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Author Topic: Pastor Mark Darling-Pastor who abused me  (Read 142449 times)
Scout
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2018, 03:51:42 pm »

Oh, my gosh. So they're painting you, Scout, as someone who pocketed a million-dollar gift, given to you in good faith for the benefit of others, and then walked away with the money and cut ties arbitrarily.

And they have the gall to say that this forum is slanderous.



Huldah,

Below is a Twitter thread about that "1,000,000 gift". 

More to come...Scout

https://twitter.com/arianavandyck/status/950512686021926913

https://twitter.com/arianavandyck/status/950545172848365568

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Scout
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« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2018, 05:43:17 am »


Evergreen Church claims in above tweet that 20 years ago (actually 17 years) that I was "fully heard in this matter...by at trusted Christian counselor chosen by Suzanne to fulfill the role of independent, 3rd party mediator."

Let's be clear.  There was never a "3rd party mediator" involved in the conversation in which they state I was "fully heard", and they reference in their Twitter rebuttal. In 2000, I opened a phone directory yellow pages looking for a Christian counselor to help me heal and process from the abuse that I endured from Mark Darling and Evergreen Church.  Note:  this was a risky act because we were told that therapists (Christian or otherwise) were not wise, could not help, and we were to seek help only from our pastors and leaders. 

In that process, I decided I wanted to confront Mark Darling specifically about being my abuser.  My counselor was supportive and I used his expertise to guide me in the pre work of confronting Mark.  Again, no "3rd party mediator".  The"3rd party mediator" they are referencing, in their tweet back to me, was my therapist!  I hired this therapist to help me heal from Mark's abuse and Evergreen Church's abuse AND to confront Mark specifically. 

Leading up to this meeting, my therapist helped guide and coach me.  This therapist never once guided or coached Evergreen Church or Mark Darling  BECAUSE HE WAS MY THERAPIST, NOT A MEDIATOR!  A mediator works with both sides.  Nope.

As most of us know, one of the tactics used by Evergreen Church and GCM (or whatever they call themselves now) is to rewrite the narrative (gaslighting, etc.).

Scout

« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 05:45:54 am by Scout » Logged
Huldah
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« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2018, 12:18:21 pm »

You were fortunate to find a Christian counselor who was truly supportive. one who recognized that evil can and does exist within the church.
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Linda
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« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2018, 01:11:37 pm »

Wow. Clearly there are two sides to every story.

From the ECC reply to your Tweet, we learned that you and John, Mark and Kathy, and Mark Bowen were present. Iím curious as to why so many were there. Were any others present? You seemed outnumbered, but Iím sure your counselor and you worked out who needed to be there and had good reasons.

What was the response to your charges? Agreement? Denial? Belief, but minimizing? Was any plan of correction needed and set in place?

Also, I know nothing about confidentiality in counseling other than your counselor can not divulge things you say in private. Are pastors held to any kind of ethical standard in situations like this? Their reply seemed unwise in light of the fact that this was YOUR counselor.

Not meaning to pry. Just trying to expose things to the light.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 04:48:28 pm by Linda » Logged

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Scout
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« Reply #24 on: January 11, 2018, 04:19:56 pm »

You were fortunate to find a Christian counselor who was truly supportive. one who recognized that evil can and does exist within the church.

Huldah,

Yes.  I felt validated and BELIEVED.

Scout
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Scout
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« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2018, 04:53:01 pm »

Wow. Clearly there are two sides to every story.

From the ECC reply to your Tweet, we learned that you and John, Mark and Kathy, and Mark Bowen were present. I’m curious as to why so many were there. We’re any others present? You seemed outnumbered, but I’m sure your counselor and you worked out who needed to be there and had good reasons.

What was the response to your charges? Agreement? Denial? Belief, but minimizing? Was any plan of correction needed and set in place?

Also, I know nothing about confidentiality in counseling other than your counselor can not divulge things you say in private. Are pastors held to any kind of ethical standard in situations like this? Their reply seemed unwise in light of the fact that this was YOUR counselor.

Not meaning to pry. Just trying to expose things to the light.


Linda,

The people present at the meeting in which I confronted my abuser Mark Darling were: my therapist, Mark & Kathy Darling, Mark Bowen, John van Dyck and myself.

Mark Darling brought Kathy Darling along.  To the best of my remembrance John (husband and ECC pastor at the time) and I did not know about that beforehand.  Mark Bowen being present was not my request  but I agreed to it, and all these years later, I am grateful he was as he is now complicit.  He heard about the abuse (some of it) and verbally agreed to the therapeutic care plan for Mark Darling that my therapist recommended.  The therapeutic care plan:

1.  stepping out of ministry for a time and
2.  engaging in therapy,

was never implemented by Mark Darling.  Some time later when John van Dyck asked Mark Bowen if Mark Darling had done the care plan, Mark Bowen answered, "No, Mark [Darling] doesn't  think he needs to."
 
