Magnificat Meal Movement:
Australia: Taxpayer cash linked to religious cult
The Courier-Mail, via News.com.au, Australia
June 12, 2008
Taxpayers have given thousands of dollars to organisations linked to the
controversial religious cult Magnificat Meal Movement in Queensland.
Local officials now fear the organisations are being used as a front for
festivals to generate large amounts of cash for the cult, based at the small
town of Helidon, near Toowoomba.
About $6000 in grants from the Department of Families has been given to the
Helidon Sports and Recreation Association and the Tabletop Junior Art and Craft
Both the organisations and a website promoting them are registered to cult
member Clare Birchley.
The organisations have been running monthly fancy dress balls and music and
dance festivals, featuring performers such as Normie Rowe and the Delltones.
The website does not mention the Magnificat Meal Movement and suggests it is a
Questions have been raised about the legitimacy of the organisations.
Organisers have not provided Lockyer Valley Regional Council officials with
their memberships or what organisers intend to do with festival proceeds.
One councillor said: “We realise they are Triple M. They are just raising money
for their own community.”
Ms Birchley was quoted in a Sunday Mail story in June 1997 as saying she gave up
a video production job on the Gold Coast to join the cult and take on the title
Slave of the Eucharist.
A family member said Ms Birchley was still involved with Triple M, and Ms
Birchley did not reject the suggestion.
She also acknowledged being aware of the current activities of cult leader Debra
Geileskey, who sold her million-dollar Lockyer Valley retreat and has moved to
“I have her details but I’m not going to give it to you. She travels all the
time. She wouldn’t want to speak to you,” Ms Birchley said.
Ms Geileskey encouraged her followers to live in Helidon, claiming Jesus would
return once they finished a $45 million basilica, which has never been built.
A Helidon businesswoman said many locals donated heavily to the cult and remain
emotionally and financially damaged.
Ms Birchley denied the organisations were fronts for the Triple M or had
anything to do with Ms Geileskey.
“They are community organisations. They have nothing to do with her,” she said, declining further comment.
A Department of Families spokesman said the grants were only for small equipment
purchases, not for running festivals.
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