A Majority of Park Street Church Members Vote Against Affirming Mark Booker as Senior Pastor. The Hot Potato Passes to the Stunned Elders.

Park Street Church 2014

“Screwtape writes: “Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours – and the more ‘religious’ (on those terms) the more securely ours.” CS Lewis


On Sunday, a meeting was held to see if the church membership would request that the Board of Elders/Powers That Be revisit Mark Booker’s qualifications for his position as senior minister at Park Street Church (PSC). This was a meeting called by the membership.

When church members last voted on Booker’s qualifications for ministry, 33% voted that they did not affirm him. 67% voted to affirm him. I wrote about this in Why the Business Meeting at Park Street Church to Affirm Mark Booker Reminded Me of Warm Beer at a Bruins Game.

From there, it went from bad to worse. The Vicinage Council of local 4C pastors voted to exonerate Booker, meaning he was a great guy who would never spiritually or psychologically abuse anyone. Several PSC pastors resigned, getting out of Dodge while the going was good: Damian Long, Ray Kam, and Julian Linnell.  So did two of the elders: Leslie Liu and Yannick Assogba.

Frankly, it wasn’t very encouraging. I heard from some who were beginning to look for other churches.

However, some faithful members were so concerned for the church’s well-being that they continued. We kept the most recent post open to comments. TWW routinely closes comments on a post after one month since keeping up with comments on older posts is challenging. Accidentally, the program closed the latest post on 5/3 today, on 6/3. We quickly got it up again. We will now switch comments to this current post.

TWW has played an important role in allowing folks at PSC and elsewhere to continue discussing how to deal with the current situation. There was a group of people who didn’t give up. They ensured that letters from former pastors and elders discussing Booker’s negative actions and interactions were well distributed to the faithful. I watched the conversations and spent lots of time thinking and praying. It seemed over, but it wasn’t.

The vote signals a problem for the elders.

At the top of this post is the motion before the members who gathered to vote. Something had changed. Was it the courage of those who have served as elders, leaders, and pastors who told the truth? This includes Cindy Cutlip, John Knight, a Missions Committee member, Kris Perkins, and Kimberley Morrison.

The vote:
42.85% or 186 votes for Mark Booker
55.76 % or 242 votes against Mark Booker
0.01% or 6 abstentions
434 total votes cast

The majority of the members voted that Mark Booker was not qualified to be the senior pastor.

So what happens now?

The elder board needs to take it “under consideration.” They are in a bind. From the beginning of the December 30 Christmas/New Year letter (what a letter to get at Christmas, BTW), I have believed that there was a church takeover. My opinion has not changed. However, people are beginning to see why Mark Booker is a problem. My guess is there will be more “encounters with Mark” coming their way.

They have a problem. Will they ignore it and proceed, or will they slow down and think about the future? In my opinion, they made a mistake by hiring Mark Booker. They furthered that error by allowing this convoluted spectacle to continue. PSC is better than that, or at least it used to be.

To think about How about getting a real third party investigation by professionals like GRACE?

And would someone tell Booker to post his confounded diplomas/degrees? Good night! He looks ridiculous.

The letter from Kris Perkins is an example of speaking the truth to the boys in the backroom.

Here is the letter from former long-term pastor Kris Perkins, who, after 24 years, was fired for “no reason given.” I found out he is a pastor in Durham at Triangle Grace Church, and I plan to give him a call to get coffee. (I wonder if he likes Monuts?)

Kris Perkins Response to Request from PSC Members[25]


Comments

A Majority of Park Street Church Members Vote Against Affirming Mark Booker as Senior Pastor. The Hot Potato Passes to the Stunned Elders. — 355 Comments

  1. THANK YOU, Dee!! You, and the tenacious PSC Petitioners and everyone else who co-labored and prayed for this most unlikely outcome.

    Who knows what will happen next? This is what I think should happen:

    1) Mark needs to go.

    He’s lost the congregation. The elders need to put their personal feelings aside, and honor the congregation’s vote. They badly need to either step down themselves, or take radical and uncomfortable steps to earn or re-earn PSC’s trust.

    The worst thing that could happen is that the elders just give Mark paid leave to rest, heal, learn & grow, or whatever. Mark isn’t the only problem here, but he poured gasoline on a problem and accelerated it terribly. While I do pray for Mark’s healing too, his redemptive path certainly should not ever be connected to any timetable or any particular platform in ministry. Also, there were warning signs of Mark’s behavior at Church of the Cross. Dr. Diane Langberg warns that patterns of behavior like these are often very deep-seated and resistant to genuine change (vs. the appearance of sincere change).

    2) Get an interim pastor who is knowledgeable and really seasoned in spiritual abuse. Ask Christian abuse victim advocates for recommendations. This is far more important for PSC’s healing at this point than preaching gifts & memorable sermons.

    3) Have GRACE do an Organizational Assessment.

    If Mark resigns, you can skip the $$$$ and time that a truly independent investigation into spiritual abuse takes, and move on to the bigger question of, how did this ever happen???

    Everyone knows how big & complex PSC is, and that leadership was dysfunctional before Mark came around. You need a painful and objective deep dive by experts to get a thorough diagnosis and recommendations. Also, their final report should be viewed by everyone in the congregation.

    4) While you’re at it, have GRACE do the Safeguarding Initiative and write abuse policies. I don’t even think PSC has abuse policies, which is shockingly reckless for a church of that size & especially one that prides themselves on being so wicked smaht.

    5) ALL current PSC leaders should educate themselves on spiritual abuse by reading Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church by Michael J. Kruger.

    Kruger is President of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC, so he’s writing from the concerned perspective of pastoral leadership, and gets why people’s first instinct is to defend their pastors. He explains what spiritual abuse is, walks readers through spiritual abuse in the OT & NT, explains why churches cover it up, and gives tips for how Search Committees can screen for spiritual abuse while looking for their next pastor.

    6) Transparency with the congregation is KEY. Commit yourselves to radical transparency. Trust me, the congregation has already learned how to read right through your spin, anyway.

    7) Acknowledge that NO ONE wanted to speak out against Mark Booker, but felt it was urgent to do so, for the health and flourishing of PSC. Realize that the Holy Spirit moves and works through the congregation.

    Yes, be willing to meet in small groups with them – but not to tell them what you are going to do, but rather, to LISTEN and LEARN from THEM what you ought to be doing. Christian leadership ≠ might making right.

    8) Be proactive in turning PSC from toxic to healthy by reading Pivot by Scot McKnight & Laura Barringer in community. And by community, I mean, humbling yourselves and reading it with the Park Streeters you’d least like to hear from, who will show you your actual blind spots.

    9) Obvs, pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray without ceasing.

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  2. “I have believed that there was a church takeover”

    And what would the agenda be for a takeover? To capture that historic church building and other assets from long-standing members? To change the theology and ecclesiology of the church? To establish a more rigid elder-rule system without any congregational input? What would be the primary mission of a takeover by these characters?

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  3. Oh, and I forgot!

    10) Have a wise and compassionate, Christian trauma-informed counselor available to help heal the wounded.

    The current leadership is too complicit (and possibly too ignorant about trauma & spiritual abuse) to offer pastoral care here. Besides which, I’d never trust the leaders not to breach confidentiality, since that was a common theme in Mark’s behavior.

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  4. Max:
    “I have believed that there was a church takeover”

    And what would the agenda be for a takeover?To capture that historic church building and other assets from long-standing members?To change the theology and ecclesiology of the church?To establish a more rigid elder-rule system without any congregational input?What would be the primary mission of a takeover by these characters?

    To take a diverse congregation and put all of the power in one viewpoint (conservative, complementarian, traditional). Too bad, the congregation got in the way.

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  5. Elizabeth Klein: 9) Obvs, pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray pray without ceasing.

    And (10) Ask those amazing pastors and elders who just resigned to withdraw their letters of resignation! We need some humble, truth-telling leaders with good institutional memory!! Quick let’s get them back, if they are open to it, before they get snatched up* for being such awesome and courageous and faithful siblings in Christ!

    *So I know “snatched up” isn’t so nice to other lovely communities in Christ! I mean this slightly in jest… ultimately if the Holy Spirit has something else for these siblings, we do NOT want to delay them and their dear, dear families a single day! Buuuuut, oh, please, please can we keep them and walk into healing with them?

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  6. Dee!!!! You are such a key piece of all of this! Your blog is not only a place to learn and grow, but served those of us who needed a safe place to support one another! It will be a joy to chat with you in Heaven! And I hope we meet on this side of the River Jordan sometime! Please let us know if you will be visiting Boston… we can have a time of fellowship, tea / coffee, good snacks or a good meal, and prayer!

