The strategic move to file the lawsuit to silence the whistleblowers and threaten them with $25,000 damages shifted focus away from the importance of the whistleblowers’ message and pointed it toward the protection of the senior minister. It muddied the waters of discernment and stirred the coals that brought division. Was the leaders’ decision to sue a way to show good stewardship of the church body? Is this what you would expect from your church leaders?
“With the battle lines clearly drawn, one faction wanted to restore the church to the format prior to when the bylaws were changed. The other faction sought to remain under the ministry of Steve Wingfield. The move to include the church in the petition shaded Steve and the alleged lack of reporting issue. Instead, it became the church versus the whistleblowers’ supporters. In reality, it was the senior minister and the elders using the name of the church along with potential use of church funds to protect the reputation of the senior minister and the FCCF ‘brand.’” (Taylor, Joy S., A View from the Pews — The Inside Story of a Broken Church, 2022, Lily of the Valley Publishing, Santa Claus IN, p. 101.)
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