Life ticks off with its daily duties and nightly rituals, and I begin thinking it will always be the same. Then a rude awakening shakes me to my socks and nothing remains but memories of what was before. Has that happened in your life: the news of sudden death, or health issue? I certainly never expected the church I had attended for over ten years would splinter and fall away.
I believe that given enough time, the truth comes out, but I am somewhat dismayed and somewhat angered that more than nine years rolled by since the news of the arrest of Brandon Milburn for sexual misconduct hit the local headlines, and I’m still looking for justice. The skinny-jean-clad, blue-eyed ministry student, Brandon, captivated the teens and was a musical favorite in the worship service. The announcement awakened a non-denominational congregation to the threat that struck the church like a rock to the windshield. Starting as a pit, the crack soon lengthened to encompass leadership and widened to involve youth and ministry leaders. It grew to a chasm that split the church body, pitting member against member.
The personal injury lawsuit filed in September, 2021, by one of the survivors of Brandon’s trail of tears still works its way through the court system. The plaintiff filed against Steve Wingfield, Senior Minister, and the church, FCCF (now renamed Christ First Church). It appears the legal games of multiple continuances has come to the point of collecting depositions for hearing and determination under a newly assigned judge. I am hopeful for a resolution, but there is no telling if it will happen any time soon.
From the book:
“The morning started out innocently enough with the hated alarm reminding me it was a workday. It promised to be another nondescript partly cloudy March day with a high in the mid-fifties, another cold day, dragging out in anticipation of spring. Like most mornings, I started by scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, looking for prayer requests to address through my Joy In-Verse Ministry page. I came across an open letter to the senior minister of my church, and the day suddenly became anything but ordinary.” (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. 73.)
“A View from the Pews” is available on Amazon in print and ebook format, along with being available to read through the Kindle Unlimited program. Buy a book, read online, choose your preferred method and read the rest of the story. This project is for the victims. Every book sold and every page read helps support Safe Connections non-profit in St. Louis. Please join me in the cause for victims of abuse.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 31, 2022
While this is a tough read, it is one that I believe is necessary for anyone serving in a leadership role in a church, for someone seeking a healthy church, and for individuals in ministry. This book should be added to curriculum at Bible colleges as a guide on how to properly handle abuse and as a guide on how not to handle abuse.
I’m grateful for this read, not just as an individual who lived through this situation, but as someone who serve full time in ministry now as an adult. I hope people will be open minded to learning from and listening to the victims and whistleblowers always.