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Author Topic: The Roots of Evergreen  (Read 12036 times)
GodisFaithful
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« on: March 30, 2018, 02:28:49 pm »

I don't think the truth is being told about the roots of Evergreen Church.

I happened to hear Mark Bowen on the radio in recent months telling the glorious beginning of Evergreen Church.  How Mark Darling and Brent Knox moved up from Iowa to start a brand new church.

Since I was here, before Brent and Mark moved up, this did not ring true to me at all.

Jim Coleman and Gary Kellogg moved up to Mpls in the early 70s to get a campus ministry going.  Gary and his wife did not last long up here, I think it was because he felt too green, and Jim Coleman stayed.  I got involved in 1974. We were meeting as a church in a home.  Jim was the pastor.

Jim Coleman did appoint a few pastors who wiped out quickly because they were too young and immature.  At one point he appointed a young charismatic type guy named Gene Sullivan. Gene had a major moral failure and stepped down. We then had an "elder" from India, who eventually went back to India, and  a godly also an older man named Don Shoenburg came on as a pastor (beloved by many with a distinct Plymouth Brethren background.) At this time a split happened because Don disagreed with some of the emphasis of Jim McCotter.  After that Joe Branch was a pastor with Jim Coleman. Before the split, I remember Hershel visiting, and Dennis Clark a few times.  We were a legit church.

When Jim and Joe were pastoring, there was a re-evaluation of some of the "works" and we were deemed one that was not growing as we should. So Jim McCotter took our two pastors out, and sent them to Delaware to start a work there, closer to the national pastors in Maryland and D.C. At this time we did not have pastors, but we were told we would have some pastors assigned to us. During the interim Rick Whitney visited and actually moved here with his family for at least a month, Rob Irvine and his family too, Dave Gumlia came to check on the church.  These were big names back in the day.

Finally, along came Brent Knox and Mark Darling.  And along with them came many "saints" from Ames. We joined forces, the Ames people and the Mpls people as one church.  This went on for some months until Brent and Mark visited Bill Hybels' church and got excited about re-naming our church and following the seeker friendly model.  We were never told this was a totally different church.  All of us went to work for the opening Sunday of this new model.  But we were the same people.  

All of this history you will not hear from the pastors of Evergreen now.  It is like we did not exist.

And the connection to Jim McCotter is huge.  He was the Apostle-type head honcho in Ames for years.  Mark Darling listened to his tapes over and over so there is no way Mark is not influenced by Jim McCotter.  Brent Knox has strong ties to Jim McCotter, personal ties.  As far as I know, there has been no public refuting of Jim McCotter's teaching or influence or any of the things that he did and taught that were heretical.

And along the lines of Evergreen re-writing history, John Van Dyke was one of the pastors and sent out as a missionary.  Why doesn't Evergreen own their history? They did not discipline John Van Dyke. John decided to leave Evergreen and people were told a lie in a public meeting about John being in counseling for his marriage or some such thing. Many witnesses to that meeting. I think the pastors of Evergreen should apologize instead of pretend it did not happen.

This stuff bugs me. It is dishonest, I think. Is anyone else in Mpls troubled by this?

  
« Last Edit: April 08, 2018, 01:21:29 pm by GodisFaithful » Logged
Linda
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2018, 03:00:18 pm »

"…update your wardrobe. OK. Update your wardrobe. I gotta tell you a true story, and this is a true story. It's not a fun story to tell. It turned out good. When I first moved to Minneapolis 12 1/2 years ago, Brent Knox and I joined forces. There was about 60 Christians in the church. And most of the Christians were there in Minneapolis before I got there. And most of the Christians that were there (and I'm going to take a big risk saying this), but I don't know how else to put this so you'd get the point, were Gothardites…all these people in this church that I got with were what you would call counter culture, co-op, homeschool, home birth families. They all were. All of them. Now I live in one of the most metropolitan cities in the Unites States…After I was there a while and they got to know me, the first summer (I'd been there five months) I did a whole summer series called "Servant Evangelism" based on the teachings of Paul and the lifestyle of Jesus Christ. And then I got into wardrobe. And I carefully laid it out as clear as I could Biblically and I told many of them you need to go get a haircut, most of you women need to start wearing make-up, and most of you need brand new glasses because all of you look like you're hippies. And you know what? We are not reaching anybody. And you are God's sales force and now you're MY sales force. And you represent me and Brent's church. And we want people to come to this church. And, we want people to get saved…man does not see as God sees, man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart."

