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Author Topic: Pastor Mark Darling-Pastor who abused me  (Read 153689 times)
Differentstrokes
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« Reply #100 on: February 04, 2018, 11:55:01 pm »

This same statement was posted on evergreens public Facebook page as well, I just saw it...
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Scout
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« Reply #101 on: February 05, 2018, 10:13:26 am »

As many of you know, yesterday Evergreen Church read a statement to their churches concerning my "allegations" of abuse against Mark Darling.

There are a few inaccuracies and I will begin to address them.

They stated that the first they were made aware of Mark Darling's abuse of me was 1 month ago via Twitter (Jaunuary 5, 2018).

Mark Bowen, Brent Knox and Doug Patterson were made aware of his abuse approximately 17 years ago.  The executive pastors (which at the time were Mark Darling, Mark Bowen, John van Dyck and Brent Knox) requested to see what I was going to say to Mark Darling in my therapist's office beforehand.  Mark Bowen was in my therapist's office when I confronted Mark Darling as well.  And lastly, we interacted and talked about these things with Doug Patterson privately as at the time they were good friends of ours.

Scout



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UserNumber123
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« Reply #102 on: February 05, 2018, 11:10:53 am »

Hi Everyone,

I've been a member of GC churches for the last 10ish years and I've perused this site since I first discovered it about 5 years go. I was there yesterday at our Sunday morning service when they read aloud, at the end of the message, the statement pasted above about sexual harassment allegations aimed towards Mark.

Normally I've just been a reader of this site and not a poster, but I wanted to post this time. The reason for that is because I'm seeing a lot of posts like "I bet the pastors are covering up the whole situation" or "I bet the congregation is being lied to about it".

I'd like to share, from my perspective, what I think our church's response to this has been. I'm extremely involved in my local chapter of GCM: I've been to a couple pastors conferences, several faithwalkers, gone through GCLI, been on the PAB (Pastor advisory board), done several teachings at youth groups and weekend services, and I lead a ministry and a small group. I mention all this simply so I can show you that I have a pretty good sense of what the pulse of our church is. I don't know everything everyone is thinking, but I have a good general idea.

Immediately after the statement was read and I communicated with my friends about it, and I came to the conclusion that...

1. ...we are not jumping to Mark's defense
  • I've never seen anyone worship Mark Darling. I've never seen anyone get shunned for criticizing him. I criticize him sometimes, though I aim to do it gracefully with love. I'm not SUPER close to Mark, but I know him well enough and he knows me. I've done ministry things with him and his kids. I have never seen the "Mark Darling/elder aura" that many here talk about. I've only ever seen him as just another guy--albeit a fiery one that occasionally lets his tongue run too wild.
    Immediately after the statement was read, we prayed that the truth of God would be revealed and that he would be glorified in all this, and that all parties involved involved would grow to have a stronger relationship with him even through this trial. Even after the message when discussing the situation with my friends, there was no rallying cry to defend Mark at all costs. There was no plan to attack the accuser. The plan was to pray and that God would guide this investigation well.

2. ...we are not jumping to attack Mark's accuser:
  • I can't say that no one in the world will attack the accuser and disparage her, but I know that the tone I experienced yesterday morning was certainly not one of "let's find this person that accused Mark and crack the case!" It didn't happen. No one brought up the idea that the accuser was lying or exaggerating--it wasn't even mentioned. I can't speak for every person on social media, but I made a cursory glance over Scout's facebook profile and over the profile's of those close to Mark and saw nothing nasty. Mark's kids changed their profile photos to be of ones with their dad saying things like "I love my dad!" and that's as heated as I saw it. I don't believe anyone is starting a crusade against the accuser.

3. We're praying for God to be glorified:
  • Situations like this are terribly, terribly sad for everyone and their families. I don't know what really happened and neither does anyone that I'm close to--only the accuser, the accused, and the Lord knows what happened. I believe my church accepts that reality. Emotions will pull people one way or the other, but as a large majority of my church isn't close enough to this situation to even remotely judge it, I believe we're taking the right stance of praying for God's truth to be revealed, for true justice to be done, for all parties involved to be drawn closer to Him, and to let the investigation fulfill its purpose.
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Ned_Flanders
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« Reply #103 on: February 05, 2018, 11:13:18 am »

Legal Action or not.
How can Mark Darling still be in the pulpit.