Interestingly, leading up to this meeting, I did feel outnumbered.  The executive pastor group, which included Mark Bowen, Mark Darling, Brent Knox, Mark Bowen and John van Dyck, asked to see a written copy of what I was going to say to Mark D.  My therapist was not wild about the idea, but I did give it to them.  I got the copies back and they had things crossed out and comments about how and what I could convey.  Any of the parts where I named Mark D. as 'abuser' were crossed off.  Anything having to do with sexual things were crossed off. I showed it to my therapist and he was visibly upset that they were trying to manage the narrative of me, the victim.  I'm proud to say that I included all the comments that the ECC executive pastor board crossed off.  However, in the actual meeting, I did not feel outnumbered, as Mark Bowen agreed to the therapeutic care plan my therapist recommended.  As well, we were on my territory so to speak.  AND I was confronting my abuser.  I felt very proud of myself.

I'll answer some of your other questions in another post.  Feel free to keep asking questions!

Scout
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 05:47:08 am by Scout » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2018, 05:38:17 pm »

Thank you. Your answers are helping to paint a more complete picture of the meeting described in the reply.

Looking at that statement, I am struck by this:

"After careful listening and an thorough review of all facts, the mediator was completely satisfied by the transparency and integrity of the Darlings and ECCs response. No further action steps were recommended by the mediator, nor required by the van Dycks."

One of the lessons I have learned over our situation with leaving ECC is that people can deceive by what they say (they can lie), but people can also deceive by partial truths. For example, when I saw the words "transparency" and "integrity", my first thought was "What does that even mean?" A quick review would lead one to think, "He did nothing wrong."

In an abuse situation, "transparent" could mean someone fessed up to the abuse and "integrity" could mean they were honest enough to not deny it. Those words don't necessarily mean that abuse did not happen.

One of the things Mark D. does often in his messages is say things like, "You cannot believe what people are saying about me on the Internet." I wonder if anyone has ever said to him, "Really, what are they saying and are those things true?"

Correct me if I am wrong, but the part about the mediator not recommending any further action steps is in direct contradiction to what actually happened which was that a therapeutic care plan was set up, but was never actually implemented.

I also wonder what the "mediator" (aka the counselor that you hired to work through the abuse) would think about them putting words in his mouth.

Finally, I am so glad that you were able to stand strong and not be intimidated by their demand to control the dialogue. Not sure if you know, but when my husband blogged about our experience (a year after we left the church) we were contacted and they demanded that we take the post down with the threat that they would pull out of the Homeschool Co-op I was the director of (only hurting the current members who had to cough up more tuition to compensate for lost revenue of the non-profit that was a volunteer job for me, the director). We were intimidated and took the post down. About a dozen pulled out anyway. 3 months later, he put the post back up. All that to say, intimidation from spiritual leaders is a heady thing. So proud that you stood strong.

« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 06:56:36 am by Linda » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2018, 06:59:46 am »

Question.

A Twitter post referenced an offer of a large sum of money in exchange for your silence. What is that all about?
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2018, 12:14:28 pm »

Dear Scout,

So glad you came forward about serious abuse inside the GCM/GCC organization.  So sorry you were not taken seriously or regretfully apologized to by your abuser and those church leaders that heard your testimony.  So sorry your pastor did not appropriately step down or those who had knowledge of his actions require him to step down.  He has been called out as not worthy of the office of shepherd/elder by many on this site.  

It seems his position of power and longstanding leadership in the GCM/GCC have long blocked the way to his removal.  He is currently listed as one of the Board of Directors for this organization.  Here is the link: http://gccweb.org/about/gcc-board/

But, don't worry.  You are not alone fighting this divine fight against historic abuse and deception from GCC/GCM alone.  God is on YOUR side.  He is always on the side of the wounded sheep.  As Linda above rightly quoted from Ezekiel 14:10, "I am against the shepherds... and will rescue my sheep from their mouths".

Here is a very appropriate quote from Jeremiah 17:11 that well defines the founding/leading GCI/GCM/GCC shepherd:

"Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay
is the man who gains riches by unjust means
When his life is half gone, they will desert him,
and in the end he will prove to be a fool."

Supporting You,

Janet




A Note to GCx Leaders

Though he convinced many for a time that he was something to be revered, time proved him to be a fool.  You GCx church leaders best decide who you are serving - God and his precious people, or Self and your so-called precious organization. Confess turning a blind eye to abuse.  Stop using your power unjustly and defend the victims, or you may end up like him!