Godisfaithful,

Did you realize that you represented "me and Brent's church"? Did you realize you were Mark's sales force? Did you know Brent and Mark had ownership of the church?

Was your wardrobe lacking in style so much that people could not be reached with the Gospel?

Because, you know, Jesus taught us to have an up to date wardrobe and as it says in Isaiah 53:2 taught this by example, oh wait...

"For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him."

All Jesus had to offer was himself. A perfect sacrifice.

This story does confirm what you just wrote about the history. There was a church here already, so there is a dishonesty in not making that clear. And removing Greg Larson and John van Dyck from the history is also revisionist history.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 03:05:36 pm by Linda » Logged

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searching
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2018, 03:47:10 pm »

"…update your wardrobe. OK. Update your wardrobe. I gotta tell you a true story, and this is a true story. It's not a fun story to tell. It turned out good. When I first moved to Minneapolis 12 1/2 years ago, Brent Knox and I joined forces. There was about 60 Christians in the church. And most of the Christians were there in Minneapolis before I got there. And most of the Christians that were there (and I'm going to take a big risk saying this), but I don't know how else to put this so you'd get the point, were Gothardites…all these people in this church that I got with were what you would call counter culture, co-op, homeschool, home birth families. They all were. All of them. Now I live in one of the most metropolitan cities in the Unites States…After I was there a while and they got to know me, the first summer (I'd been there five months) I did a whole summer series called "Servant Evangelism" based on the teachings of Paul and the lifestyle of Jesus Christ. And then I got into wardrobe. And I carefully laid it out as clear as I could Biblically and I told many of them you need to go get a haircut, most of you women need to start wearing make-up, and most of you need brand new glasses because all of you look like you're hippies. And you know what? We are not reaching anybody. And you are God's sales force and now you're MY sales force. And you represent me and Brent's church. And we want people to come to this church. And, we want people to get saved…man does not see as God sees, man looks at the outward appearance, God looks at the heart."

Godisfaithful,

Did you realize that you represented "me and Brent's church"? Did you realize you were Mark's sales force? Did you know Brent and Mark had ownership of the church?

Was your wardrobe lacking in style so much that people could not be reached with the Gospel?

Because, you know, Jesus taught us to have an up to date wardrobe and as it says in Isaiah 53:2 taught this by example, oh wait...

"For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him."

All Jesus had to offer was himself. A perfect sacrifice.

This story does confirm what you just wrote about the history. There was a church here already, so there is a dishonesty in not making that clear. And removing Greg Larson and John van Dyck from the history is also revisionist history.


Linda, Thank you for also mentioning Greg Larson being removed along with John from the history of ECC. I find it interesting that certain teachings are being removed from the history of the church as light is being shined on the darkness. It is crazy to think that a church does these things. You can not rewrite history.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2018, 03:53:15 pm by searching » Logged
GodisFaithful
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2018, 04:27:08 pm »

Well, I hope some people are finding this fleshed out version of Evergreen interesting. 

Linda, it is good to know in hind sight, what Mark Darling's thinking was.  He did call us a church, but somehow because of the name change to Evergreen the fact that there was a church here already does get left out.  Maybe it is just too complicated and embarrassing to explain.  Especially since now I know that we were Mark's church, his bride, and he really desperately needed to clean up his bride a whole lot. 

You know, the depth of the teaching sort of went over my head, to be honest.  There was so much to take in!  I was awfully busy making babies and having home births, so this may have been how I missed some things like the glasses. Duh! I am sure he was talking about me.  My glasses were probably way out of date. Probably half the size of my face, remember those? (Never mind we had a huge house payment and very little extra money. I remember buying new tennis shoes about at that time and feeling awful about how expensive they were.) Oh they must have been so frustrated with me, with us. I can hear it, "When will my bride ever see the error of her ways, and catch on that Paul the Apostle, even though he was getting beat up and in ship wrecks all over the place, he probably was careful to be a hip dresser?! When will they get it?Huh?"

I can just hear them making an emergency call to Ames. "Send us more saints!!! The ones who have been trained, please! These ones don't have a clue and it is going to take forever to get new people to come to our church!"

Meanwhile, more babies, more home births, more talk of home schooling, more shopping at food co-ops. I mean, where do you even start with the teachings? And those dang glasses! Oh! And who is going to talk to him about his hair? Sigh!

