Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

September 19, 2013

Coming Saturday: Jacksonville Daily Progress Reporter Ben Tinsley goes 'Inside the Church of Wells'

Nothing is ever as simple as it is made out to be ...

Progress staff reports
Jacksonville Daily Progress

WELLS — Is it light versus dark? A cult versus the mainstream church?

Or, perhaps, just an old-fashioned Texas feud?

In Saturday's Jacksonville Daily Progress, JDP reporter Ben Tinsley explores the ongoing tug-of-war between the controversial Church of Wells and two parents from Arkansas whose daughter is a current guest of congregation members.

Andy and Patty Grove remain at odds with the Church of Wells because of the involvement their daughter — 26-year-old Catherine Grove — has with parishioners.

Cherokee County authorities, however, have gone to great length to determine Catherine Grove is fine and that Church of Wells members have broken no laws.

Meanwhile, church elders Sean Morris, Jake Gardner and Ryan Ringnald have complaints of their own. They contend the Groves are making baseless accusations against the congregation and have blown their daughter's stay — and the church's motives for allowing this stay — completely out of proportion.

Loaded, legally precarious words such as “kidnap” and “cult” have been continually tossed around and attributed to the Groves during this ongoing fracas, members say. Earlier this month Patty Grove denied having ever used those words — at all.

There has been a lot of back and forth as the squabble has intensified. The Groves called a town hall meeting to discuss the situation with residents awhile back. Church of Wells officials subsequently called a press conference to represent their side of the story but canceled it at the last minute.

The Wells situation subsequently has attracted national attention. One version of this story even made it onto CNN Headline News.

As Saturday's readership soon will find out, church elders have provided reporter Tinsley with a very rare glimpse into their community.