My last post described the manipulation of the elders. The result was devastating and seemed to me to portend the decline in the church as a whole. When the church shifted to the industrial complex church governance model, six of the thirteen elders resigned. There was no notification of their leaving their positions by church leadership at the time. By the time the dust due to the Brandon Milburn revelation cleared and the senior minister was reinstated, only three elders remained. The story breaks my heart. Were you aware of the elders resignations? Do you remember the church being specifically told of their leaving? Should church leadership communicate such things to the people who financially support them? I’m just asking.
An interview quote by a former elder from the book:
“This is what I mean: When the Milburn cover-up became known, there were, I believe, 7 elders, including SW, [Elder #9], [Elder #4], [Elder #6],[Elder #7], [Elder #5], and [the soon-to-be Executive Minister]. The Sunday that the elders set for a Q&A in the lobby between services, [Elder #5] was an elder during the Q&A following the 8am Chapel service, but had resigned before the Q&A between the later services. As you witnessed, the elders were ‘in our faces’ during the Small Group Leaders session, defending (SW = Steve Wingfield) and berating the members of the congregation who spoke up with honest and important questions.
Skip to the next ‘annual’ congregational meeting where elders and deacons were to be confirmed (maybe December of 2015. . .? I don’t remember being around for the election, so maybe it was spring of 2016.) Of those 7 elders, only (SW=Steve Wingfield), [Elder #6] & [Elder #4] remained. The others either resigned, were fired [the Executive Minister], or chose not to renew their position. [Elder #4] had planned to step down, but stayed, fearing there would be no one who could take on the financial mantle. So, 4 elders out of 6 left their posts (SW was elder by position). I’ve always wondered what precipitated this exodus since there was unwavering support earlier in the episode. Apparently, even SW couldn’t hold their allegiance, or he actively sought to rid himself of them. As disheartening as this element is, I’m guessing not a handful in the congregation were really aware of this collapse in leadership.” (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. 142.)
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