Linda, if you met me today, you probably would not even want to sit by me in church, knowing that I was one of those tramps back in the day.

I don't know, maybe it was the glasses that caused Brent to finally, in complete exasperation, pull out the Moses teaching.  The threat of the earth opening up and swallowing me did sound very real and disturbing. Was it the glasses?  I didn't put it all together.

The last straw was that we were reading our Bibles and we saw some stuff there that we wanted to discuss with our leaders.  And you know what happened.  They divorced their bride.  I guess this happens in extreme cases! But they tried. They tried real hard.

Just a little history lesson there.  Grin Grin Grin Grin
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Linda
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2018, 05:44:56 pm »

Quote from: GodisFaithful
They divorced their bride.

It never occurred to me that our "husband" asked us to leave! We were divorced!
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HughHoney
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2018, 06:29:58 pm »

Quote
"Send us more saints!!!

Shoutout to the saints! Great people!
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observer
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2018, 06:43:18 pm »

Wow!  Exactly the pattern I think was operative in many churches, including my own. McCotter and Gothard (both sociopaths as far as I can tell) both had a MAJOR influence on the first generation of leaders, but by the mid-eighties the imperative to be "winsome" led to a quiet toning down of some of the extremes, and there was less paranoia about what music one listened to or what movies were watched. Sounds like Mark Darling went on a anti-Gothard warpath. I think that is great, but I think it is wrong in the sense that Gothard's authoritarianism was never questioned, just his rules. BOTH should have been discarded.

And in case there is any doubt now, look at the wreckage of Gothardism in the lives of people who live by it. And look at the evil of the child-molester himself as abundantly documented by the girls he abused.

For many people, including my parents, leaving the bad old days behind was hard. Those early days both nurtured them AND wounded them, so it wasn't necessarily easy to leave the intimacy and sense of clarity behind. For me and my brothers, it meant no more spankings with our pants down and less obsession about things like dating.  I was even allowed to ask a girl out while in high school with no objection.

I think many of the old-school Gothardites are no longer part of GC. But perhaps the Gothardism is still there, just wrapped up in winsomeness.

By the way, Jeromy Darling's rants on this forum give me chills. I cannot even imagine life in a group where such attitudes emanate from the leaders' children even as they are propped up as examples of successful parenting.


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Heidi
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2018, 07:01:54 pm »

This is hard to read.  I joined the church in Minneapolis on Labor Day weekend of 1987.
I had been on the Invasion 1985 blitz, were we had a small little church of Ten in Bowling Green,Kentucky. 
Invasion 85 , was a Jim McCotter idea.  50 little teams were sent out to a college campus around the country.  We were going  to "reach the world for Christ."
We were very ill equipped, and not well supported by any leadership. 

Doug Patterson was on that team with myself, two other single women and two couples.  All of the team ended up moving to Minneapolis.  I grew up here, and had known people in the original Minneapolis church.  I was excited to move back and be in a large fellowship again.  My brother John, and sister Brenda were also getting involved in the church. 
  We were meeting in Regina High School on 4th Ave and 40th Street in South Minneapolis. 
  I missed the summer series of changing my wardrobe.

I am angry that the history of Evergreen has not been honestly communicated. 
You can find the 8 minute clip of the Evergreen History on the church web sites.  It is not a correct history. 
Brent and Mark did not start the church here.  it was Brent and Mark and a team from Ames that revamped a church that was already established here.
They revamped and changed a church that had been here already.
Doug Patterson did not start New Hope ( Plymouth) 
John van Dyck, and a team of commited people, started the New Hope location.  Doug Patterson and a team called the " Second Wave" came up to help strengthen the church.
Mark Darling did not start the Rock.  Mark Darling and Greg Larson and a team of commited people started that church plant. 

At the time, their was a couple I knew that were asked to leave the Rock church, because they were "married."
They were very hurt by this.  They expressed that hurt to my husbnad and I.  We dismissed them and defended Mark Darling.
I wish we had addressed their hurt with the leadership at the time.

This was so wrong for them to have been disrespected in that way.
They had genuine hearts for the Lord.

 People also were asked to not bring their children to church, since it was a "singles church."
My husband and I babysat for a couple who could not bring there daughter to church.
It was a controlled church, by a Pastor that likes to control.  that pastor was Mark Darling.
This is wrong and not the heart of God.

