Harvest Issues Public Apology

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I just received the following email from the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel. I was not expecting an apology, but it is a welcome development and a step in the right direction. I do forgive each one of the elders for pursuing the lawsuit against myself, the Mahoneys, and the Bryants. And I truly hope for healing and reconciliation in the days to come.

Scott and Sarah Bryant, Ryan and Melinda Mahoney, and Julie Roys:

The elder board of Harvest Bible Chapel is writing to you to apologize and ask for your forgiveness for a lawsuit that should never have been brought against you. While at the time we thought we were acting in the best interests of the church, we now realize this lawsuit, while lawful, was a sinful violation of 1 Corinthians 6 and biblically should not have been pursued.  

This action put you through undue stress, took significant time, energy and resources, and left you to defend your reputations. We are sorry; please forgive us.  

Since our action against you was public, we will be posting today on our website this apology, along with an apology to our congregation.  

This week the elder board will transition to a completely new board of elders. With a new church leadership team and new elder board now in place, along with this apology and the restitution Harvest has made/offered to each of you, we hope this will start the healing process between each of you and Harvest.

– The Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel

Also, below is the email Harvest sent to its members tonight. One note: if you follow the link for specifics on the lawsuit, you’ll read, “Regarding the lawsuit against Julie Roys and The Elephant’s Debt, at the time, Harvest leadership had grown weary of continued negative, and what was then believed to be untrue, commentary towards the church.” For the record, when the lawsuit was filed, I hadn’t written anything about the church–nothing. And as far as I know, practically everything printed by The Elephant’s Debt has proven to be true. Harvest needs to make note of that. 

To our Harvest Family,

Later today, Lord willing, the new elder board will be confirmed and our time serving on the board will have come to an end. Despite the challenges of this current season, it has been a privilege to serve the Lord and the church on the elder board. Yet, we also understand that as the church moves forward, it is best served to have a completely new elder board. Because of that, we willingly resign from the elder board. This will be the last communication to the church body from this board of elders.

Since announcing our intent to resign from the board, our focus has been to “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12), and to transition well the church leadership structure for future success. In every meeting, discussion, action or consideration, we have strived first to do what is biblical and honors the Lord above all else, what is best for the church, and what is best for the future leaders of the church. Under that premise, we want to update you on three areas specifically.

First, under the direction and recommendation of Crossroads Resolution Group, a third-party ministry who specializes in reconciliation, conflict resolution, and mediation, we met with James MacDonald on Friday, April 12. The meeting between the Elder Board and James was attended by six of the seven elders (one was recovering from surgery), two conciliators from Crossroads, an outside attorney representing Harvest who specializes in employment law practices, James, and his attorney. The purpose of this meeting was to both begin biblical reconciliation between us, as well as make efforts to address complex legal issues and lingering disagreements still open since his termination. Harvest’s Bylaws require us to pursue matters in dispute through mediation and, if mediation fails, through more costly third-party arbitration. An arbitration or legal proceeding introduces risks, is expensive for both parties, requires significant staff involvement and time away from ministry, and delays the efforts toward reconciliation. While these efforts are still ongoing, please be in prayer for a successful, biblical resolution to these matters.

Additionally, as we look back with the clarity we now have on the lawsuits Harvest pursued last fall that were later withdrawn, we believe that these lawsuits, while lawful, were a sinful violation of 1 Corinthians 6 and biblically should not have been pursued.  We’ve privately and now publicly apologized to the defendants regarding the suits.  Specifics of this can be found here

Finally, we initiated a completely new process for the selection of the next group of elders to serve on the board of our church. This new process relied on congregational input, campus pastor nominations, and a final selection led by campus pastors and church members where we were not present. We felt our absence was necessary to begin restoring faith to our church in the biblical office of eldership. We praise the Lord for raising up these nine men to govern our church who we believe He has appointed for such a time as this.

We ask that you would fully support the Campus Pastors, the new Church Leadership Team and this new Elder Board, as we also will be doing. Our church has never before had a full elder board replacement. This is why we ask for your prayers and patience as they step into their role. We believe by faith that God is not done working in our church and look forward to seeing how He will continue to use Harvest Bible Chapel for His glory.