I asked the question because I want to know if anything can be done to remove this man from his position of authority for his ethical violations towards his job.  
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #104 on: February 05, 2018, 11:28:50 am »

Scout and Concerned Others,

Thank you for pointing out that TRUTH in that announcement they made to the four church congregations and on Facebook IS STILL BEING SUPPRESSED.  In fact, their implications in relaying this information seems deceptive. The Evergreen Church already "handled" this matter 17 years ago by agreeing that the abusive elder/pastor to step down and get intensive counseling.  This was NOT CARRIED OUT.  Not only that, but it was later "handled" in such an ungodly manner as you were being persuaded by these Evergreen leaders to accept a bribe of $60,000 to be SILENT on the matter.  So glad you never agreed to their HUSH MONEY.

There is no way that this claim should be "handled" again by Evergreen Leaders since they already demonstrated ungodly character and evil actions.  Next, could be the GCC Board who does have administration over Evergreen Churches (this man is in authority over) to handle this case.  However, this abuser serves on this national board! This board demonstrated over many years that they are NOT transparent, nor truthful about the real details regarding a long history of spiritual abuse over their people.  They, time and again ignore, twist facts and shun the innocent. They have dismissed grave abuses with smoke and mirrors since their foundation as a group under Jim McCotter (alias James McCotter, JDM).  They have been well aware of this site where people have reported abuses for years and choose to remain silent or belittle the abuse.

This serious claim needs to be looked at OUTSIDE the relationships of this movement by godly leading brothers in Christ who specialize in the area of church abuse.  Billy Graham's grandson, Basyle ĎBozí Tchividjian, founded and operates such a group.  The name of the respected organization is GRACE, Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.  Here is the link:

http://www.netgrace.org/


Prayfully,

Janet Easson Martin

« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 07:22:30 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #105 on: February 05, 2018, 11:36:38 am »

Fyi, they are deleting comments on their FB page.


I could be wrong or it could be a privacy setting?
« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 05:33:11 pm by AgathaL'Orange » Logged

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Scout
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« Reply #106 on: February 05, 2018, 01:44:30 pm »

Fyi, they are deleting comments on their FB page.
AgathaL'Orange,

Do you know if they are deleting all comments or only the ones that they possibly don't like?

Scout
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Linda
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« Reply #107 on: February 05, 2018, 02:17:24 pm »

I have screen shots of the posts that were removed. Just messaged them to you, Scout. They were links to your story on this forum and a couple of your Tweets.

FYI: Shortly after I posted this, the comments with the links went back up.

Oops, spoke too soon. They have been removed in the last hour or so!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 09:17:43 am by Linda » Logged

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Scout
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« Reply #108 on: February 05, 2018, 02:26:26 pm »

A few minutes ago I posted on Twitter and Facebook that I still have not heard from the independent 3rd party investigator they hired to investigate Mark Darling's abuse of me.  I also wrote that since it is an independent investigator that they will naturally be contacting me in order to hear both sides.  Looking forward to it.

scout
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Outtathere
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« Reply #109 on: February 05, 2018, 02:42:58 pm »

Scout, what you did took a lot of courage. What Evergreen has done, as far as I can tell, is unprecedented for them. I pray that this allows the church to heal, for Mark to repent and for your family to heal as well, Scout!

The idealistic part of me hopes that this will give the entire movement pause. That pastors will realize the need for training and that well-trained men will replace the ones with the most polished stage presence. The cynical part of me expects people to rally around their leaders and see this as a spiritual attack rather than deliverance of the flock from the wolves that have crept in. May I echo the thoughts of some others on this forum to not see this as a day of rejoicing but of somberness that should cause us to pray. Pray for the victim and possibly other victims. Pray that truth would be protected and come forward. Pray that those who are beloved by God here and in Evergreen would be protected and delivered. Pray that God would use this to open eyes, ears and hearts to the true shepherd's leading.

