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Author Topic: The Reckoning  (Read 214484 times)
Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #320 on: October 31, 2022, 08:47:24 pm »

As it stands right now. Some nameless people will be reviewing some information given to them by a business law attorney they hired to investigate claims made by people who were not employees and this board will be controlling who sees that information. They may or may not pass that information on to Suzanne and the victims. I'm pretty sure they will pass that information on to the executive board of ECC who appointed them to their positions on the BOT. No one knows who has the authority to make any decisions regarding consequences, should there be a need for that. It's a mess.

I’m just saying that if ECC is claiming there is an independent investigation they minimally should inform the alleged victims who the people are that will be reviewing the results of the investigation.

The fact that the names of those on the board has not been revealed to all involved indicates that Suzanne and the others making the allegations are outside the loop. Therefore, the investigation has an inherent bias.

ECC people in the loop + Those alleging abuse outside the loop = NOT independent investigation

... All the men being investigated (either for abuse or cover up of abuse) know full well who every single member of that board is.

In fact, all the men being investigated are responsible for each member of the board being placed there.

-Linda, 3/27/18

Current member (since 2003). Have asked my pastor and Lynn Newman. Was told it is non public information..and I’ve been clear in other posts on my thoughts on a secret Board. I’m going to generalize and say anyone who doesn’t have an issue with a secret Board has drunk the koolaid to a greater degree than I will ever be capable of.

-DarthVader,  3/27/18

I also think it is quite disturbing that the GCC Board of Directors has evaded responsibility in all of this.


I was a previous BOT member at a GC church. I, along with three others, were hand-selected by the pastors. In a board meeting we were told by three pastors that the board was strictly financial and the pastors were accountable to each other. All other decisions about the church would be made by the pastors and no one else.

Note: none of the board members I served with had any background in finance at that time. (Three of us were in the inner circle, those who had paid our dues and shown our loyalty for years. It was no surprise the three of us were selected.) Also, one of the board members tried to insist that the pastor be given two votes because "he was the pastor."

-Neville Longbottom,  4/6/18

No one is saying GRACE has to be the group. The victims are calling for an independent 3rd party investigation with a team that both sides agree on. This is totally reasonable. Again, I repeat, no one is saying it has to be GRACE.

The idea that a BOT (appointed by the people being investigated) is "independent" is illogical. In addition, the idea that the people being investigated (i.e. the pastors) who appointed each member (and therefore know who each member is) along with a handful of "special" members are the only people who know who the members of the BOT are is astonishingly biased. Furthermore, the idea that the victims do not know who the members of the BOT are, but those being accused do, shows even further bias.

ECC people, if your church will not tell you who the people are who are on your BOT, then I suggest you rethink what it is to be a member, and what it is to be a church.

-Linda,  4/6/18

The following regarding the investigation was just posted today on the ECC website:

Update on the Investigation April 10, 2018

... On January 30, 2018, upon learning of the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior against Mark Darling (alleged to have occurred prior to 2001) including the charge that the matter was handled inappropriately by pastors, the Board made the decision to recuse all pastors from the investigative process. The Board also placed Mark Darling on administrative leave. ...

... The Board of Trustees will communicate to Evergreen's congregations the outcome of the investigation and what action, if any, they are taking based upon the investigation's findings. If the allegations are found to be true, in the case of a leader, it will be dealt with firmly and transparently by the Board. ...


My understanding from Suzanne’s Facebook timeline is that Suzanne’s request for a mutually agreed upon truly independent investigator was turned down at this meeting. I didn’t see that mentioned, but might have missed it.

-Linda,  4/10/18

The other problem I see with statement, aside from the one Linda pointed out, is that there does not appear to be any “investigating “ going on. If people come to Ms. Harris she will listen to what they have to say, but I have heard of no evidence that she is seeking out information from anyone. I believe an investigator should be seeking to find as much information on a situation as she possibly can attain not just waiting for information to drop in her lap.

-Barb,  4/10/18

I posted this on FB in response to EC's communication to their congregation.  On FB I also posted a screenshot of that communication but have no idea how to do that here.  Hope it makes sense.

"Evergreen Church's latest communication (image) to their congregation in regards to pastor Mark Darling's abuse of me and ensuing cover up.

Following are a few acknowledgements and clarifications:
1.) I did email Joan Harris on February 20, 2018 to state I would participate in the investigation she is conducting on behalf of the Evergreen Board of Trustees.
2.) On February 26, 2018 I emailed Joan Harris to let her know my attorney would contact her.
3.) After meeting with my legal counsel and discovering that Joan Harris has attorney/client privilege and fiduciary duty to the Evergreen BOT (which Joan Harris confirmed via an accidental email to me), I chose not participate in this type of "investigation".

I, however, have requested that the Evergreen Board of Trustees select with me an investigator that owes both sides equal representation AND that the findings be made public. I am wiling to participate in this type of investigation.

Evergreen Board of Trustees, why would you not be willing to participate in this type of investigation too?"

-Scout,  4/10/18

...I think the answer is that Suzanne and the other victims, with the exception of Victim C who did submit a statement do not consider the ECC investigation sufficiently independent.  What I was trying to point out with the Willow Creek example is that they may have good reason to feel that way.

[From Another Thread by DarthVader on this Forum]
"*Multiple victims chose NOT to participate citing concerns over the independence of the investigation (sound familiar?)
*Shortly after the “independent” investigation “cleared” Bill Hybels, those victims who did not participate shared their stories in the media.
*Bill Hybels then accelerated his planned retirement scheduled for October to immediately.

