Park Street Church Petitioners and Proposed Vicinage Council Investigation (Reprinted here)


“Peace is not the absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”  Ronald Reagan


To avoid any confusion, this post, intended for Monday was deleted but is now reposted. I was concerned that readers might be confused. This post is now up o Monday and today.


Dee: A couple of days ago, I withdrew the post in the hopes that some folks at PSC would have some success investigating the Vicinage Council’s functions with the hope of impartial and thoughtful proceedings. At this time, the petitioners believe what they had first written is applicable. I have reformatted and produced the entire document here except for the signatories of this concern.


Dear Board of Elders and Leadership at Park Street Church,

We appreciate your desire to conduct an independent investigation and your recognition of the church’s need for one. However, we believe that an investigation conducted by the 4Cs Vicinage Council is inherently flawed and inappropriate for the following reasons:

  1. The 4Cs Vicinage Council lacks spiritual abuse expertise. The 4Cs website states that the Council assists in conflict. Our current situation involves matters far more serious than conflict, namely those of alleged abuse by the Senior Minister from multiple individuals. The investigation must be conducted by people with expertise in identifying and responding to abuse (e.g. GRACE). Spiritual abuse is often insidious and can be difficult for untrained individuals to recognize and respond to appropriately. Without the requisite expertise, it is likely that the results of the investigation will be called into question, whether they identify serious problems or exonerate the Senior Minister.
  2. The 4Cs Vicinage Council demonstrates bias and is not independent or impartial in its current plan. The Council will be chaired by the Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hamilton, who has shown himself to be biased in favor of the Senior Minister in multiple ways:
    •   A reliable source has notified us that Rev. Dr. Hamilton has been in communication with the Senior Minister since September, providing counsel on multiple occasions, and recently advising the Senior Minister to not resign in response to the current allegations.
    •   Rev. Dr. Hamilton attended PSC’s annual meeting where multiple attendees overheard him express his opinion that all assisting ministers should have offered resignation letters to the Senior Minister when he arrived at PSC.
    • On the day of the Annual Meeting, Rev. Dr. Hamilton tweeted on his Twitter/X account, “To love as Jesus loved is to be a radical forgiver. #parkstreetchurch”. Given the time and context, this tweet could reasonably indicate a bias in favor of the Senior Minister by focusing on forgiving him for his mistakes, rather than prioritizing accountability and repentance.

It is imperative that both Rev. Dr. Hamilton and the Senior Minister confirm or deny the facts presented in the three points above, in writing. If this is not possible, or if any of the above facts are confirmed, Rev. Dr. Hamilton must recuse himself from the council.

Additionally, many of the 4Cs Vicinage Council members may be senior pastors of smaller churches with little or no staff, and may therefore lack understanding of a junior minister’s viewpoint. If an unbiased investigation is the goal, the Vicinage Council should also include junior ministers.

Lastly, the Vicinage Council has been engaged at the request of the Board of Elders with no guarantee that their report will be made available to the congregation. Given the close involvement of the Board of Elders with the dispute at hand, there must be a guarantee that the congregation will receive its report.

3. The 4Cs Vicinage Council should not investigate pastors who have allegedly expressed serious concerns about the Senior Minister.
The Moderator stated that the “Vicinage Council… will also provide its determination as to whether the conduct of the Senior Minister, former Associate Minister, and other ministers has been appropriate and aligned with Biblical standards for their calling to pastoral ministry.” It is absolutely inappropriate to investigate those who allege abuse and have not themselves been alleged of abuse. This could result in inappropriate charges, such as insubordination, against ministers whose consciences have compelled them to speak out. The scope of the investigation should be limited to the charges and complaints that have been brought forth against the Senior Minister, and the Board of Elder’s handling of these charges, including its decision to terminate Michael Balboni.

4. The 4Cs Vicinage Council investigation is not an appropriate response to potentially cancel the Special Meeting, which was originally scheduled for April 7th. The authority vested in the Congregation by our bylaws must not be hampered by delaying or canceling the Special Meeting. The Congregation has requested a Special Meeting four times to weigh in on this very issue. The 4Cs Vicinage Council should welcome congregational input, and the Congregation’s mandate to provide oversight of our church must not be subjected to an investigation by the Vicinage Council.

We do not agree with the Vicinage Council investigation as proposed. We ask that the Board:

  • Not proceed with the proposed 4Cs Vicinage Council investigation and to instead appoint an impartial organization with experience investigating spiritual abuse in large Christian organizations. If the Board insists upon proceeding with the 4Cs Vicinage Council, it should remove any potentially biased members, include spiritual abuse experts and junior ministers, and guarantee delivery of the report to the Congregation.
  • Follow our congregational heritage and involve other affected parties, such as the former Associate Minister, other ministers, staff, deacons, and Congregation, in deciding how to conduct an investigation, and establishing appropriate structures necessary for impartiality and independence.
  • Hold the April 7th Special Meeting in accordance with our bylaws and as initially promised to let the Congregation directly hear testimonies from those involved and exercise their duties as the final human ruling authority of PSC.

Thank you for your consideration of this letter and our concerns, Petition 3 and Special Meeting Request 4 Signers

Comments

Park Street Church Petitioners and Proposed Vicinage Council Investigation (Reprinted here) — 153 Comments

  1. Why has the CCCC proceeded with this council without first inviting the petitioners to agree to the process? This doesn’t make sense and seems to be a top-down decision. If two or more parties are at odds, doesn’t a go-between or an investigative body need to be recognized by everyone involved? CCCC is making a basic mistake.

    Smells like more fish are rotting in the state of Denmark.

  2. I am very mad to put it mildly at leadership at psc. They need to do a third party investigation into the spiritual abuse inflicted on Michael Balboni by the sr pastor. This includes interviewing the nine other people MB mention in his 17 page letter. Independent is inpartial.

    VC decisions are non binding to a congregation. This post states that the vc head has been talking to Sr Pastor since Sept. That is not impartial. My question is has he talked to michael about what happened to him?

    At this point if the VC were to find out that the Sr Pastor did abuse ministers. The leadership will more then likely blow that off and slap Sr Pastor on the hand say do not do that again.

    Jason agreed that the petioners could have a meeting on April 7. Now he is back tracking on that promise. I am very disappoint in Jason that he is not keeping his word.

  3. Anyone know if Hamilton also jetted in from Minnesota for Booker’s Installation Service (nearly two years after Booker was hurriedly foisted on the congregation)?

    I’ve found references to the installation service being livestreamed, but it doesn’t seem to be available online now?

  4. Jerome,

    You have raised some issues we need to examine. I didn’t realize they had deep-sixed the installation, which is similar to the deep-sixing of academic credentials.

  5. I have no bias for or against anyone in this entire, sorry saga at PSC. However, I am totally baffled by the refusal to provide the Pastor’s credentials in a timely and public way. Church members, former members, the media (like the Boston Globe), potential members and anyone considering attending, as well as readers of this blog really do deserve to know the facts of the matter.

  6. One obvious sign that the Elders do not expect the investigation to change anything is that the VOCA consultants will implement their “restorative plan” while the Vicinage Council is ongoing. How on earth can you restore anything if you still have an open investigation into the cause of the problem? The answer of course is that they already know the outcome of the investigation, and are proceeding as if it’s a done deal.

    It’s obvious at this point that Mark and the Elders will never let a truly independent review happen. They rely too much on controlling the narrative inside and outside the church to subject themselves to the honest judgment of an impartial investigator. Given the culture of secrecy that has prevailed since Mark took over, and the things that have been uncovered thanks to Michael’s courage, I bet there are a lot of things leadership would rather keep veiled in the darkness.

    I am praying the truth will come out despite the efforts of church leaders, and that Park Street Church will once again shine the light of Christ on the city of Boston.

  7. Seeking Truth,
    Dear Seeing Truth, our sibling in Christ

    Yes, we shall pray without ceasing and give thanks to God under these (and any) circumstances. Rev. Mark Booker often proclaimed: JESUS ABOVE ALL. Each of us at PSC must support this calling sincerely. Our omniscient Lord is the only true judge of each person’s heart. Let no one deceive you with empty words. Live as children of light and find out what pleases the Lord. Having done what is humanly possible, we shall leave the impossible to JESUS, WHO IS ABOVE ALL. AMEN

  8. From John Kimball, CCCC, way back in 2008 –

    “ Agenda-driven anger builds a camp – which leads others into sin. As perhaps the most prominent expression of anger I see in local churches, anger over unfulfilled personal desires and agendas is extremely divisive. People get caught up in the battle – often choosing “sides” – before they realize it. I have yet to enter a conflicted church where this is not true.
    Acting out of anger (rather than righteousness) always leads to sin. For those who are in Christ, it is possible to be angry and still act out of righteousness. This combination is purposeful, caring and edifying. Its opposite destroys.
    Unrighteous anger is sin and incurs God’s judgment.
    All those who lead in the local church must be exemplary when it comes to anger – not just the pastor! The biblical criteria for leadership are very clear on this point. People who have a temper make themselves ineligible for local church leadership.
    It matters not whether it is the pastor, a powerbroker, or some other saint quietly seething in the back pew, anger in the local church is an issue that must be addressed. In next month’s edition of FORESEE, I will provide some practical advice on just how to do that. In the meantime, continue studying the verses above as part of your daily devotional time, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you about your own experience and expression of anger.”

  9. Seeking Truth: will never let a truly independent review happen.

    Thinking out loud, is there anything to prevent concerned friends of PSC from independently funding a preliminary investigation by GRACE, or by another organization with similar competencies, that would at least interview Dr. Balboni and others and prepare an assessment that would not be kept under wraps?

    It sounds like there are hundreds of people who are concerned; they might be able to fund such a preliminary study; since it would not be funded by PSC, the authorities there would not control any resulting report.

  10. Samuel Conner: It sounds like there are hundreds of people who are concerned; they might be able to fund such a preliminary study; since it would not be funded by PSC, the authorities there would not control any resulting report.

    Sounds like a good idea.
    Maybe even crowdsource it among themselves.
    Or go public — GoFundMe, maybe?
    (I would not trust any “Just like GoFundMe, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!” crowsdsourcing site.)

  11. Samuel Conner,

    I’ve wondered about that as well. I guess if they could raise the money, there’s nothing stopping them from commissioning an investigation as members of the church. The main obstacle I see to this would be whether GRACE, or a similar organization, would take on the investigation given the limited access they would have to current staff of the church. I’m sure Mark and Jason would quickly reiterate the gag order and an investigator would probably not want to insert themselves and potentially get people fired. So the investigation would be limited to interviewing former ministers/staff and select members of the church who are not afraid of the potential backlash.

    Given the limits to the scope of such an investigation, my opinion is that the better option is to invite investigative journalists to take a deeper look than either the CT or Boston Globe articles into the workings of church leadership. Rather than framing this as a “church conflict”, such a report would focus on the many leadership and governance issues plaguing the church, and how the Board has systematically silenced voices critical of Mark and allowed a culture of secrecy and fear to dominate. Church leaders have made no attempt to hide their authoritarianism in the past six months, and a reporter skilled in writing about church abuse could put all the evidence together into a compelling narrative that would expose the true cause of the current conflict.

    There are still challenges to this approach, such as finding enough sources willing to go on the record and risk the shameful treatment given to dissenters by Mark and the Board. But this would come at no monetary cost and would put more public pressure on church leadership. I have no illusions that this is anything like a perfect solution, but it is better than waiting for Mark to voluntarily submit to a real investigation.

  12. A force outside of the church that is powerful maybe the only way at this point. I would think that Mark would have a hard time getting another job in the ministry if his name is not cleared.

  13. Seeking Truth,

    “There are still challenges to this approach, such as finding enough sources willing to go on the record and risk the shameful treatment given to dissenters by Mark and the Board.”
    +++++++++++++++++

    “…according to an anonymous insider…”

    “an individual who prefers to remain anonymous witnessed…”

    unjust & cruel boats should be rocked.

  14. Seeking Truth,

    Lowlandseer,

    Hi, Seeking Truth and Lowlandseer

    Practically speaking, as a Christian and as a tax-payer, I am determined to find out the truth about the PSC debacle, as well as speak the truth with love. I am NOT MOTIVATED BY ANGER, but by COMPASSION AND SYMPATHY for the 4 ministers fired between 2020 and 2023, plus another 5 ministers still at PSC but threatened to be fired. i.e. the current PSC admin. had plotted and continues to plot to deprive the LIVELIHOOD OF 9 MINISTERS (AND their families) who faithfully and lovingly served the PSC congregation for many (up to 25) years. In the US, any employer (secular or religious) cannot legally fire an employee without proof of his/her misconduct or failure to fulfil the job description. This basic labor law to protect employees apply equally to both profit and non-profit organizations. Non-profit org. are indirectly supported by tax-payers; in particular, PSC is the 2nd stop on the Freedom Trail for > 2 centuries, bringing huge tourist income to our city. The recent Boston Globe report is only the beginning of the community’s concern over the PSC debacle. My earnest prayer is that the City of Boston will take notice and investigate this outrageous breach of labor law against 9 ministers, who are innocent until proven otherwise. I hope Dee will comment on this, out of compassion (not anger).

