters, grandchildren... and it's not right."
More than a hundred East Texans gathered at the Falvey United Methodist Church to hear their story. Pastors from the community spoke and there was a message from the parents of Ryan Ringnald, one of the three elders of the Church of Wells.
"They strongly believe that their son needs to cease involvement in this group," Andy Grove said.
In a written message from Mindy and Scott Ringnald, the couple write that their son has been involved with the church for many years and that they've "lost a wonderful son to this cult."
This was the first time that the Ringnald's publicly spoke out about their son and the Church of Wells.
"Catherine has been taken 'holy captive' - a term I never imagined using," they wrote. "My son is as guilty as anyone involved, and I am ashamed and sickened for his behavior."
The Groves also passed out an excerpt from a book written by Sean Morris, the head elder of the Church of Wells. The document is titled "The Doctrine of Judgement," and details the reasons that church members should cut ties with their families.
"I think it's important for the community to know what this church is teaching," Andy Grove explained.
Citizens of Wells told KETK that they are afraid for their own children and are "tired" of the Church of Wells.
"If something doesn't give here, I think things could go bad," Wells resident Danny Carter said. "People are fed up with it and they want to protect what they have."
Meanwhile, the Groves hope that as more people hear their story, their chances of getting their daughter home will improve.