In an email today from Wheaton President Philip Ryken to the campus community, Ryken wrote that the college had hired outside professionals to investigate issues with Blackmon. And though the investigation found that Blackmon “did not engage in sexually immoral relationships or physical sexual misconduct,” it “revealed conduct inconsistent with Wheaton’s policies and commitments.”
“It grieves us when any community member falls short of the College’s standards, and our prayers and sympathies are with those who experienced these policy violations,” Ryken wrote. Ryken added that he would soon announce the appointment of an interim chaplain to serve during the 2020-2021 school year.
Blackmon came to Wheaton in 2015. Before that, he served as senior pastor and head of staff at American Protestant Church of The Hague in the Netherlands, where he was raised. Prior to that, Blackmon served as pastor at River Rock Church in Folsom, California.
Blackmon was ordained in the Christian Reformed Church in North America in 1995.
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I reached out to Blackmon for comment, but he did not respond.
UPDATE: Dr. Greg Waybright will be serving as interim chaplain at Wheaton, according to a subsequent email sent by President Ryken. Waybright recently retired as the teaching pastor of Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena, California. Before that, he was president of Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. Since 2010, Waybright has served on the Wheaton College Board of Trustees but is taking a leave of absence effective immediately.
President Ryken’s Letter to the Wheaton community:
Dear Campus Community,
I write to share difficult news.
The College received allegations that Chaplain Tim Blackmon engaged in inappropriate comments and actions of a racial and sexual nature towards specific staff members in violation of our policies. The College retained external professionals to carefully investigate and adjudicate these concerns. While Reverend Blackmon did not engage in sexually immoral relationships or physical sexual misconduct, the investigation revealed conduct inconsistent with Wheaton’s policies and commitments. Following this investigation and adjudication, as well as a Trustee review process, Tim Blackmon is no longer employed at Wheaton College.
Because of the unique role of the Chaplain as one of Wheaton’s primary spiritual leaders, we believe it is important to share this information with the campus community. In deference to the confidentiality of multiple parties in a personnel process, though, we do not plan to provide additional information beyond this message and encourage our community to respect the privacy of the individuals involved.
It grieves us when any community member falls short of the College’s standards, and our prayers and sympathies are with those who experienced these policy violations. The Senior Administrative Cabinet remains committed to a campus community that is free from harassment and discrimination, understands our policies, and knows that any concerns brought forward will be heard and addressed.
Soon I will announce the appointment of an Interim Chaplain to serve during the 2020-2021 school year. Until then, and throughout the summer, the Chaplain’s Office remains available to all students, staff, and faculty for spiritual encouragement and prayer support. Please send a message to [email protected], and someone will respond within 24 hours to connect you with the Chaplain’s Office staff or to let you know that your prayer request has been received and will be lifted up to God.
We recognize that this is painful news. As our community experiences brokenness, we also recognize our ongoing need of restoration and reconciliation. We lament this situation and pray for all who have been affected by these events, as well as for Reverend Blackmon and his family.