  15. Seeking Truth:
    One obvious sign that the Elders do not expect the investigation to change anything is that the VOCA consultants will implement their “restorative plan” while the Vicinage Council is ongoing. How on earth can you restore anything if you still have an open investigation into the cause of the problem? The answer of course is that they already know the outcome of the investigation, and are proceeding as if it’s a done deal.

    Exactly. That’s a red flag right there.

  16. Ministers do not get unemployeement. The church does not pay into the system. Maybe the leadership/elders should think about how this is going to effect the livelyhood of these ministers and there family.

  17. janiceg: Ministers do not get unemployeement. The church does not pay into the system.

    FEATURE, NOT BUG.
    Remember Calvary Chapel?
    Not only not eligible, but saving for retirement or bad time was a SIN – after all, Christ Is Coming Soon (any minute now) and It’s All Gonna Burn. So the only income a Calvary Chapel Mini-Moses has are those Tithes Tithes Tithes. And as there can be No Salvation Other Than Calvary Chapel, the Mini-Moses is as trapped by The System as any of the Tithing Unites he has to shear and fleece.

  18. Seeking Truth: The answer of course is that they already know the outcome of the investigation, and are proceeding as if it’s a done deal.

    After all, they’re paying good $$$ for that outcome.

  19. Observant Outsider:
    Lowlandseer,

    What’s your point here? To discredit anyone asking questions as angry?

    Lowlandseer pretends he doesn’t like this blog but he spends many hours following us and commenting. I think, way deep down inside, he finds us all fascinating.

  20. not an action hero: The recent Boston Globe report is only the beginning of the community’s concern over the PSC debacle. My earnest prayer is that the City of Boston will take notice and investigate this outrageous breach of labor law against 9 ministers, who are innocent until proven otherwise. I hope Dee will comment on this, out of compassion (not anger).

    I have never thought of it in this way before. I think I’ll ask some questions about this. Thank you for your comment.

  21. unicorn guy….

    Currently, the segments of the labor force that the states are not required to cover under Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA section 3309(b) include persons “in the employ of (A) a church or convention or association of churches, or (B) an organization which is operated primarily for religious purposes and which is operated, supervised, …

  22. not an action hero,

    Remember: in 2021 Mark suddenly fired Pat Chen, a minister, and two other staff due to budget shortfalls. In January they were told nothing would happen and only a few weeks later they were told they had to be let go. I’d like to see a copy of the 2020/2021 Annual Report so I can verify how much the gap in the budget was. I now wonder if it was so significant that those staff had to be let go. Certainly the endowment could have been tapped into to ensure the wellbeing of staff rather than putting them out in such a difficult time. Michael also testifies that Mark told people not to pray publicly for those who were let go. I don’t think Mark cares too much about the employment status of those he works with.

  23. Observant Outsider: Michael also testifies that Mark told people not to pray publicly for those who were let go.

    If so, Mr. Booker doesn’t have the heart of a pastor … and if he doesn’t have the heart of a pastor, he is not a pastor.

  24. dee: I think, way deep down inside, he finds us all fascinating.

    I hope, way down deep inside, the Wartburgers have caused him to do some serious reflection. But, we are a fascinating bunch!

  25. Observant outsider

    Observant Outsider,

    I heard that PSC paid ‘Telio’ $ 100,000 to prove KM was guilty of spiritual abuse, therefore fired her ‘legally”. However, multiple reliable members convinced me she was innocent. She did not want to leave but was forced to leave. I dont know how to read budgets— can someone figure out where the ‘Telio’ fee was hidden in the old annual report?

    Also, it was said VOCA cost PSC $ 100,000— is that true?

  26. dee,

    Observant Outsider,

    janiceg,

    janiceg,

    Dear Friends @ TWW:
    Even as we speak (blog), it appears my nightmare may be evolving into reality (Wake up, get real, it’s NOT a dream!)

    Around noontime today, I received an email from a new website:
    savepscministers@gmail.com
    it confirms the ‘rumor’ that five PSC ministers are now excluded from duties during worship services, against their will. Are at high risk for termination at the slightest provocation. They have been members of PSC for 10,18,25,25,27 years, and served in multiple PSC ministries for 8,10,14,25,27 years, without misconduct or offense. The sender(s) of this email is appealing to me (and any recipient of this generic email) to sign a petition to protect these 5 ministers from losing their job. There is a form to download for email signature:
    https://forms.gle/ibY6JaAamMTmXfwz7
    The person who signs need to provide (1) first name (2) last name (3) Status at PSC–choose one of four categories: current member, previous member, regular attendee, other.
    Your first and last name will be posted publicly, but NOT your email address (just like your TWW blogs). After the finalized letter has been sent to PSC, you will get a copy and see the names of all who signed. The purpose of this letter is to heal the wounds at PSC and keep PSC ministers united in in love to serve the Lord.

    BTW you are encouraged to send the above information (i.e. invitation to sign etc ) to any person whom you know may be interested in signing.

    I wish I can post the original email from savepscministers@gmail.com an attachment, but I dont know how. If you need more info after accessing the website and the form, let me know.

    In any case, please pray for these 5 ministers AND their families !

  27. not an action hero:
    Observant outsider

    Observant Outsider,

    I heard that PSC paid ‘Telio’ $ 100,000 to prove KM was guilty of spiritual abuse, therefore fired her ‘legally”. However, multiple reliable members convinced me she was innocent. She did not want to leave but was forced to leave. I dont know how to read budgets— can someone figure out where the ‘Telio’ fee was hidden in the old annual report?

    Also, it was said VOCA cost PSC $ 100,000— is that true?

    The Telios Report did not prove that KM was guilty of anything. The Telios Report was so full of holes, so poorly written, so unprofessionally written as to be utterly worthless. The elders (both lay and ordained) who hired Telios, who accepted the Telios report should be formally held to account and appropriately disciplined

    I got interested in the legal discipline of Compliance, because of this report. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in how independent, internal investigations of corporate malfeasance are conducted follow the Compliance Podcast Network on YouTube. My critique is based on what I learned from spending many hours listening to the Compliance Podcast Network (https://www.youtube.com/@CompliancePodcastNetworkO

    From what I have learned about the legal discipline of Compliance (which the Telios investigation falls under),is that the investigation conducted by Telios Law and report written by Theresa Lynn Sidebotham in no way met the minimum standards of the profession.

    1. Such an investigation MUST be conducted by a team of experts, not one person. The report is written and signed by the team. The Telios Law firm does not mention that they take a team approach to helping clients deal with this problem. In the case of PSC, at a minimum, the team should have consisted of an organizational psychologist, an attorney expert in employment law as applied to religious organizations, a respected conservative theologian as well as someone expert in business management.

    Theresa Lynn Sidebotham is an attorney who specializes in employment law as applied to non-profits and religious organizations. She is not an organizational psychologist, a theologian or an expert in business management. She does not hold a Masters in Business Administration degree. She is certainly capable of offering legal advise, but she does not hold proven expertise in the other areas.

    2. Theresa Lynn Siddlebotham DID NOT include a Conflict of Interest statement. Such a statement is mandatory in this type of report. We must remember that Mark Booker is from Colorado’s Front Range, where Telios Law is located. Did Ms Siddlebotham or others at Telios Law know Mark Booker before? Had anyone from Telios Law taken whitewater rafting trips with Noah’s Ark Whitewater Rafting? When something as important as a Conflict of Interest Statement is missing, you have to ask why and assume that there is a conflict of interest.

    3. Theresa Lynn Sidebotham behaved most unprofessionally when she used mental health terminology when describing KM. Ms. Sidebotham is not a mental health professional. This is why a licensed mental health professional, usually an organizational psychologist, is always a member of this sort of investigative team. She used terms such as, “lack of self-awareness” and other mental health terms to cast KM in a negative light.

    4. Theresa Lynn Sidebotham’s report did include disingenuous statements, such as “Her (KM’s) decision to resign was purely voluntary.” and “Members of the Personnel Committee who conducted the 360 review stated that there was no plan to terminate the minister (KM) or induce her to resign.” That is clearly not the case. As a retired GE engineer, an unexpectedly early 360 review either means that you are up for promotion OR that disciplinary actions are in the works. I know for a fact that KM believed that she was sure that her job was in danger when she found out about the 360 review.

    5. Ms Sidebotham’s report did not list the names of who were interviewed as part of her investigation. The names of victims could have been kept confidential, but she should have listed the names of church employees as well as elders and deacons whe interviewed. She does not state whether she attempted to contact KM, in order to hear her side. If KM was not interviewed as part of the investigation, Ms Sidebotham should have clearly stated this in the report.

    6. Ms Sidebotham’s report purpots that KM engaged in “spiritual abuse”, but does not mention what KM said or did, even at a vague level appropriate for a report to the congregation. The professional standard in this situation is for someone like Ms Sidebotham to work with the victims (the John and Jane Does) to create a statement that explains what happened, but does it in a way to protect the anonymity of the victims. The congregation does not need to know the details, but they need to have an idea of what happened.

    7. Ms Sidebotham DID NOT properly investigate PSC’s recent history.

    PSC did have an incident where a pastor was accused of unprofessional conduct and was forced to resign. It turned out that incidents similar to this one can and do happen in the course of pastoral counselling. An outside mental health professional evaluated both the pastor and the incident and concluded that the pastor had behaved professionally, that the pastor had handled the situation correctly–by reporting it to senior leadership as soon as it came to light (before the “victim” reported it to PSC leadership). IMHO, the pastor was unfairly and inappropriately disciplined (twice for the same incident) and forced to resign; the second time because the “victim”‘s mother threatened to speak to the Boston Globe.

    In 2013, John Chung, Minister of Missions was forced to resign after he was arrested in Brookline, for “peering” into a neighbor’s bedroom window after the neighbor’s girlfriend had gotten out of the shower. Link:https://www.universalhub.com/2013/park-street-church-minister-resigns-after-arrest-p

    I do know of other incidents involving pastors, unprofessional conduct and accusations of “spiritual abuse” that have not been properly investigated.

    Ms Sidebotham DID not put the KM incidents into historical context as she should.

    7. Ms Sidebotham DID not make any meaningful recommendations to the congregation as to how they could improve their personnel policies and practices.

    For example, Ms Sidebotham SHOULD have recommended that PSC update their ministerial pre-employment practices, to include a multi-day, interdisciplinary psychosocial evaluation of ministerial candidates. This is rapidly becoming routine.

    There is research that suggests that approximately 30% of pastors either suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder OR are so narcissistic that they lack sufficient self-awareness necessary to successfully perform their duties. Numerous churches and denominations have been rocked with scandal, caused by narcissistic, personality disordered or otherwise severely mentally ill pastors. It is now routine that candidates for ordination are required to undergo a multi-day psychosocial and occupational evaluation, performed by a team of experts. This evaluation includes the administration of scientifically validated psychological testing conducted by a licensed clinical psychologist.

    To the best of my knowledge, PSC has never ordered that candidates for the ministry undergo a multi-day, psychosocial evaluation conducted by a team of professionals familiar with the demands of the ministry.

    Larger, wealthier, forward thinking churches now routinely order multi-day psychosocial evaluations of finalist candidates for important positions in the ministry (full-time ministers and full-time directors). Had PSC ordered such an evaluation of KM before she was hired, I’m sure that the evaluation team would have noticed that she is very charismatic–a personality characteristic that is often times seen in people who struggle with narcissism and who struggle with a lack of self-awareness. Such an evaluation would include recommendations as to how to manage a person like KM, so that the church takes full advantage of her strengths and understands her weaknesses.

    It is entirely possible that, had PSC ordered a psychosocial evaluation for suitability, PSC would not have hired KM, because certain aspects of KM’s personality were likely to end in personality clashes with PSC leadership.

    Had PSC’s senior minister search committee ordered a pre-employment psychosocial evaluation of Mark Booker, it’s entirely possible that he would have never been presented to the congregation as a candidate for Senior Minister–due to serious faults in his personality that makes him unsuitable to serve as a minister of a 1,200 member, storied church.

