Fellowship Dubai Pastor Resigns After Confessing Spiritual Abuse

By Josh Shepherd
warwick de jersey dubai
On December 8, 2022, Warwick de Jersey, former associate pastor at Fellowship Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, addresses congregants in a video. (Video screengrab)

An associate pastor at an evangelical megachurch in Dubai, the super wealthy Mideast city, has issued a lengthy, open apology to those he harmed through years-long spiritually abusive behavior—and promptly resigned.

Last week, Warwick de Jersey announced his resignation as associate pastor of education and mentoring at Fellowship Dubai, an evangelical megachurch with 4,500 members located in the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.

De Jersey, an Australian clergyman affiliated with the Church Missionary Society, had joined the church staff in July 2014. Prior to that, he served as rector of St. Matthias in Centennial Park, Australia—the largest church in the Diocese of Sydney.

Speaking to congregants in a video released Dec. 9, de Jersey confessed to “words and actions (that) have too often been intimidating and demeaning and have resulted in people feeling unsafe in my presence.”

During de Jersey’s seven-minute apology statement, also posted online with a transcript, lead pastor Ray Galea and church elder Ashley John stood alongside de Jersey.

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De Jersey said Galea met with him on Nov. 8 to outline “aspects of my behavior that had been harmful” to other church staff members. De Jersey quoted Proverbs 27:6, which reads in part: “The wounds from a friend can be trusted.”

He then catalogued his harmful behavior for which he said he’s “solely responsible.” “I’ve belittled others, publicly shamed them. I’ve given harsh feedback, (and) crushed confidence. I’ve used cruel humor. I failed to give people space to disagree and I’ve made them feel stupid and worthless.”

He added: “I’ve also failed to appreciate and to understand the nature and impact of the power imbalances that exist in my relationships with others on the staff team.”

De Jersey’s statement referred several times to the harms he caused victims and encouraged them to speak to “someone you know who’s safe to talk to.” He thanked God for his colleagues’ “bravery and courage” in raising the issues with the lead pastor and expressed thanks to those who had forgiven him.

The Roys Report (TRR) reached out to Fellowship Dubai and to Church Missionary Society (CMS), but did not hear back.

Pastor resigns from church, missions affiliation 

In an email dated Dec. 9, which was obtained by The Roys Report, CMS executive director John Lovell excerpted from de Jersey’s apology statement. Lovell referred to the former pastor’s “pattern of intimidating, demeaning and harmful behavior over a period of years.”

warwick de jersey
Warwick and Caroline de Jersey (Photo via Facebook)

Lovell noted that consequently de Jersey and his wife, Caroline, “could not be redeployed in the near future” through their missions agency. He announced to CMS supporters that the couple had resigned from the agency as of Dec. 4.

In the video, de Jersey further stated: “Now I recognize that sin has consequences, and a simple apology cannot put things back the way they were . . . I’ve willingly offered my resignation to the elders.”

Lead pastor Galea stated briefly that he and Fellowship Dubai elders “struggled for up to 10 days whether to accept that resignation.” Galea said they sought external expert counsel during this time.

Galea explained: “Their clear advice was that, when such behavior takes place for more than six months, it never seems to work to place that person and return them in a staffing position at the same church.”

The elder board accepted de Jersey’s resignation. All three men in the video, including elder John who closed the video message in prayer, emphasized the victims who’d been harmed by the former pastor.

Lead pastor Galea said that “to minimize the damage that Warwick himself admits he has done and profoundly regrets would be . . . so wrong.”

While admitting his own need for counseling and a process ahead, de Jersey underlined the harm he had done. He said, “If your heart goes out to anyone at this time, please, please make sure that it goes out to those who have been hurt.”

Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.



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9 thoughts on “Fellowship Dubai Pastor Resigns After Confessing Spiritual Abuse”

  1. Pastor Warrick joined this church staff in 2014 – eight years ago. It concerns me that it took many years for this to be public ally dealt with.

    Does anyone else have this concern?

    Dawn Zimmerman

    1. Yes Dawn I do…this dynamic in any abuse story, but particularly in churches, is the system that perpetuates the abuse by knowing and still doing nothing until the injured victims while still bleeding have to be the truth tellers, even while many others have known for a long time and still do nothing.

    2. We have no way of knowing the timeline… He said, and I quote, “I hate who I’ve become.” I would doubt that he began this way. The truth is we are to love our neighbor as we love our self. If we hate ourselves we will in kind, hate others.
      Though I don’t know the process they took to arrive at this juncture, I will assume they followed Matthew 18.
      I trust God, who is redemptive in all His ways, will separate the precious from the vile for all concerned.

    3. It’s not that difficult for a pastor to seem to love their congregation in the aggregate. To treat individuals with love and wisdom and grace is much harder and is the true test of whether or not a man is qualified to be an elder.

    4. Yes Dawn. He’s behaved like this for years and years. Why did no one in authority call out his narcissistic behaviour?

  2. That’s a pretty amazing apology. No dissembling, no minimizing, appearing to take sole responsibility for his actions. Very clear, concise and to the point.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Christian leader do anything like this in all my years in Christendom.

  3. This man consistently displayed this behaviour at St Matthias to many others including me. Anyone who complained was ignored or turned on. When my husband and I separated due to domestic violence he gossiped about me behind my back saying horrible and derogatory things until a friend’s husband and I confronted him. For almost 2 hours he agreed, was belligerent, and deliberately obtuse. He’s a narcissist. He loves the position of power and the money.

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