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Author Topic: Reflections on the Anniversary of the Tweet  (Read 803 times)
Linda
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« on: January 05, 2019, 07:32:07 am »

Lest we forget.

January  5, 2019.

One year ago, Scout tweeted this:

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.  @evergreen_bloom @Evergreen_NH @rockthechurch @EvergreenLake @maryearlyknox #MeToo
4:32 PM - 5 Jan 2018"


Three days later, ECC replied to her Tweet with this:

 @evergreen_bloom
 8 Jan 2018
Replying to @notabystandermn @Evergreen_NH and 3 others

20 years ago, this was investigated by EC leadership, board chairman, & 3rd party mediator. After a review of facts, mediator and van Dykes were satisfied by the integrity of the Darlings’ and EC’s response. We are willing to talk privately if you want to share more concerns. pic.twitter.com/NE4VDZh8wF

ECC attached this statement to the Tweet:

Suzanne was fully heard in this matter 20 years ago by her husband John, Mark and Kathy Darling, Mark Bowen (Chairman of ECC Board of Trustees) and a trusted Christian counselor chosen by Suzanne to fulfill the role of independent, 3rd party mediator. After careful listening and a thorough review of all facts, the mediator was completely satisfied by the transparency and integrity of the Darlings and Evergreen Church's response. No further action steps were recommended by the mediator, nor required by the van Dycks.

Within a year of the completion of the mediation process, John and Suzanne accepted Evergreen Church's sponsorship and gift of over $1,000,000 to enable them to carry out their dream of planting a church in Berlin, Germany. Since returning from Berlin, Suzanne has chosen to have no contact with Evergreen Church. We have honored her decision. We have nothing but good will toward Suzanne, John and their family. If Suzanne would like to discuss concerns in a personal meeting with the same or another mediator of her choosing, we would welcome that.


On February 4, 2018, ECC issued this statement in which they denied the accusations on behalf of Mark and announced they would be hiring an investigator:

Allegations, made by one individual, have arisen claiming inappropriate sexual behavior prior to 2001 by Mark Darling, a pastor at The Rock. General claims against Mark Darling were first shared by this person through social media on January 5, 2018. However, more specific allegations were posted online on Wednesday, January 24th. In addition, this person has implied that Evergreen Church was aware of the offensive behavior and did not act appropriately.

We take all allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously, although we are mindful that an allegation alone does not assign guilt. In an effort to discern the truth of these allegations - impartially and without bias - Evergreen is in the process of hiring a reputable, third party investigator to independently investigate the facts surrounding these claims. Mark unequivocally denies these allegations and he is cooperating fully with this process. Mark is on paid administrative leave and will not perform any pastoral duties during the investigation, including teaching, counseling, or oversight. At the close of the investigation, the findings will be submitted to the Evergreen Board of Trustees to determine the appropriate next steps.
Statistics show that 1-in-4 women, and 1-in-6 men, have been victims of some kind of sexual assault. For some, this announcement may trigger very painful memories, thoughts and feelings. We are informing you about this situation, and our response, for the sake of integrity and God’s glory, and to alleviate questions or concerns which might arise as details of the situation become more wide-spread. If you would like support in processing those thoughts and feelings, we are available to assist you in finding a skilled counseling resource.
Please pray for God’s grace and mercy on all parties involved, and for all victims of sexual abuse. Pray for God to be glorified by the truth made clear throughout this process, and that God will bless this church with wisdom and strength in the days ahead. If you have any questions, you may contact Lynn Newman, Evergreen Operations Manager by email at lnewman@evergreenchurch.com, but in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation and those impacted by this process, please understand that only limited information can be provided at this time.


Then on March 8, 2018, Jeromy Darling, an employee of ECC at the time, issued a defense of his father (complete with soundtrack) in which he attacked Suzanne and those who believed her story. On March 10, 2019, he spammed her Twitter account nearly 100 times (I just counted 96, but may have missed a couple) saying her story had been debunked.

The investigator was hired, ECC defenders took over this site for a few months and tried to bully Suzanne and those of us who believed her through name calling and threats.

And, what did the investigator find?

From the investigator’s report: “ECC failed to take appropriate action in response to misconduct allegations.”

And from the BOT report:

In 2001, the four Evergreen pastors, Mark Bowen, Brent Knox, Doug Patterson and John van Dyck made aware of Susanne van Dyck’s concerns about Mark Darling’s conduct acknowledged those concerns, and engaged with Mark Darling in a process (Matthew 18) over the course of several months in a good faith effort to address her concerns, but failed to follow through and implement appropriate corrective action regarding Mark Darling’s conduct

It is interesting to note that Suzanne's initial tweet was spot on.  

What has changed?

