Several recent conversations have finally tipped the scale for me. For two years I’ve tiptoed carefully through a mine field of what-ifs. What will happen if I say ______? What will happen if I reveal _____? What will happen if I don’t say _____?
It is slowly killing my spirit. If I had to describe the state of my soul in one word, it would certainly be tortured. I’m not a mean-spirited person. I don’t like disappointing people or making them unhappy. I don’t like for people to be mad at me. I don’t care for conflict, but I’m not afraid of it. I don’t like seeing others hurt.
On the other hand, I’ve heard many inconsistencies in the information being spoken among the congregation and community in regards to the events that have transpired at FBC Bryan over the last 2 years. I have waited, prayed, met with leadership and waited some more…for 2 years. I waited for the church to go through the Intentional Interim Process hoping for the rumors to be addressed with the congregation...separating the facts from the fiction. The process is now complete. And still, I hear rumors coming out of the congregation that I know to be inconsistent with my experience talking with leadership over the course of the 2 years.
I’m afraid I can no longer continue walking the mine field while hoping for the church members/leaders to join the dialogue. They have remained mostly silent and allowed the ongoing suffering of several families for nearly 24 long months. And now they are moving on.
From the very first time I met with members of leadership just days after the first minister (the Minister of Missions & Assimilation) was forced to resign in secrecy in February 2012 until today, I’ve maintained this stance:
I am not here to defend these ministers, but to question the process by which they were accused and forced to resign.
You see, I never felt I had to defend the ministers. I believed that if the church followed Biblical examples of dealing with conflict, the ministers and the church members would have been able to resolve the conflict on their own.
And, so, as you read the posts that will follow in the coming weeks, please know that I’m not claiming, nor have I ever claimed, that the ministers are completely without fault. THEY have never claimed to be without fault. In fact, they have asked repeatedly for the accusations against them to be revealed so they could deal with them openly and honestly with their accusers. They’ve still never, to my knowledge, received a list of the accusations against them or been told who made the accusations that led to their forced resignations.
I was saddened recently when someone said to me:
“You have your story that you believe and I have mine.”
I never wanted to have a “story” that I believed and a “story” that others believed. All I ever wanted was the truth. I wanted the accusers to sit face-to-face with the ministers they were accusing, share the accusations, give the ministers a chance to address the accusations…and eventually for the two parties to reach a resolution.
I wanted church members to hear the inconsistencies in the stories being told and have the courage to ask questions.
However, when the accusers would not reveal their identities…and, instead took their accusations directly to a committee who forced the resignation of the ministers without giving the ministers the chance to address the specific accusations or accusers…and when church leadership knowingly misled the congregation to believe that at least one of the ministers resigned by choice…and when church leadership admitted to me in private that certain rumors circulating through the congregation were false, but did nothing to address them and allowed them to be perpetuated day after day like a slow bleed on the reputations of the ministers…and when church leadership suggested to me that if I, as a church member, told the truth to others about what was actually happening behind the scenes, I would divide the church…
I knew I had to speak up. Even if I wasn’t on a committee. Even if some church members thought the situation was “above my pay grade”. Even if I would be accused of being divisive. Even if it put my reputation at risk in the community. Even if it was uncomfortable. Even if I simply didn’t want to do it.
I will begin documenting my experience in the coming days. It is simply my experience. I couldn’t possibly claim to know the whole truth about what happened at FBC because so much was hidden and kept “confidential”. But I can’t, in good conscience, move forward while keeping the inconsistencies in “the story” I’m hearing to myself. Our actions as a church body can cause real, serious, long-lasting damage to whole families…children and youth included. And when we refuse to be completely honest about our situation or deny an opportunity for reconciliation, we prevent healing for the wounded families.