"A": Story by Bruce Smith and Photo of Grave Site: Click Here
Google Satellite Image Showing Location Of Grave Site Near
The New Testament Christian Churches of America Seminary
Located in Graham, Washington State:
View Map on Google
["A"] New Testament Christian Churches Of America Seminary
["B"] Grave Site Where The Body Of Cori Lewis was recovered
Blue Line shows the 3.2 mi route between the NTCCA - NTCS and the grave site
|3.2 mi from the grave site to the NTCCA - NTCS New Testament Christian Churches Of America Seminary |
Compound in Graham, WA
"the church behind the fence"
Merz is a former lay pastor of the New Testament Christian Churches of America, Inc. and had relocated to the Graham, Washington area to attend the NTCCA's seminary or bible school, the "church behind the fence" situated on the Orting-Kapowsin Highway between 210 St. East and 224 th in Graham, Wa.
Pic Of Google Street View of The Church Behind The Fence, NTCC, Inc.
|"The Church Behind The Fence" NTCC Inc. NTCS|
Original Dispatch News Series on NTCC by Bruce Smith. Update 2-28-14
Originally these links above brought one to the Five Part Series on NTCC. Written by Bruce Smith and published by The Dispatch, each article had multiple pages of reader comments offering a comprehensive look into the "church behind the fence" the NTCC. The series and reader comments have subsequently been removed by The Dispatch original site; but for a time they are available by clicking on the numbered articles below. You may want to check out the few archived pages of reader comments published below each story. And you may also want to grab a cup of coffee or Pepsi before you begin reading . ;-)
Temporarily Available At:"B": Overview of The New Testament Christian Church - Current as of 2-28-14
Article #1: A Look Within The "Church Behind The Fence" --} #1 Click HereArticle #2: Life And Worship In The New Testament Christian Church [NTCC] --} #2 Click Here Article #3: NTCC: Is It A Cult? --} #3 Click here Article #4: A Deeper Look Into NTCC: Following The Money [An Impossible Task?] --} #4 Click HereArticle #5: A Deeper Look: Sexual and Marital Relationships in the NTCC --} #5 Click Here
This overview is an updated version of the original Five Part Series done by Bruce Smith for his own online news service:
The Mountain News -- WA.
Several new photos are in the article and some previously undisclosed information appears as well a hint of more stories to come.
When I met and knew Kelly Merz and his then-time wife Cherlyn in 1994-1995, they were happily married (for around, at that time, 10~11 years) and living in Fayetteville, North Carolina where they both faithfully attended the ntcc's Ft. Bragg Servicemen's Home and Church services at 3324 Rogers Drive.
The couple relocated to the Graham, WA area to attend the New Testament Christian Churches of America, Inc. Seminary / Bible School (NTCCA NTCS BS). They also began acquiring real estate properties that they rented to fellow NTCC bible school students, a practice that continues to this day, despite both Merz having left the NTCC. If you know NTCC, you know that it this is never heard of; people "in" "the organization (NTCC) DO NOT have contact with those who have left. In religious circles this practice is called "disfellowshipping" or "shunning".
Although the Merz divorced in 2004 after 20 years of marriage, they had enough of a friendship that Kelly called Cherlyn and tearfully confessed to killing his roommate, a 33 year old woman named Cori Lewis.
This is an unspeakable tragedy that, in our opinion, is related to the Merz' long-time involvement in the New Testament Christian Churches of America, Inc. Too many stories exist of ntcc putting extreme pressures on people. Years of ntcc stress has caused many people to change drastically from who they were when they came into the ntcc. One woman has shared that she was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stess Disorder) after her years of involvement with the ntcc. We believe that is also likely in this situation.
Racism In Your NTCC (And Its Deadly Consequences):
For those who don't know them, Kelly Merz is a white man; and Cherlyn is a woman of color. That should not matter. But for those who know ntcc, they will understand what that means:
NTCC brags about being "a church of all nations". But the ugly truth is that the NTCC has a well-documented history of putting down African Americans. This prejudice stems from the head of the NTCC, rodger wilson davis and his son-in-law, NTCC CEO, michael craig kekel. From the pulpit and lectern racial slurs have abounded to include:
- slinging out the N* word
- teaching that "a white man who marries a black woman has low self-esteem"
- white-black "inter-racial marriages" "limit the ministry"
- rap music is "monkey" music
- corn rows or braids were forbidden
- a PONTIAC is just a "Poor Old N*gger that Thinks It's A Cadillac"
- and more
Sadly, that is not the case.
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Cori Lewis, who, in our opinion, is yet another victim of the New Testament Christian Churches of America, Inc.
The Moreno Tragedy Click Here
"The Moreno Tragedy" discusses on this blog the ntcc pressures that drove Roland Moreno to shoot and kill his pregnant wife, 5 year-old son, and then himself. Eerily, almost exactly eight years to the day, the Moreno Tragedy of death following ntcc duress is repeated in the murder of Cori Lewis.
Click on the labels below to see more related stories on this blog:
"Moreno" and "Murder"
The Cori Lewis Tragedy has also been covered extensively by Bruce Smith on The Mountain News -- WA in (to date) four related articles:
1) Body of homicide victim found in a shallow grave on 86th Ave in Graham; local residents provide critical information to police
(same story as "A", above)
2) Update on Lewis homicide: Shooter had strong ties to Graham
3) The New Testament Christian Church of Graham: an overview
(same story as "B", above)
4) Update on Kelly Merz – an interview with his brother, Keith Merz
Further discussion of this tragedy took place on a site called Dreamin' Demon: Real. Life. Horror: Their article included many references including (1) to the Pierce County Court Database on Kelly Merz, and another (2) to the Prosecutor's Press Release- Removed. The Dreamin' Demon article emphasized Merz sexually violating Lewis' remains. Click below:
Man Confesses To Kissing Victim’s Genitals After Murder
To return to the series about the loss of
The Moreno Family Click Here