SIX NATIONS – A group of community members delivered a statement on Sunday morning telling the non-native leadership of Eagle’s Nest, a church on Tuscarora Road, that they are no longer welcome at Six Nations.
This action, taken by a group of former church members and their supporters, comes in the wake of allegations that the leadership of Eagle’s Nest-Six Nations, a satellite church of Eagle Worldwide Ministries, has been spiritually and emotionally abusing and bullying members of the Six Nations community.
Faith Martin, a 27 year old Mohawk Christian woman from Six Nations, said she was humiliated and shamed publicly by Pastor Ginette Gaudreau and Melanie Guathier last October when she tried to go to the church basement with her children to breastfeed her infant son. “I told the kids, ’Go downstairs. I’ll be down soon. I’ve got to nurse the baby anyways’.” said Faith.
Faith said she was told by Guathier that she was not allowed to go to the basement. Confused, Faith asked if there was a new rule about breastfeeding downstairs. “I hadn’t been there in months because I had a new baby. These people were like my family so every time I see them they give me a big hug, but this time as soon as I walked in no one even looked at me, nobody talked to me.”
Faith asked what was going on and why she was not allowed to go downstairs to nurse her baby. Faith said she was ashamed in front of the entire congregation by this and stepped out of the church to compose herself.
“[Gaudreau] waved me away like she was the queen.” said Faith. Once they got outside, Faith said that the two French-Canadian female pastors walked back into the building, closed the doors and locked Faith along with her newborn son, seven year old niece and nine year old son out of the church. “I was standing close enough to the door that I saw the metal bolt go in and they’d locked the door. Then on the other side you could hear [Gaudreau and Guathier] yelling at each other in French inside the main entrance. We had jackets on but it was cold. My niece was so nervous her hands were shaking.”
This past Sunday in the presence of the entire congregation; Faith Martin publicly addressed Pastor Ginette Gaudreau, her husband Pastor Mark Gaudreau and Melanie Guathier, the three non-native members of leadership at Eagle’s Nest-Six Nations and told them they had to leave.
Martin read from a prepared statement saying, “I stand here today as the Mohawk woman that was dishonoured on my own territory in my own place of worship.” The young mother broke down in tears for a moment but continued, saying “With the support of many spiritual leaders, officials and community members of Six Nations; I respectfully and officially ask that Pastors Mark & Ginette Gaudreau and Melanie Guathier leave Six Nations territory immediately for you are now banned from Six Nations.”
The decision to evict the three members of leadership from Eagle’s Nest-Six Nations was not only based on Faith Martin’s negative experience. Pam Sault another woman from Six Nations/New Credit said that during a church service Pastor Mark Gaudreau, who is a resident of Caledonia and whose home faces Kanohnstaton, spoke against the people of Six Nations while preaching.
“He called us terrorists. He called our flags terrorist flags. This was on a Friday night during a service when I was there.” said Sault. “He come right out and he said ‘…why do they have to go around covering their faces, they’re terrorists and those flags are terrorist flags’.”
The website for Eagle’s Nest-Six Nations reads, “Wherever you are in your life’s journey, whoever you are, you can count on one thing – you will be loved and valued here.” The church is an offshoot of Eagle Worldwide Ministries, an independent apostolic church organization located in Copetown, Ontario under the direction of Dr. Russ Moyer and his wife Mave Moyer.
Faith Martin’s mother, Arlene Martin, said she feels it is the responsibility of the Martin family to lead this action as they were initially the host family who brought Eagle Worldwide Ministries to Six Nations. “I feel spiritually responsible because I invited them down here.” said Arlene. “I’m the one that found them and I’m the one that got them the building.”
Arlene said she was spiritually abused by the Gaudreau’s. Shortly after Arlene’s son was diagnosed with leukaemia, the Gaudreau’s invited her to their home for a prayer meeting. It was during that meeting Arlene says the church Pastors accused her of being spiritually dirty, telling her she was too involved with the son who had just been diagnosed with cancer.
Arlene Martin broke down in tears and told the Two Row Times when she got up to leave that meeting she was confronted. “[Ginette] came over and kneeled on the floor…looked me in the eye and she said, ‘Look me in the eye!’ I said, ‘No!’ Ginette said, ‘If you don’t look me in the eye you’ll never come up in leadership in this church.’ I felt like a dog.”
Arlene said this abusive spirit was familiar to her. Her father went to residential school and the experience influenced his parenting. Arlene said, “We were used to fear and intimidation and being kept under thumb. So all the time I was there, for four years, it felt comfortable to me because that is how I was raised. It took my girlfriend’s coming in, and Pam noticing some things, and other healthier people noticing things, and then I said, ‘Oh my goodness! This is wrong!”
The Martin family told the Two Row Times they received messages from others on Six Nations who stated they were mistreated by Eagle Worldwide Ministries and the satellite church Eagle’s Nest-Six Nations. Those reports were enough for the family and their supporters to take action to remove the Gaudreau’s from Six Nations entirely.
The reaction by Pastor Mark Gaudreau following Faith Martin’s reading of the written statement was captured on video and submitted to the Two Row Times. In the video Gaudreau is seen shouting at the women of the Martin family, pointing directly in the face of Arlene Martin, who is disabled, saying “I will be back!”
He is also seen pointing directly at Faith Martin shouting, “I am under the authority of Christ Jesus.” The video shows Gaudreau leaving the building, protesting, stating that he “owned the building” and that he would return to carry out the work he feels God has called him to at Six Nations.
Although the written statement included an explicit indication that members of the congregation were welcome to stay but that the Gaudreaus and Gauthier had to leave, all church members present at the service on Sunday morning followed the Gaudreaus and left, travelling down Fourth Line in an exodus of sorts.
One member stayed behind to offer a hug to Faith Martin. Faith said, “She said to me, ‘We love you. We’re praying for you… but we have to leave.’ They were getting dirty looks and people were ignoring them because they gave us a hug. People walked past them and she got snubbed all because she was giving me a hug.”
The Martin’s said it is this practice of shame that indicates to them that the Ministry is unhealthy. “They are with the Corporation. They have to leave.”
Eagle Worldwide Ministries overseers Dr. Russ Moyer and Mave Moyer issued a statement about the removal of the Gaudreau’s and Guathier saying, “This is a very regrettable incident and we are praying for restoration. As a ministry we were never presented with any band council resolution about this. When this so called incident happened at the end of October it was a misunderstanding and never intentional and at that time was apologized for by Ginette Gaudreau who is one of the First People herself. We as a ministry , have been serving there for over five years and have been a support and a service to the Six Nations Community with our outreach centre for food and clothing, soup kitchen, our family life centre, and services offered every week. We have clearly demonstrated our love for and commitment to the community.”
On steps for the future, Danny Martin, father to Faith said the collective is working on a set of protocols for all First Nations to establish with churches on First Nations territories. “Don’t invite an organization on your reserve until you’ve got these limitations and boundaries for the authority structures in place. There was no mechanism to correct what happened to Faith. You try to tell the superiors about what happened and they just spew the party line, you know, canned answers. Then they dismiss you. There’s nothing. We need to set up guidelines so that each individual reserve, don’t matter how small they are, can have a voice in all decisions of what happens on their territory. They got a voice, and they speak and represent for themselves. Not some other outside outfit speaking, representing or saying on their behalf.”