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  7. Well done, PSC members. You saw sin for sin and made your voice heard. There is still much work to be done. The church cannot be rebuilt under the same leadership that allowed and participated in this sin.

    For Mark’s co-abusers, you should repent of your sins (wrath, manipulation, espionage, hatred) or resign immediately:

    Jason Abraham
    Geoff Rush
    David Rix
    Mike Ahearn
    Nathan Skinner (who apologized to the congregation but needs to also ask individuals for forgiveness)

    For Mark’s sycophants, opportunists, and other allies who have enabled this regime: you must also resign. You may also be victims in this, manipulated into believing that you need to follow this path to preserve the church. It should be evident at this point that you were wrong. Take time to grieve of your decisions, but do so outside of a position of leadership:

    David Murgatroyd
    Andrew Zeigler
    Deb Gallagher
    Margaret Sloat
    Mary Harvey
    Randall Weitzig

    I hope that one day you can experience the grace of repentance for how you have damaged the staff, congregation, and image of the Gospel through your actions.

    This can’t end with Mark. There is much work to be done.

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  8. Elizabeth Klein,

    Such a thoughtful and wise list! I’ll make my post #11 on the list! :o)

    (12) Tear up that stupid and abusive letter to Susan Lane and welcome her back onto the church property with open arms. Have its authors publicly ask her to forgive them for their abusive behavior and weaponized use of sacred scriptures and spiritual language and concepts.

    (13) Tell the congregation which elders have been the co-authors on which abusive letters. Confess and repent of the “one voice policy” once and for all!

    (14) Put safe guards in the bylaws against spiritual abuse. Get professional help and advice on the language to use.

    (15) Require Jason Abraham to apologize for his harshness and cruelty towards anyone not openly supportive of and obsequious to Mark Booker. Then accept his heartfelt and genuine resignation and his commitment to “equal weights and measures” in all he does personally, professionally, and in community.

    (16) Talk about, read about, sing about, PRAY about how people move through the stages of grief differently. Give time and more time for lament and mourning for all the abuse that has happened.

    —> adding some goals for the distant-ish future time as people start to be ready for rebuilding trust and relationships <—

    (17) Find some lovely things to celebrate! Have church potluck meals and rotate who is on the set up and clean up teams! At the potlucks, play some silly games together. Do that “get to know you” game where each person needs to find someone who has done X, or can play the Y instrument, or who was born in Z month… but be careful of those competitive types! :o) Get some team building board games and play them at the potluck meals. Sign up for a church ropes course at La Vida at Gordon College and do a challenge by choice day of activities. Have a deep clean day where the congregation dusts and scrubs everything that doesn’t move! (To be clear, the church is super well maintained…. I mention this because cleaning a place with your own hands changes how you steward that location.) And then send the cleaning crew / facilities maintenance team on a good vacation!

    (18) Involve the next generations in the services! Have them stand on a step stool and read Scripture or make an announcement. Generally be thoughtful about “age segregation” and when it is not absolutely necessary, avoid it.

    (19) Have someone who enjoys visiting small groups and fellowships, gather more fun ideas from each part of the community. Or start a “fun ideas bulletin board” where people can share ways to enjoy one another’s company.

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  9. Observant Outsider: To take a diverse congregation and put all of the power in one viewpoint (conservative, complementarian, traditional). Too bad, the congregation got in the way.

    ^^ this exactly. also Mark knows for longevity he needs to surround himself by yes men which Abraham is performing excellently. The number of people who collaborated with Mark in this mess (like David Rix) is how Mark keeps making messes. Unfortunately, because of Mark’s theological ideology I do not see him stepping down. Knowing and serving with him personally, I know that his narrow conservative ideology is such that he truly believes that he is the outstretched hand of God in the congregation because God put him in this leadership position and that is affirmation enough for him that what he does is what God wants. That is why he can say to people point blank that “its his gut” why a person should go. And he and Mandy can rationalize it and have for years! But the BoE will apparently let the congregation burn for some reformed complementarian theology. And Mark is so close to making the church reflect this sort of ideology… its only time! I shiver reading Perkins’ account.

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  10. What an amazing letter from Pastor Perkins. I’m going through a very difficult circumstances right now, wanting to just walk away from the Lord and the faith I’ve clung to so tightly for so long. It all seems rather hopeless. But Pastor Perkins’ opening paragraph has shone a light into the deep darkness invading my soul:

    “I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who understands the burdens we bear and promises to deliver us from every tribulation. Through each and every hardship, we are refined. By clinging faithfully to him in long-suffering his glory is manifest in and through our lives. In humility, Christ himself bore the cross to complete the work given to him, and through suffering, God’s goodness has come to bear on generation after generation. He was delivered through death and lives in glorified life as we all shall when we take up our own crosses and follow him. One day we shall stand together in unity around his throne crowned with everlasting joy when sin is no more and the troubles of this world melt away.”

    What beautiful, life-giving words. I’m going to print this letter up and re-read it over and over. The whole letter is a shining representation of all it means to be a pastor and care for the people as Christ does. Of what it means to be a Christian and the call we have to live in love and unity. I wish I were a member of his congregation. What a loss for PSC. What a blessing for Triangle Grace to be shepherded by such a man.

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  11. Dear Mark Booker, if you are awake at this hour or have been awake these past few hours, please know I am asking God to give you a dream or vision of what you should do going forward. You are in a small boat in a terrible storm. The good news and Good News is that Jesus comes walking on the water and calms storms. It’s his modus operandi and He loves to save folks from raging storms! His smile over you after He calms the storm will warm your heart and spread a calming sensation throughout your body… and throughout your life. Please look to Jesus in honesty and ask Him for help. He loves you and desperately wants to lead you beside still waters and into green pastures. Your dear wife and children will be blessed to see Jesus calm the storm and to find those green hills and that calm and refreshing water. You will never regret asking Jesus to calm this storm!

    I’d email this to you, but I want to share it here so others can ask God for this for you and your family when they pray for you all by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

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  12. Watcher:
    Mark and his wolf pack have hurt a lot of people.It is time they humbly step down so that this beleaguered church can rebuild.But I predict they will not take that path.It leaves them a few key options:

    1) Launch an “independent” investigation.
    2) Put Mark on leave to rehabilitate
    3) Affirm Mark and say that everyone else is mistaken.

    They now know from Sunday that #3 will no longer work.SO Based on prior patterns of behavior, they will likely try a combo of 1 and 2.They will say, “In light of the unexpected perspectives that came to light last week, the board has hired an outside investigative team… blah blah blah.We are also concerned about the pain inflicted on Mark and his family, and we have agreed for Mark to go on a voluntary leave of absence for three months for spiritual reflection, healing, and discernment.We have hired an interim senior minister, X, who has experience working in situations such as ours. He is an excellent preacher and leader, and he will start on June 17.During this difficult time that has caused so much hurt to all, we will seek unity to heal and pray….” Blah, blah, blah…

    Then the plan will be for Mark to return after Labor Day.He will come back, three months hiking in Colorado and rafting in the Rockies “a new man, healed, with a fresh perspective.”“The Lord has really met me in a profound way, and I’m ready to serve you in greater humility and deeper love… blah blah” The people who resigned will be long in the rear-view mirror (bye bye Damian, Julian, Ray, Leslie, Yannick; bye bye petitioners; it was swell knowing ya).Maybe Tim and Tammy gets to keep his job after all.A little opposition to toy with is fun for the cat to have at least one mouse to scare into a hole.Over the summer, the Interim senior minister calms everyone down, tells everyone in private meetings that they have legit concerns and deep hurts, tells everyone in public that we need to heal, we need to love, we need “radical forgiveness.”Mark comes back in soft tones.Adam is now his new saluting preaching associate, purchased with just a title; Andrew becomes the executive by January 2025.

    The week before Thanksgiving, the investigation comes back with another highly controlled report, that Geoff Raux, David M, and Andrew Ziegler figured out how to appear independent but it will not be at all.Those guys have learned how to master the fix….Everyone goes away for Thanksgiving, and then we launch into Christmas Tide.Investigation is long gone.

    Most of the petitioners will have already left b/c they knew it was not independent, but all the naive folk in the middle will continue to believe everything they are told without much question.“You can never satisfy those petitioners.” Some of the old timers who smell the rot, try to find the positive b/c they ain’t leaving no matter what.The independent investigation only affirms the vicinage and voca. “We have done our due diligence.We have turned over every rock.Mark is “a gem.”So by November, they exonerate Mark for the fourth time, and the diamond in the rough is sparkly in his flowing robes.

    “Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiime is on our side, yes it is…”Pop the champagne.