 
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 10:43:29 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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Scout
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« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2018, 05:10:08 pm »

Dear Scout,

So glad you came forward about serious abuse inside the GCM/GCC organization.  So sorry you were not taken seriously or regretfully apologized to by your abuser and those church leaders that heard your testimony.  So sorry your pastor did not appropriately step down or those who had knowledge of his actions require him to step down.  He has been called out as not worthy of the office of shepherd/elder by many on this site.  

It seems his position of power and longstanding leadership in the GCM/GCC have long blocked the way to his removal.  He is currently listed as one of the Board of Directors for this organization.  Here is the link: http://gccweb.org/about/gcc-board/

But, don't worry you are not alone fighting this divine fight against historic abuse and deception from GCC/GCM alone.  God is on YOUR side.  He is always on the side of the wounded sheep.  As Linda above rightly quoted from Ezekiel 14:10, "I am against the shepherds... and will rescue my sheep from their mouths".

Here is a very appropriate quote from Jeremiah 17:11 that well defines the founding/leading GCI/GCM/GCC shepherd:

"Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay
is the man who gains riches by unjust means
When his life is half gone, they will desert him,
and in the end he will prove to be a fool."

Supporting You,

Janet




A Note to GCx Leaders

Though he convinced many for a time that he was something to be revered, time proved him to be a fool.  You GCx church leaders best decide who you are serving - God and his precious people, or Self and your so-called precious organization. Confess turning a blind eye to abuse.  Stop using your power unjustly and defend the victims, or you may end up like him!



 


Janet,

Thank you.  As I am sure you are aware, in abusive systems the abuser is usually supported and the victim is blamed and not believed.  It was painful. 

Thank you for your encouragement. 

Scout
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Scout
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« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2018, 05:25:39 pm »

Question.

A Twitter post referenced an offer of a large sum of money in exchange for your silence. What is that all about?

Linda,

Spring 2000:  I began therapy to begin dealing with the abuse from Mark Darling and Evergreen Church.

Early summer 2000:  I told my counselor that I wanted to confront my abuser Mark Darling in the safety of his office.

April of 2001:  John (husband and ECC pastor at the time) and I met with Mark and Kathy Darling, Mark Bowen and my therapist in his office for the meeting in which I would confront my abuser Mark Darling.

June of 2001:  we moved to Berlin, Germany to plant a church.

August of 2003: after learning from Mark Bowen (ECC pastor) that Mark D. did not follow through on my therapist's therapeutic recommendation (see earlier post about Mark Bowen agreeing that Mark D. should and would do both recommendations),  we decided to leave GCM, Rock Berlin and Evergreen.

Soon after that,  while John was in the States looking for a job (after being out of corporate America for a long time and not having a theology degree), we received an email from Evergreen Church stating, if we would not speak disparagingly about Evergreen Church that they would give us $60,000.  It was a contract that we would sign in order to buy our silence.  Of course, they stated the money was to help set us up in our new life. 
 
If the money was to help set us up in our new life, then why the statement about us not speaking ill of Evergreen Church?  What did they not want us to say?  The things that I said in my therapist's office, heard by not only Mark Darling, but Mark Bowen as well?

WE DID NOT TAKE THE MONEY BECAUSE IT WAS MONEY TO BUY MY SILENCE. 

Scout
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 05:55:45 am by Scout » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #31 on: January 12, 2018, 07:31:15 pm »

Just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly.

Evergreen Community Church offered you $60,000 to "help you start up your new life". However, this offer came with the stipulation that you would never speak ill of ECC. No signed agreement. No money. Furthermore, they made this offer in writing via email?

Am I correct in assuming you did not accept their offer?

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Scout
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« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2018, 05:24:58 am »

Just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly.

Evergreen Community Church offered you $60,000 to "help you start up your new life". However, this offer came with the stipulation that you would never speak ill of ECC. No signed agreement. No money. Furthermore, they made this offer in writing via email?

Am I correct in assuming you did not accept their offer?



Linda,

Yes, you are correct we did not accept the money (I now added that to my original post).

I remember calling John (husband and Evergreen pastor at the time), who was in the States looking for a job since we decided to leave Evergreen and GCM, and said, "I will eat potatoes for every meal."  And what I meant by that was, John had been out of engineering for too long to get back in that field and he was a pastor, with out a theology/seminary degree, so we were looking ahead to some very bleak financial times for our family of six.  Even with financial distress looming over future, we never once considered signing that document.  I was just finding my voice and moving back into the world of  secret keeping and silence was not an option.  Thus the "I will eat potatoes for every meal" comment.  Meaning, I will be dirt poor before I am ever silenced by Evergreen Church and Mark Darling again.