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Huldah
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« Reply #110 on: February 05, 2018, 10:01:14 pm »

I also wrote that since it is an independent investigator that they will naturally be contacting me in order to hear both sides.  Looking forward to it.
That was my thought when I read that. They can't conduct an investigation without you, and you have the documents to back up your story. So, I, too, am eager to see whether or not they contact you. For that matter, I hope the identity of the investigator will become public knowledge. I hope it's truly someone independent, unbiased, and fearless, but that remains to be seen.
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RicktRoll
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« Reply #111 on: February 06, 2018, 11:42:57 am »

All of this is crazy, I hope the truth is revealed in all of this.

I have a question though, after reading through all of these messages and your story, why have you not gone to the police at all?

I have seen you call out them for not going to the police, but why haven't you?
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Linda
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« Reply #112 on: February 06, 2018, 12:57:40 pm »

From the statement: "In an effort to discern the truth of these allegations and partially and without bias, Evergreen is in the process of hiring a reputable third-party investigator to independently investigate the facts surrounding these claims...At the close of the investigation, the findings will be submitted to the Evergreen Board of Trustees to determine the appropriate next steps."

I'm not sure how one would go about finding a "reputable third-party investigator", is that a thing? Plus, it would seem that the second you pay them, they are working for you and thus not exactly independent, but lets say they find someone who is fair and thorough.

The findings will be submitted to the ECC Board of Trustees! That's amusing.

Last I heard, the Board of Trustees of ECC was appointed by the elders.

Last I checked, the elders were appointed by current elders in a line of succession going all the way back to the first century, oh, sorry, I mean going all the way back to 1970 and Jim McCotter.

In a normal elder run church (one where the elders are elected by the congregation they are accountable to) this makes sense. In a church where the board of trustees is appointed by the elders who, in turn, were appointed by elders, and where the congregation has no meaningful input, this is akin to the fox guarding the hen house.



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RicktRoll
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« Reply #113 on: February 06, 2018, 01:32:59 pm »

I'm sorry, I don't mean to play devil's advocate with this situation. I know you are in a lot of hurt Scout.

I only ask because I have seen people in this thread talk about how GCM should go to the police and report Mark Darling. But isn't that asking a bank robber to turn himself in? They are always going to believe Mark is innocent.

You have the voice here Scout, why don't you go to the police?
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Linda
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« Reply #114 on: February 06, 2018, 01:38:18 pm »

Where was it said people should go to the police? I don't recall that discussion.

I respect Scout's right to handle this the way she sees fit. I'm sure you don't mean it, but it sounds like you are shaming her and telling her what to do or suggesting she did something wrong.



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« Reply #115 on: February 06, 2018, 02:13:23 pm »

Scout,

I happened to glance at Facebook this morning and you were being suggested as a friend. This is odd because Facebook long ago stopped giving me suggestions that I reconnect with Evergreen people, and you were among the inner-est of the inner circle there. I don't know what compelled me to check out your profile, but I did, and that led me here, and now I am weeping.

I joined Evergreen in 1988, met my husband there (as all good girls do), and helped plant the Plymouth location. We left in 2000, not because of any problem we had with the church at the time, but because my husband was changing careers and his only job offer was out of state. We were, although not recognized as leaders, extremely involved. He was in the band, and I had basically been unpaid full-time staff for the previous five years (I planned all the Celebration events among many others). The backlash we received at our announcement shocked me. One small group leader even told us that Satan was trying to lure us away from the faith. I now believe that it was God leading us out, because I now look back on the 12 years I spent there and recognize the spiritual abuse that I never saw for what it was at the time.

My husband and I were never cool enough to be in any of the pastors' inner circle, least of all Mark Darling's. He shut down every attempt of ours to be more involved in the ministries he considered "his", and I always got the impression that he actively disliked us because we weren't young and hip, didn't fit the image of the type of person he wanted to be an ambassador for his church. I found this extremely frustrating at the time (though it would have been unthinkable to say anything about it - the pastors' authority was absolute), but I am now grateful for it - even more so after reading your story.