    The Telios Report was most unprofessionally written, the investigation poorly conducted. The report does not appear to conform to the standards professionals practicing within the discipline of Compliance practice. It is clear that PSC elders were looking for an organization that could be trusted to tell leadership what they wanted to hear, not what they needed to hear. PSC elders would have been well within their rights to reject the report and insist that Telios conduct a proper review or withhold payment–because services were not professionally rendered.

    There is now an understanding that pastors (just like other people in the ‘helping’ professions and people in power, such as police and firefighters) need to undergo routine psychosocial evaluations as part of employment. This is not only to see that these professionals attend to their own needs, when they are so used to attending to others needs and neglecting their own.

  28. Hi, Dee. I posted something twice because I wasn’t sure which thread was still active. I’m sorry if that broke the posting rules or made more work for you. If it’s ok, could I post it once?

    Thanks so much for letting me know!

  29. A Former Member of PSC,

    dee,

    To: all bloggers who are friends of PSC, and Dee
    Regardless of all my ramblings in previous blogs, I am almost in PANIC mode today because of the fear of our Courageous Five ministers (CFM) being fired soon.
    The PSC admin. may simply use the TELIO scheme again (since it was successful w/ firing KM) to fire all five ministers. This means we should immediately prepare to support the CFM realistically. Prayer and signatures of support and CT and Boston Globe reports are good—- but we also need prompt and practical action.

    After the Last Supper, before going to Mt of Olives, Jesus asked each disciple to sell his robe to a sword (Luke 22:36). But when Jesus got arrested and a disciple cut off an attacker’s ear, Jesus healed him. I always wondered why Jesus went back on his words about swords. Recently I figured— Jesus himself does not need it, but the disciples need it after Jesus was no longer leading them on earth.

    I wonder if CFM can apply for ‘Legal aid’— people who need legal service but do not have sufficient resources to pay regular lawyers. I am sure CFM spent decades of faithful service to witness for Christ via PSC, without keeping sufficient savings to fight Telio and PSC accusations.

    Hope there are lawyers among you who can advise them how to apply for legal aid.

    prayerfully,
    Not an action Hero

  30. Max:
    A Former Member of PSC,

    Church leaders should have never allowed PSC to get in this mess.

    I’m not sure allowed is the correct word. I believe the church leaders knowingly went into this with Booker because they had a plan to significantly change the church. I believe you are seeing the results of that plan. PSC leadership is totally responsible for this mess. I believe Booker was their hired hand and he has done exactly what they wanted him to do. This is precisely what happened at Chapel HIll bible Church when the elders changed direction from an intellectually stimulating church to a John Piper wannabe.facilty.

    If they are officially fired in the near future, PSC will cease to exist as you once knew it.

    In the meantime, the legal situation is rather dire. Massachusetts is a “fire for just about anything” state. Herre is a link to read.
    https://www.sulmanlaw.com/practice-area/employment-law/wrongful-termination/#:~:text=In%20Massachusetts%2C%20and%20in%20other,Their%20national%20origin%20or%20ancestry

    I m so sorry and will continue to update -probably on Wednesday.

    Sounds like things were exciting at the 11 AM service…

  31. As I stated before I was spiritually by sr pastor. The most hurtful thing was that members went along with what sr pastor said. Never asking me what happen. Church leaders should be worried that mb could abuse a parisher. Will they do an dependent review when that happens? It is to late then. I want to say openly that I believe that mbooker should be treated fairly in order for that to happen it has to be independent. Does anyone know who’s pro-mark on the elders? Just use initail please to answer.

  32. John 10:1-18
    “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

    So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

  33. dee,

    Hi, Dee! No worries at all! I’m sorry to hear about your beloved dog passing away! Much comfort to you during this time of grief and lament. Looking forward to Heaven and the final and permanent Exodus from death!

    Though we still walk in the valley that is in death’s shadow, we will soon be in the light of God’s good presence. Good days, permanently good times, are ahead!

    But still, the pain during the losses to death is so strong. I hate death. I’m thankful God hates it more and that Jesus drank the cup of it to the dregs so that we could have that future Exodus!

    Btw, my posts were about the commotion on Sunday at the 11 am service. Susan L. tried to speak up about the 5 ministers. She was shouted down and the video feed was muted and then switched to a view of Boston Common… it was surreal to watch. Jason Abraham was next to Mark Booker and his facial expressions show a lot. Mark’s prayer about Susan’s sins and his own are an interesting response after the audio is turned back on. I hope the video is still up on YouTube…

    I don’t know Susan well, but heard from longtime members that she used to work in HR.

    While shouting during a service wouldn’t be my choice… I can understand why the lack of open communication could move someone to choose that. I was expecting some sort of protests to start at some point, but expected signs and flyers outside rather than shouting inside.

    Maybe it’s going to get worse, much worse, before it gets better? At this point more than Mark Booker need to be investigated for abuse and workplace bullying!

  34. The service with Susan’s objections has been edited to exclude her. Maybe the internet way back tool could help recover it?

    Here is the link:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYj3LjrYrww

    It started at 22:30 in the original video… but now is gone. Once again silencing, literally, the opposition to Mark Booker and Jason Abraham and their loyalists.

    As I posted a while ago: “equal weights and measures” are how we show our trust in God and our respect of those made in His image. It’s not always easy to be honest, especially if we have done something wrong and feel ashamed… but coming into the light and speaking the plain truth about ourselves and others shows trust in God, respect for others, and is also good for our own souls.

    It be clear, what Mark Booker, Jason Abraham, and others are doing and saying is also hurting themselves… if they don’t care about others, they should at least care about the spiritual injury they are inflicting on themselves. Perhaps, if they had a holy and healthy reverence of God, they would see they aren’t only hurting the people they vowed to care for, but also inflicting spiritual self-injuries each time they edit the record to hide objections.

  35. Relevant Article: “Massachusetts Proposed Legislation Would Create Broad Workplace Protections Against Bullying and Abuse at Work”
    by Lucie Gulino
    In Boston Lawyer Blog

    [I am not proposing ministers file civil complaints against Park Street Church… but knowing this bullying behavior is in proposed legislation is evidence of how serious the problem is… nevermind that it is happening in a place that should be a refuge!]

    Read the beginning of this article here: https://www.bostonlawyerblog.com/massachusetts-proposed-legislation-would-create-broad-workplace-protections-against-bullying-and-abuse-at-work/

    Link to the proposed legislation:
    https://malegislature.gov/Bills/193/S1170

    “The proposed Act would establish a cause of action for employees who suffer from an abusive work environment created by psychological harm or abuse: employees will be able to sue their employer or individual coworkers for subjecting them to psychological harm and recover economic, compensatory, and punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. Employees suing their employer under the proposed Act would need to file their claim in court within one year after the last act that constitutes the alleged psychological harm or abuse. While there is no requirement that individuals file a charge at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) under the proposed Act, to the extent that their claim also stems from discrimination based on protected status, they would need to file at the MCAD within 300 days of the last discriminatory act.

    Under the proposed Act, an abusive work environment is defined as “an employment condition when an employer subjects an employee to abusive conduct that causes physical harm, psychological harm or both.” Abusive conduct is defined as “intentional acts, omissions, or both, that a reasonable person would find offensive based on the severity, nature, and frequency of the conduct, including but not limited to: repeated verbal abuse such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets; verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a threatening, intimidating, or humiliating nature; or the sabotage or undermining of an employee’s work performance.” Psychological harm is defined as “the impairment of a person’s mental health, as established by competent evidence,” which is not defined in the statute.

    One critical part of the purpose of the Act is to hold employers who channel discrimination through bullying, but the discrimination piece may be too difficult to prove, accountable for their actions. The 2016 EEOC Select Task Force for the Study of Workplace Harassment Report shows that people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities are mistreated at work more frequently than their counterparts. During the hearing, there was testimony from multiple researchers and experts who emphasized the importance of the proposed bill to protect employees from the significant neurological scarring to the brain that results from psychological abuse. Dr. Jennifer Fraser, author of The Bullied Brain, testified how there are laws protecting people from physical abuse and extensive research shows that “psychological abuse is as damaging as physical abuse,” so there should be laws to protect against it in the same way. There was also testimony from multiple women of color about the psychological abuse they have endured at work and how current laws do not offer adequate protection for them: sending the message that it is acceptable to mistreat people, particularly women of color, in the workplace. The bill is sponsored by Senator Paul Feeney and co-sponsored by twenty-one other state Senators and Representatives.

    The proposed Act and large number of supporters demonstrate that workplace bullying and psychological abuse are significant issues for employees that both constituents and advocates care about. It remains to be seen whether the legislature will agree with the advocates and provide employees with these workplace protections.

    If you have been discriminated against or deprived of other workplace protections, contact our employment attorneys at (617) 742-6020. “

    See similar bills in Massachusetts:

    Similar Bills
    – S.1200 192nd (2021 – 2022)
An Act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing, and harassment, without regard to protected class status while promoting healthy workplaces

    – S.2723 192nd (2021 – 2022)
An Act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing, and harassment, without regard to protected class status while promoting healthy workplaces

    – S.2479 193rd (Current)
An Act ensuring domestic violence victims’ protections for all employees in the Commonwealth

    – S.1125 193rd (Current)
An Act relative to treble damages

    – S.1166 193rd (Current)
An Act ensuring domestic violence victims’ protections for all employees in the Commonwealth

  36. Not an action hero: I wonder if CFM can apply for ‘Legal aid’— people who need legal service but do not have sufficient resources to pay regular lawyers. I am sure CFM spent decades of faithful service to witness for Christ via PSC, without keeping sufficient savings to fight Telio and PSC accusations.
    Hope there are lawyers among you who can advise them how to apply for legal aid.
    prayerfully,
    Not an action Hero

    I happen to work in a civil legal aid office, essentially a nonprofit law form. There are a number legal aid organizations in the state. They have defined service areas geographically. One serving Boston is Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS). They can answer questions about income levels for free civil legal aid. However, they may not have a unit that handles wrongful termination cases or workplace harassment issues. Additionally, they would likely only take on a client who was already terminated, but I’m not completely certain about that. So it would probably have to be someone who was already terminated who contacted GBLS.

    Another option would be to see if GBLS has any recommendations for attorneys who could work on a pro bono basis for workplace discrimination or bullying or harassment cases. Nonprofit law firms have lists of private attorneys that can be used if clients are not eligible for free civil legal aid. Even if those attorneys could not provide full representation, they might be available for limited legal advice.

    I know some lawyers are only in their line of work for the money and power (or get stuck chasing money to pay off law school debt!)… but others, especially in civil legal aid, can be Good Samaritans. I hope the Park Street Five can find some good help or at least wise legal advice!

    In the meantime, they should be documenting acts of bullying, coercive control, and any forms of abuse (psychological or spiritual)… including retaliation for speaking up about misconduct of any leaders, either staff members or volunteers such as elders.

    Thanks for bringing up this topic! Let me know if you have any questions… I can find out more on any specifics if that would be helpful.

  37. The brilliant woman who disrupted the 11 AM Easter service, began by saying: Excuse me Mark, but are there some missing ministers here? She went on….

    I think Susan L. may be the clearest minded person in the church.

    But I do have a question for Dee and for others: Is it right or a good practice to disrupt Sunday services? Why or why not?

  38. Friend of Park Street Church,

    To a true friend in need
    my eyes are even weaker — (being > 80) but I must copy and format your advice properly and forward to the leader of the FIVE ASAP.
    May His will be done on earth as it is in heaven—-as we follow His spirit’s guidance to stand firm, resist Satan’s attack and fight back 24/7

  39. Is there no Special Meeting at PSC on Sunday, April 7?

    If not, when is the Special Meeting date?

  40. please pray for for the park street five. The VC is interviewing each one of them individually today from 10am to 400pm.

  41. A Former Member of PSC,

    Telios’ complete description of her abuse was that she discouraged others from speaking with the leadership…after Mark took away her funding. And it acknowledged that there was only one plaintiff.

  42. Janiceg: please pray for for the park street five. The VC is interviewing each one of them individually today from 10am to 400pm

    Stuff like this should not be happening in the Body of Christ. What a poor testimony before the world for Park Street. The church elders there have failed the congregation and the community.

  43. Friend of Park Street Church: The service with Susan’s objections has been edited to exclude her.

    The narrative at PSC has been controlled from day 1 by the PSC leadership team … this is a problem with elder-ruled churches. IMO, the Biblical model for doing church is congregational governance.

  44. Janiceg:
    please pray for for the park street five. The VC is interviewing each one of them individually today from 10am to 400pm.

    Thank you for keeping us informed about developments regarding these five ministers. Please continue to do so as you learn new information. The church is doing its best to keep this scandal in the dark, but we must not let them succeed, for the good of these ministers and Park Street as a whole. The truth must come out.

