This past week a previous member of our church communicated false and misleading statements about us and our congregation. Her name is Jessica Prather and her husband was a pastoral intern with us from 2013 to 2016. She was interviewed on a podcast.
Although we hesitate to address her accusations publicly, we are concerned that her communications will harm others. We have engaged her personally on many occasions and strongly disagree with many of her conclusions. Unfortunately, her recent efforts to spread her perspective now requires us to communicate publicly what should have remained private.
Jessica characterized our church as being “abuser-centric.” This observation is drawn from her experience with us in addressing a specific case of spousal abuse. While we are thankful for Jessica’s early contributions to the care and protection of the victim, her later involvement proved unhelpful.
You should know that we acted to ensure the victim’s safety. We supported a marital separation, provided counsel, and implemented a safety plan. We involved two 3rd-party experts, who proved very helpful throughout the process. Spousal abuse is a heinous sin and no two cases are the same. We readily admit our dependence upon the Lord and others. Jessica helped us listen to the victim first and for this we are grateful. God was gracious to all involved.
After some time, the 3rd-party experts and the abuse survivor noted growth and change in the spouse. We supported the survivor as she reported this progress to Jessica, who at the time was a personal friend. However, Jessica disapproved of the counsel given, including that of the experts. She resisted the idea of reconciliation, believing true change on the part of the spouse was impossible. We eventually found ourselves caring not only for a victim of spousal abuse but also for an unhealthy friendship.
We reject Jessica’s claim that we are an “abuser-centric” church. The care and protection of victims and survivors of all forms of abuse and injustice is a priority for us. Please contact us and/or the proper authorities if you have questions or concerns or information regarding cases of abuse in our congregation. We believe in a God who is faithful to care for the hurting. We long for the end of suffering. We hope for a future where there are no more victims. We are a “Jesus-centric” church.