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Author Topic: John Hopler Letter  (Read 5899 times)
Suzy
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« on: April 15, 2019, 02:29:47 pm »

I apologize if this has been shared before, but I found this link on Evergreen's website. It is a letter from John Hopler dated February 18, 2019, with their viewpoint of the Mark Darling situation.

https://www.evergreenchurch.com/letter


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ReaperofGCM
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 03:58:07 pm »

Thank you for sharing, I had not seen this. While fascinating, it seems like a bunch of mumbo jumbo from Hopler. He's being very careful
as to not take sides in this situation and further states that there was no criminal action. I get the feeling he is irritated that Mark refused to
following the path back to ordination....
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Linda
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 04:21:33 pm »

Thank you for sharing that Suzy. I received the link anonymously a couple weeks ago and wasn’t sure what to do with it so just took screen shots while I decided what to do.

I also received anonymously a rather lengthy (19 pages) copy of a letter from John Meyer challenging ECC’s handling of the investigation and supporting Mark Darling. It mentioned working with Mark in the future anyone know anything about that?
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Huldah
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2019, 08:44:07 am »

Thanks for the link, Suzy.

That's a pretty lengthy statement from Hopler. The whole thing could be summarized as: GCC is not to blame for Mark's being found guilty or for his decision to leave. The correct procedures were followed. Mark could have appealed but he chose not to. The ball is in his court now.
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Linda
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2019, 11:34:48 am »

From the letter:

*Mark Darling.  Everyone at Evergreen I have met loves Mark Darling—Board members, pastors and church members. Everyone I have met is appreciative of the many ways Mark has served the church throughout the decades. Everyone I have met has sympathy for ways in which the media and social media mischaracterized Mark. Everyone I have met wants Mark and his family to prosper. However, at issue is not whether to love Mark but how to love Mark. What most people fail to distinguish is Mark Darling as our brother versus Mark Darling as a leader. Loving a person and keeping a person on as an ordained minister are two different issues.

Just how did "media and social media mischaracterize Mark"?

This is maddening and shows a lack of remorse on the part of ECC and GCC in not handling the situation(s) properly when they came up many, many years ago. They continue to handle it wrong when they bash the women who tried to come forward with their stories.

Clearly, ECC and GCC care more about their organizations than the women. It's sickening.

What about the ways that the women were mischaracterized?

Hopler allowed an employee of ECC to spend much time on this forum calling the women liars, and dissing the people who believed them because I know for a fact that Hopler was made aware of Jeromy's posts and did nothing to stop them. ECC also knew of his vicious, rude attacks here and did nothing.

STOP MAKING IT ABOUT YOU, GCC, AND FOCUS ON THE WOMEN!!!
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 04:17:21 pm by Linda » Logged

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Huldah
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« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 06:05:11 pm »

I noticed the parts about everyone loving Mark and about social media (which means any online medium where they don't get to control the discourse). I could comment on those, but to be honest, I'm just so disgusted with the whole letter that I decided not to even bother. GCC is still being GCC, still putting the reputation of the organization above the welfare of the members. If they had really loved Mark like they claim, why didn't they deal with the problem back when Suzanne first complained? When you let someone get away with wrongdoing, you aren't rescuing them; you're just setting them up for a future reckoning.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 07:26:02 pm »

I agree Linda and Huldah.

Hopler’s Letter seemed to be repetitive ambiguities to placate both sides.  But what about the side where the victims have lived. They may as well have been ignored altogether. It looks like the GCC National Leaders, himself included, might hope they stay ignored.  For a church who feeds off of intrusiveness and gossip, I find it hard to believe that the national leaders didn’t know about one of their leader’s perversely sinful actions many years ago. But, then again, they did pass off the founder’s abusive control for many years also; and still today have not admitted nor publically apologized for it.  Ambiguity and denial are their friends.  As someone recently put it, they have sacrificed the sheep for the sake of the shepherds!

Here is a passage that describes this behavior well:


“Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves!
Should not shepherds take care of the flock?
You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals.
You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.
...because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending tending the flock so that the shepherds can longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them”.
Ezekiel 34:2-4,10


The GCx Shepherds both big and small, National and local, were given second and third chances to make this grave and sinful abuse of authority right when Suzanne voiced her victimization, and others who experienced similar victimization. But, they chose silence and letting others attack her and the other victims instead.  Some of the leaders even attacked her (indirectly) themselves in their pulpit preaching.  They indeed relied on deception and deceit in their communication regarding this perverted and deliberate victimization.  Here is what God says, not me, about warning church leaders who practice deceit and oppression:


“Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly in an instant.  It will break into pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water from a cistern.”
Isaiah 30:12-14


God does rescue and vindicate the innocent. He also breaks useless and abusive church organizations into pieces like pottery.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 08:11:44 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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Linda
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« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 01:11:03 pm »

Thanks Janet for the reminder about what happens when shepherds don't care for the sheep. Ezekiel 34 has been very encouraging to me over the years.