  45. Please pray all day long. Tonight’s elders meeting decisions will effect the park street 5 livelihood….

  46. Watchman: Is it right or a good practice to disrupt Sunday services? Why or why not?

    Thanks for asking the most challenging question regarding something like this. I would generally not recommend interruption during worship unless the officiants perpetrated a severe wrong. I think the best place for that is in church meetings.

    I most likely would not do something like that. However, she spoke the truth. Odd things happened in the Old Testament, where prophets often raged against the system.

    So, the answer is, “I don’t know.” I doubt I would do it, but God is in control. Maybe He spoke to her heart. I find it difficult to judge her.

    The fate of these five pastors will be discussed this evening. If Booker and BFFs fire them, things will worsen at PSC.

  47. Seeking Truth,

    Watchman,

    Friend of Park Street Church,

    To Whom It May Concern—- regardless of your relationship to PSC or your religion

    Maybe Susan L. is the Action Hero/ Angel sent by our omniscient Lord to publicly (via www) speak the truth in love (for all PSC members), using her gift of HR experience and courage, to convict PSC leaders of usurping sacred authority to destroy PSC’s mission in this City and internationally. Stripping liturgical duties of the Courageous Five Ministers (CFM) is the ultimate strategy which SE and BoE took to ‘prove’ they can ‘run’ the church successfully without the CFM, so they can be fired. The 4C interview is a smoke screen. Any ‘official’ report issued by 4Cs or BoE will be a blatant lie, just as the VOCA report from the Moderator was a blatant lie. The head of 4C attending 2/25/24 was shamefully kept secret. They assume all PSC members will continue as innocent doves. The passive gentle petitioners repetitively pleading for M Balboni, for a new slate of officers and elders, and now for saving the livlihood of 5 faithful ministers & families —— such efforts only convinced the SE and BoE these stupid doves will always obey ‘Gag Orders’ without using ducktape. Susan L. is the ‘firstfruit’ of a righteous resistance and counter-attack.

    I am a retired physician. Still remember MDs cannot renew their license without compliance with reporting abuse (1) patients who abuse family/friends (2) patients who are abused by family/friends (3) collleagues (MDs or other healthcare providers) who abuse patients. The 3rd category is most serious because the abuse may be known only to the insider colleague. If you dont report them, nobody else will– because nobody else knows !

    Can we apply this principle of regulating physical/mental health care to spiritual health care? Is spiritual abuse more devastating than the others? How is it regulated? For congregational churches, can we assume the members of 4Cs can rely on the leader of 4C’s——–look at what is happening! Ask Susan L. what made her blurt out the truth !

    ” Let the words of my mouth (blog) and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

  48. Samuel Conner,

    At the annual meeting, it had been requested that we set aside $100,000 in the budget to do an independent investigation. They refused to take it out of the endowment fund, and I had suggested that we be allowed to raise the money internally, even having a place on the website to donate for those who chose to. Jason Abraham nodded at this, but nothing else was said about it until the gentleman got up after me and said he would personally underwrite $100,000 for the investigation. Brian Lacey got up and angrily stated that it was inappropriate, however, the church does receive directed gifts. He simply didn’t agree with where it was going to.

  49. Observant Outsider,

    You’re absolutely right that the endowment could have been tapped into, although it should be a last resort. The irony here is that now we are using the endowment to the tune of $300,000 to make up for the shortfalls to the budget caused by Mark’s actions (and the elder board who supported him) and his failure to respect, develop and grow the staff and cherish their gifts and abilities that they brought to the table. I believe the budget shortfall is also due to the people who are leaving because the disrespect toward the 4 PM service and the fact that they’ve made it a shadow of what it once was. The other issue was, our offerings are the biggest source of income, and the most fluid. If the church had come to us and said due to Covid, we are in such a budget crisis that we may have to begin laying off staff, and I know this congregation would’ve had an outpouring of generosity. But it was more important for the leadership to look like good “doers“ and good financial planners. They were too proud to come to the congregation, and I think in Mark’s mind it was probably unheard of as someone with an Anglican background.

  50. Mark St:
    Is there no Special Meeting at PSC on Sunday, April 7?

    If not, when is the Special Meeting date?

    You are not of the Inner Ring.

  51. dee,

    Sorry for the marathon response, but here goes:
    I’m happy to provide details about my motive in interrupting the 11 AM service. After watching this debacle go on for months on end, seeing the petitioners request for a special meeting only get offered a slot right before the Annual Meeting, (when no one would want to attend) and then it was pushed off to an innocuous April 7, long after the Annual Meeting where we make decisions for the year, I had enough. Even more, reading letters to the congregation from Jason A. calling congregants “devisive” for sharing Michael’s story when they had given us permission at the Town Hall meeting to do so, then listening to elders gloss over the leadership’s indiscretions, so much so that the five ministers spoke out against it, I knew that I could not respect a process where I had to go through channels with dishonest leaders.

    More painful still reading Joel and Ruth Luna‘s beautiful letters about these issues along with the petitioners’ requests, only to watch their petitions get ridiculed by the Nominating Committee, trampled over at the Annual Meeting, and their comments cut short by the Moderator, I started to become furious. I myself wrote letters to the Elder Board, specifically about creating an employee relations position, and getting it on the agenda for the next elder board meeting, only to be ignored, or told that “Well, we don’t have an answer, but isn’t it great that we have a God who we can trust in when there are no answers?” Then I fired back and indignant email, and I was told that my tone was inappropriate for speaking with the elder board. I was told to meet with Andrew Ziegler and Mary Harvey, only largely to be scolded, my concerns brushed aside, and told that if I couldn’t trust the Senior Minister and Elder Board that I should seek other churches.

    I also watched in shock as Mark sat up front at the annual meeting, not addressing anyone’s concerns, but instead letting his wife give an emotional speech, which was totally inappropriate. We needed hard facts, better stated, we truly needed an impartial investigation and that’s what we were asking for, especially if he TRULY wanted to hear our opinion as to whether or not he should continue as Senior Minister. The non-binding vote and his wife’s speech were incredibly emotionally manipulative and inappropriate. I said as much to Andrew Ziegler and he stated that he had encouraged Mark to have his wife speak. Mary Harvey said she thought it was sweet that she spoke since Mark didn’t defend himself at all, but Mark and Andrew’s intent was to make him look like a victim.

    Essentially, I’ve watched the 4 PM get destroyed, the contemporary audience get driven out, and then Mark pull a non-binding vote asking whether or not he should resign. What an absolute manipulative ruse.

    I want to share also that Mark stated to me in the foyer after attempting to eliminate the 4pm service that he did it because “he and Nathan decided that they were tired of the contentiousness between the evening and morning services.” (Essentially, they were blaming the tension in the church on the 4 PM service – a crowd be younger, tithe less, more outspoken and moderate/liberal politically.) It’s very apparent that they are attempting to brand the church as a traditional church and squelch the contemporary church. Yet he and the elders will completely deny this.

    With all of this going on, I felt that we had tried to go the humble route, and use the congregational process to communicate our concerns, but that process had been undermined. So, when I heard that five more ministers, who were absolutely beloved to the church, were about to lose their jobs I made the decision to speak to the congregation. For me, this was enough of an emergency to break protocol, and speak impromptu at the 11 AM service. I also wanted to shake the traditionalists at the 11 AM, who have been protecting Mark, out of their sleep, and get them to see the corruption in the church or at least start asking real questions. This is not something I would normally do, nor something I would normally recommend, but the church had fallen asleep in the midst of a crisis. I saw no other option.

  52. Susan Lane,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to respond thoughtfully. Also, welcome to TWW.
    As a former member, I am distraught at watching church leaders screw up a perfectly good church. There are not many decent churches these days, given the current climate in which many churches have discovered the “authoritarian” approach to governing a church. It is so sad. PSC was the one church I often referred to as “a really good church.” Then again, there are some fantastic members, former members, and fired pastors whom I have met during this saga.

    You are brave to do what you did. Did they give you any grief after the service?

  53. Susan Lane,

    Hi Susan

    May the Lord bless you for your amazing public Easter message directed to our SE, effectively leading to a pause or ‘deletion’ of part of his sermon from www. (Did a stray pebble almost hit Goliath?). On that day we worshipped Easter elsewhere. We heard about your heroic feat indirectly. None of our friends were at PSC. Wish to know exactly what you said (before you were shouted out).

    Regarding the PSC budget: I remember very well, about 10 yr. ago when Danny Harrell was still here, the SE told us about a critical budget deficit BUT dont worry— ALL the PSC ministers agreed to take a certain % of pay cut, so that nobody need to be laid off! That’s LOVE and UNITY in action. At that time, it was unthinkable for the leadership to pick on an innocent minister and layoff or fire him/her for financial reason. Also the congregation immediately increased their donation and eventually eliminated the deficit.

    About the current situation—why are the five ministers stubbornly united in their stance? I am not an insider, but this is my theory/guess: One of them has been at risk for ‘firing’ per Michael’s letter. The other 4 would defend him by sticking together— Five or none.
    So the leadership is taking a chance: if only 300+ members remain to support the budget, it can be cut by firing 5 ministers.- some ministries will dwindle down– do they care?

    They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength—
    Stand firm, for we know our labor in the Lord is not in vain.

  54. Not an action hero: why are the five ministers stubbornly united in their stance?

    Why are the elders and congregation stubbornly united? Is Mr. Booker ‘really’ that good at preaching, ‘really’ that good at pastoring, ‘really’ that good at leading?

    Stubborn? PSC is coming apart because Mr. Booker is stubbornly defending himself despite what would be best for the church. What would a true pastor do?

  55. Max,

    Hi Max

    Sorry you misunderstood my comment.

    The five ministers are determined to be united to continue serving the Lord together at PSC. They had signed a letter in Feb 2024 stating they do not support the current leadership at PSC. The adjective ‘stubborn’ refers to their will power to care for each other as fellow pilgrims, running the race focusing on Jesus.

    I did not comment on the elders or congregation; but I do pray for everyone, because he/she bears the image of God.

  56. Susan Lane: This is not something I would normally do, nor something I would normally recommend, but the church had fallen asleep in the midst of a crisis. I saw no other option.

    “We shall not see any great change until we have some in our ranks who are willing to be martyrs. That deep ditch can never be crossed till the bodies of a few of us shall fill it up.” (Charles Spurgeon)

    I appreciate your courage, Susan. It’s clear to me that you made a difficult stand because you love the church and its congregation and desire to see this situation handled in a God-honoring way.

    Welcome to TWW. Most who comment here have been abused in one form or another by authoritarian church leaders. Many of us have made difficult stands against wayward church ministers and ministries, against abusers, against bad theology, against cultish belief and practice, against the popular but pitiful. We felt moved to swim against the current. We speak from experience, we know the pain of being confused and disillusioned. Thus, we inform and warn others with insight that was gained in dark valleys. What you see, you can’t un-see. Please come back.

  57. Mark’s comments about the 4 PM service from his interview on Wellspring of Faith in July 2023:

    starting at 24:09 (edited for clarity from the YouTube transcript)

    J. Liias: How’s that going? I mean because that was one of the strengths of that [parish?], young Christians living, working, going to school in the city. That was very much a center for a welcoming place, particularly Evangelical young men and women.

    M. Booker: Right. That service started in that form in 1993, and it has, it still had been a vibrant service, a place of community to some and to many, though certainly not to what it used to be long ago, and so actually the church is currently in a process of thinking about a new direction that was just announced a couple of weeks ago about trying to bring everybody together in the morning as a means of strengthening the body so that we can build new bridges, because at the time that was a bridge into the culture in the late 20th century but we think there might be other bridges to build, and so we’re in the process of working through that as a community right now.

  58. ms: a new direction that was just announced a couple of weeks ago about trying to bring everybody together in the morning as a means of strengthening the body

    This happened regarding a Saturday evening service at my former SBC church. It was heavily attended, but they stopped it, and attendance dropped as those folks went elsewhere.

  59. Friend of Park Street Church: The service with Susan’s objections has been edited to exclude her. Maybe the internet way back tool could help recover it?

    Here is the link:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYj3LjrYrww

    It started at 22:30 in the original video… but now is gone. Once again silencing, literally, the opposition to Mark Booker and Jason Abraham and their loyalists.

    There is an unedited copy of the Easter Service posted on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/930711475

    Start playing it at about 22 minutes in to view the portion that was removed.

    “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

  60. For those who have been looking for Mark Booker’s Installation Service video, it is still on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHTDysOUTTk
    “1,042 views Streamed live on Sep 24, 2021”

    You can’t seem to find it searching on YouTube, and pointers to it have been deleted from Park Street’s YouTube pages, but the video is actually still there.