I feel compelled to say a few things. First of all, I believe you. I am sick to my stomach to learn the details, but I am somehow not shocked that any of it happened. Second, I commend you for your incredible courage - in seeking counseling outside the church, in bringing it up to church leadership, in leaving the church, turning down their payout, and now going public. I have an insider's understanding of how church members, particularly women, were groomed to be compliant and silent, and I am cheering you on as you defy that mold. Lastly, I need to very humbly apologize for the resentment I felt toward you. You were always held up as the perfect example of a godly woman, and in my mind, you represented everything I wanted and would never have. I saw only privilege and failed to see your pain.

I send you love and pray that you will be heard.

- bLizard

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. --Lord Acton
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #116 on: February 06, 2018, 04:51:57 pm »

All of this is crazy, I hope the truth is revealed in all of this.

I have a question though, after reading through all of these messages and your story, why have you not gone to the police at all?

I have seen you call out them for not going to the police, but why haven't you?


RicktRoll,

I don't seem to recall Scout calling anyone out for not going to the police on this site.  Can you please clarify where that is on here?

Why are you asking her such a question?  What do the police have to do now with whether a man is fit to stay in the pulpit or is a corrupt spiritual authority?  

If you are asking her why she didn't go to the police at the time of the incidents, you must know (if you did a google search on that very thing) that the vast majority of victims do not report the sexual abuse to the police.  I have included an excerpt from Georgetown Law Advising and Couseling Site that addresses the perspective of the victims below:

"Fact:  There are many reasons why a sexual assault victim may not report the assault to the police. It is not easy to talk about being sexually assaulted. The experience of re-telling what happened may cause the person to relive the trauma. Other reasons for not immediately reporting the assault or not reporting it at all include fear of retaliation by the offender, fear of not being believed, fear of being blamed for the assault, fear of being "revictimized" if the case goes through the criminal justice system, belief that the offender will not be held accountable, wanting to forget the assault ever happened, not recognizing that what happened was sexual assault, shame, and/or shock. In fact, reporting a sexual assault incident to the police is the exception and not the norm. From 1993 to 1999, about 70% of rape and sexual assault crimes were not reported to the police. Because a person did not immediately report an assault or chooses not to report it at all does not mean that the assault did not happen."

Why do you feel the need to play, as you say, the Devil's advocate?  Are you familiar with all the details of the case?  Tell us what your qualifications are.  Perhaps you are an authority on this particular case?  If you are that officially involved I'm sure you'll want to question Scout privately; not on a website for abused victims of GCx where the silenced are finally allowed to speak and not be insidiously shamed and shunned.


Just Wondering,

Janet




« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 06:37:33 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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« Reply #117 on: February 06, 2018, 08:44:35 pm »



Scout,

I happened to glance at Facebook this morning and you were being suggested as a friend. This is odd because Facebook long ago stopped giving me suggestions that I reconnect with Evergreen people, and you were among the inner-est of the inner circle there. I don't know what compelled me to check out your profile, but I did, and that led me here, and now I am weeping.

I joined Evergreen in 1988, met my husband there (as all good girls do), and helped plant the Plymouth location. We left in 2000, not because of any problem we had with the church at the time, but because my husband was changing careers and his only job offer was out of state. We were, although not recognized as leaders, extremely involved. He was in the band, and I had basically been unpaid full-time staff for the previous five years (I planned all the Celebration events among many others). The backlash we received at our announcement shocked me. One small group leader even told us that Satan was trying to lure us away from the faith. I now believe that it was God leading us out, because I now look back on the 12 years I spent there and recognize the spiritual abuse that I never saw for what it was at the time.

My husband and I were never cool enough to be in any of the pastors' inner circle, least of all Mark Darling's. He shut down every attempt of ours to be more involved in the ministries he considered "his", and I always got the impression that he actively disliked us because we weren't young and hip, didn't fit the image of the type of person he wanted to be an ambassador for his church. I found this extremely frustrating at the time (though it would have been unthinkable to say anything about it - the pastors' authority was absolute), but I am now grateful for it - even more so after reading your story.