So when you see ECC supporters cast stones at the victims for choosing not to participate in the ECC investigation, realize these victims are in good company, including the president of a Christian university, a respected seminary professor, a teaching pastor at Willow..They all saw an attorney hired by a church board as not independent and felt strongly enough about it to resign from their Association Board roles.  I don’t think anyone (including Bill Hybles, although he was "cleared") would call the Willow Creek investigation a success in any way..And the sad thing is, as bad as it was, the ECC investigation is worse."

If the board hiring an attorney is such a good, independent model, why did 3 Willow Creek Association board members chose to resign in protest over the independence of the investigation structured just like ECCs?  Why did several victims in the Willow Creek case, completely separate from the ECC case make the exact same choice Suzanne and others are here, refusing to participate?  Why is the Willow Creek board even now trying to back pedal and apologize for how they handed the investigation (which is nearly exactly how ECC is handling it) saying they now want to hear all the women's stories?

If you want to cast stones at Suzanne and the others for not participating, you're certainly free to do so, I'd just like anyone who feels that way to be aware that 1) very reputable, credible people including University presidents, seminary professors and pastors disagreed so much with the model that Willow (and now ECC) is using the were willing to step down from positions of authority rather than be seen as supporting it. 2) Victims in that situation who don't even know Suzanne made the same choice - Suzanne is not behaving unusually 3) Willow Creeks' Elder board now seems to very much regret how they handled the investigation.  

My hope is rather than cast stones at victims, people will make the reasonable request that ECC learn from Willow Creek's mistakes vs. repeat them, by working with the victims to find a mutually agreeable way to conduct the investigation. Willow Creek's Elder Board did not do that, they now regret it and their credibility is destroyed.  I want better than that for my church.


I was on a GC board, but not at EC. Our meetings were never listed in the bulletin, agendas and minutes were not publicly posted, and members of the church were not invited to attend. It was largely a rubber stamp for whatever the pastors wanted. I resigned after 6 months; I was always the dissenting vote. I found that my standards of accountability were higher than the board's, and it was too conflicting and frustrating to attend each meeting. I also disagreed with having board meeting at local restaurants - food and drinks provided by the tithing base of our church.

-Neville Longbottom

The ECC BOT hired Joan Harrris, a respected lawyer specializing in workplace issues...What did Willow Creek do - quote from Chicago Tribune article -  "Willow Creek elders had taken a more dramatic step, hiring an outside attorney, Jeffrey Fowler of Laner Muchin in Chicago, a law firm that specializes in workplace issues" ...

2. During the Willow Creek investigation, several women refused to participate - quote from Chicago Tribune "So far this year, two women have told the Tribune that they had been contacted by an elder to participate in a review. One of those women, Vonda Dyer, declined to participate, citing concerns about the process.  During the ECC investigation several women declined to participate thus far. ...

3. It is a fact that 3 Willow Creek Association board members resigned because they had no confidence in the Willow Creek Elder Board investigation - which used an employment lawyer as a third party investigator (just like ECC is doing) - Quote from Chicago Tribune - "Some of those pressing for more scrutiny said the church’s prior investigation had shortcomings in their opinion, and at least three leaders of the association’s board resigned over what they believed was an insufficient inquiry"

Everything I have stated is factual..I believe in no conspiracy theories, I am just observing the similarities between the ECC and Willow Creek investigations and observing that outcome Willow Creek experienced from their investigation has been a devastating failure. I'd like to see ECC learn from that vs. repeat those mistakes. I have attended, and still do an ECC location since 2003.  I have contributed substantially to ECC ministries financially. All of my closest friends are members of my ECC location.  My sincere believe is proceeding down the current path (the one shared in the last ECC update) we are on a path towards a similar failure to the Willow C. investigation and I'd like to see us learn from and avoid that.

-DarthVader,  4/22/18

I'm a little confused why wanting to expose and deal with corruption in the church is equated with mocking God since much of the bible consists of calling out Israel and the church when they have gone astray or become corrupt.  In the Old Testament through the prophets, through judgments (40 years in the wilderness), Jesus calling out the pharisees (who WERE religious leaders), corrections to the churches in the epistles, and even Jesus criticizes churches in Revelation.  God is so unafraid of his reputation being defamed and was so committed to drawing his people back to him that he used a donkey to confront a prophet.

The point of exposing sin and bringing things out of darkness is so that the light of Christ can shine on them.  The point is not to destroy, humiliate, or "win."  It is to get people to turn away from their sin (and face whatever consequences might come with that).  Why in the world would that mock God?

-Rebel in a Good Way

I'm bumping this because I just heard the news: Darling is out, & Scout has been vindicated.


I praise God for justice, and I pray that everyone he manipulated can find healing.

-XianJaneway,  7/3/18

Pretty interesting to read back through this, now that the investigation is done. I haven't gotten through all 20 pages yet, but when you think about all of the anger and vitriol and mockery that Scout went through in the last 6 months, it's pretty incredible. She did have a ton of courage to bring this forward again, and she did not turn on her attackers. It took so much courage for each one of the abused who came forward, but Scout took the brunt of it.

Thank you, Scout, for your courage and perseverance.

Turns out that Mark Darling did not have the maturity and character to be a pastor. I feel sad for his family and for him and hope they all find the help they need. I hope that Evergreen Church has the courage and humility to make the changes that are needed.

And I pray for Scout and the other victims that they will be able to find rest, hope, strength, and comfort in the Good Shepherd who cares deeply for each one of them, who can heal in ways they might not even know they need, who vindicates, who deserves all our praise and worship. Jesus faithfully answered prayers for the truth to come out and for comfort and strength for those who were mistreated.

-GodisFaithful,  7/4/18

« Last Edit: October 31, 2022, 08:51:09 pm by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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