  61. Not an action hero,

    sorry I made a typo last night (i.e. after Midnight )
    10+ yr. agp when PSC had a big budget deficit, when Danny Harrell was assoc. minister, the SM (Senior Minister—who does not want his name on social media) told us not to worry —–

    I mis-typed SM as SE

  62. For those of you arguing about the law…

    May I direct your attention to this one:
    https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter272/Section38

    Susan is not a hero. In fact she hurt your cause. I can assure you: the actual people in attendance at Park Street were not “inspired”, they were just annoyed.

    As someone who is regularly there on Sunday mornings… it’s obvious that most people in this chat are not in touch with what’s actually happening.

  63. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

    “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

    Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

    Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

    So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)

    “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

    Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

    “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

    No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:18-37)

    “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

    And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

  64. Solomon Pond: There is an unedited copy of the Easter Service posted on Vimeo:https://vimeo.com/930711475

    Start playing it at about 22 minutes in to view the portion that was removed.

    “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”(John 8:32)

    Thank you for finding and sharing these two videos.

  65. PGWood: As someone who is regularly there on Sunday mornings… it’s obvious that most people in this chat are not in touch with what’s actually happening.

    If saying this makes you feel better, so be it. But what if you are wrong?
    I have a suggestion. If you are concerned, how about making a comment that might suggest solutions?

  66. Is it True that the church has withdrawn your membership!!! and you have to see 3 elders before going back there.

  67. mle bire: Solomon Pond: There is an unedited copy of the Easter Service posted on Vimeo: … [video number 930711475] …

    Start playing it at about 22 minutes in to view the portion that was removed.

    “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”(John 8:32)

    Thank you for finding and sharing these two videos.

    =======

    Received this from Vimeo last night:

    Dear Solomon Pond:

    Your video titled “Easter Service, March 31st, 2024 Park Street Church, Boston” previously available at “vimeo dot com slash 930711475” has been removed in response to a takedown notice submitted by pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).

    Why did this happen?

    We removed your video because a third party claims that your video infringes its copyright. The DMCA requires Vimeo to remove allegedly infringing content upon receipt of a valid takedown notice.

    Who submitted this takedown?

    The takedown notice was sent by:
    Copyright Holder:
    Address: 1 Park Street
    Boston, MA 02108
    Phone number: 617-523-3383
    Email address: nskinner@parkstreet.org

    Posting this video was a test; Park Street failed in my opinion. “Suppress the truth at all costs if it makes us look bad.” Interesting that the alleged complainant was Nathan Skinner. Sad.

  68. Solomon Pond,

    Wow. They are pulling out all the stops. There is no question in my mind that there is a takeover in progress at PSC. In my next PSC post, I would like to quote your comment if that is alright with you.

  69. dee: Solomon Pond,

    Wow. They are pulling out all the stops. There is no question in my mind that there is a takeover in progress at PSC. In my next PSC post, I would like to quote your comment if that is alright with you.

    Dee, yes you can quote my comment.

    ps: Nathan Skinner / “pulling out all the stops” … great pun! 🙂

  70. not an action hero,

    According to Elder, Andrew Ziegler, FYI Dan apparently wanted to retire, and came back briefly, but left soon after because he truly had wanted to retire. That was Andrew‘s story. I’m guessing in his situation a retirement package was available. I don’t know if Pat Chen was offered a severance package. Based on Dan‘s age it does make some sense, but if someone has spoken to Dan and heard differently, I’d like to hear your side.

  71. Janice g:
    Janiceg,

    I am asking Susan Lane this.

    I will try to contact Susan Lane. I am a bit concerned that the “Cone of Silence” has descended, which usually points to more problems. I am also aware that another negative situation has arisen behind the scenes, which I cannot talk about yet.

  72. dee,

    Janice,
    I’ve been off the blog for a couple days. An answer to your question, I received a letter from Jason Abraham and the elder board, stating that unless I met with Andrew Ziegler, Mary Harvey, and Julie Halvorsen, to “repent of everything that I had done, including the emails I had sent to the elder board, which were disrespectful” that I would not be allowed on the premises. The emails and question were inquiries as to whether they had begun the process of hiring an employee relations person. Julie Halvorsen, who is brand new to the elder board, was put up to the challenge I know, because they made her get back to me and say basically nothing. She said, “while we don’t have any answers right now, isn’t it great that we have a God who knows all?” I replied back to her saying that wasn’t an answer, those were empty platitudes. I asked her if they’re not in the process of hiring an employee relations, person, how do I get it on the agenda for the next elder meeting. When she didn’t answer me after a day or so I emailed that email chain to the entire elder board. I also stated, that if they would not begin the process of creating an employee relations position immediately, that I was going to reach out to everyone I knew to withhold their tithe. Jason Abraham flipped out on me, and said that they were in the process of reviewing several options, but never answered whether the employee relations person was one of them, nor did he explain the process of getting it considered for an elder board meeting, but said my tone was totally inappropriate for emailing the elders, and that I wasn’t permitted to write to the elder board, but I could speak through Andrew Ziegler and Mary Harvey and that he would set up a meeting. They stated nothing about revoking my membership at this point, but if I can’t attend, I’m assuming that may be one of the next steps.

  73. A Former Member of PSC,

    Thank you for your in-depth explanation of the investigation against Kim. I was not much involved in the church at that time because I was living up north, but I had been on the search committee for the City Outreach Director and I helped interview Kim. I will tell you she’s a highly intelligent, accomplished, driven woman, who can keep 15 plates spinning at one time. She caused her ministry to explode, and some people resented her for it. One former board member said to me, “You don’t have to tell me about her confidence and drive. I saw her budget request. She was stealing money from the missionaries.” I’ve never heard a more stupid statement. If a ministry is on fire, why aren’t we getting behind it and reaching out to the congregation to support it further if we have budget constraints? Instead, we’re bashing her for being too successful and having a big vision for her ministry? Disgusting. While I know she had the propensity to drive herself to the wall, and I can see how she might have the propensity to have very high, maybe even overly high expectations of her team, those are edges that can be softened by a good manager. It was both Julian‘s and Mark’s job to oversee her work and to nurture her in her leadership. Kim beat Mark out for the City Outreach position. I can tell you this because Mark admitted in his inaugural speech about getting passed over for the job. He admitted then to having very little city outreach experience.

    I’m disappointed that Julian recommended him for the Senior Minister position, because what kind of senior minister doesn’t have a depth of experience in outreach to the poor? I’m sure Julian regrets that decision now too since he’s one of the five that oppose him.

    The congregation was never made aware of any previous complaints about Kim’s leadership when her departure was explained, and post termination that would not have been a privacy conflict. She was never offered progressive discipline prior to termination, in terms of the “three strikes you’re out rule,” of giving someone a verbal warning, a written warning, and then termination. Kim was a very sweet woman, and I feel very badly that I wasn’t involved in the church enough to go to bat for her then, but I know that she certainly would have been coachable. They pretend that the accusation came out of left field, but when I see a high achieving female in a complimentarian environment, and suddenly there’s a “spiritual abuse” charge against her, of course I’m immediately suspicious. Also, I’m curious as to whether Mark’s being friends with someone at Telios is enough of a conflict of interest to nullify the investigation against Kim.

  74. Susan Lane,

    Not sure why this blog is identifying me as a former member. At the moment I’m still a member. Did I do something wrong when signing up?

  75. not an action hero,

    Jesus confronted corrupt leadership and did not mince words. He also caused public disturbances to do so, as when he overturned tables in the temple. Our job is not just to be sheep, but to be shrewd as snakes. Refusing to confront sin, even in church leadership, is a sin itself. of the biggest lies is that Christians are supposed to be 100% nonconfrontational, sweet and sugary, have a sunny disposition all the time, and follow their leaders like the Pied Piper. Take off the rose colored glasses, and start looking at the situation honestly.

  76. Solomon Pond,

    Of course, my friend, Mr. Skinner, made the congregation sing hymns over my comments at the service. What a stand-up guy. And why is the music Director writing to Vimeo about copyright infringements? Because he’s one of Mark Booker’s closest cronies, that’s why.

  77. I am greatly pained that you have had to experience all these awful things. I know what it is like to receive this type of letter from leadership at another church I attended. I felt unloved by the people who loved so dearly. The Luna’s have written many emails through time and the last time I talked to them they said that no one from the elders had gotten back to them. Sounds like this is a pattern of handling unhappy parishers. If you have been reading all the columns on this blog the real issue is plainly clear. Yes the way I am reading between the lines – they have every intention of of revoking your membership if you do not repent. There are some very caring people at psc who are very distrubed by recent events like this. I can not name names here. Seek them out if they already have not contacted you. I am sorry when I heard what happened at Easter and they sent you a letter I assumed it was nasty disfellowship one. I do not want you to feel UNLOVED that there are caring people in this congregation that get it. I would not go to any elder gathering without a caring psc member with you. If you want to contact me personally my information is in the church directory.
    Susan Lane,

  78. PGWood,

    All of them? That sounds like an absolute. You should know that there’s been an outpouring of support that I’ve received. And I am an active member, although I usually attend the 4 PM service, which was very hurt by Mark’s and the elders actions, but I’m sure you care nothing of that, being one of the myopic morning service attendees. Eight ministers can’t be wrong: Kris Perkins, Michael Balboni, Pat Chen, Tammy McLeod, Julian Linnell, Tim Leary, Damien Long, and Ray Cam. But you’re welcome to keep the wool over your eyes if you like.

  79. janiceg,

    Thanks Janice! I have received a lot of love and support, and we have to remember that even a third of the congregation did not support Mark at the annual meeting. That’s 33%. That’s huge. From what I understand, a Senior Minister will generally start circulating his résumé at about 10 to 15% disapproval. That is if the Senior Minister cares about the health of the church.

  80. Please print you comments about what has happened to you in the article about the five ministers in the process of being fired. I think people read the first post first
    janiceg,

  81. PGWood,

    And, if you recall, Jesus overturned tables in the temple, so he wasn’t above causing a bit of disruption when he found corruption in the house of God that he loved. I feel the same, and I’m sorry if you don’t agree, but Jesus broke the law to call out sin also.

  82. Susan Lane:
    not an action hero,

    According to Elder, Andrew Ziegler, FYI Dan apparently wanted to retire, and came back briefly, but left soon after because he truly had wanted to retire. That was Andrew‘s story. I’m guessing in his situation a retirement package was available. I don’t know if Pat Chen was offered a severance package. Based on Dan‘s age it does make some sense, but if someone has spoken to Dan and heard differently, I’d like to hear your side.

    Susan Lane: Dan apparently wanted to retire

  83. Susan Lane,

    Dear Susan
    Praise the Lord for your reply—- That’s all we ought to do: speak the truth in love.
    Love for God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and love for our neighbors as we love ourselves. Our own will-power or strength is often insufficient to oppose Satan, but when we yield 100% to the Holy Spirit, victory is already won. Sometimes we dont even know how to love ourselves– so I must learn how to love as our Lord Jesus loves everyone, including myself.
    After retirement, I have been trying to memorize scripture. My favorite verse is: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Is that so easy, really? I often failed. So I opened the bible to re-read that passage. Oh my! I forgot the preceding phrase: SUBMIT YOURSELF UNTO GOD. Think of Joshua before the stronghold of Jericho. He saw a man standing in front of him, with a drawn sword. Joshua asked: are you for us or for our enemies? “NEITHER, BUT AS COMMANDER OF THE ARMY OF THE LORD I HAVE NOW COME.” Joshua submitted totally to the Lord and won the battle.

    Ephesians 6:10-17. The Armor of God consists of 6 pieces, to be put on in the right order. The first 5 pieces are for defense; only the last piece is for offense: the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Jesus is the Word Incarnate, for whom the Holy Spirit is the witness indwelling and guiding us 24/7. The Bible is a literary record which the Holy Spirit will helps us to interpret wisely on all occasions.
    ‘Therefore my dear brother (sister), stand Firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.’
    I love bible stories. Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, was punished with leprosy because he lied and to get presents from Naaman. But he did not get fired!? Later, when the King of Aram sent an army to arrest his boss, Elisha prayed to the Lord to open Gehazi’s eyes–he was able to see ‘those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ That’s AMAZING GRACE.
    Do feel free to communicate with me if there is anything we can share as fellow pilgrims to support PSC to heal. TWW is a public forum where speaking the truth in love is welcome. There is no fear in love.

  84. I can verify that Dan V did come back after retirement to serve until they could find a new pastoral counselor. As I was seeing him during this time frame. I do not have a clue about benefits answer. I do know that the park street five are not getting any sort of $ help as the church does not pay unemployment taxes.

  85. Susan Lane! You are “an action hero”! Thank you for your bravery. Perhaps next is standing outside the church with a sign? Perhaps more will join you.

