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Author Topic: Apology Letter Posted on website  (Read 2582 times)
DarthVader
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« on: July 23, 2018, 02:02:20 pm »

https://www.evergreenchurch.com/update/

*(Posted July 23, 2018)*

Our Apology

Because of the investigation, we know that some people have been
affected adversely by the inaction of our church leadership which is
spoken of in this letter. We sincerely apologize to all who have been
affected negatively and offended. And we mourn your hurt. There will be
a reconciliation process offered by our Board of Trustees to those who
have been offended.

We also acknowledge the shock, hurt, and sorrow being experienced by
many in our church community. The sorrow of this situation will not go
away quickly. We apologize to all who are hurting, and we hope we can
move towards a place of healing and strength in our community. 

According to 2 Corinthians 7:10,*“*Godly sorrow brings repentance.” When
there is an offense in a relationship, it is imperative to humble
ourselves before the Lord, and ask Him to examine our hearts, and show
us where we have stepped away from the good He wants for us. As the Lord
has brought light to our waywardness, we need to humbly apologize for
the wrong we’ve done, acknowledge the pain we’ve caused, and ask for
forgiveness from those we’ve offended.

We have begun the process of examining where we, personally and
communally, have miscarried the responsibilities and conduct our Father
requires of us as leaders in His church. Collective mistakes are often
harder to be aware of and discern than individual failings. We are
learning to better understand this dynamic and our weaknesses. We also
understand our vulnerability to judge ourselves by our intent, and not
our actions, even though actions and deeds are of more consequence than
intent. Our reflection is underway, but not completed. God is revealing
our failings where growth is needed. We believe it is appropriate to
acknowledge where God is shedding His light on our mistakes thus far,
and we offer our humble apologies for how we have caused pain. To this
end, we wish to express the following.

1. /_We should have had policies and procedures in place for congregants
to voice concerns about pastoral behavior._/ It is generally difficult
for a congregant to bring a complaint against a pastor. Why? The pastor
has an influential position, and the congregant has experienced care
from the pastor, and generally feels respectful toward that pastor.
Therefore, approaching a pastor can be intimidating. This difficulty
increases with a woman bringing a complaint against a male pastor. There
has not been enough recognition by us of these dynamics of power, and
how much courage it takes for a woman to bring a complaint about a male
pastor. We apologize for not adequately recognizing this difficulty, and
we will create procedures to make this easier and less intimidating. We
want to avoid marginalizing anyone’s pain.

2. /_We should have had training in place regarding best practices for
pastoral counseling._/ Wise pastoral counseling includes setting
proactive limits, for the thriving of both congregant and pastor, and to
prevent unhealthy attachments or inappropriate discussions of sexual
subject matter. We regret not having secured continuing education for
the best practices in pastoral counseling.

3. /_The concerns raised by John and Suzanne van Dyck in 2001, that were
communicated to Mark Bowen, Brent Knox, and Doug Patterson, should have
been shared with the Evergreen Church Board of Trustees(BOT), and
counseling should have been required for Mark Darling_/. If the BOT had
been informed, then legal counsel could have been sought, and an
impartial 3rd party could have been retained to review and advise
Evergreen leadership on the entire process. These steps would have
allowed for a more thorough examination of the conduct involved. They
would have greatly enhanced the follow-through necessary, and afforded
opportunity to discover if the inappropriate behavior had occurred
elsewhere. There should have been procedures and guidelines in place to
insure pastor accountability. These steps were not taken. We apologize
for this neglect.

4. /_By not going far enough, some offenses from the past, affecting
female congregants, were not fully discovered or dealt with_/. This has
caused some women to suffer alone, in silence, and in continued pain,
due not only to the original offense, but also to a lack of closure.  We
realize we should have taken the action steps in point #3 above. To
those who have been hurt and have continued to remain hurt because of
our lack of follow-through, we apologize and ask for your forgiveness.

In closing, we acknowledge our lack of due diligence in this matter and
the pain that has resulted.  We are deeply sorry and sincerely
apologize. May God help all affected to know more deeply the comfort and
hope of Jesus Christ in this difficult season, and experience new
heights of personal renewal in the process.

Sincerely,
Mark Bowen, Brent Knox, Doug Patterson, with support of the pastors of
Evergreen Church, The Rock, and The Urban Refuge.
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OneOfMany
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2018, 02:12:48 pm »

A step in the right direction.
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margaret
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2018, 05:32:00 pm »

Thanks for posting, Darth; I really appreciate you taking the time.