    … Dee, something like the above is what is going to happen, unless God intervenes. I’m still betting on God for this one.

    Not to be Debbie Downer after Sunday’s miracle, but this scenario is entirely plausible.

    From Cindy Cutlip’s testimony:

    “Mark uses time to his advantage, and has said to me, ‘A wise mentor told me that in chaotic situations as a leader, time is your friend.’”

    However, I pray that this will not be the case! I pray that Mark resigns.

    Please allow Mark Street Church to go back to being Park Street Church, so PSC can begin the heavy-lifting, longtime work of healing.

    The congregation made a big difference on Sunday. The congregation can also hold the elders’ feet to the fire on this.

    So many Christians in abuse situations tie the concept of “mercy” to a seemingly redeemed abuser earning back a paid, ministry position. That’s not mercy. Worse, it may be enabling.

    Mercy, rather, is reconciliation with God, a renewed relationship with Him, a further opening of the heart to become more Christlike. God’s mercy leads us back to Him, with our messy, real, non-curated selves begging for help. We cannot dictate a Holy Spirit timetable in another person’s life.

    Abusers, in general, are very good at feigning sincere repentance – usually because they gain something in return. It’s like the “honeymoon” cycle for a violent spouse, who insists he’s sorry for beating her, cries, buys her flowers, promises to be a totally different and better human – but only to trap her in the relationship where he continues to abuse her.

    The promise of a paid, ministry platform would motivate any abuser to do what it takes, to convince the congregation & elders of sincere heart change. Whereas, the only way to truly give Mark a real chance to change is to take that reward away. Moreover, it’s the loving thing to do, for someone who is addicted to power and control.

    I do believe in being financially merciful. Mark has a wife and (4?) kids, so do give him a severance package.

    But please let him go. And don’t write a glowing recommendation letter for another pastorate, making him some other church’s problem.

    I do pray for Mark’s healing, and that he would find a compassionate and yet extremely clear-eyed counselor, who is seasoned in matters like spiritual abuse. Someone like Chuck DeGroat – who, by the way, says patterns like these can take 10 years of deep, hard hard work to change.

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  13. Observant Outsider,

    I have been bothered by the change to divide the Christian formation hour by neighborhood and I couldn’t articulate why for a long time and your comment embodies my issue with it, which is that when there was an actual coffee hour you would have people from Andover interacting with people living on the streets in the city, when there were Christian formation classes not segregated by geographical area you were encouraging people to step out of their enclaves and interact with people who they otherwise might not encounter. I am all for neighborhood small groups, but it seems to me part of the point of drawing people from all over the area on Sunday is that you can interact with people with different life experiences and perspectives and that stopped happening. I know this is a minor side issue, but it was another example to me of the siloing of interaction and information that was happening at the church

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  14. Elizabeth Klein: From Cindy Cutlip’s testimony:

    “Mark uses time to his advantage, and has said to me, ‘A wise mentor told me that in chaotic situations as a leader, time is your friend.’”

    Sounds more like advice for a corporate CEO than a pastor. “Wait it out and this too will pass” is not the heart of a pastor. In the meantime, Scripture tells us exactly what is going on when chaos hits a church: “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). Too often, church leaders will point a finger at others as the source of confusion, while the rest of their fingers are pointing back at them. Everyone forgetting that another spirit has moved into the church which is not Holy.

    Elizabeth Klein: Abusers, in general, are very good at feigning sincere repentance – usually because they gain something in return.

    Crying without tears, weeping without remorse, sobbing to distract are not signs of true repentance. Church beware! God hates arrogance and pretense (Proverbs 16).

    Elizabeth Klein: I do believe in being financially merciful … severance

    Indeed. All those who have served PSC deserve some remuneration when they exit, for their family’s sake. Were those on the long list of staff fired or forced out by Mr. Booker given that consideration?

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  15. Max: Dictator: “one holding complete autocratic control: a person with unlimited governmental power; one ruling in an absolute and often oppressive way”

    And Christians LOOOOOVE Dictatorship.
    As long as the Dictator is one of their Anointed or (like RO Patriarch Kyril) THEY get to sit at the Dictator’s Right Hand as Court Pet.

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  16. Elizabeth Klein: Abusers, in general, are very good at feigning sincere repentance

    IMO, genuine repentance is actually quite hard to fake in the sight of careful observers — it entails concrete visible life changes. What is much easier to fake is “sincere contrition”, because that can be communicated with affect and words. Good-hearted onlookers, who are not themselves skilled deceivers, interpret the visible display as an accurate representation of the person’s internal state, when it may actually merely be a ruse.

    What would “genuine repentance” look like in this case? Perhaps it would include things like publicly acknowledging the validity of the valid charges made by people over whom MB has exercised power. By the end of that, it might be very difficult to argue that he ought to remain in office. Peaceful departure might be another visible mark of genuine repentance.

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  17. As much as Mark Booker needed to be rebuked, please also remember he is brother is Christ needing compassion. I observed him during the special meeting, and I could not recall the last time I saw a man looking so miserable and isolated. Can you imagine what it was like for him to get raked over coals in front of 400+ people for 4 hours? Jesus calls us to love our enemies, and Mark possibly had the worst day of his career yesterday. I wish he could have been spared that, that would have been torture for anyone. Pray for him as well.

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  18. Worried and Anxious: Can you imagine what it was like for him to get raked over coals in front of 400+ people for 4 hours?

    He’s a big boy. If he was properly trained, he should have been aware that this sort of thing happens frequently in churches. He is the one CALLED to be a shepherd and taking it on the chin is to be expected.

    I’m wondering. You mentioned how Booker looked. You didn’t mention how all the people mistreated looked. Why?

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  19. Leah Jacobs: I’m going to print this letter up and re-read it over and over. The whole letter is a shining representation of all it means to be a pastor and care for the people as Christ does. Of what it means to be a Christian and the call we have to live in love and unity. I wish I were a member of his congregation. What a loss for PSC. What a blessing for Triangle Grace to be shepherded by such a man.

    What a thoughtful thing to say!

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  20. This comment is for all pastors, not just Mark that put themselves before the church. 1. Scripture teaches that “Jesus will build His Church…”which Pastor will put himself first and go against God and cause division and divide it? Who wins? Satan. By causing discord and disharmony in the local church for the outside world to see. 2. Resign and a. trust in God’s leading and direction to lead him to another church and b. for the local church to trust God for a new Pastor that can unite the congregation together. Too many pastor’s stay and fight due to pride and fear of a unknown future. As well, their is the “messiah” complex (small “m”) where he is the only one that can save the church from ruin.

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  21. dee,

    Because practically speaking everyone on this board is against Mark and the PSC leadership (including me, I am a petitioner). I don’t need to tell anyone here to have compassion for our mistreated junior ministers and resigned elders.

    Just because he needed to take it on the chin doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. Jesus had compassion for sinners, and so shouldn’t we? It doesn’t mean letting crimes slide without consequence, it just means acknowledging they’re hurt, hoping they will heal, and not taking delight in their humiliation.

    If nothing else, we are all sinners and I’m willing to bet many of us put in the same circumstances would produce equally terrible actions. It’s just that the grace of God has saved us from having the power to do as much damage as Mark and Jason has. Hence, the need for compassion; we’re not “better” than the people we condemn.

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  22. Worried and Anxious: Mark possibly had the worst day of his career yesterday. I wish he could have been spared that, that would have been torture for anyone.

    Pat Chen
    Andrew Swenson
    Emma Nyquist
    Robyn Bunch
    Dan Verrengia
    Kris Perkins
    Kimberley Morrison
    John Knight
    Cindy Cutlip
    Shannon Jacobs
    Michael Balboni
    Nick Dedeke
    Yannick Assogba
    Damian Long
    Julian Linell
    Pay Park
    Tammy McLeod(?)
    Tim Leary(?)

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  23. Worried and Anxious:
    dee,

    Because practically speaking everyone on this board is against Mark and the PSC leadership (including me, I am a petitioner). I don’t need to tell anyone here to have compassion for our mistreated junior ministers and resigned elders.

    Just because he needed to take it on the chin doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. Jesus had compassion for sinners, and so shouldn’t we? It doesn’t mean letting crimes slide without consequence, it just means acknowledging they’re hurt, hoping they will heal, and not taking delight in their humiliation.

    If nothing else, we are all sinners and I’m willing to bet many of us put in the same circumstances would produce equally terrible actions. It’s just that the grace of God has saved us from having the power to do as much damage as Mark and Jason has. Hence, the need for compassion; we’re not “better” than the people we condemn.

    Beautiful, compassionate words. Thank you.