This has been an incredibly trying time to serve as elders, navigating the most difficult time in the history of our church. Issues we faced were complex, and we prayerfully sought the Lord to lead us throughout our time serving. So many of you have been supportive, prayed for us, and lifted us up at times when our completing this season felt like an impossible task. Thank you.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

-The outgoing Elder Board of Harvest Bible Chapel

 

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72 thoughts on “Harvest Issues Public Apology”

  1. Hey someone finally used the old “don’t throw out the baby with the bath water” argument. Bingo! I got bingo! My card is full – come on Ed, that worn out cliche’? Get some new material.

    1. He is telling you to not discard the essential while retaining the superfluous because of your excessive zeal against Harvest.

      1. nolongerattending

        Yeah, why can’t people see all the good Harvest has done through spreading reform theology and taking 10% of congregants’ income to live large? Who cares about the people who have left the faith or will never trust another ministry again. Who cares about the lies? They played fun music and provided sermons that weren’t boring. The hallmarks of a good church, of course.

      2. You are so right, Kristy! I suspect God Himself does not appreciate this “excessive zeal”, especially so boastfully public, against Harvest and its thousands of believing attenders.

  2. It s my understanding that Julie is receiving monetary compensation regarding the suit. May I ask for full transparency by asking what the total amount of money was that she received (or will receive) from Harvest’s settlement with her over the suit, including her legal fees and other compensations? Also for the sake of transparency, was Julie carrying liability insurance as a reporter at the time of the lawsuit and did she submit a claim to be compensated by her insurance company?
    Thank you. Just wanting to keep full transparency flowing on both sides since no dollar amounts were mentioned in the articles. And may this be a lesson learned the hard way.

    1. nolongerattending

      I doubt Julie would have an issue answering these questions. More importantly, who is paying for the damages and reimbursement? HBC congregation or the disqualified elders who funded the suit?

      1. nolongerattending Apparently she does have an issue. Perhaps you can ask her these questions for me ?

        1. former member

          It is also possible like any other settlement you have ever read about that their are conditions to which agreement is made. that could include no disclosure, etc. she did clearly state that the amount was for the legal fees incurred. so the wording would lead me to believe it only covered the cost of the legal expenses she incurred as a result of the frivolous suit and nothing more because HBC was under no obligation to do anything since they brought the suit and dropped it.

          1. former member, this was on JR twitter:
            Julie Roys
            @reachjulieroys
            Apr 30
            More
            They paid all my lawyers fees and a bit extra to compensate for the defamatory statements James made about me.

            I am still waiting for Julie to be transparent here. How much did wem the congregation of Harvest, pay for “all my lawyers fees”, how much is “a bit extra”? And Julie, do you carry reporters liability insurance and did you make a claim? We are still waiting for your transparency.

          2. Jessica Hockett

            Kristy–

            I’m replying here because there isn’t button for replying to you.

            Julie is under no obligation to share the amount of her settlement. I’m sure it wasn’t enough to compensate for the time, stress, and frustration of an illegal defamation lawsuit. I hope you agree that the lawsuit was unjustified and would be extremely taxing to face.

            Not sure if you attend HBC, but remember that Elders footed the bill for the lawsuit–James MacDonald, Bill Sperling, and Ron Duitsman, most likely.

            What Congregants should be asking is why those men shouldn’t be paying Julie out of their OWN pockets.

      2. Great question! Is this debate really about Julie and money given to her as restitution for her misery? James was trying to silence her and drain her financially along with anyone who got in his way. How can anyone support him and his behavior ?
        The real issue is the long term abuse of James Macdonald and accomplices upon God’s people.
        So interesting these die hard Harvest people who deliberately ignore any facts and just don’t want the evil exposed. Is that a Godly Church? It sounds more like a cult. Our faithfulness shoild be to God and truth, not protecting a false church.