Hopler states in his letter: "The church was in a very vulnerable position because there were claims of physical sexual abuse, cover-up and hush money.  (All of these claims were not substantiated.)

I want to address these three concerns.

First, physical sexual abuse.

The investigation found: "“Based on the interviews conducted during this investigation, Suzanne van Dyck’s individual allegations of sexual abuse, by definition, could not be substantiated.”
Note: The investigation did not find that Suzanne van Dyck's INDIVIDUAL allegation of sexual abuse was FALSE.

I hear two things in this statement.

1. The investigation only addressed the allegation of physical sexual abuse made by Suzanne, and not any accusations made by others. Specifically, Loey also publicly made allegations of physical sexual abuse and my understanding is that she gave testimony to Joan. Her accusations were not addressed in the report.

2. Substantiated means there was no proof. Obviously, in a he said/she said there is rarely proof.

Secondly, cover up.

It is interesting to note that Suzanne did not choose to use the words "cover up". ECC/GCC came up with those words.

Suzanne said: "Pastor who abused me is still in pulpit though he was outed to other pastors that are still there.  Tweet is for me and other women abused by Mark Darling and Evergreen Community Church."

She said other pastors knew about the abuse. What did the investigation find, and what did some pastors admit? They knew.

It would seem as if Hopler has created a charge of cover up and is trying to say there was no cover up, when, in fact, Suzanne's accusation was that some pastors knew. The investigation found and some pastors admitted that they knew about her AND OTHERS. This is a sad day for the boys whose mantra is "Character Matters". They knew and they did not act properly. The shepherds took care of the shepherds and not the sheep. (See Ezekiel 34 and tremble)

Finally, hush money.

I wonder how many standard severance packages with non-disparagement agreements are offered to people who never were employed by a company? Suzanne never was an employee of ECC or GCM. She never received a W-2 from them. I asked.

I'm guessing Joan was not aware of the fact that ECC offered a severance package to a non-employee. This seems fishy to me.

My guess from reading these letters is Hopler was sitting on the fence trying to keep everyone happy to keep GCC intact to avoid the split that seems to be happening.
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Huldah
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2019, 04:37:15 pm »

Something about the letter has been nagging at me for a while, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it until today.

From the letter:

Quote
Amidst this crisis, the Board wanted to follow proper procedure—but what was most important was finding out the truth in a way that was caring for the church, the women and for Mark... By providing confidentiality to the women, the Board reasoned that this was the best way for the truth to come out all at once.
 

and

Quote
I understand why Evergreen felt it was loving to provide a safe way for women to share confidentially the truth of what they have experienced.

I understand that at least some of the women wanted their remarks to remain confidential. But didn't it also serve the interests of the Evergreen leaders not to have the details made public? So it was no special concession to the women, if it also benefited Evergreen leaders.

I would like to know whether anyone at GCC or at Evergreen ever told that congregation not to harass the women online. Anyone? Even once? That, in my opinion, would have shown real, practical love for those women. But no, Evergreen members and at least one paid member of Evergreen staff were allowed to come here and question everything from the victims' mental health to their financial dealings.

In my opinion, anyone who was caught harassing the women should have been placed under church discipline.
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2019, 05:48:53 pm »

Definitely agree, Huldah.

G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) publishes a matter of fact report PUBLICALLY - not using any of the names of the victims, but those of the perpetrators.  That goes without saying.  But, protecting the victims’ identities is quite different from slyly burying the truth and protecting the leaders and the organization.  The instances of abuse could have definitely been outlined and reported, but they were hidden as were even the people making the decision.

The instances of ignoring the truth, denying the truth and responding with vindictiveness toward the victims, and support for the perpetrator’s continuance in his position should have been detailed and publically available to the congregation.  This would show some true repentance  on the part of those in authority.  Shaming the victim/s, accusing them of lying, and unrighteously “protecting” the pastor in the many years that followed; including getting rid of any who reported very inappropriate behavior by him.  Covering up was going on for years, and then it was handled as a “business problem with an employee”.  This was a very serious sin problem by someone who exerted much control over many lives, and that hurt many people so those same people deserve for the sin to be exposed, not belittled with lawyer technicalities.  

Below is a true Christian process and response to abuse in the church.  This wasn’t done.  Real giveaways of that non-credible process and unsorrowful response are who they hired “to handle it” - the lawyer hired to investigate was not someone with professional knowledge of spiritual or sexual abuse; and that they actually offered the offending pastor severance pay!  Would the Apostle Paul have hired such a lawyer; or offered more pay to someone who committed such lewd actions toward very young women as a “shepherd”?


GRACE
“When individuals step forward to disclose being abused by a leader, volunteer, or anyone else within a faith community (church, school, or religious organization), it is critical that we properly respond in a manner that protects and respects reported victims, pursues truth and justice, and provides a credible process that is consistent with ministry integrity.  Independent investigations are the primary way of legitimately addressing allegations of past abuse, while also investigating and assessing the organization’s knowledge of the abuse and if and how it responded to it.”
« Last Edit: May 03, 2019, 06:57:24 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.        - Saint Augustine
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