  86. PGWood: For those of you arguing about the law…
    May I direct your attention to this one:
    https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter272/Section38
    Susan is not a hero. In fact she hurt your cause. I can assure you: the actual people in attendance at Park Street were not “inspired”, they were just annoyed.
    As someone who is regularly there on Sunday mornings… it’s obvious that most people in this chat are not in touch with what’s actually happening.

    Hi again, PGWood. A couple of things for you to consider…

    (1) Unless you are new to the state of Massachusetts, you probably know that there are a large number of laws on the books that are no longer enforced. For example, blasphemy, as defined by some within the Christian community, is illegal. Most spectators at sporting events in the state violate this law whenever their team doesn’t win. I hear this illegal speech regularly. And I’ve heard it from those who take an oath to uphold the law in their professions.

    https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter272/Section36

    Section 36: Blasphemy

    Section 36. Whoever wilfully blasphemes the holy name of God by denying, cursing or contumeliously reproaching God, his creation, government or final judging of the world, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or by cursing or contumeliously reproaching or exposing to contempt and ridicule, the holy word of God contained in the holy scriptures shall be punished by imprisonment in jail for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, and may also be bound to good behavior.

    (2) Regarding your assessment of “the actual people in attendance” on Easter at 11 am: you assume that you would know who was annoyed or inspired. I don’t know (maybe it was edited out of the video), but did you ask for a showing of hands as to who felt those two feelings? If you were reporting in an honest manner, you might mention something more specific. “Of the X number of people I spoke with, X of them seemed annoyed.” Beware of your sample size and data collection methods. You are an outspoken supporter of Mark Booker… those who oppose his abuse and see it spreading may not respond to your tiny informal survey of your pew neighbors with a disclosure of their views.

    (3) In reality, those 33% who voted against Mark Booker’s popularity stunt at the annual meeting have been watching closely since then. The annual meeting wasn’t a safe place to speak out and no where else has become safe. The abusive behavior is spreading, targeting more and more people. And Nathan Skinner has added himself to the list of those exhibiting coercive control in public. A sycophant rarely stays hidden for long.

    +++++++++++++++++++

    To Nathan Skinner – we see you. More importantly, God sees you. He loves you and longs for you to be free of your sycophantic ways. Mark Booker may not be abusing you right now. However, he is using you to accomplish his agenda of covering up his abuse and keeping his addiction to power over others hidden. Abusers of his type and skill are loyal only to themselves. When he is done with you or when you stand against him in some way (whichever comes first), he will turn on you too.

    In the meantime, guard yourself from acting in a rash manner. You are, and will always be, responsible for your actions and words. You might be a tool or a puppet, but as an adult you are accountable for your choices.

  87. Solomon Pond: has been removed in response to a takedown notice submitted by pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).

    If you care, you can dispute the takedown notice, at which point your video goes back up and it’s up to the church to sue you for copyright infringement.

    I’m not sure whether to bet they would or they wouldn’t. They do have multiple lawyers on the board who might send you a nasty letter.

    But Nathan also isn’t the copyright holder nor an authorized officer of the church, so technically he’s committed perjury.

  88. Watcher,

    Lol! Thank you! If I did I’m not sure what that sign would say. But if I do end up losing my membership, I think I’ll get a T-shirt that reads: “EXCOMMUNICATED” (Outspoken Woman)

  89. not an action hero,

    Thanks so much for the reminder! Submitting to God also means doing what he tells you to do and one of the things he says, is to pray for those who persecute you and to love your enemies. I have been trying to do that. This leadership would turn around if it could simply take the time, even if it takes several meetings, to listen to this congregations concerns and address them, sincerely, and begin rebuilding trust by acknowledging where they’ve made some mistakes, instead of trying to put forth this artificial solidified front that nobody buys. If they truly believe in this apparent vision that Mark has, then defend your position. Define this vision, give specifics, and defend your position and let the chips fall where they may. You may lose some people, but at least they would have their integrity. Stop with the secrecy. That is what has undermined the trust in the church.

  90. Watcher,

    Dear Watcher and Susan

    Here is a comment from “not an action hero” (NAAH) to explain why I chose this user name

    Before choosing this name, I asked a young person what an ‘Action Hero’ actually does— he could not give me a straight answer– it’s just a game, they are not real heros. So I decided to call myself NAAH– 2 negatives make a positive. Ha Ha, I am a real hero.

    Regardless of variations of human emotion, we must protect the genuine need of PSC attendees (including our friend PGWood) going to a solemn, holy church every Sunday to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (though we often get distracted by Satan’s secret weapons). It may not glorify God for Susan to stand outside holding signs. It is not safe for a lady to stand at that spot (where police often pick up unruly people). Normal strangers who walk or drive by may misunderstand your sign — with counterproductive results. May I suggest a peaceful and safer strategy. Find an elite scholar/scribe (may be someone who is reading this blog?) to write a de facto report of Susan’s attendance @ PSC Easter Sunday, including how and why the link was deleted (no need to show the link itself). Make the story SHORT, w/ an intriguing title, send to Boston Globe—pray that the Editor will select it for free publication. Amen.

    The truth shall make you free— free from legal accusations.

    Good night

  91. not an action hero,

    Thanks NAAH! I think that’s some sound advice and yes, I am considering communicating through some other channels. I obviously can’t be there Sunday, but hope you all will keep your boots to the ground, stay vigilant, and keep the conversation going among the congregation. It benefit all of us to maintain a commitment to truth, transparency, and accountability, and everyone needs to be asking the question, “Why are so many ministers taking a stand against Mark Booker (and the elders who support him?)”
    I am as protective as a lioness of my church and its ministers, but we definitely need to hear all sides and keep the discourse healthy and flowing.

  92. Susan Lane,

    Thank you for your commitment to truth and righteousness. My spouse and I laughed at Jason’s use of the word “unconscionable” as if you performed a Satanic ritual in the middle of the service. It’s not too obscure to know why they are keeping everything hidden. They know if their actions were exposed they would lose the congregation and the power they so desperately cling on to. I wonder how much longer they can keep it up.

  93. Grieving: If you care, you can dispute the takedown notice, at which point your video goes back up and it’s up to the church to sue you for copyright infringement.
    I’m not sure whether to bet they would or they wouldn’t. They do have multiple lawyers on the board who might send you a nasty letter.
    But Nathan also isn’t the copyright holder nor an authorized officer of the church, so technically he’s committed perjury.

    Dear Solomon Pond,

    I have this anonymous note for you regarding Nathan Skinner’s takedown request alleging copyright infringement.

    “There is no expectation of privacy in a public worship service, so recording is legal. If it was in a private space within the church- then it would be a problem. To claim the service is copyrighted ==== someone will know the answer to this ====== but my guess would be no. This is way outside my area of expertise, but it may give someone a direction to go in. I personally would challenge a take down request.”

  94. Susan Lane,

    Observant Outsider,

    Dear Susan, and all the bloggers who want to hear and speak ONLY the truth:
    You dont know my real name but it does not bother me even if you do.
    I do not have any insider info or rumor for you, but simply examine what is available.
    Since childhood today, my ideal hero is Sherlock Holmes– even though he is fictional.
    Stay cool-headed, mull over every detail, consider all possibilities without bias.

    * Yesterday Moderator announced the CFM will continue to serve in all dimensions of their roles EXCEPT in “leading public worship, for the time being”; ‘ and he hopes this arrangement “will be short-lived, and that our Lord will quickly bring a resolution”

    I always hope for the best:

    * he acknowledged PSC need their services here and now; PSC cannot function without them
    * he did not single out one of the five– he is convinced they are tightly united, prepared to win or lose together.
    * he knows anyone who attends any future PSC Sunday worship can do what Susan did (and probably more). There is nothing he can do to prevent it, any Sunday am or pm. And if that person says or does something more aggressive than dear Susan, the congregation may over-react / panic and disperse. The worship leader(s) on the platform will be stressed out from beginning to end of every service.
    * Regardless of our inner conflict, anti-anything attacks on public gatherings are not uncommon nowadays. PSC’s location in a liberal city is already at high risk, esp. with the approaching election
    * Seriously—For safety, PSC admin. should be reminded to do fire drills soon

    (Back to our topic–the CFM) We are also prepared for the worst

    * If CFM get fired, we already have a blogger friend who offered to help w/ legal aid etc.
    * Susan mentioned that a gentleman at the Annual Meeting promptly offered to donate $ 100,000 if Jason agreed to hire 4C (Brian Lacey objected—–Jason hired 4C—- We dont know how 4C was paid). In any case, praise the Lord there are silent and faithful donors WILLING AND ABLE to support PSC at short notice if the need is genuine and urgent.

    BTW, Susan: I have not been attending PSC in person,(not because I am a ‘marked person’ like you) because I cannot concentrate to worship when certain leader(s) are leading. esp. Holy Communion. On Maundy Thursday, Easter Sunday and today, I attended a local church .
    Today the sermon was on the Resurrected Jesus on the shores of the lake. The disciples were told to go to Galilee to wait, so they did. Whie waiting, they kept busy, cleaned house, cleaned boat, went fishing, caught nothing. Jesus was watching from the shore, prepared breakfast, offered them advice and they accepted his advice, but did not recognize him— they did not expect him to really care…until John, who was caring for Jesus’ mother, suddenly recognized Jesus.

    So, let us remember 24/7— he is watching, caring, even preparing our daily bread/fish
    and enabling us to bear fruit for him– 153 large fish, and the net did not break!

    AMEN

  95. Observant Outsider,

    Thanks, Observant Outsider. I was hoping that by speaking specifically to the 11 AM service that I would nudge the people who have been ignoring the situation or even protecting Mark to reconsider and start asking questions. But my testimony is nothing to the five ministers who have had to work with him every day, that in addition to Michael’s testimony should be enough for this congregation to snap to. That many ministers can’t be wrong, and I’m not even adding to that number Kris Perkins, who was pushed out because he didn’t line up with Mark’s vision, and Kim Morrison. Pat Chen was allegedly let go to due to financial reasons, but it would be interesting to get his take on things. Anyway, sincerely thank you for your kind encouraging words.

  96. Susan Lane,

    Hi Susan:
    I forgot to ask–do you mind telling us the complete sentence which you intended to say on Easter Sunday—- if you were not interrupted by the ‘gag order’
    I was not there in person, but watched the deleted and retrieved section of video. Could only see the word ‘number’ in the caption.

  97. not an action hero,

    Thanks for this, too, Observant Outsider, the gentleman who offered the $100,000 wasn’t for the Vicenage Council, which is an investigation by the 4 C’s that Church doesn’t have to adhere to. They offer advice, but they have no authority over the church. The summary is going to go right to the elder board, which is an issue because the reason we needed a secondary investigation was because the elders glossed over the first one in the effort to give a very sunny side up of the present leadership issues. Of course, that’s the whole reason the five ministers refused to sign the letter in solidarity with Mark. I had actually talked with Ron Hamilton, the Director of the local chapter of the 4C’s, who is heading up this investigation, shortly after Michael Balboni got fired. I just wanted to find out what rights congregants have, and he had mentioned this voluntarily assessment council and that he would offer it to the Park Street leadership. I don’t know what cost is involved, but it wasn’t the same as the outside third-party investigation whose results would be reported to the congregation. Obviously, that report would have to be sifted for sensitive employee information, but if unethical practices are found you can certainly be descriptive without divulging personal information. The third-party investigation has the potential to result in legal action against parties who were guilty of mishandling terminations, unethical practices, or spiritual abuse. The Vicenage Council (I realize I’ve been misspelling this word) merely offers suggestions, but there’s no real accountability and, potentially, the elder board can just gloss over those results as well. I know that Ron Hamilton‘s intentions are good, he seemed like a very sweet man on the phone and he seemed very concerned for Park Street, but I don’t think they can deliver the tough love that Park Street leadership needs. If the leadership was sincere and their desire to change, there might be hope, but we’ve witnessed several examples of Mark and the elders promising change and not following through.

    I feel for you when you say it’s hard to attend Park Street right now. I think a lot of people feel that way. But you can’t be a witness if you’re never there, and the problem individuals in leadership are hoping the people who are speaking out will just go away, so it might be a benefit to keep your feet in both churches. That’s what I’m doing at the moment.

  98. Observant Outsider,

    Hello, meticulous Observer:
    Now that you mentioned it, I am not sure what ‘unconsciable’ means— contrary to conscience? whose conscience?—My pocket Oxford American Dictionary does not clarify it. What does your dictionary say? Oh, maybe I need to ask our Moderator which dictionary he prefers. 🙂

  99. not an action hero,

    Here’s the jist of it:
    I started by interrupting Mark saying, “I’m sorry Mark, we can’t start quite yet. We appear to be missing five ministers.”