    It was also his birthday…as well as his wife’s, Tim Leary’s AND Tim’s wife!

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  24. Worried and Anxious:”I observed him during the special meeting, and I could not recall the last time I saw a man looking so miserable and isolated.”

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

    It’s simply cause and effect. He was warned there would be consequences for how he was conducting himself.

    And rightly so. In no context should autocracy, cruel or not, be received with passive compliance. The longer it is accommodated the more lives are damaged.

    If that matters.

    If human lives are more important than some doctrinal concept.

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  25. Townsend: By causing discord and disharmony in the local church for the outside world to see

    I have to disagree with this. The leaders should be more concerned about their personal Christian life and what God thinks, than what the ‘outside world’ sees. When they worry about what others think is when they hide, lie, and cause trouble for the Church.

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  26. Okay, I’m getting Worried and Anxious about something else now.

    Are there people on this board who are actually happy that Mark had a terrible time? Got what’s coming to him? That’s understandable if you were a direct victim of Mark or the Board of Elders, but for the rest of us that is distinctly un-Christ-like behavior. I hope we’re here for mutual support, not to indulge in feelings of moral superiority.

    I’m not espousing some sort of radical new theology here. Can’t we feel for Mark’s victims and for Mark at the same time?

    Also, Dan Verrengia is an unequivocal supporter of Mark. He is also a beloved, long-time pastor and counselor of PSC who got dismissed by leadership. We live in a weird world and things are not always as they seem.

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  27. Worried and Anxious,

    The Word also says we should grieve our sins. Could this humiliation be a necessary part of his journey? I can’t say for sure. Sometimes good things are hard. I feel sorry for him but all of this could have been avoided if he make different choices along the way. This IS the most compassionate path, because when people have attempted to resolve their differences privately he has been unrelenting.

    And I do care about Mark, because digging his heels and remaining at PSC will continue to reveal his actions, put attention on him from the media, and put his family through more pain (which he loves to talk about how hard all of this is on his family).

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  28. TEDS: Beautiful, compassionate words. Thank you.

    It was also his birthday…as well as his wife’s, Tim Leary’s AND Tim’s wife!

    TEDS: Beautiful, compassionate words. Thank you.

    /blockquote>

    WHO ARE WE TO JUDGE ?
    WHO ARE WE TO DENY FOREGIVENESS LIKE JONAH DID @ NINEVEH

    Resolve to be cheerful and helpful. People will repay you in kind.

    Avoid angry, abrasive persons. They are generally vengeful.

    Avoid zealots. They are generally humorless.

    Resolve to listen more and talk less. No one ever learned anything by talking.

    Be wary of giving advice – wise men don’t need it, and fools won’t heed it.

    Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged,
    sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and wrong.
    Sometime in life you will have been all of these.

    JOB 40:3-5
    I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
    I put my hand over my mouth
    I spoke once, but I have no answer—
    Twice, but I will say no more

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  29. When the Park Street Five met with the VC, each had another Park Street pastor by their side supporting them. So, there are 11 current and former pastors advocating for Mark’s resignation. And there are three other former pastors who have made it clear that they agree with the 11. The people who understand Park Street the best, and those who know Mark as an employer the most are nearly unanimous. He is the wrong man for this job. He was promoted far beyond his competence and character. The argument that most of the staff approve of him doesn’t hold water because abusers tend to hide their true character from those who are not close to them. They affirm him because they don’t know him. Abusers normally only clash with apparent threats they can’t control. (Like better educated employees).

    And now a majority of the congregation has an accurate understanding of the situation. And they have made their wishes obvious. How can the elders possibly justify defending him? How can he remain with a clear conscience when he knows that the vast majority of his senior staff and two of his elders would rather resign than continue to work with him. How can he possibly lead a congregation when most of them have publicly voted “no confidence” in his character? No competent and ethical board of directors would even consider moving forward with this leadership. No CEO who cared about the future of his organization would even think of continuing under these circumstances. Resignation is the only responsible option.

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  30. BTA: When the Park Street Five met with the VC, each had another Park Street pastor by their side supporting them. So, there are 11 current and former pastors advocating for Mark’s resignation.

    That should speak volumes to (1) Mr. Booker, (2) the Board of Elders, and (3) the congregation. It’s unbelievable that things at PSC have reached this stage! Talking about a leadership failure!

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  31. Worried and Anxious: Can’t we feel for Mark’s victims and for Mark at the same time?

    No one is delighting in this situation or what Mark went through. However your earlier comments come dangerously close to portraying Mark as a victim, when he is the abuser. Mark and the Board have engaged in DARVO (deny attack reverse victim offender), trying to brainwash the congregation into feeling bad for him (“this is so hard for me and my family”). Look at the list of resigned or fired ministers, resigned elders, and consider their families. The Sunday meeting is a direct consequence of Mark’s choices and the first time he’s faced any accountability. I’m not happy that he’s in this situation and I will pray for him. But does being loving require feeling sorry for him, when he is reaping what he sowed?

    Also, Dan Verrengia retired. He had been planning to retire. He was not dismissed by leadership.

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  32. Sardis: Mark and the Board have engaged in DARVO (deny attack reverse victim offender), trying to brainwash the congregation into feeling bad for him (“this is so hard for me and my family”).

    So many of us old “Wartburgers” saw that at the very beginning of this mess. All the flags were there. So sorry that the PSC staff and congregation had to go through this and hope that the BoE puts an end to it soon.

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  33. Worried and Anxious,

    I don’t perceive anyone being happy or feeling any moral superiority about any of this. Perhaps a modicum of relief that something more just is happening.

    this is simply being expressed in an unvarnished way, without embroidery.

    My view is the whole of creation sighs with relief when forms of justice happen. There is no reason for sentient beings to shut off this very intuitive reflex.

    It is unwarranted and a mistake to spiritualize this away.

    and the irony of corporately pining for something just, and then when a modicum of it happens and people breath a sigh of relief they are guilted for it is…. psychologically problematic.

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  34. Everyone intimately involved this PSC mess can allow himself or herself the space to feel how they feel about Mark.

    In general, I think a lot of times in Christian communities, we can feel pressured to bury negative feelings, instead of being real about who we are with God and with one another. Also, beautiful Christian concepts like forgiveness and reconciliation can be badly distorted by being hurried, pressured, or even weaponized against survivors. I don’t think that that’s how God brings about genuine healing.

    Yes, we are to pray for Mark. But I agree that Mark is not the victim here.

    I wasn’t at Sunday’s Special Meeting, but I don’t think that people were raking him over the coals, so much as they were testifying to what they had seen and heard and observed about him. And much of what they had experienced of Mark was highly disturbing.

    Also, I think one of the beautiful things to come out of Sunday’s Special Meeting is that people who have been traumatized by Mark’s behavior now finally feel seen, acknowledged, and understood. And they are not alone. That could be very important in their healing process.

    Mark is experiencing the consequences of his actions. I don’t doubt that that is extremely painful. But given time – a long, long time – this painful exposure could actually be the best thing that ever happened to him.

    Chuck DeGroat is a seasoned, Christian counselor for abusive pastors. True compassion sometimes means asking tough questions. Here’s an excerpt from one of his blogposts:

    *********

    “As I sat with the pastor, he had many reasons for his actions – many years without a sabbatical, burnout, lack of emotional support from his wife, a ‘weak’ elder board. He was quick to say, ‘I failed.’ But he never got specific.

    In one session, I asked him for permission to say something hard to him. He agreed. I offered this to him: ‘What would it be like to say this to your wife: For years, I emotionally abused you by mocking your effort, your appearance, your faithfulness. I played the part of obedient pastor, but in secret I abused and tormented you. When pornography was not enough to anesthetize away my shame, I intentionally and meticulously groomed women who adored me for back-rubs, blowjobs, and sex in my office, on the floor right next to my desk and our family picture.’

    He sat silently, head down, as if it was the first time he’d considered something other than a narrative that would preserve his shiny veneer. I suspect he was weighing his options, as he always did, so very fearful of an ultimate confrontation with himself.

    He looked up at me, steel-eyed: ‘Chuck, can I say something to you? What would it look like for you to take the Gospel seriously, to help me gain my esteem back and to help my wife forgive me?’

    I’ve had some version of this same story play out about a dozen times with pastors and/or ministry leaders of some kind.

    This man needed the grace of wilderness. He wanted deliverance from Egypt and a quick flight over the wilderness to the promised land. He ultimately chose the latter. And he used his story as a real, live grace story.

    When we treat grace like a bandaid rather than the major surgery it often demands, we trivialize it. Real transformation is a slow-cook process, especially for narcissists and abusers so hidden from their true selves and so prone to re-configure the masks for the sake of a new narrative and to avoid the pain of self-confrontation.

