Church of the Brethren Leader Asks for Apology from Dr. Phil Show

A letter to the Dr. Phil Show and Paramount Television from Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren General Board, has asked for an on-air apology and retraction following a segment that erroneously named the Church of the Brethren as linked to a child abduction case. The segment titled, “Missing,” aired May 2.

“The character of the Church of the Brethren was unjustly tarnished, and the denomination was erroneously implicated in a child abduction case,” said Noffsinger in the letter that was sent May 15. The segment about Mollie and Allene Hari, teenage girls abducted by their father during a custody dispute with their mother, showed a Church of the Brethren building and sign while the girls’ mother, Michelle, was discussing the “Old Order German Baptist” church.

“There is no current relationship between that group, or the Old Brethren German Baptist Church and the Church of the Brethren,” Noffsinger’s letter clarified “There are numerous groups with the word `Brethren’ in their name; however, it is incorrect to assume that any or all such groups are related,” he added. “Fair and accurate reporting in the media, including the issue of defamation, is a justice issue of concern to our denomination.”

The General Board is awaiting a response to the letter.


The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to Submit news to the editor at For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to Messenger magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.


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