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Children and the Cult

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Children and the Cult
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New England Monthly, December 1984.
By Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

NOTES: Barbara Harrison went to Island Pond and saw this bizarre cult in its daily life, interviewing various members,and learning what it is like to face fiercely judgmental hatred.  She was especially concerned for the welfare of viciously treated children.

In 1971 a carnival barker in Chattanooga founded a church.  Elbert Eugene Spriggs, who had studied psychology at the University of Chanattooga, first called the group of troubled young people he gathered to himself the Light Brigade; later — when they removed themselves from the mainline churches — Spriggs's commune became known as the Vine Christian Community.  In 1978 the church — which has small branches in the Dorchester section of Boston and in Clark's Harbour, Nova Scotia — moved, having found Chattanoogain hospitable, to that remote part of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom.  It now calls itself the Church in Island Pond or the Northeast Kingdom Community Church.  Today Spriggs lives in France with a handful of followers.