Well, for starters, the pastor she referred to is no longer a pastor. Whatever he did that the BOT was aware of proved to be disqualifying and his ordination was removed.

Second, the other pastors, as it turned out, were shown to have known about the behavior for many years.

Third, as mentioned in the tweet, there were others. The investigation revealed that, as well.

Mostly, in looking back, I think of the year with sorrow. Sorrow over lives, families, marriages, and reputations damaged by sin that was covered up. Sorrow and anger over pastors who failed to protect their flock in the most basic way and used donated funds to "investigate" something they already knew was true.

To the women who were involved in this, I want to say I am so sorry. This should not have happened.

To the families of those women, I want to say, I am sorry for the damage done to you, as well.

To all, it is my prayer that we all have a better understanding of the idea that when men claim to represent God it does not mean they actually represent God.

To ECC pastors who are still covering anything, I say repent.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2019, 07:46:13 am by Linda » Logged

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Huldah
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2019, 01:17:13 pm »

I hope Suzanne is doing well these days. She was subjected to so much abuse by Mark's supporters, and yet she managed to stay classy through it all. The strain must have been horrendous. Furthermore, not one of the abusers who came to this forum has ever returned to apologize, even after Suzanne and the other victims were vindicated by the BOT. I hope all of these women have found a measure of peace, now that the truth is known.
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Huldah
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2019, 05:48:10 pm »

One more thing I'd like to add, on further reflection.

In the past two or three years, a number of high-profile pastors and ministries have been exposed for sexual or financial misdeeds, or both. If you have a pastor whom you love and respect, please don't forget to pray for him, that he wouldn`t fall prey to these temptations. Pray for his family, too. Recent events have really driven home to me how much our pastors and their families need our prayer support.
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Heidi
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« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2019, 11:45:58 am »

Lest we forget.

January  5, 2019.

One year ago, Scout tweeted this:

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.  @evergreen_bloom @Evergreen_NH @rockthechurch @EvergreenLake @maryearlyknox #MeToo
4:32 PM - 5 Jan 2018"

   


Three days later, ECC replied to her Tweet with this:

 @evergreen_bloom
 8 Jan 2018
Replying to @notabystandermn @Evergreen_NH and 3 others

20 years ago, this was investigated by EC leadership, board chairman, & 3rd party mediator. After a review of facts, mediator and van Dykes were satisfied by the integrity of the Darlings’ and EC’s response. We are willing to talk privately if you want to share more concerns. pic.twitter.com/NE4VDZh8wF

ECC attached this statement to the Tweet:

Suzanne was fully heard in this matter 20 years ago by her husband John, Mark and Kathy Darling, Mark Bowen (Chairman of ECC Board of Trustees) and a trusted Christian counselor chosen by Suzanne to fulfill the role of independent, 3rd party mediator. After careful listening and a thorough review of all facts, the mediator was completely satisfied by the transparency and integrity of the Darlings and Evergreen Church's response. No further action steps were recommended by the mediator, nor required by the van Dycks.

Within a year of the completion of the mediation process, John and Suzanne accepted Evergreen Church's sponsorship and gift of over $1,000,000 to enable them to carry out their dream of planting a church in Berlin, Germany. Since returning from Berlin, Suzanne has chosen to have no contact with Evergreen Church. We have honored her decision. We have nothing but good will toward Suzanne, John and their family. If Suzanne would like to discuss concerns in a personal meeting with the same or another mediator of her choosing, we would welcome that.


On February 4, 2018, ECC issued this statement in which they denied the accusations on behalf of Mark and announced they would be hiring an investigator:

Allegations, made by one individual, have arisen claiming inappropriate sexual behavior prior to 2001 by Mark Darling, a pastor at The Rock. General claims against Mark Darling were first shared by this person through social media on January 5, 2018. However, more specific allegations were posted online on Wednesday, January 24th. In addition, this person has implied that Evergreen Church was aware of the offensive behavior and did not act appropriately.

We take all allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously, although we are mindful that an allegation alone does not assign guilt. In an effort to discern the truth of these allegations - impartially and without bias - Evergreen is in the process of hiring a reputable, third party investigator to independently investigate the facts surrounding these claims. Mark unequivocally denies these allegations and he is cooperating fully with this process. Mark is on paid administrative leave and will not perform any pastoral duties during the investigation, including teaching, counseling, or oversight. At the close of the investigation, the findings will be submitted to the Evergreen Board of Trustees to determine the appropriate next steps.
Statistics show that 1-in-4 women, and 1-in-6 men, have been victims of some kind of sexual assault. For some, this announcement may trigger very painful memories, thoughts and feelings. We are informing you about this situation, and our response, for the sake of integrity and God’s glory, and to alleviate questions or concerns which might arise as details of the situation become more wide-spread. If you would like support in processing those thoughts and feelings, we are available to assist you in finding a skilled counseling resource.
Please pray for God’s grace and mercy on all parties involved, and for all victims of sexual abuse. Pray for God to be glorified by the truth made clear throughout this process, and that God will bless this church with wisdom and strength in the days ahead. If you have any questions, you may contact Lynn Newman, Evergreen Operations Manager by email at lnewman@evergreenchurch.com, but in an effort to protect the integrity of the investigation and those impacted by this process, please understand that only limited information can be provided at this time.