 I have personally hurt some people in this church system.  It I have hurt you, please reach out to me.
 
The Holy Spirit should be the one to lead us to a church, or out of a church. 
At Evergreen there is pattern that people were just told to leave.
Is this because the leaders thought they were the Holy Spirit.  This is another example to me of an abusive church and an abuse of authority.
I am sorry dear brothers and sisters who have been so wounded at  Evergreen and other GCM churches. 
God is grieved by this also.
Heidi






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GodisFaithful
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2018, 07:16:09 pm »

Thank you for your observations, Observer. Good to hear from someone who grew up and was affected by the system.

Yes, about the Gothard stuff.  Another cult I was deeply affected by, and that is being outed for what it really is/was.

Heidi, you have such a tender heart.  I really appreciate that.

The hurt that bothers me the most is my kids.  I am gradually coming out of that legalistic mind set that I so thoroughly swallowed, and am able to have a lot of laughs with my kids and grandkids, and ask their forgiveness for stuff and listen to where they feel I went wrong and how it affected them personally.  God  can bring beauty out of ashes, I really believe that, not that it always happens. 
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Janet Easson Martin
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2018, 08:14:38 pm »

Thanks so much for the REAL history of Evergreen.  It is important.  It puts pieces together.  

It seems that the lead pastor mentioned above has not done too much different than McCotter. Where do you think all that hippie style hair and bandanas came from?  McCotter's adamant teachings on women keeping their hair long and wearing head coverings to "show submisssion".  Some women there proudly swayed their heads with long locks of "godliness".  By this lead pastor of Evergreeen putting such a strong emphasis on his whole church getting "cool" hair styles and "cool" clothes as a means to show how serious they are about the gospel or rather to bring lots of people to HIS and His Co-Leaders Church, he was LORDING IT OVER how they should express themselves as people.  He was taking away their individuality and personal choices using twisted and false "pleasing God" persuasion.  He was doing no different than McCotter's "first century hippie" look.  It was all about conformity to the leaders choices.

Even when I was in Maryland in the 80's I was told to get rid of some of my clothes probably because they were too stylish (comparatively), perhaps nicer (?) than other women's (?).  But, trust me, I was no fashion queen. The women discipling others there were passing on "this plain persuasion" they heard from their mentors. They were teaching that women should dress plainly to not distract the men.  Thus, jean jumpers, polyester pants and dresses, flat plain shoes, etc.  I thought I would die when I was requested to where someone else's polyester shorts instead of my more stylish ones.  I was told my voice sounded too "sexy" on the phone. (I am laughing to death here because very few would accuse me of that.). I was so proud of my "godly" self because I even taught myself to walk with no feminine swagger at all.  I was now on the dangerous path to loose my own indentity and become like McCotter's image of a devoted Christian.  You can imagine the fear my family had when I would show up looking and acting like a different person.  And soon to be sounding like a different person. That's another story. Many of us coming to this forum can relate to this sad loss of our true personality.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2018, 06:27:15 am by Janet Easson Martin » Logged

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araignee19
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2018, 09:40:07 pm »

Thank you all for sharing these stories. I have never heard this history, other than the Wikipedia style versions. It really puts a lot in perspective for me.
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GodisFaithful
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2018, 08:18:14 am »

Another pretty awful piece of the root of Evergreen, or I suppose I have to say pre-Evergreen, was something that happened soon after Brent Knox and Mark Darling moved up here to be pastors.

We were meeting in Regina High School at the time.  One Sunday morning it was announced by Mark Darling (this is my memory of it) that two very dear and sweet "sisters" who had been a part of our church in Mpls for many years were OUT. (He did not say they were sweet and dear, those are my words because I knew them.)

My husband and I were in total shock. These were girls we had been quite close to. I remember one of them babysitting for us. I loved them both much.

It's not like we were told why they were out or anything.  So what my husband was told (not by the pastors but by others) is that one of the girls' sister had a boy friend who had started doing some research on Jim McCotter. They were not even part of the church. The two "sisters" showed up to help with some kind of move and Mark and Brent showed up and cast them all out of the church. 

There were some from Mpls who were so upset by this that they left the church at that time.  The whole affair was and is sadder than sad. My husband and I put our blinders on and kept soldiering on.  In recent years I have been able to contact one of the "sisters" to apologize for our silence. 