I agree, it's a refreshing start.
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2018, 08:58:30 pm »

Thanks Darth. Nice of you to post this. Nicely done by ECC.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2018, 09:10:36 pm by .... » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2018, 07:11:41 am »

Quote from: ECC
3. /_The concerns raised by John and Suzanne van Dyck in 2001, that were
communicated to Mark Bowen, Brent Knox, and Doug Patterson, should have
been shared with the Evergreen Church Board of Trustees(BOT), and
counseling should have been required for Mark Darling_/. If the BOT had
been informed, then legal counsel could have been sought, and an
impartial 3rd party could have been retained to review and advise
Evergreen leadership on the entire process. These steps would have
allowed for a more thorough examination of the conduct involved. They
would have greatly enhanced the follow-through necessary, and afforded
opportunity to discover if the inappropriate behavior had occurred
elsewhere. There should have been procedures and guidelines in place to
insure pastor accountability. These steps were not taken. We apologize
for this neglect.

Questions.

Why is John mentioned here? The concerns were raised by Suzanne. John was there supporting her as her husband. Why aren't the other women mentioned?

Why would they want to bring in an attorney?

What about the concerns voiced by other women that have not been addressed? Loey, for example, said publicly that she informed the pastors of improper behavior in the mid-90's? Are they looking into that? Will the BOT issue a statement about that? Did the inaction of the pastors when Loey brought forth her concerns lead to other inappropriate encounters with different women? Is the BOT fully informed about that situation and the accusations of the other women?

Where do they stand on the Tweet suggesting Suzanne had been fully heard and gifted with a million dollars? Are they sorry? Will they publicly take that back and apologize?

Where do they stand on the shaming sermons referencing Shimei and unfair and unjust conduct on the part of the women? Are they sorry for that? Are they sorry enough to preach a bold sermon admitting they were wrong?



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Phoenix
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2018, 11:52:41 am »

I hear this letter was delivered to victims 3-4 days before it was posted online.  Along with the letter was a request from the pastors to allow them to also apologize in person.
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Linda
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2018, 12:33:41 pm »

My understanding is that the communication was a form letter, not apologizing for specific sins to each victim, and not all victims received it.

Let me know if I’ve got that wrong.
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Phoenix
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2018, 06:28:31 pm »

My understanding is that the communication was a form letter, not apologizing for specific sins to each victim, and not all victims received it.

Let me know if I’ve got that wrong.

1.  I do not think my post was vague regarding the letter, I said "this letter" which is referring back to the original post for this thread, a form letter that was quoted from the website.
2.  I would guess the number victims that received a copy would equal the number of victims identified in the BoT report.  I forget that number, like only 3 or 4.
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Linda
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2018, 06:52:08 pm »

Yes, that’s what I meant. The public apology letter was a form letter in the sense that it was not personal. It was a general statement.

As of yesterday, it was my understanding that not all victims received the statement ahead of time.
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Badger
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2018, 06:56:19 pm »

My understanding is that the communication was a form letter, not apologizing for specific sins to each victim, and not all victims received it.

Let me know if I’ve got that wrong.

1.  I do not think my post was vague regarding the letter, I said "this letter" which is referring back to the original post for this thread, a form letter that was quoted from the website.
2.  I would guess the number victims that received a copy would equal the number of victims identified in the BoT report.  I forget that number, like only 3 or 4.

Only 3 or 4?  How many people is it okay to abuse?  Only 1 or 2?

(If you are suggesting there was only a small fraction of total victims presented by the report, "only 3 or 4" is correctly stated.)
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Phoenix
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2018, 08:19:28 pm »

Only 3 or 4?  How many people is it okay to abuse?  Only 1 or 2?

(If you are suggesting there was only a small fraction of total victims presented by the report, "only 3 or 4" is correctly stated.)

You decide, assume the worst or the best?
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Donut
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2018, 09:07:55 pm »

New here....just curious Were there 3, 5 or 9? I'm confused
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Linda
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« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2018, 09:15:54 pm »

New here....just curious Were there 3, 5 or 9? I'm confused
9 came forward to Suzanne.

5 of those spoke with the investigator.

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Donut
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« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2018, 09:19:22 pm »

So 2 cases were dismissed then and we have 3 total? Am I correct?
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Badger
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« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2018, 09:23:45 pm »

Only 3 or 4?  How many people is it okay to abuse?  Only 1 or 2?

(If you are suggesting there was only a small fraction of total victims presented by the report, "only 3 or 4" is correctly stated.)

