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Harvest Bible Chapel's longtime pastor James MacDonald is stepping away from ministry and leadership responsibilities for an "indefinite sabbatical" as the church elders initiate a "peacemaking process" amid recent scrutiny of the Chicago-area megachurch.
In an email message sent to HBC members that was posted on the church website Wednesday, the elders said that they had tried to address criticisms coming from outside for the past several years but such efforts have not been adequate as it pertains to their own failures. The Executive Committee of elders privately met Monday which "led to the decision to be part of a peacemaking process that seeks both reconciliation and change where needed."
Development - Report - Julie - Roys - Moody
The latest development has come about following an investigative report from Julie Roys, formerly of Moody Radio, in the December issue of World magazine. In the article, Roys detailed how the church, under MacDonald's leadership, had moved around ministry entities in order to redirect funds for suspicious purposes and also reported on an alleged culture of fear and intimidation where MacDonald was allowed to treat people abusively.
The church will be partnering with two ministries "that specialize in helping churches resolve issues in God-honoring ways" patterned after Ken Sande's book The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict, the elders' statement read.
Christian - Post - HBC - Comment - Peacemaking
The Christian Post reached out to HBC for comment, inquiring further about how this peacemaking process will transpire and was referred to the Wednesday statement.
MacDonald, who started HBC over 30 years ago with a group of 18 people, will be taking an "indefinite sabbatical" from preaching and leadership at the Chicago location, the elders explained, and he has recused himself from taking part in the peacemaking process but may preach occasionally at the HBC location in Naples, Florida, through some of the winter months.
MacDonald - Addendum - Email
MacDonald explained in an addendum to the email...
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