I have always considered this an excommunication. What else could you call it? And years later, in coming to the forum and reading of the hundreds of excommunications that Jim McCotter engineered (sometimes he made his underlings do it) I was just appalled.  And it is personal for me, because of what I experienced. The long lasting effect on people's lives of this kind of stuff is immeasurable.  And it was all about pastors being in control. Has anyone in the "movement" ever denounced all the heinous excommunications? I am not just talking about some high profile case like Bill Taylor.

I guess that when Mark and Brent moved to Mpls they had to show that they were large and in charge. And this is not just in the far away past. I was reading on the string called "BITE Model" by Rebel that there was an excommunication of a family in Wisconsin in, I think, 2011. That is not my story to tell, but it is chilling.  Usually the reason is "gossip" or "faction" or "slander". In other words, people are not agreeing with the pastor and they need to nip that in the bud and tamp in down. Is this not a cult then? Explain to me how it is not a cult. 

According to the Apology Paper, leaving a GC church is supposed to be a "comfortable experience". Does anyone want to join me in a loud guffaw?!

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arrogantcat
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2018, 03:24:19 pm »

I left the Rock, and experienced no problems at all.
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Roger Dodger
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2018, 04:10:26 pm »

Thanks to my parents I grew up in a cult church and I blame them fully for that. I have been at a GCC church the past 20 years and I am not tracking with all that is shared on this site. These churches are not perfect, but my GCC church is exactly what I was looking for after my childhood experience.  Somehow I found HEALING. That's only my personal experience. 
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Linda
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2018, 04:47:34 pm »

Arrogantcat and Roger Dodger,

Happy to hear you experienced no problems.

Sadly, that is not the case with everyone.

I guess this forum isn’t for you.
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araignee19
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« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2018, 05:18:30 pm »

I for one am genuinely glad to hear you had good experiences. But I also hope you don't think your good experiences discredit our bad ones. Welcome
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2018, 06:26:07 pm »

I left the Rock, and experienced no problems at all.

Not to discount your experience of leaving the Rock with "no problems at all", you did omit the key fact that you didn't technically leave the Rock, you just transferred from one Evergreen location to a different Evergreen location.  I would expect that to be a good experience.
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« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2018, 11:44:21 am »

GodisFaithful and Heidi, thank you for accurately recording the "beginnings" of Evergreen. I began attending a couple weeks after Brent and Mark arrived and can attest to the many wonderful believers that were meeting at Regina High School. It is indeed disturbing that the early beginnings have not been admitted and that some dear people (John, Greg, and others) have been removed from the church's history.  I am not sure why these people have been removed from the recorded history of the movement.  I can speculate as to the motives for their removal, but I'm wondering if someone could give me a good reason for that happening?
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GodisFaithful
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« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2018, 01:18:38 pm »

Barb, I was as accurate as I could be without remembering exact dates.

As to your question, if you are still at Evergreen you could try asking the pastors about why they tell the story as they do. Hopefully they will not consider you a trouble maker for asking.

My guess is, the pastors are in charge, so they tell what they want to tell.  It seems dishonest to me. We go to a church now that does not hide any pastors in their history and they include even one pastor who had a major moral failure. People really loved that pastor. He was a good teacher, but he had to step down from pastoring. This incident put a huge strain on the church. One of the members told me all about it from her perspective as one of the key staff members. The history is not sugar coated or manipulated.

I did not find out about all the horrible history of excommunications in the Great Commission Churches history until coming here to this forum. I think it would be so much better to just bite the bullet and tell the history and if there were bad things, like the excommunications, explain it in a straight forward way and what has been  done to remedy the problems. But in my opinion, there seems to be a pattern of being very hush hush about mistakes/problems/scandals/sins of the past. I don't mean you have to tell all the gory details. But for instance, the Apology Paper talks in such generalities, it does not seem that they are truly taking responsibility for egregious  errors that were devastating to people's lives. And some of those errors are still going on today.
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Barb
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« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2018, 02:41:40 pm »

I am not still at a GC church we left after 19  years (Evergreen and the the Urban Refuge). I agree with you that not sharing the real history of the church is strange and deceptive by reason of omission. I was just wondering if someone who is still there could provide a reason for leaving out parts of the history. The only reasons my brain can come up with are because they are being deceptive, but maybe there is a logical reason for doing that that I am not able to think of.
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