    Then, amid jeering and Nathan instructing the congregation to sing hymns over my words, I stated that five ministers had been removed from their duties, and that these were beloved ministers who had served the church for many years. I said this was in addition to the three others who were already gone. (I was using the number eight, because I wasn’t counting Kim Morrison nor Dan Verrengia. I was counting Pat Chen, Michael Balboni, and Kris Perkins as the three who were pushed out unnecessarily prior to the five that are now in danger of losing their positions, but really we could add Kim Morrison as her investigation was handled poorly.) (There is also a gray area with Pat Chen because the elder board alleges that the reasons were financial. Yet, according to Michael’s testimony, Mark was dishonest about his intent to fire people during Covid, which prevented Michael from offering pushback. I also believe there are plenty of church resources that could’ve kept those people on board.)

    I stated that on three occasions, I had caught Pastor Booker in lies, based on personal conversations that he and I had had. One was about the reasons for Kris Perkins leaving (he did not want to leave, Mark wanted him to resign because Kris’ did not align with Mark’s “vision”) the second was in regard to the reasons for eliminating the 4 PM service (he didn’t want to unify the church. He essentially wanted to get rid of the outspoken, rebellious element of the church, which was causing contentiousness between the services, and he and Nathan wanted to brand the church as a traditional church ) and the third was about his commitment to diversity within the church. (The last one actually wasn’t a personal conversation, but a complete contradiction in how he characterized his approach toward diversity in his inaugural speech vs. a recent sermon after Michael’s departure. I had to keep my words concise, however, so I didn’t want to over-explain. From what I heard, so many people started listening to the inaugural speech that they took it down from the website.)

    I stated that I refused to let this wolf in sheep’s clothing hurt one more minister in our church. Not one. I admonished them not to trust his “humble countenance.” I finished by stating they were an enlightened congregation, and to start listening. As I walked off, Jason was calling me disgraceful, and I said that Mark’s behavior was disgraceful. Then when I walked by Mark to go down the stairs, I looked up at him and said, “YOUR BEHAVIOR is disgraceful.”

    When Jason followed me downstairs, he told me that he wanted me removed from the church and that he was going to have a no trespass order put on me. He was yelling at Steve McGaff to throw me out. Initially, I said he couldn’t make me leave and he threatened to call the police. I told him to go right ahead, so he called 911. No one made a move to make me leave. Before I did, I made a point of telling Jason what I thought was “disgraceful” was that in one of his letters to the congregation he called people that circulated Michael’s complaint “divisive,” even though the elder board had given us permission. He suppressed a smile as he spoke with the police officer on the other end. I had also called him out on that in one of my emails to the elder board and in my talk with Andrew Ziegler and Mary Harvey. No one ever apologized for his behavior, and Jason certainly never repented of his behavior. IMO much of Jason‘s behavior during this entire conflict has been highly unbecoming of an elder, and he should be asked to step down. Yet, I am expected to repent of everything that I’ve ever done. How curious. I left before the police came.

  100. I will say in closing tonight, that this is the “regime of eloquent speeches that say nothing.” If you all remember the congregational meeting where we discussed Kris’ departure, Mark could not explain how Kris didn’t align with his vision. So he was asked, “What exactly are you looking for in an associate minister, and he named four or five things. “Mark Snell said there’s not one person in this congregation who wouldn’t agree that Kris Perkins embodies all five of those things.” When I looked at Mark, I never saw someone look more awkward and uncomfortable. In my mind, I was looking at a man who got rid of a minister with a 25 year history and didn’t even have an explanation as to why. Neither could he answer the question about what his vision was for the church, except to say, “Well, it’s really about Christ’s vision,” a complete non-answer again. Clearly, he has such a defined vision, that he’s willing to terminate the bulk of our incumbent ministers to exact it, but he refuses to state what it is in concrete terms. He had a treasure trove of incumbent ministers at his fingertips, but he completely trashed it because apparently he can’t let go of this vision, which is clearly so incompatible with who we are that an entire staff of ministers rose up against it. And as to what he wanted in an Associate Minister, if you look at the current Assistant Minister, whatever that is, you’ll see that the desired traits are someone who is fresh out of seminary, malleable, and complicit.

    I am a nobody. I have no leadership position at present at Park Street, and I’m not really involved in any ministries. I’m simply an observer who cares to ask questions. I’m very shocked that more people don’t do the same. We are seeing how damaging complacency can be.

    And did you all notice at the annual meeting, when we were supposed to decide whether he should stay or go, when it was asked what he had done to reconcile with the five ministers who were not in solidarity with him, he said, I have spoken with three of them. That’s all he said. No one bothered to ask him, and what does that mean Mark? Does that mean they’re in solidarity with you? I knew that it didn’t, and I knew he knew that it didn’t. But no one dared to simply ask this question. I had already monopolize the meeting enough, so I didn’t bother to ask. As you can see, it is very clear that the five are very much still not in solidarity with him, which is why their jobs are on the line.

  101. Susan Lane,

    Dear Susan
    It breaks my heart to hear what you went thru on Easter Sunday. Just like you, I am also a ‘nobody’ @ PSC— not serving in any ministries— but it does not mean I dont support PSC’s mission even as a nobody. I have been agonizing over this debacle since end of Sept, when I first realized 3 ministers were fired i.e. did not resign as what the BoE said. PSC is my spiritual family for > 30 years– how can I not grieve. However, my most respected mentor, who is also devastated by the conflict, keeps reminding me: PSC does not belong to you or me, but to Jesus Christ. His bride is the Universal church— which includes PSC . We must learn to trust him, whichever church we may belong to.

    Good night for now
    Elaine

  102. not an action hero,

    Elaine, it is my belief that God expects faith and sweat. If you want to drink of water, you don’t go outside, lay on the sidewalk and say, “I’m going to have faith for God to make it rain.” You go to the faucet, or get some bottled water, or build a well if need be, but you do whatever it takes to get yourself some water. God does admonish us to trust in him, but he does not ask that we sit and wring our hands and fret when there is sin within our Church that is not being addressed. We are called to confront sin in love, hold other Christians accountable, and if they do not repent and turn away from their sin, we are called to cast them out of the church. That includes church leaders. it is not an easy or nice position to be in, but God did not call us to this walk to be cowards and to back down to people who are doing unhealthy/unethical things in the church. Prayer is vital, but sometimes God also calls us to action.

  103. Susan Lane: Prayer is vital, but sometimes God also calls us to action.

    “To the man who thinks that faith by itself is enough I feel inclined to say, ‘So you believe that there is one God? That’s fine. So do all the devils in hell and shudder in terror!’ For, my dear short-sighted man, can’t you see far enough to realise that faith without the right actions is dead and useless? Think of Abraham, our ancestor. Wasn’t it his action which really justified him in God’s sight when his faith led him to offer his son Isaac on the altar? Can’t you see that his faith and his actions were, so to speak, partners — that his faith was implemented by his deed? That is what the scripture means when it says: ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God.’” (James 2:18-23 Phillips)

  104. Susan Lane,

    Max,

    Praise the Lord for all the five PSC ministers who took action by signing the divulging letter of 2/21/24 to spoke the truth in love— love for PSC where they labored for decades faithfully, patiently and in humility. ‘True worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks (John 4:23)’. The absence of these five ministers from the 11 am PSC Easter Sunday service, as our sister-in-Christ Susan Lane poignantly lamented, is a living testimony against the current leadership at this pulpit.

  105. NAAH,

    PSC Pastors vs. PSC Elders … experienced pastors, seminary trained, surrendered to the call of God, ordained for Christian ministry … vs. appointed (or hand-picked) elders. Who should the congregation listen to?

  106. Max,

    Hi Max:
    I often ask myself these 3 questions————–

    (1) who should I listen to ?
    (2) why did God commission Isaiah this way: (6:9-10)
    “Go and tell this people:’Be ever hearing but never understanding; be ever seeing but never perceiving’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes”. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
    (3) why did God harden Pharoah’s heart until all the firstborn died in Egypt?

    Wish to share my favorite lines from the hymn ‘Oh Jesus I have promised’

    O let me hear thee speaking in accents clear and still
    Above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will
    O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control
    O SPEAK AND MAKE ME LISTEN, thou guardian of my soul.

    Amen

  107. NAAH,

    Could it be that this trial at PSC is more about getting the congregation back on track rather than its leadership? … for each member to “examine yourselves, prove your own selves” (2 Cor 13:5) … to hear Jesus through the noise, reminding the good folks at PSC that it’s not about ‘us’, it’s about Him? My prayer is that the congregation at PSC will have a testimony of genuine faith on the other side of this test … to comprehend that ‘they’ are the Church with or without PSC. God doesn’t really need PSC (or any institutional church for that matter) to accomplish His purposes on earth, but He works through those who are faithful to the mission (individually and/or corporately). Not every church is ‘the’ Church.

  108. NAAH: who should I listen to? … why did God commission Isaiah this way? … why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?

    Why did God tell Abraham to “Go? … Isaac to “Stay” … Jacob to “Go back”?

    A careful study of Scripture tells us exactly why.

    When it comes to making decisions as Christians, we must listen to God alone. Any other voice in pulpit or pew, family or friend, can steer you wrong. These are times at PSC for each member to humble themselves, pray, repent and seek God’s face. He is speaking … position yourself to hear His voice.

  109. Susan Lane: he’s willing to terminate the bulk of our incumbent ministers

    True leadership produces leaders … it doesn’t axe other leaders … it doesn’t maintain an inner ring of loyal followers at the expense of everybody else.

  110. Max,

    Susan Lane,

    Dear Susan and Max

    Re: My Vow of Loyalty
    I left my native land due to political turmoil, became a ‘naturalized’ US citizen, will obey laws and do honest tax returns (must do it tonight!). The US government does not care about my loyalty—they only want to attract more migrants. Nowadays I dont want to take sides, dont want to waste time understanding the difference between red and blue…. the news media are driving me crazy. I decided not to vote (I am an ‘independent’ )

    On the other hand, since retirement I invested much time and energy to cheerfully prepare my next and final move— daily devotion, study the bible comparing English version and the version in my native language—(which I learned in childhood), enjoyed books I bought but never had time to read, spent more time at PSC fellowships etc. Then all of a sudden, PSC ‘politics’ hit me so hard– it hurts and I cannot brush it off my mind, day or night, since Sept. 2023. PSC Has been my spiritual family since 1986– I am not on any committee but I am always committed to support PSC whatever way the Lord enables me. For 6 months, I communicated w/ various people trying to make peace— mostly non-responsive. My mentor urged me to attend the Annual Meeting but I refused, because the Parliamentarian had resigned and the Moderator was not qualified to preside. I refused to sit for several hours watching something like Jan. 6 at the Capitol.

    I will continue praying for discernment, patience, forgiveness, faith and hope—- both for myself and fellow pilgrims (e.g. you) who are determined to keep running forwards, with our eyes fixed on Jesus, our Lord, Savior and friend, who never changes. I trust and will obey whatever the Holy Spirit may lead. Meanwhile “They also serve who only stand and wait”

    Amen

  111. Max,

    MAX !
    Yes, I kept thinking all night on your inspired insight:
    This trial is more about getting the congregation (rather than the leadership) back on track, to “examine yourselves, prove your own selves”(2 Cor 13:5) to hear Jesus through the noise—to have a testimony of genuine faith, to comprehend ‘they’ are the Church with or without PSC. God does not really need PSC (or any institution) to accomplish his purposes on earth. But he works thru those who are faithful to the mission, individually or corporately.
    May I have your permission to relay this message to others who are griefing over PSC ?

  112. NAAH: your permission to relay this message

    Certainly. If my words can bring comfort to anyone grieving, confused or disillusioned at PSC, please feel free to use them. I wish you the best, NAAH, as you personally deal with this issue. May Jesus carry you through the valley.

  113. Susan Lane: But no one dared to simply ask this question.

    “Make an Example of one and a hundred will fall into line bleating their Loyalty.”

  114. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Max,

    not an action hero,

    Dear Siblings in Christ:

    Good AM. Praise the Lord for soft refreshing rain for our tulips
    Wish to share this hymn — a muscial piece of armor I often forget to wear

    O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end,
    Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
    I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
    Nor wander from the pathway if Thou will be my guide.

    O let me feel Thee near me ! this world is ever near;
    I see the lights that dazzle, the tempting sounds I hear.
    My foes are ever near me, around me and within;
    But, Jesus, draw Thou nearer, and shield my soul from sin.

