Elder Update FAQs: March 10, 2020

Elder Update: Frequently Asked Questions - March 10, 2020

Below are some frequently asked questions that we received in response to our updates on January 28 and January 30.


Is Steve Gillen’s transition related to the Dr. B. story that became public?

No. Steve determined he would fulfill his contract and informed the Elder Board of his decision on January 23. Both Steve and the Elders thought it was important to update the staff and congregation about his decision, even though it fell on the same week as the news about Dr. B.


Why did you make a public statement about Dr. B.? Are there more stories coming out?

As a board, we have wrestled with which information should be shared with our entire Willow congregation from the stage and which should be communicated through different channels. We did not include a statement regarding Dr. B. during the service on Saturday, February 2, but rather pointed the congregation to the Elder update previously sent out. Upon review of the Saturday service, it was recommended to adjust the statement for Sunday. We agreed that this could be more helpful, so we made the adjustment accordingly. We encourage you to watch the statement and apology from Sunday here


Because of Dr. B’s influence in our church, the times he was publicly thanked, and his involvement despite his restriction, we deemed it necessary to apologize to our church family and to make it clear we do not condone his behavior in this public format. 


Our Human Resources department and Pastoral Protection team hold confidentiality as a value with staff and congregants who are in processes where harms have occurred that resulted in restrictions or employment terminations. We have learned that in cases when people are placed in positions of leadership or influence, more communication is needed to prevent potential future harm. While we cannot change the past, we are committed to putting in place accountability structures that create a healthier culture and leveraging the knowledge of experts to help our staff and volunteers identify and address harmful behavior. 


Will you apologize?

We are saddened that some feel we have not adequately apologized for the harms that have taken place at Willow over the years. For some, it has been helpful to reread past apologies offered by us and the former Elder Board. We affirm and stand behind these apologies. (August 8, 2018; February 28, 2019; April 17, 2019, July 19, 2019; January 28, 2020)

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