I feel compelled to say a few things. First of all, I believe you. I am sick to my stomach to learn the details, but I am somehow not shocked that any of it happened. Second, I commend you for your incredible courage - in seeking counseling outside the church, in bringing it up to church leadership, in leaving the church, turning down their payout, and now going public. I have an insider's understanding of how church members, particularly women, were groomed to be compliant and silent, and I am cheering you on as you defy that mold. Lastly, I need to very humbly apologize for the resentment I felt toward you. You were always held up as the perfect example of a godly woman, and in my mind, you represented everything I wanted and would never have. I saw only privilege and failed to see your pain.

I send you love and pray that you will be heard.

- bLizard

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. --Lord Acton


Scout ó I wanted to jump in quickly to first and foremost say I believe you. Second,  to reiterate everything bLizard said in her post because she said it so well. To have endured the abuse and then the drawn out gaslighting and impunity for more than 20 years is unfathomable, and I commend you for refusing to back down. If Evergreen is anything, itís resistant to change. Thank you for not being silent.

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Scout
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« Reply #118 on: February 07, 2018, 05:15:31 am »

Scout,

I happened to glance at Facebook this morning and you were being suggested as a friend. This is odd because Facebook long ago stopped giving me suggestions that I reconnect with Evergreen people, and you were among the inner-est of the inner circle there. I don't know what compelled me to check out your profile, but I did, and that led me here, and now I am weeping.

I joined Evergreen in 1988, met my husband there (as all good girls do), and helped plant the Plymouth location. We left in 2000, not because of any problem we had with the church at the time, but because my husband was changing careers and his only job offer was out of state. We were, although not recognized as leaders, extremely involved. He was in the band, and I had basically been unpaid full-time staff for the previous five years (I planned all the Celebration events among many others). The backlash we received at our announcement shocked me. One small group leader even told us that Satan was trying to lure us away from the faith. I now believe that it was God leading us out, because I now look back on the 12 years I spent there and recognize the spiritual abuse that I never saw for what it was at the time.

My husband and I were never cool enough to be in any of the pastors' inner circle, least of all Mark Darling's. He shut down every attempt of ours to be more involved in the ministries he considered "his", and I always got the impression that he actively disliked us because we weren't young and hip, didn't fit the image of the type of person he wanted to be an ambassador for his church. I found this extremely frustrating at the time (though it would have been unthinkable to say anything about it - the pastors' authority was absolute), but I am now grateful for it - even more so after reading your story.

I feel compelled to say a few things. First of all, I believe you. I am sick to my stomach to learn the details, but I am somehow not shocked that any of it happened. Second, I commend you for your incredible courage - in seeking counseling outside the church, in bringing it up to church leadership, in leaving the church, turning down their payout, and now going public. I have an insider's understanding of how church members, particularly women, were groomed to be compliant and silent, and I am cheering you on as you defy that mold. Lastly, I need to very humbly apologize for the resentment I felt toward you. You were always held up as the perfect example of a godly woman, and in my mind, you represented everything I wanted and would never have. I saw only privilege and failed to see your pain.

I send you love and pray that you will be heard.

- bLizard

Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. --Lord Acton
Blizzard,

Thank you for sharing part of your story.  I am sorry.  I can only imagine the pain and shame that I and other leaders placed upon you and your spouse.  And yes, in a way you were one of the "lucky" ones that was not in the "inner circle".  But at the time, knowing what I know about spiritual abuse, I can imagine your pain was great. 

I know I, and other pastor's wives were held up as "perfect examples of a godly woman".  I wasn't then and am not now.  I held so much in to be able to play that part and in doing so hurt people like you.  I am a normal human, with both "good" parts and "bad" parts.

Again, Blizzard, thank you for sharing. 

Scout
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DesiringTruth
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« Reply #119 on: February 07, 2018, 08:05:48 am »

I read this article this morning and thought it might be helpful for the Evergreen leadership to read through as they consider how to deal with the issue at hand: http://headhearthand.org/blog/2018/02/05/why-do-churches-cover-up-sin/
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