A Note From Rich...
A report surfaced Friday about two of our pastors (Trey and myself) alleging that our church was supporting a couple found guilty of physical child abuse. We have no desire to hide anything and want to be transparent. To that end, here are some background details.
In August 2018, a couple began visiting our church and personally asked me for help. They told me they were guilty of physically abusing their foster child and were soon to be sentenced by the court. The child had been removed from their custody about 18 months prior. They communicated a deep regret for the harm the child had suffered and continues to suffer. They came to me asking for spiritual guidance on how to process their sin and how to walk through the consequences of their sin.
Although not church members, Trey began counseling with them. We took the opportunity to encourage them as they embraced the Father’s discipline, the Spirit’s power to change, and to trust Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. Further, Trey sought to help them to spiritually and emotionally prepare for the legal consequences of their crime, which would include prison time.
The couple indicated that the court was considering a work release while in prison. The couple asked Trey and me to write letters saying they would be good candidates for a work release sentence and that they were not a flight risk. We agreed to write the letters.
In retrospect, we believe it was unwise to write those letters. We didn’t know the couple well enough or walk with them long enough to gauge the depth of their repentance or testify to their character.
Please forgive us.
We grieve for the injured child and fully support the justice that has been carried out by the authorities. The couple has pled guilty to child abuse and we are counseling the couple to comply with every judicial order and pursue repentance through all of this.
We are resolved to be a safe place for everyone. We take sin seriously. We desire to wisely help those who are seeking God in the pursuit of repentance.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to grow and learn how to be better pastors. Our goal is to be the kind of pastors who pursue civil justice, protect all victims and offer care for sinners in need.
On behalf of the pastoral team,