Then on March 8, 2018, Jeromy Darling, an employee of ECC at the time, issued a defense of his father (complete with soundtrack) in which he attacked Suzanne and those who believed her story. On March 10, 2019, he spammed her Twitter account nearly 100 times (I just counted 96, but may have missed a couple) saying her story had been debunked.

The investigator was hired, ECC defenders took over this site for a few months and tried to bully Suzanne and those of us who believed her through name calling and threats.

And, what did the investigator find?

From the investigator’s report: “ECC failed to take appropriate action in response to misconduct allegations.”

And from the BOT report:

In 2001, the four Evergreen pastors, Mark Bowen, Brent Knox, Doug Patterson and John van Dyck made aware of Susanne van Dyck’s concerns about Mark Darling’s conduct acknowledged those concerns, and engaged with Mark Darling in a process (Matthew 18) over the course of several months in a good faith effort to address her concerns, but failed to follow through and implement appropriate corrective action regarding Mark Darling’s conduct

It is interesting to note that Suzanne's initial tweet was spot on.  

What has changed?

Well, for starters, the pastor she referred to is no longer a pastor. Whatever he did that the BOT was aware of proved to be disqualifying and his ordination was removed.

Second, the other pastors, as it turned out, were shown to have known about the behavior for many years.

Third, as mentioned in the tweet, there were others. The investigation revealed that, as well.

Mostly, in looking back, I think of the year with sorrow. Sorrow over lives, families, marriages, and reputations damaged by sin that was covered up. Sorrow and anger over pastors who failed to protect their flock in the most basic way and used donated funds to "investigate" something they already knew was true.

To the women who were involved in this, I want to say I am so sorry. This should not have happened.

To the families of those women, I want to say, I am sorry for the damage done to you, as well.

To all, it is my prayer that we all have a better understanding of the idea that when men claim to represent God it does not mean they actually represent God.

To ECC pastors who are still covering anything, I say repent.


Wow Linda,
Thanks for that summary.
I wept again as I reread the summary and reflected on the last year. 
Suzanne was courageous in speaking out AGAIN. She was dismissed in 2001 and labeled as " the problem."  She was not and is not the problem in this church mess.
It is not to late for true repentance for the current church leadership.  There has not been true repentance that I have seen. 

In January of 2002, I went to Berlin, Germany to visit my brother John van Dyck and Suzanne van Dyck.  My brother exposed to me the division between himself and Mark Darling at this time.  He told me he had  " concerns about me being under Mark Darling's leadership."  What was I suppose to do with that statement.  It was one of the most confusing weeks of my life, I did not sleep and I had so many questions.  My spirit also sensed that what he was saying might be true....What would that mean?Huh I had been a part of this GCM movement since 1982.
I was shocked, confused, and concerned that there was division that was exposed to me.
I came home from Berlin , Germany with so many concerns and questions, and so much confusion.  I had SO many questions and concerns.  I address them with all those involved. 
 I addressed all these concerns with my husband, with John van Dyck, Brent Knox, Mark Bowen, Mark Darling, Doug Patterson, and Jeff Kern the GCM manager at the time.

The confusion came because I had put those men on a pedestal and I believed that they had authentic, transparent relationships and their was a unity between them because that is what they preached!!!!!!
There is so much more to the story.  True repentance did not happen then.  It still has not.       
Feel free to message me if you have specific questions or need help processing your confusion.  ( I thankfully had some very good counselors and a faithful God)
The bottom line is that the leadership covered up the sin and disunity between the leadership and
did not deal with the real problems that John and Suzanne had initially addressed, that were issues with Mark Darling.
 John and Suzanne did the most loving thing by confronting Mark on some things, and the leadership did not hold him to account.  They played church for 18 more years. 
God will not be mocked.  He will not share His glory with another.  Mark Darling has remained unrepentant and the church goes on hoping it will go away.   
It will not go away until there is true repentance.
Still praying- Heidi Anfinson
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Heidi
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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2019, 03:36:26 pm »

Bump
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PietWowo
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2019, 10:16:43 pm »

Anniversary??? Well, Congratulations!!!  Enjoy yourself!!!
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 10:22:03 pm by PietWowo » Logged
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