    O let me hear Thee speaking, in accents clear and still,
    Above the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will!
    O speak to reassure me, to hasten or control,
    O speak and MAKE ME LISTEN ! Thou guardian of my soul.

    O Jesus Thou hast promised to all who follow Thee—
    That where Thou art in glory, there shall Thy servant be;
    And, Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
    O GIVE ME GRACE TO FOLLOW MY MASTER AND MY FRIEND !

  115. It is now April 14. The promise JA made to the petitioners to hold the Special Meeting on April 7 has been broken. Let us sincerely hope for a miracle – that the petitioners will be given a new date in the very near future – so that the meeting is relevant in informing the congregation and decision-makers. We all know that if it had been held BEFORE the Annual Meeting, that Mark Booker would not have gotten even two thirds of the congregation to be in favor of him…it would probably have been more like one third!

    People leaving Park Street Church seems to be exactly what Mark wants based on his comments in the June 2023 public meeting. It also seems that there is a loud faction of elders who also think it best for congregants/elders/ministers who ask questions or raise concerns should just leave.

    Pretty soon it won’t be Park Street Church any more. It will be “Mark Street Church,” with a new website claiming that Mark Booker founded it in 2020.

    Bless the Reys and all that they have been through!

  116. Remember the dissenters

    My sense is that the meeting JA promised with not happen before the vc findings. Park Street problems ja, and five elders who 100% loyal to Mark. These individuals are blind to what is really going. The spiritual abuse that MB and the elders have inflicted mb and the park street five and on the congregation with a 6 hours and not being able to free talk. 33 percent who do not validate the minister of MB and it will be more after they fire the five ministers which was the recommendation of the personel committee. The only thing left standing will be bricks from the walls.

  117. janiceg: five elders who 100% loyal to Mark

    The Inner Ring

    janiceg: These individuals are blind to what is really going.

    Blindness is a common problem of loyal followers in The Inner Ring

  118. janiceg,

    janiceg,

    ? Bricks from the wall– ? which wall
    Are you guys old enough to remember how the Berlin wall fell? If not, read the book of Joshua– What happened to Jericho? Yes,God has planned the best for each of us, provided we trust and obey him, and wait with humility and patience.

    Who is so naive to compete in a baseball game after knowing the umpire is the pawn of a betting scheme? I am usually very shy and reserved. But if I go to another PSC meeting moderated by the same Moderator (which Susan Lane is unable to attend) I may lose self-control and blurt out something from my heart—-and get mugged by a ‘gag order agent’.

    I will always remain a faithful member of the true PSC,but have stopped donating $ to feed her cult version. My meagre savings will never satisfy the cost of hiring another consultant for another $100k to be squandered by the leaders to buy another ‘report’ with two contradictory versions— one from 5 ministers I have respected and trusted for decades, who never lied to me, verses the other from a Moderator who claims to love ‘sinners’ but depends on calling 911.

    Psalms 34: The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race… He made their hearts, so He understands everything they do

  119. NAAH: I will always remain a faithful member of the true PSC,but have stopped donating $ to feed her cult version

    This has been the dilemma faced by many TWW regulars … who were long-time members of good churches until experiencing bad changes in leadership. It’s sad that you sometimes have to starve out the bad-boys and interrupt church ministries in order to get back on track with new leadership. But such is the condition of much of the American church, which is in a spiritual leadership crisis.

  120. Forgive me gang,
    I haven’t been on here in a while. Of course, my thoughts and prayers have been very much with you guys and, as much as my patience permits, the Park Street leadership. I was thinking about the legality of forcing ministers and staff to sign a letter in solidarity with a manager, and making one’s employment contingent upon it. Now, in spite of my experience in HR, I haven’t delved this far into HR policy, but my instincts say this isn’t legal at all. I was thinking about why Chris May would have signed the letter while the other five didn’t, and it occurred to me that she is very close to retirement and presumably couldn’t afford to jeopardize that. Of course, many of the staff members I’m sure, being lower level underlings, are not in a financial position to jeopardize their jobs either. I was going to reach out to an attorney who specializes in HR violations, but clearly this smacks of coercion. There’s no way that could be legal. Even in a church setting. I thought I would bring it to you all first since some of you are legal eagles.

    Thoughts?
    ~Susan

  121. NAAH,

    God bless you NAAH! And who could blame anyone for growing weary? We must remember that one of the tactics of the leadership is to drag things out, ignore emails, provide vague answers to questions if any answer at all, and postpone meetings, to fatigue the congregation to the point where the majority of people will grow tired enough of the issue and just say, “Let’s forget it. We just don’t want to deal with it anymore.” We have seen that that is very much the strategy. Sometimes I need to take a break from it too, though. Keep the faith, my friend!

  122. janiceg,

    I just want to state that firing whistleblowers is illegal and they could get sued if they did. They’ve already cannibalized the church by what they’ve done, and there would be outrage if they fire those ministers now. They could also get into trouble if they start “papering“ their personnel files with various vague infractions, or watching them like a hawk and reporting any small thing that they do “wrong.” Even Board Member Mary Harvey admitted, “the world’s eyes are on us now“ and there’s a lot of truth in that. Let’s stay vigilant though and not rest in our laurels.

  123. Susan Lane: fatigue the congregation to the point where the majority of people will grow tired enough of the issue and just say, “Let’s forget it. We just don’t want to deal with it anymore.” We have seen that that is very much the strategy.

    Complacent sheep aren’t going to solve the wolf problem.

  124. Susan Lane,

    Max,

    FYI:
    (1) Last year, Chris May has officially resigned from her position as PSC minister. Whatever ministry she continues to do is voluntary– praise the Lord!
    (2) M Harvey is an attorney
    (3) M. Balboni vowed he will not sue
    (4) Donations is NOT mandatory for membership
    (5) First and foremost, and permanently, our loyalty is to THE Universal Church of Jesus Christ, established at Pentecost by Jesus’ disciples.
    (6) Those disciples were charged with the Great Commission– starting in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the world.

    Among many churches in Boston, PSC’s robust Global Missions program was the main reason I joined. A major fraction of her budget is dedicated to Missions. However, since 2020, there is a lack of transparency how PSC donations are used (e.g. paid Telios to fire Kim Morrison? Consulted VOCA but obscured their report ?) Therefore some attendees have reduced or stopped donations, whether or not they are PSC members. Another reason is the lack of respect/appreciation from the leadership towards our Minister of Missions and towards several volunteer leaders of the Missions Committee.

    Speaking for myself only: I have reassured a few missionaries whom I regularly support:
    if or any reason their PSC stipends drop, let me know and I will contact some friends (sibs in Christ). As led by the Holy Spirit, together we will offer support via other agencies. Those who are loyal to THE Universal church will always obey the Great Commission.

  125. NAAH: lack of respect/appreciation from the leadership towards our Minister of Missions and towards several volunteer leaders of the Missions Committee

    Are Mr. Booker and the younger elders New Calvinists? The New Calvinists are not evangelistic or mission-minded … that would explain the “lack of respect/appreciation” for PSC’s mission team.

  126. Susan Lane,

    I can take a stab at answering this question, although I should note I am not an expert in employment law. While I agree that forcing staff to sign a letter in support of the senior minister is coercive and unacceptable, it would be difficult to support a claim of retaliation on this basis. Generally in Massachusetts, as I’m sure you know from your HR experience, employment is “at will,” meaning an employee can be fired for any reason that is not prohibited by law. This is the baseline for all claims of retaliation or wrongful termination, and so the burden is on the complainant to show why their employer acted unlawfully.

    Basically, there are four elements to a retaliation claim in MA: 1) The employee reasonably believes the employer engaged in wrongful conduct (such as discrimination or wage theft), 2) the employee acted in some way on this belief (like making a complaint), 3) the employer took an “adverse action” against the employee, and 4) the adverse action was in retaliation for the employee engaging in a “protected activity.” In this case, I think the key is whether church leadership engaged in any “wrongful conduct,” which must be a violation of an employee’s right as recognized under state or federal law. I do not think that asking employees to sign a letter in support of their boss, as manipulative and cruel as that may be, is a violation of any law that I know of.

    This is not to say that the church could never be found liable for retaliation. It happened recently at Gavin Ortlund’s church in Illinois, where a female employee brought claims of gender discrimination against the church and was fired for making these allegations. While she did not prevail on her discrimination claim, the state agency hearing her case ruled in her favor on the retaliation claim, finding she had a good faith belief that she was discriminated against and that the church fired her for making those allegations. So if the Senior Minister or other church leaders have engaged in any kind of discrimination or other actions in violation of the law, their actions in firing Michael and punishing the other five ministers for speaking up could certainly open them up to liability.

  127. janiceg,

    NAAH,

    Thank you for your response. Couple of things, Mary Harvey is an attorney, but what type of attorney. Just because someone is an attorney doesn’t mean that they practice human resources law, which is a critical need. I don’t know how the leadership goes about picking the personnel committee, but I do know that even if the personnel committee offers advice, the leadership doesn’t have to take it.

    The fact that people say they’re not going to sue, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t change our practices or highlight issues where we could have been sued. Christians in general tend to go light on lawsuits because we’re admonished not to sue each other in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen, nor that if there’s an ethical transgression that we shouldn’t review it. The fact that Christians don’t often sue each other is grace, and we shouldn’t abuse it. I’m not sure where the comment about being required to make donations comes from, but the majority of the budget comes from tithes and offerings. The church can’t function without them, at least not for long. The endowment fund doesn’t stretch as far as people think it does.

    My personal feeling is that the budget shortfalls are due to the fact that leadership has not addressed the issues the congregation has raised head on, and it’s a pattern that has caused a great deal of suspicion within the congregation. Michael Balboni was one only one of several issues. I also know for a fact that the 4 PM congregation was not valued by Mark, Nathan (and some key Elders) and it was considered the source of conflict within the church. Mark said as much to me. I truly believe the 4 PM base of giving has been severely affected and it significantly hurt the church. Mark could come back, and apologize for taking the 4 PM for granted and endeavor to do both the traditional and the contemporary services WELL. If a contemporary service with a band isn’t his flavor, then he should stick to the morning services and let another minister handle the 4 PM. Nathan also needs to stick with the morning services and they need a Music Director for the evening service who cares to maintain the Holy Spirit infused modern worship of the 4 PM, which has been nearly smothered. They’re entitled to their preferences, but so is the congregation. They should honor how the entire congregation enjoys worshiping, not just people who insist on liturgy and a 17th century hymn. There’s no mandate against lively worship in the Bible.

    I may have gotten off on a tangent there, but I wanted to address some of those points in your message. I know we’re all tired of conflict, and I know I’m letting my frustration show at times, but these are worthy battles. Park Street can bounce back if it’s willing to address the wounds appropriately.

  128. Seeking Truth,

    At will termination doesn’t give you an employer, the right to terminate for any reason. There are still expectations of proving that there was a performance issue, or a discipline problem, or some significant negligence on the employees part. There also has to be some kind of documentation showing that the employee had significant issues. At will doesn’t give an employer carte blanche to fire anybody for any reason. I’m not convinced that a manager coming in and trying to force everyone to sign a vague letter of loyalty to him and making their employment contingent upon it is legal. if you think about it, how do you measure something like loyalty or solidarity? Are you deciding that if one minister wears a blue shirt when you happen to be wearing an orange shirt that they’re not in solidarity with you? It’s totally arbitrary. Does it mean that the ministers have to be in complete solidarity with this minister going forward or if an issue arises and someone disagrees will they be in violation of the solidarity agreement? It truly is not illegally binding document. That letter, in my opinion, shows a leader that is trying to demand respect rather than command respect. He hasn’t been able to earn the respect and loyalty of his staff, so he’s trying to force it was a vague and arbitrary letter. A friend of mine posted my question hypothetically on Wellesley’s Lawyer Network, and the response from one of the attorneys was not kind. She described the hypothetical author of such a letter as a would-be dictator who will achieve no purpose except to show his infirmity to the public. I think the point is there is very little legal merit in such a letter. I think it’s worth a call to some attorneys experienced in corporate HR.

  129. Where is this information about Mary Harvey being a lawyer coming from? As far as I can tell this is not true. She works in tech as a consultant and went to MIT. Geoff Raux and Andrew Zeigler practice law. Just wanted to put that out there.

    BTW, Jason also lists a “Certificate in Interview and Interrogation Techniques” on his LinkedIn. What kind of skills/perspective is he bringing to PSC?

  130. Observant Outsider,

    Observant Outsider:
    Where is this information about Mary Harvey being a lawyer coming from? As far as I can tell this is not true. She works in tech as a consultant and went to MIT. Geoff Raux and Andrew Zeigler practice law. Just wanted to put that out there.

    Sorry, this was my misunderstanding. Your info is correct! Thanks