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Author Topic: Cedarcreek Youth Director--apology and blessing for future pastorship  (Read 4253 times)
Rebel in a Good Way
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« on: March 05, 2018, 12:51:56 pm »

I write this post very carefully and will remove it if it causes distress to the victim, whom I have not spoken with about this issue.  My point is not to involve her at all, but rather address how GCC leadership mishandled the problem.

I attended Cedarcreek Community Church in Eau Claire, WI in the late 1990s/early 2000s.  I am trying not to be too specific on purpose to protect identities as much as possible.  I knew at the time that the Youth Director (who was one of my peers) was "dating" one of the youth group girls.  I think she was 15 at the time this started, he would have been at least 22.  I know for a fact this was happening, but I do not know the details of the relationship.  However, now that I am a parent, I am appalled that a Youth Director would have ANY sort of romantic relationship with any high student in his charge.

I have been told that this Youth Director went back to Cedarcreek to confess to this relationship and ask forgiveness.  I believe the youth group parents were invited to be involved in this.  I am not sure who else was there.  I also do not know what, if anything, was offered to the victim. I am going to guess they did not offer counseling or anything.  I have been told that he confessed, asked for forgiveness, and was given Cedarcreek's blessing to continue his ministry as a Youth Pastor elsewhere.  He is currently a Lead Pastor outside of GCC.

I am wondering if anyone has any clarifying information on the process of this "confession" and how the pastors handled it.  While I do have firsthand knowledge that there was an inappropriate relationship, I do not have firsthand knowledge of this meeting.  Seeing as how Mark's Darling's abuse has been handled, I think this happening at a close by sister church shows the sick and abusive patterns inherent in GCC.  Hide/deflect abuse at all costs (in the case of Mark D), but if it comes out, accept that someone has said the "right words" and move on, not disrupting anyone in leadership.  
« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 12:56:30 pm by Rebel in a Good Way » Logged
blonde
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« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 02:27:14 am »

Are you suggesting if and when Mark Darling confesses his sin, that's all that will happen?

Confess. Repent. Move-on? Start a new church?

Mark Darling in his last sermon, January 27, said Evergreen Church has passed the $100 million dollar marker now. There is a lot ot stake for Evergreen.  For Susan: No amount of money is a quanitifier for what happened to these women and you. You are far more worth than a meesley 100 million.

Mark lawyered up. Susan still spoke. The Town Hall Meeting is trying to save Evergreen.

No agology will turn this clock back.
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We must become the change we want to see.
-Mahatma Gandhi
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« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2018, 07:40:46 am »

Hi Blonde.  Just to clarify, her name is Suzanne.  Smiley

I ask this question because I was at Cedarcreek while this inappropriate (and possibly illegal) relationship was occurring, but I wasn't here when this Youth Director came back and would like to clarify the details.  I don't think there are many people from Cedarcreek who are active on this forum other than to read, but it was worth a short. 

I'm not really suggesting anything, just wondering some things.

* Mark Darling, Mark Bowen, and other ECC leaders have been involved in church discipline against people at Cedarcreek.  They were consulted when "tricky" things happened, I guess, including issues with former pastors that resulted in the pastor's dismissals.  So they have been consulted on shunnings and firings of people for offenses less serious than a Youth Director dating a 15-year-old.  One of the excommunications was for gossiping about a pastor, if that shows you their priorities.
 
* If the Cedarcreek pastors (and any other GCC pastors involved) thought it was enough to say "sorry" and then be given a blessing for further youth ministry, it just shows their understanding of repentance is very shallow when it comes to leaders.  They will come down hard on members, of course.  But this Youth Director came back to town, had a few uncomfortable, possibly emotionally painful minutes/hours (with church members who are trained to be nice anyway) and then moved on with his life.  He was given release, forgiveness, a blessing.  Probably went back to his new church feeling light and relieved.  I'm wondering what the victim was offered (my guess is nothing).

* With what's going on with Mark Darling, if he, Mark Bowen, or other GCC leaders ALSO participated in the inappropriate management of a situation involving a minor...well, that's not a good thing.  And to be honest, Rob Gerber is just as abusive as the others without the sexual abuse piece (that I know of) so I think perhaps the Cedarcreek pastors should take some heat as well.  Looking at the Andy Savage situation, it is only right.

I don't want to disrupt the life of the Youth Director's target.  But honestly, it's not about her, it's about the failure of leadership to address a serious issue in an appropriate way.  Failure to protect future youth.  Failure to institute systemic change.  Failure to hold leaders accountable in the same way they had viciously held other members accountable.  Failure to report anything illegal, if it happened--I don't know what "dating" entailed and I am not trying to assert there was a physical relationship, only that if there WAS, I doubt these pastors addressed that or would have followed up on it.

So, Youth Director who dated a 15-year-old.  Apologized and received a blessing.
Members who disagree with a pastor.  Excommunicated and shunned.

Par for the course, no?
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« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 07:46:15 am »

Blonde, I hope you are right that the clock will not be turned back.  The persistence of Suzanne and the others victims will reassure that doesn't happen.  My concern is that ECC might throw Mark Darling under the bus in an effort to save themselves.  That Mark Bowen (and whomever else) will offer him up as the scapegoat so the rest can preserve their power.  I think defending Mark Darling at this point will be too risky for ECC (although it really isn't outside the realm of possibility).  He will have to go.  But there are many others who need to go as well. 
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Gladtobegone
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« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 08:34:59 am »

And I would hope to see others gone as well as MD.  Itís not enough to apologize it isnít befitting the qualifications of a pastor according to their requirements of being a pastor. 

On their web site they quote qualifications of an elder or pastor

1 Tim 3:1-7 ďFor an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against.  He must be faithful to his wife.  He must exhibit self control, live wisely, and have a good reputation.  He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach.  He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent.  He must be gentle, peace loving, and not One who loves money.  He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him.  For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of Godís church?  An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall.  Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not fall into the Devilís trap and be disgraced.Ē


The ones that disqualify him is being faithful to his wife, whose life cannot be spoken against, have a good reputation and people outside the church must speak well of him

ECC needs to dump MD like they did Jim McCotter and wipe him from their history like they did McCotter.

Has anyone looked at the history of ECC on their website?  No mention of Ames or Jim McCotter the churches history only has Mark Darling and Brent Knox.  Very deceptive in their usual style.
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Alexa Daley
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« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2018, 09:54:20 am »

Hi Rebel,

Itís good to see another CedarCreeker on here. I attended much more recently, leaving in 2015, and I only first heard of this incident from a friend a couple of weeks ago. Though unfortunately I donít have much to add on this topic, my friend has a ton of contact with former members who know more about the situation. I took am very interested in how this apology was handled and will post if I learn more.

In response to some of your other points though, yes, Mark Bowen is still involved in church discipline. Rob is as manipulative as Iím sure he always has been. Excommunications still happen (the most recent that I know of less than two years ago), and for things FAR less serious than inappropriate relationships. Secret meetings about the excommunicated still happen. And yes, in general those who rock the boat are seriously shunned and are completely given up on. Not much has changed in all this time.
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UserNumber123
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2018, 02:07:37 pm »

Because Scout's allegations of sexual abuse towards Mark Darling have been brought up in this thread, it seems relevant to include Jeromy's response:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jcue3qxv4bc2upk/The%20Reckoning.pdf?dl=0
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