As to your other questions:

No signed agreement-correct
No acceptance of money-correct
Sent via email-correct

UPDATE:  John reminded me, after we did not sign the buyout for our silence, Evergreen Church did give us $15,000 to help us financially as John was job hunting.  There was no written or verbal buying of silence with this money.  Though the attempt to buy our silence was disturbing, we were grateful for the $15,000 that they gave us with no strings attached.  (added to this post on 1.13.18).

Scout
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 08:56:46 pm by Scout » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2018, 09:10:20 am »

Wow.

Tithe money to pay off someone in exchange for silence regarding abuse. How astonishingly wrong.

And they even put that in writing. How astonishingly stupid.

God bless you for your faithful obedience to Truth and your strength and unwillingness to not cave to a tainted financial offer that would have made your return much less difficult.



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« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2018, 10:05:32 am »

Thank you for turning down that money, Scout, and setting the godly example that these pastors failed to set.

That money was donated by hard-working families to further the gospel of Christ. I'm sure it was a sacrifice for some, and equally sure they never dreamed it would be offered to cover up the sins of their pastors. What an abuse of their flock's trust! They're not worthy to call themselves pastors. They can't teach the truth when they're people of the lie.

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« Reply #35 on: January 13, 2018, 10:25:05 am »

Thank you for your courage to speak up! I think we left right around the time you returned. ECC's response was absolutely disgusting and wrong! I loved you and your family and the whole thing didn't make sense to me.  I was quiet and submissive, so I didn't ask a lot of questions. I sure should have! How awful that you have gone through this! I am so sorry!
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Scout
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« Reply #36 on: January 13, 2018, 02:49:24 pm »

Wow.

Tithe money to pay off someone in exchange for silence regarding abuse. How astonishingly wrong.

And they even put that in writing. How astonishingly stupid.

God bless you for your faithful obedience to Truth and your strength and unwillingness to not cave to a tainted financial offer that would have made your return much less difficult.







Linda,

Yes, I agree that Evergreen Church placing in writing, that the money they would give us for our silence was "stupid", however you can imagine all these later, I am grateful it was in writing.

Scout
« Last Edit: January 14, 2018, 05:45:09 am by Scout » Logged
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« Reply #37 on: January 13, 2018, 03:01:05 pm »

Thank you for your courage to speak up! I think we left right around the time you returned. ECC's response was absolutely disgusting and wrong! I loved you and your family and the whole thing didn't make sense to me.  I was quiet and submissive, so I didn't ask a lot of questions. I sure should have! How awful that you have gone through this! I am so sorry!

MovedOn,

I know what you mean about being "quiet and submissive" and not asking a lot of questions.  I too, did that for years.  I feel we were all groomed for silence, which promoted and maintained an environment allowing the pastors to behave abusively.

Thank you for your kind words.

Scout
« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 05:07:33 pm by Scout » Logged
Scout
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« Reply #38 on: January 13, 2018, 03:18:15 pm »

Thank you for turning down that money, Scout, and setting the godly example that these pastors failed to set.

That money was donated by hard-working families to further the gospel of Christ. I'm sure it was a sacrifice for some, and equally sure they never dreamed it would be offered to cover up the sins of their pastors. What an abuse of their flock's trust! They're not worthy to call themselves pastors. They can't teach the truth when they're people of the lie.



Huldah,

As I am sure you are aware, there is little to no accountability for these pastors.  While my husband, John van Dyck was a pastor there, he was on Evergreen Church's Executive Pastor team (not sure if that is the right name).  It included Mark Darling, Brent Knox, Mark Bowen and John.  John had first hand witness that they made decisions with no real accountability.  My guess is, this is the case with the money offered to us to buy our silence.  Most likely the only people that would have known about the money would be this Executive Pastor team, and I imagine the  accountant. 

I have a friend who was asked to be on a large church's Overseer Board here in the Twin Cities.  She did not attend that church when she was asked.  She came recommended as she has a finance background, business acumen and a solid reputation.  The lead pastor did not select her.  My friend and the lead pastor did not know each other prior to her joining this board.  This model is a way a church can prevent cover ups, such as ours.

Scout

« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 08:28:55 pm by Scout » Logged
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« Reply #39 on: January 13, 2018, 09:37:14 pm »

They have no internal accountability, but there's always the IRS to deal with. What if you had accepted the money and they had been audited? I wonder if they could have lost their tax-exempt status. I wonder if using tax-exempt money that way is a crime.  Huh
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