You decide, assume the worst or the best?

I'll let you decide what side you want to be on.  

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Linda
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2018, 09:31:40 pm »

So 2 cases were dismissed then and we have 3 total? Am I correct?
5 cases were heard that Suzanne is aware of. So possibly more since no one had to inform Suzanne before they spoke with Joan. As far as anyone knows none of those were dismissed. The BOT won’t release the report. Clearly there was validity to some of the 5 stories because the BOT rescinded Mark Darling’s ordination.

4 have not spoken...yet.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2018, 09:33:25 pm by Linda » Logged

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Linda
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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2018, 09:40:32 pm »

For the record. 1 woman abused sexually (verbally or physically) by a pastor is 1 woman too many.

1 story of pastoral abuse not dealt with by church elders is 1 story too many.

This is a BIG deal. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like  ECC leaders or some attendees understand that.
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Donut
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« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2018, 10:41:11 pm »

Ok thanks
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Phoenix
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« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2018, 04:14:50 am »

Only 3 or 4?  How many people is it okay to abuse?  Only 1 or 2?

(If you are suggesting there was only a small fraction of total victims presented by the report, "only 3 or 4" is correctly stated.)

You decide, assume the worst or the best?

I'll let you decide what side you want to be on.  


Badger -

My point is that why would you even begin to assume I was OK abuse if it was "only" 3 or 4.  That is such a cynical view of someone on a message board.  Have you read other posts of mine around here and thought I'd be that callous?  I just do not get it.  I'm trying to figure it out.

I sat on the phone and cried with one of the victims during a call, she is a friend.  Perhaps that will help you decide if my "only 3 or 4" was just clarifying that it was not the larger number that has been mentioned here.
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Badger
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« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2018, 10:03:24 am »

Only 3 or 4?  How many people is it okay to abuse?  Only 1 or 2?

(If you are suggesting there was only a small fraction of total victims presented by the report, "only 3 or 4" is correctly stated.)

You decide, assume the worst or the best?

I'll let you decide what side you want to be on. 


Badger -

My point is that why would you even begin to assume I was OK abuse if it was "only" 3 or 4.  That is such a cynical view of someone on a message board.  Have you read other posts of mine around here and thought I'd be that callous?  I just do not get it.  I'm trying to figure it out.

I sat on the phone and cried with one of the victims during a call, she is a friend.  Perhaps that will help you decide if my "only 3 or 4" was just clarifying that it was not the larger number that has been mentioned here.



Phoenix, I couldn't tell what position you held.  I took your choice of words, "only," to mean " No more than (implying that more was expected); merely."

I am glad you have had contact with a victim.  I want the forum to be a safe place for those who have been abused.  I don't want even one victim to read a post on this forum that diminishes their voice soley based on numbers of known victims.

Your initial response to my concern could have easily and quickly been answered.   Instead you chose to try to frame it in a way I was judging you.  Again, only you can answer what you were trying to say by stating "only 3 or 4."

Some of your past responses have seemed to have healthy doses of cynicism and indignation:



So how does a church full of people that lack a basic sense of right and wrong when it comes to boundaries move forward to become healthy?
Please stop with such sweeping statements, exaggerations and conspiratorial questions.  I do not think they forward the conversation or topic.

Phoenix the topic/question does need to be addressed. A fundamental lack of personal boundaries is systemic throughout the church. It is an underlying problem that has led to many of the problems that have happened and are happening.
This is rubbish, you sit from afar and judge. 

You make it seem as though sex is often discussed by pastors other than MD and that is just not true.  Further, you make it seem as if it is likely small groups would have no problem problem explaining in detail their sexual sin.  How dare you.

The veil began lifting on my eyes as far back as 2006 and they are finally completely clear so I see the problem, still I find your comments to be baseless, offensive and presumptuous.


This forum exists because leaders have continued to maintain their "right" to do and say whatever they please at the expense of hurting and harming others.  The current Darling abuse scandal is more of the same.

If I was someone who supported and wept over abuse, I would make every effort to further clarify any personal stance that might have been misinterpreted.  I also initially gave you the benefit of the doubt that I misinterpreted what you meant by your comment.

Own what you wrote - your choice of words were either not clear or you meant "merely" 3 or 4 victims.  You still haven't clarified your comment; instead, you blame me for my misinterpretation - that I'm too "cynical" and "callous," or that I'm assuming the worst of you.  I'm not going to be drawn into a war of words where simple clarification would have brought understanding.
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