    The wilderness of grace is the place where the narcissist’s false self is dismantled, but it’s also the place where the systems and structures that buttressed and supported it are confronted and dismantled…”

    https://www.chuckdegroat.net/chuck-degroat-blog/2018/08/15/grace-and-the-abuse-of-grace-for-narcissists-and-abusers

    *************

    I pray for the confrontation and dismantling that will heal Mark and all that ails Park Street Church.

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  35. The one church I was in that reached this point with their pastor (it took a lot of money to get him to resign; no one could seem to get him to leave although we were “elder governed”, and the pastor was only one of the elders)imploded. People just got tired of the drama and the mess, especially when there were other good churches they could attend. I’m afraid that will happen to Park Street if the elders don’t take clear action on the wishes of the congregation.

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  36. The vote:
    42.85% or 186 votes for Mark Booker
    55.76 % or 242 votes against Mark Booker
    0.01% or 6 abstentions
    434 total votes cast

    This is a remarkable and unexpected outcome. I thought things were sealed after the first meeting.

    Elizabeth Klein: From Cindy Cutlip’s testimony:

    “Mark uses time to his advantage, and has said to me, ‘A wise mentor told me that in chaotic situations as a leader, time is your friend.’”

    His mentor was right. If a leader can hang on through the initial push-back, he will usually end up staying in place. That is unfortunate. It means a leader with less ability to feel guilt and shame, and who doesn’t care as much about the well-being of the church, is more likely to stay in place than a leader who resigns for the sake of the church, even if he believes himself innocent of charges.

    So any strategy of delay helps the wrong kind of leader ride it out.

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  37. The vote:
    42.85% or 186 votes for Mark Booker
    55.76 % or 242 votes against Mark Booker
    0.01% or 6 abstentions
    434 total votes cast

    This is hopeful.

    Chapel Hill Bible Church is set to vote tomorrow on proposed changes in bylaws that are likely to permanently gut the power of the congregation and enshrine rule by a small number of men. May the members take their role seriously and carefully evaluate what is proposed. I doubt if they’ll have a chance in the future if the proposed bylaws pass.

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  38. Worried and Anxious: As much as Mark Booker needed to be rebuked, please also remember he is brother is Christ needing compassion. I observed him during the special meeting, and I could not recall the last time I saw a man looking so miserable and isolated. Can you imagine what it was like for him to get raked over coals in front of 400+ people for 4 hours? Jesus calls us to love our enemies, and Mark possibly had the worst day of his career yesterday. I wish he could have been spared that, that would have been torture for anyone. Pray for him as well.

    Compassion is a good trait, but what I think what people are reacting to is the difference between someone suffering for other reasons and someone facing discipline because they’ve been stubborn.

    I am not associated with PSC, but from what I’ve read, he had multiple opportunities to avoid this. He is still inexplicably withholding information about his degrees, for instance. It is such a small thing that he could do to bring peace. Even if his credentials are less than what the congregation would have expected, it’s the hiding of them that is the big issue. And that pales in comparison to the multiple reports describing what people say they experienced as abuse of power and spiritual abuse.

    “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Heb. 12:11
    The key is whether someone is trained by it.
    “Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. ” Prov. 29:1 To me, compassion is that hearing what he heard at the meeting will break through before there is no remedy. A person can sear his conscience by continually sloughing off feedback they don’t want to hear. Self-deceit is a heckuva narcotic.

    This doesn’t sound true of you, but I think what people may be reacting to here is from experience where they saw the pastor suddenly become a victim. Often this is prompted by his own bemoaning, or of allies bemoaning how difficult this “season” has been for him and his family. And nearly 100% of the time, that “compassion” results in the pastor being let off the hook and further encased in sinful patterns.

    From afar, I think compassionate prayer for him would focus on him not hardening his heart in response to the pain, but being able to see himself clearly (which might prove even more painful) and repenting in truth.

    Repentance would certainly include resignation for he sake of the church, because the church cannot heal while he is there at this point.

    If he doesn’t leave, the elders can expect an acceleration of the decline of PSC.

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  39. Eyewitness: Chapel Hill Bible Church is set to vote tomorrow on proposed changes in bylaws that are likely to permanently gut the power of the congregation and enshrine rule by a small number of men.

    = Elder Rule at its best (worst) … very typical of New Calvinist churches, Mark Dever’s theological flavor

    The CHBC congregation in the future will only get to vote on things like color of the carpet and when to have potluck dinners (if they even get that chance!). All staff additions, pay scale, mission focus of the church, etc. will be in the hands of the Inner Ring (Mr. Dever and his band of hand-picked yes-men elders).

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  40. SRH:
    Observant Outsider,

    I have been bothered by the change to divide the Christian formation hour by neighborhood and I couldn’t articulate why for a long time and your comment embodies my issue with it, which is that when there was an actual coffee hour you would have people from Andover interacting with people living on the streets in the city, when there were Christian formation classes not segregated by geographical area you were encouraging people to step out of their enclaves and interact with people who they otherwise might not encounter. I am all for neighborhood small groups, but it seems to me part of the point of drawing people from all over the area on Sunday is that you can interact with people with different life experiences and perspectives and that stopped happening. I know this is a minor side issue, but it was another example to me of the siloing of interaction and information that was happening at the church

    Yes! This. Thank you for this insight.

    SRH:
    Observant Outsider,

    I have been bothered by the change to divide the Christian formation hour by neighborhood and I couldn’t articulate why for a long time and your comment embodies my issue with it, which is that when there was an actual coffee hour you would have people from Andover interacting with people living on the streets in the city, when there were Christian formation classes not segregated by geographical area you were encouraging people to step out of their enclaves and interact with people who they otherwise might not encounter. I am all for neighborhood small groups, but it seems to me part of the point of drawing people from all over the area on Sunday is that you can interact with people with different life experiences and perspectives and that stopped happening. I know this is a minor side issue, but it was another example to me of the siloing of interaction and information that was happening at the church

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  41. Linn: People just got tired of the drama and the mess, especially when there were other good churches they could attend.

    And we wonder why there are millions of Christians “church-shopping” in America. Perhaps the largest growing Christian segment in the nation are the “Dones” (done with church, but not done with Jesus) … too much darm drama … too much “My way or the highway” … too much flesh and not enough Spirit.

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  42. Eyewitness: Even if his credentials are less than what the congregation would have expected, it’s the hiding of them that is the big issue. And that pales in comparison to the multiple reports describing what people say they experienced as abuse of power and spiritual abuse.

    I think too many PSC members got caught up on the former (ain’t no big deal about his credentials) vs. the latter more serious issue of spiritual abuse. Characters in the pulpit with no character is a BIG deal!

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  43. Whistleblower:
    The fix is in. Mark is meeting with the staff tomorrow (without the rebels, of course) to try to explain away everything he’s done and talk about moving forward. Pray that at least one person in that meeting will call him out and challenge his “truth.”

    I don’t see Mark’s loyalists calling him out.

    But if they just tell him, “Sorry, Mark, it’s just not working for you here & you gotta go,” that’s fine by me.

    Will pray that that happens tomorrow. PSC has a LOT of hard, healing work ahead without being sucked into the Mark drama all over again.

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  44. Whistleblower:
    The fix is in. Mark is meeting with the staff tomorrow (without the rebels, of course) to try to explain away everything he’s done and talk about moving forward. Pray that at least one person in that meeting will call him out and challenge his “truth.”

    Tim Leary said on Sunday it’s probably the last time he’d be talking to any of us again, but I don’t think he said he would resign. I could have missed something as it was a bit difficult to hear. I took it as he assumed he’d be fired. Hopefully he’s still speaking out as plainly and clearly as he did on Sunday.

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  45. dee: I do hope that those who were unjustly fired or, due to conscience, needed to resign may think about returning if things go in the right direction.

    Eyewitness: To me, compassion is that hearing what he heard at the meeting will break through before there is no remedy. A person can sear his conscience by continually sloughing off feedback they don’t want to hear.

    Have just heard Mark is still planning to let Damian, Julian, and Ray resign, as if the meeting and vote never happened. Perhaps to no one’s surprise, the Board is letting this happen. Business as usual for Mark on his first day back on the job. Is there no remedy??