  3. Harvest is a pox. Harvest a cult. Hopefully it will shutdown due it’s massive debt. Tear down or re purpose the building. Another disgraced pastor in a long line of disgraced pastor’s. JimmyMac allowed to roam free with the support of leadership and the Elder’s and the congregation. All of them completely disgraced. Tear down all the Harvest buildings. Vertical was always horizontal.

  4. Sounds good David! And on top of all that you have highly disgusting and disturbed people disguised as
    “Kristy” and “Ed Jackson” making completely weak and blinded statements like the ones above.
    So I’m going to spell it out again just for them and theirs:

    The way that the “elders” , “leadership team” , “pastors” who are all HIRELINGS have handled the whole thing is called slippery, slimy, dirty, sneaky, twisted, devious, ugly, not Godly, not with discernment, not with wisdom, WORLDLY and premeditated.
    This means GOD’s presence,wisdom, discernment, oversight, goodness, favor etc etc etc was
    ABSOLUTELY NO WHERE TO BE FOUND IN ANY OF THIS SITUATION. GOD DOES NOT DWELL
    IN SIN or OPERATE IN OUR DELIBERATE ONES. No No No No these are ungodly men and women
    that have an appearance of having it all together, again see abomination below.
    Which would be somewhat understandable if it WAS a corporation of the world…………
    HEEEEEY WAIT A SECOND HERE !!!!! Boy do I ever feel dumb, I shoulda known sooner…….

    Walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, acts like a duck, looks like a duck even tastes like a duck……..

    WHAT AN ABOMINATION ………….
    1. a person or thing that is disgusting
    2. an action that is vicious, vile, etc
    3. intense loathing

    Yet 8500 people like the “Kristy’s” and the “Ed’s”of this world apparently still do not mind at all and are in fact in agreement with said abomination and all of the other ungodly acts which in itself is ungodly.
    THIS IS THE DECEPTION

  5. This was posted by fisher on the previous page in response to ” ED’s ” comment I really think it should be repeated her just in case ” Kristy” missed it , Thanks Fisher , very very good post! :
    Fisher
    May 3, 2019 at 9:24 pm Reply
    Ed, you say you and countless others were blessed and fed spiritually. What were you fed?

    Did you and others grow in discernment to tell a sheep from a wolf? When you correctly identified the wolves what actions did you take to help others flee and find protection? Or did you do nothing.

    Harvest members were hounded for money while James and others lived high on the people’s gifts. When you realized that teaching about giving was based on guilt tactics rather than clear New Testament practices did you reject it? Did you help others reject it? Or did you do nothing.

    You say countless people were blessed. Yet dozens have testified in the past few months that James shamed them (even to tears) when they tried to hold him accountable. How was that a blessing?

    Over the years many of staff quit suddenly and elders left. Many were forced to sign NDAs. Were these people all blessed?

    Thousands of Harvest members left. Do you know anyone who was wounded or broken because of how Harvest leaders treated them? Do you know anyone whose children walked away from Jesus because of what they saw at Harvest? If so have you worked tirelessly to pursue any of those people to console and help them find their way back to Jesus?

    Perhaps you can answer yes to these questions. But if not, the spiritual food you were fed was poison and the blessing was a curse because it only produced “good feelings” and not the actions of a disciple in you.

    A disciple does not “attend church”- a disciple walks with Jesus every day. A disciple recognizes false teaching and speaks up. A disciple helps other people be disciples.

    1. @David – you seem to be pretty passionate on your ideas/perspectives. Have you attended Harvest and thus the fuel for your sharing? Just curious.

  6. HarvestSUCKS

    Sorry, but until I see arrests and prosecutions of everyone of these so called HBC leaders, including that used car saleman James MacDonald I will not be satisfied. And until everyone of these horrifically disgusting human beings is bankrupt and in jail for life, I will not be satisfied. Where’s the grace you ask? I have plenty. But justice and the law should not be ignored. These purely evil and destructive people deserve proper US and Illinois law “judgement”.

    1. Do you mean like “Live by the sword ,die by the sword?” or in this case……..
      “LIVE and ACT LIKE THE WORLD, get prosecuted like the world” ?

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