Words by Erdington Local editorial team
A Stockland Green church where a man reportedly died during a baptism has cancelled meetings and events this week – whilst asking members to pray and fast for the ‘apostle’ at the centre of ongoing manslaughter investigations.
It is reported a baptism was taking place and was being live streamed on the group’s Facebook page – with a picture being widely shared online following the incident.
West Midlands Ambulance Service attended the scene and tried to save the man, named on the church’s Facebook page as Robert Yap.
West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed: “We were called at 1.42pm on Sunday to a medical emergency at a private address on Slade Road in Stockland Green, Birmingham. Two ambulances, a paramedic officer and a critical care car from Midland Air Ambulance attended the scene. Upon arrival we found a man.
“Ambulance staff administered advanced life support to him but unfortunately, despite the best efforts of ambulance staff it became clear that nothing more could be done to save him and he was confirmed deceased at the scene.”
The story made headlines across the world this week, being picked up by media outlets across the UK and several Christian websites in America and Africa.
But whilst police investigate the tragedy, several posts have appeared on the Life Changing Ministries Facebook page inviting members to join in three ‘Powerful Days of Prayer and Fasting’, running from Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 October.
A post made on Tuesday 10 October further stated: “URGENT ANNOUNCEMENT!! APOSTLE CHERYL REID – BARTLEY IS URGING ALL MEMBERS TO JOIN WITH HER IN THESE THREE (3) DAYS OF INTENSE AND DEEP WARFARE, PRAYER AND FAST FOR THE MINISTRY, FOR APOSTLE (HERSELF) AND FOR OUR FAITHFUL MEMBERS!!!”
Other posts made by the church’s Facebook administrators include a near hour long message to camera made by Ms Reid-Bartley, under the heading: ‘Our Beloved Brother, Robert Yap of Life Changing Ministries, Birmingham, England has went Home to be with the Lord.’
The post also quotes 2 Corinthians 5:8 (King James Version): ‘We are confident I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.’
Following the social media messages, Life Changing Ministries received several messages of support from members of the church.
Markita Davis Humphrey posted in the comments section: “Always lifting up LCM and Apostle Cheryl and LCM sons and daughters and our families.”
Keisha Riley added: “We will continue to fast and pray Apostle, we’re in this together, we appreciate and love you.”
Donna Francis said: “…none of this people praying for the family of this man what died, all u on praying for the apostle who went to heaven and come back because she did not like up there, and leave the man because he like what he see madness all you stop it this man family is grieving.”
Whilst Mai VaDhikondo posted: “Well life changed really quickly for the apostle, I wonder if she saw this one in her many revelations. Pray for the man who died please!”
Hannah George added: “Who’s praying for the family of the man who died if u don’t mind me asking.”
A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police confirmed: “A woman has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a man in his 60s died in Erdington on Sunday.
“A post mortem examination will be carried out in due course to establish the cause of the man’s death, while detectives carry out enquiries into the circumstances surrounding his death.
“A 46-year-old woman who was arrested in Birmingham has been released on police bail while enquiries continue.”
The case continues.