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  46. During the special meeting, which I attended, the “affirm” side used a variety of implicit/explicit reminders like (please bear with me):

    * not affirming will only prolong the unnecessary conflict (and turn the church into “Gaza”)
    * When Ockenga comes he would be also rejected (call for a special meeting) like the current senior minister, the petitioners should feel shameful
    * not affirming would in effect disqualify the senior minister not only from PSC but from any possibility of ministering in the US – so not affirming would be a grave mistake (who would judge?)
    * The BoE would only “consider again” even when the motion is not affirmed – the vote is not a re-affirmation vote on the senior minister
    * The vote should only consider whether with the information that the BoE had *then* (not now!) whether they acted faithfully
    * they do not see anything (even after the release of various testimonials) that would change their view – Several ministers that were on MLT spoke out during the meeting, and this speech I remember came even after those (together with the “Gaza” comment)
    * The congregation has no authority by bylaws to have a say on employment matters (the sole purview of the senior minister), so re-instating fired/resigned ministers is off the table
    * The staff culture was already toxic under Huggenberger, so the current senior minister has no responsibility for creating this mess
    * from “watching his face at that time”, Kris seemed to be disappointed when the search committee announced the current senior minister coming in (so implied that he might have his grievances expressed in the recent testimony) – it was clearly stated at the beginning of the meeting that any attacks to other members will not be tolerated by the moderator, but the testimony went on under the justification that it is a “personal perspective germane to the motion at hand”
    * Michael made false accusations in his pages regarding annual report changes
    * One testimony that it was very difficult under Kimberly and after her departure he was so happy under Julian(!) and Mark, so the decision was rightful
    * they would rather let all the resigned ministers plus Tim go and not see them again (this was when Tim was asking the congregation whether the congregation would wish to not see so many ministers anymore, where some people shouted “Yes”)
    * The “not affirm” side often started by invoking their repentance, whereas several who spoke from the leadership said that although it is human nature to find someone to blame and behind with nefarious motives, it is just the complicated situation and differing perspectives that were not perfectly(?)/properly(?) handled

    The moderator even tried to let the vote be counted by simple stand/sit count until the motion to use a paper ballot was essentially unanimously affirmed by the congregation.

    For outsiders, the final tally might appear indeed surprising, but just sitting and hearing the two sides during the meeting was anything but “fair/balanced” and would have affected some of the “moderates”. But because of the speeches I left the building without much hope whether the special meeting’s result could be handled properly by the BoE that lost another two by resignations last week. I pray but I cannot foresee any good path forward.

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  47. A sneaky and subtly abusive email from Pastor Randall Wetzig who is one of Mark Booker’s obsequious loyalists.

    From: Randall Wetzig
    Date: June 4, 2024 at 5:05:55 PM GMT-4
    Subject: Reaching out

    Hi [name withheld],

    Greetings in the name of our good Lord, Jesus. Thank you for all you’ve been doing to serve him by shepherding your small group during this time of confusion, questions, and frustration.

    In light of Damian resigning, I just want you (and the rest of the small group leaders) to know I am praying for you and that I would love to connect with you. If you’d be open, I would be happy to listen to how you are doing after this very difficult week, to talk about your small group if you’d like, and to offer whatever support I can. (I’m not taking over small group leadership at this point, I’m just reaching out as one of the pastors.)

    I am praying for you, and praying for our church with you.

    Randall

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  48. Observant Outsider: I hope that one day you can experience the grace of repentance for how you have damaged the staff, congregation, and image of the Gospel through your actions.
    This can’t end with Mark. There is much work to be done.

    Such wise and courageous words, Observant Outsider! You chose your username accurately and I sense the Holy Spirit speaking through your words.
    Also, thank you for naming those who are abusing others! The time for hiding behind the names of committees, boards, and groups is over.

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  49. Friend of Park Street Church:
    A sneaky and subtly abusive email from Pastor Randall Wetzig who is one of Mark Booker’s obsequious loyalists.

    From: Randall Wetzig
    Date: June 4, 2024 at 5:05:55 PM GMT-4
    Subject: Reaching out

    Hi [name withheld],

    Greetings in the name of our good Lord, Jesus. Thank you for all you’ve been doing to serve him by shepherding your small group during this time of confusion, questions, and frustration.

    In light of Damian resigning, I just want you (and the rest of the small group leaders) to know I am praying for you and that I would love to connect with you. If you’d be open, I would be happy to listen to how you are doing after this very difficult week, to talk about your small group if you’d like, and to offer whatever support I can. (I’m not taking over small group leadership at this point, I’m just reaching out as one of the pastors.)

    I am praying for you, and praying for our church with you.

    Randall

    This is what mark does. He engages in a series of one on one’s. Doing this in the past in a smaller church he had meetings with each of the small groups. Again to alleviate their concerns and pitch his narrative. Now he has to employ his collaborators to do this. It suggests Mark is only going to double down until all the problematic people (242 at this point) leave and he can rebuild PSC to be his people. The thing is, PSC won’t survive after Mark destroys it. I think Mark and his male minions don’t understand the financial gravity of their situation. It’s hard seeing this email. It suggests to me the Mark train of destruction of the church continues full speed ahead… and it’s not a good omen. These men would never operate this way in their business dealings or careers. It’s funny how all that goes out the window here. Politics is funny like that.

    But yes, this email is a tactic mark is familiar with. If he can do enough of these one on ones, get his minions to do it now bc the church is vastly larger, then he can try and recontrol the narrative. The problem is this isn’t a small church and he cannot control everyone’s opinion of him. Most of marks actions, especially how he treated his colleagues, is symptomatic of someone who is fundamentally insecure. He gossips for information because he needs to know who is for/against him because he cannot stand anyone possibly not being 100% for him without that threatening his sense of self. There’s alot of anxiety there from the insecurity. It’s why you go on rampages firing people like this without considering the larger impacts this may have. I have no doubt that Mark will run park street to the ground (aided by Abraham, etc) because he’s thoroughly soiled its reputation at this point.

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  50. A member of the community asked this, and has reported that there has been no response.

    Does anyone know if the results of the vote have been officially announced yet? Perhaps Robot’s Rules of Order or the Bylaws address when a vote is taken how long the Board of Elders* has to announce it?

    Date: June 3, 2024 at 8:44:39 PM GMT-4
    To: Clerk
    Cc: Julian Linnell , Damian Long , Randall Wetzig
    Subject: Re: Response Needed: Membership at Park Street Church

    Hi, Debbie.

    As the clerk, will you be announcing the results of the vote? Or have you already done that to the members on file via email?

    Just checking for an announcement.

    […]

    Thanks!

    [name withheld]

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

    [Again tagging the Board of Elders here for the record. From the Park Street Church website as of June 5, 2024]

    JASON ABRAHAM
    Moderator
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    DEBORAH GALLAGHER
    Clerk
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIE HALVORSEN
    Elder
    TERM: 2 YEARS (2026)

    GREGG HANSEN
    Assistant Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    MARY HARVEY
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    LINDA HERMAN
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    RICHARD IBEKWE
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    GABRIEL LING
    Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    DAVID MURGATROYD
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    GEOFFREY RAUX
    Moderator-Elect
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    KIRSTIN PELTZ
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    DANIEL VOGELZANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    JOSHUA WANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    STEVE WEIBLEY
    Elder
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIANNE WHITE
    Missions Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    ANDREW ZIEGLER
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

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  51. The more I’m thinking of it, the more I realize just telling it is that PSC’s website page for the elders was updated and not the page for the ministers. Does this mean that the person in charge of web maintenance thought to themselves -why change the minister page now, I might as well wait until later this week when I can update all of them? Or was somebody so motivated to make sure the elders were removed and not on the same page as them that they didn’t even consider making any other changes to the site while they’re at it?

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  52. Mark’s former co-laborer: Knowing and serving with him personally, I know that his narrow conservative ideology is such that he truly believes that he is the outstretched hand of God in the congregation because God put him in this leadership position and that is affirmation enough for him that what he does is what God wants. That is why he can say to people point blank that “its his gut” why a person should go.

    Thank you for sharing this here! It really helps to hear from you.

    This description reminds me of the grandiosity that is characteristic of those with narcissistic personality disorder.

    Let’s all keep praying for Mark…. So many signs point to this as a root cause.

    A necessary church-wide read:
    When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community From Emotional and Spiritual Abuse https://a.co/d/3RtFxSE

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  53. Mark’s former co-laborer: the BoE will apparently let the congregation burn for some reformed complementarian theology

    There is a mean spirit behind the proliferation of New Calvinism in the American church. TWW has posted several pieces on ministers and ministries in this movement and impacts on congregations snared by shifting belief and practice in their churches. The only way to stop it is to protect congregational governance by pushing back on elder-rule polity. Pastors, elders and deacons are called to be servants in the Body of Christ, not overlords.

