An update from the Elders on May 23, 2018
Good evening. My name is Lane Moyer. As many of you know, Pam Orr’s term as Elder Chair has come to an end. We are grateful for her service and, after two years of serving as an Elder, I am honored to begin serving as the new Chair of the Elder Board. Thank you for the opportunity to update you on the Elders’ 45-Day Plan to respond to the allegations made against Bill Hybels. There are two parts of this plan: the first is to listen and engage with the women who raised concerns; the second is to examine the church’s policies and procedures to ensure we continue improving our culture, which supports positive working relationships between men and women.
Let me begin by talking about our review of policies and procedures. Any time an organization is in a challenging season, it provides an opportunity to review current practices and examine what can be learned to improve the organization’s operations.
One area of concern that has been raised is the email retention policy that was used for Bill. After consulting with two separate IT firms and speaking to others in the field, we have implemented a new church-wide email policy. Emails will now be saved longer and all staff will have the same parameters, providing consistency and accountability across the board.
We are also reviewing the church’s policies for how men and women work together. We are as committed as ever to the value of women and men serving together and fully utilizing their gifts to build the church. Willow’s Executive Team is in the process of conducting discussion groups with the staff regarding these values and ways to improve our guidelines in this area. Additional information about church policies will be provided in our next update. Our focus is on continuing to ensure we have a church culture in which men and women can continue to lead together and work side by side in a way that is honoring to each other and to God.
I would also like to update you regarding the Elders’ conversations with the women who have raised concerns about Bill. We have contacted the women and have spoken to a majority of them. Those conversations have led to deeper understanding. We mentioned to you last time that we have been consulting with several outside experts. We have asked Crossroads Resolution Group (CRG) to serve as an independent, neutral third party to listen to the women involved and discuss with each of them their requests and desired process outcomes. CRG will work toward mutual agreement on any further investigation or mediation. Crossroads’ focus is to work with each woman individually and with the church on a plan that is agreeable to everyone.
Additionally, Crossroads has agreed to provide trained conciliators to serve as an independent confidential resource for anyone who has concerns and does not feel comfortable contacting the Elders. We are committed to providing this resource—and confidentiality—to those in need of it. Information can be found below.
We also continue to walk alongside Bill and Lynne through this difficult season and we ask you to continue praying for them and their family.
Next month, as our initial 45-day period comes to a close, we will provide you with another update. To be clear, our work will not end at that time. We will continue working diligently to strengthen the policies and procedures of our church and to resolve this situation as best we can with those involved. Please continue to pray for our church and let’s continue to work together to do the work that God has called us to do here at Willow.
If you would like to speak with an Elder individually, a number of us will be in Guest Central from 7:30 to 8:30 tonight to answer your questions.
Contact information for Crossroads Resolution Group
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (503) 764-9254
Mail: 2030 NE Holman St.
Portland, OR 97211