An office administrator at Gloriavale has refuted claims that members are volunteers.
Serenity Valor told the Employment Court that workers in the commune’s commercial companies are self-employed contractors, who donate their wages back to the Christian Church Community Trust.
“So they’re contracting their hours and their time and their expertise to different jobs and to different companies.
“It's some way of recording what we're charging the businesses for the hours that are worked in their entity,” said Valor.
Everyone was paid the same amount.
“It's just our faith that we're equal that we don’t esteem ourselves better than somebody else,” said Valor.
The court is considering whether Gloriavale residents are classed as employees or volunteers.
A group of leavers have lodged the case against the Attorney General and the community’s leaders, arguing they are robbed of choice.
Valor also told the court she has university entrance, a diploma in teaching, and worked in the community’s office as an administrator for 40 years.
She said she enjoyed being busy.
“To be accepted by the lord and to receive an eternal crown is my aim and I feel I can do this here at Gloriavale.
“I do not agree that you are expected to work and if you don’t work you don’t eat.
“We care for everyone in our community,” said Valor.
When questioned about contact with the outside world, she said she had regular contact with two of her siblings who left and there were about 50 cell phones amongst members.
“I do not agree that access to ex-members of the community is absolutely controlled.
“It's a choice for each person in the community as to whether they stay in touch with family who leave,” said Valor.
There were abusive phone calls to the Gloriavale office “at least every week” which only increased when the commune appeared in the media.
She said some members were careful about what they told those who had left.
“The media enjoy letting the whole world know anything that they can about Gloriavale at times and so who wants to feed that?” said Valor.