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  54. TEDS:
    The more I’m thinking of it, the more I realize just telling it is that PSC’s website page for the elders was updated and not the page for the ministers. Does this mean that the person in charge of web maintenance thought to themselves -why change the minister page now, I might as well wait until later this week when I can update all of them? Or was somebody so motivated to make sure the elders were removed and not on the same page as them that they didn’t even consider making any other changes to the site while they’re at it?

    It tells you that those collaborating with mark have not been moved. That mark and his ilk are full steam ahead to destroying the church in the hopes of rebuilding it in their image. Mark did the same thing when he fired Ben. Took him off the page so as to erase him immediately. What’s alarming to me is that it shows Mark doesn’t care that 242 people voted to reject him and that his intention is to keep trucking along. It’s not a good sign.

    Also- in case no one noticed, the number of women in leadership is vastly decreasing as the year progresses. Mark doesn’t believe in women elders and moving to a congregation church isn’t going to change that core ideological belief in mark. It’s also how other elders feel as well so the theological diversity is moving toward more conservatism which is what many who voted for mark want.

    Here’s the other thing: mark wants people to resign. Mark wants people to leave. That’s why he feels time is on his side and why he feels no pressure to resign. He can ride this out with his complementarian cronies. But it won’t be long because financially that won’t bring people in because he won’t bring the kind of numbers necessary to salvage his destruction. So he really will kill the church because this isn’t and wasn’t financially sustainable.

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  55. Friend of Park Street Church: Thank you for sharing this here!It really helps to hear from you.

    This description reminds me of the grandiosity that is characteristic of those with narcissistic personality disorder.

    Let’s all keep praying for Mark…. So many signs point to this as a root cause.

    A necessary church-wide read:
    When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community From Emotional and Spiritual Abuse https://a.co/d/3RtFxSE

    Jack,

    TEDS,

    Hello— TEDS, Friend of PSC and Jack:
    Here is a leaked video from Screwtape.org (command room of the Prince of this World): The Chief was showing a Google map with location and membership-stats of all churches on the planet, for assignment to a bunch of rookie devils bustling to jump off: ‘I’ll take Timbuktu’ ‘I want this antique church in Beijing’ ‘ this one in Salt Lake City is cool’.
    SCREWTAPE: ” Quiet! Stupid Lazy Caspers! Your productivity score will be highest in churches so crowded w/ true Christians that you cannot even find room to land in the parking lot.”

    Jesus is the Good Shepherd: He knows EVERY sheep by name, and loves it so much He will risk everything, even Death, to find and save anyone who lost its way.

    BTW: Thank you Dee! for opening this platform for free-speech and mutual edification of fellow pilgrims (epentant sinners) running with our eyes fixed on Jesus our Savior.

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  56. niemand:
    During the special meeting, which I attended, the “affirm” side used a variety of implicit/explicit reminders like…

    * not affirming will only prolong the unnecessary conflict (and turn the church into “Gaza”)

    * not affirming would in effect disqualify the senior minister not only from PSC but from any possibility of ministering in the US – so not affirming would be a grave mistake (who would judge?)

    * The BoE would only “consider again” even when the motion is not affirmed – the vote is not a re-affirmation vote on the senior minister

    * they do not see anything (even after the release of various testimonials) that would change their view

    … I pray but I cannot foresee any good path forward.

    These “affirm” comments are downright bizarre.

    * It’s holding onto Mark that’s unnecessarily prolonging the conflict. The church is ALREADY “Gaza”!

    * If Mark is disqualified at PSC, then why shouldn’t he also be disqualified at any other church? Maybe he is not really called by God to ministry. There are other lines of work. Mark has done some of them.

    * So… whatever happened to the elders’ claim that Mark was humbly holding his call to PSC with wide-open hands, waiting to see what the congregation thought? That only applied to the Annual Meeting in Feb, but it’s now ok to ignore the conscience of the congregation?

    * It’s amazing what the elders and the Vicinage Council are willing to overlook. Nevertheless, the congregation isn’t, and ultimately, the senior minister is there to SERVE. The elders have to be willing to put their own personal feelings and loyalties aside here – and they also need to be realistic. They are not doing Mark any favors by hanging onto him. PSC is not about Mark.

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  57. In regards to why ministers are still on the website: their resignations are effective after a few weeks. They are staying on to help oversee the transition of their ministries and are still serving. I’m guessing Tim will be fired so watch out for that.

    John Knight, an experienced psychologist, suggested Mark undergo an assessment for narcissistic personality disorder based on his behavior. I want to be careful about speculating about an illness that only a professional can diagnose, but I think this could be true. Accounts of Mark remind me of my father, who is very narcissistic and maybe clinically so. In particular, they both hyper-focus on how hard things are for them (even when others are the ones actually suffering). Mark does this even more so in private. I can’t remember where, but in the comments/article someone testified that they were off-put by Mark because he reminded them of their narcissistic/problematic family members. If this is true, Mark’s disordered behavior is being enabled by the Board instead of getting him the help he needs to avoid these destructive patterns.

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  58. Elizabeth Klein: That only applied to the Annual Meeting in Feb, but it’s now ok to ignore the conscience of the congregation?

    “Ours is a High and Lonely Destiny, Digory.”

    Observant Outsider: If this is true, Mark’s disordered behavior is being enabled by the Board instead of getting him the help he needs to avoid these destructive patterns.

    To a lot of Christians these days, NPD is Next to Godliness.

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  59. Whistleblower:
    The fix is in. Mark is meeting with the staff tomorrow (without the rebels, of course) to try to explain away everything he’s done and talk about moving forward. Pray that at least one person in that meeting will call him out and challenge his “truth.”

    Get With The Progeam – the Standing Ovation has already been scheduled.

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  60. For those offended by my request for compassion for Mark, was there a way could I have phrased it differently? Or do you fundamentally disagree with my request?

    Compassion is not the same as leniency. I want Mark to resign and apologize to all whom he has hurt, and I have put in substantial time and resources towards this as a petitioner. I am not some sort of sleeper agent trying to influence public opinion to get him off the hook. But I am also a human being who saw another human in great distress, however unrepentant he may be, and I firmly believe Jesus’ response would be compassion as well. I don’t understand how this could be portrayed as over-spiritualizing.

    To Sardis and janiceg, thank you for clarifying that Dan Verrengia retired. That’s makes it much easier to understand why he supports Mark.

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  61. Observant Outsider:
    In regards to why ministers are still on the website: their resignations are effective after a few weeks. They are staying on to help oversee the transition of their ministries and are still serving. I’m guessing Tim will be fired so watch out for that.

    John Knight, an experienced psychologist, suggested Mark undergo an assessment for narcissistic personality disorder based on his behavior. I want to be careful about speculating about an illness that only a professional can diagnose, but I think this could be true. Accounts of Mark remind me of my father, who is very narcissistic and maybe clinically so. In particular, they both hyper-focus on how hard things are for them (even when others are the ones actually suffering). Mark does this even more so in private. I can’t remember where, but in the comments/article someone testified that they were off-put by Mark because he reminded them of their narcissistic/problematic family members. If this is true, Mark’s disordered behavior is being enabled by the Board instead of getting him the help he needs to avoid these destructive patterns.

    That makes perfect sense. I guess I don’t know much about elder resignations. I didn’t realize their resignations were immediate. I assumed they also had some kind of notice. I’m also very tired. I didn’t realize how much emotional toll this would take on me!

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  62. Dan Verrengia’s support of Booker is probably why people feel comfortable dismissing Knight’s concern about Booker having NPD.

    I’m wondering what concerns people ought to have about Hamilton, given his attitude that senior ministers should get to say “my way or the highway”, and completely clear out previous staff at theit discretion.

    I wonder if he’s ever been involved in a situation before, where a minister had a physician wife (like Michael and Tracy Balboni), and therefore more economic freedom to speak out, when abusively treated.

    I was so grateful to find PSC decades ago, and see that Hugenberger didn’t seem to have any problems working with people who were on staff before he got there. I was impressed that he and Daniel Harrell worked together for so long, especially.

    What are people saying they consider toxic about Hugenberger’s leadership of the staff?

    I was close with a few people on staff during Hugenberger’s time, and it was not a total picnic, just like true ministry never is… but at least, from what I could see, it wasn’t authoritarian. It felt like Hugenberger took being a team player that respected all gifts on the team, extremely seriously.

    A lot of evangelical churches in both Texas and Colorado are highly authoritarian, and people just accept it bc so many people come from authoritarian families with strong military roots.

    Remember there are a lot of military bases out that way, plus the Air Force Academy. Murgatroyd (from Texas) and Booker (from Colorado) may genuinely have believed that a heavy wielding of power and a very, very loose interpretation of the Park Street bylaws was what Jesus wanted… maybe kept telling each other the old military saying, that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission. It’s no excuse, but it’s unsurprising to me.

    Thank you Dee, for speaking up about all this, and giving people room to share important information in the comments.

    And thank you Susan Lane, Kris Perkins, Michael Balboni, Cindy Cutlip, John Knight, Ray Kam, Tim Leary, Julian Linnell, Damian Long, and the especially amazing Tammy McLeod… if any of you ever see this.

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  63. Worried and Anxious:
    For those offended by my request for compassion for Mark, was there a way could I have phrased it differently? Or do you fundamentally disagree with my request?

    Compassion is not the same as leniency. I want Mark to resign and apologize to all whom he has hurt, and I have put in substantial time and resources towards this as a petitioner. I am not some sort of sleeper agent trying to influence public opinion to get him off the hook. But I am also a human being who saw another human in great distress, however unrepentant he may be, and I firmly believe Jesus’ response would be compassion as well. I don’t understand how this could be portrayed as over-spiritualizing.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong in how you feel about Mark Booker.

    I just think it’s important to also give others the same space and freedom to feel the way that they do in this situation.

    I think that trauma erases one’s voice and agency, and takes away relationships and even a sense of self, and that there are some Park Streeters here who are genuinely traumatized.

    So a traumatized person even having the freedom to state, “I feel this way,” is important in regaining a sense of self. We have to bring our real selves before God, and one another.

    A lot of comments here (mine included) aren’t so much about how you feel and where you’re coming from, as much as they are observations about evangelical culture in general (such as cheap grace, toxic positivity, etc.).

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  64. Mark’s former colaborer,

    “These men would never operate this way in their business dealings or careers. It’s funny how all that goes out the window here. Politics is funny like that.”
    ++++++++++++++++++

    i’d say it’s stupid faith.

    faith in some concept, minus the ethics of it, the wisdom of it, let alone the logic and intelligence of it.

    …which really just turns it in to magic.

    ridiculous.

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  65. Elizabeth Klein: there are some Park Streeters here who are genuinely traumatized

    Several frequent commenters on TWW suffer from PTCD (Post Traumatic Church Disorder). They speak here to inform and warn others when they see red flags popping up based on their personal experience. What is happening at PSC is more common than you might think. New Calvinism, particularly, has brought in a wave of these problems with authoritarian pastors and elders who back them up until the potato becomes too hot to handle.

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  66. Worried and Anxious,

    not sure if this applies to me. i’m not offended.

    i feel some caution. in christian church culture, i observe many problems with the application of the concept of ‘grace’.

    it is a powerful tool and weapon in the hands of a narcissist to manipulate others get his/her own way

    -creating in-groups and out-groups
    -using a person’s faith against them (tricking them)

    for those with more benign intentions:

    -a mindless application at the expense of accountability
    -a tool for superiority / inferiority
    -a subconscious means for self-congratulations & looking down on others
    -one that favors the perpetrator and disappearing the person/people harmed

    my impression is that none of these apply to you.

    due to my own experience with entitled narcissistic pastors (& the damage that leaves indelible deep scar tissue), i prefer a matter of fact response in these situations.

    in addition, i was expressing my view that all forms of justice are worthy of not only intellectual affirmation but a good feeling.

    it is the only reasonable response.

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  67. Observant Outsider: John Knight, an experienced psychologist, suggested Mark undergo an assessment for narcissistic personality disorder based on his behavior. I want to be careful about speculating about an illness that only a professional can diagnose

    One helpful aspect of Chuck Degroat’s book is his perspective that narcissism exists on a continuum. So I think it’s fair to label behaviors as “narcissistic.” If there is a consistent pattern of those behaviors, I think it’s also fair to say someone is “narcissistic,” as a description of their character, not a personality disorder.

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  68. PSC was my home before I moved to anther state in 2021. I grew up in China, so maybe that is why I never really feel comfortable with Mark. To me, his preaching has always feel like using God’s word to prove his own point of view. This smells too much like the Chinese communists speeches. Thank you all for recording this. From all these record, the elder board acts like the tyranny of the majority. It must be so painful for the PSC current people. I am so sad Ray and Julian resigned. They are gifted leaders and preachers. They have done so much to the international community in U.S and overseas. They are loved by so many people around the world.

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  69. TEDS: Strange they haven’t removed the ministers, though… hmmm ….

    They are still there… they just submitted their resignation letters. The actual effective date is in the future… June 21st? They just gave their notice. I still hope, hope, hope that there will be a miracle and they will be able to stay.

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  70. dee: My first grand baby is on the way which means I’ll be spending a lot of time in Boston. We will have a meet, greet and hug in the near future, Lord willing.

    Congratulations to your whole family! How wonderful!

    And glad to hear that you will visit Boston again!

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  71. Anyone get an official announcement of these results? Is withholding this information in compliance with the bylaws? What voting community (town, state, congregational church, etc.) needs to wait 3+ days to get the results of the ballot? I’d understand if there were 1.1 billion people voting and it took days to tabulate the votes…. but I had expected an email at least to members since the count was done on Sunday.

    Corrected % for abstentions:

    42.85% or 186 votes for Mark Booker
    55.76 % or 242 votes against Mark Booker
    1.38% or 6 abstentions
    434 total votes cast

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  72. Friend of Park Street Church,

    My husbands family are all members of PSC and the only reason they know the result is because I have been following all your comments and updating them (unfortunately they could not attend the vote due to health issues), Given that there were a lot of members who did not attend the meeting you would at least expect that they would send a communication saying this is the result and we will send further communications once meetings etc have taken place. You can be sure if the vote had gone the BOE way a communication would have been sent out straight away on Sunday (they may already have had a draft written)!

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  73. Flying piggy,

    Thank you for sharing this. IMHO the survivors at PSC would do well to consider encouraging Ray Kam to apply to be the senior minister. I know it would take a lot of encouragement, but IMHO it would be worth a shot.

    I really don’t understand the resistance there has been at PSC, to hiring from within. There’s something to be said for long term experience with a congregation and its surrounding community.

    And it’s strange that PSC has not yet taken diversity seriously enough, to seek out a person of color to apply to be senior minister. There are many highly qualified possible candidates.

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  74. Worried and Anxious,

    I agree with you actually. This is a bittersweet victory and we should watch that we don’t get too arrogant in our celebration. I know that the right thing happened at that special meeting, but it’s not a nice thing to have to do. But Mark spent years evading the truth, and years controlling people from getting the truth out. If he had been transparent and truly contrite when he was first called out on his poor then this could’ve been taken care of earlier and much less painlessly. He truly did bring this on himself, although the elder board did not help by protecting him.

    Yet, Dee has a point also that many people were incredibly hurt by his actions, including Kimberly Morrison who very quietly left the church when charges were launched against her, and she never had the opportunity to defend herself. Meanwhile, Mark stands up in the pulpit so sanctimonious, pretending that he’s this perfect bastian of righteousness and truth. Honestly, I stopped going to PSC because once I caught him in a couple lies, I couldn’t watch him preach anymore. Every time I looked at him I just thought, “you lying hypocrite.“ Also, be careful because what I’ve noticed about him, and what many have commented on, is that he’s a very g
    skilled emotional manipulator. Think about the fact that at the annual meeting, he sat upfront, looking like a victim, but never responded to the questions about his actions. Rather, he lets his wife get up and Give the sugary sweet speech about how wonderful he is That was one of the most manipulative moves I’ve ever seen. He used her to distract everyone from the facts and to make us feel guilty for questioning his leadership. I do agree with you that we have to stay humble, and recognize that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but be careful about feeling too sorry for him, lest you put yourself in a position to be deceived again.

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  75. janiceg,

    Worried and Anxious, God‘s comfort to you. Please remember that God is in control, and it is God who changes hearts, so while our efforts are important, and getting our frustrations out here on this blog is helpful to us, it is God who truly knows the inner workings of Mark Booker’s heart and the Boards’. They can’t pull the wool over our eyes as easily anymore, and I hope that the congregation truly will put the pressure on to make Mark resign, but in terms of him and the elder board having a change of heart and being brought to a place of true repentance so that they can grow from this, that’s really only something God can do.

    I don’t know if anyone has actually heard Dan‘s official opinion, but several people have told me that Dan is now working as a counselor at Grace Church in Lexington. So he didn’t just need to retire, IMO he indeed wanted to leave Park Street Church.

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  76. Susan Lane: I don’t know if anyone has actually heard Dan‘s official opinion, but several people have told me that Dan is now working as a counselor at Grace Church in Lexington. So he didn’t just need to retire, IMO he indeed wanted to leave Park Street Church.

    Verrengia’s name is number 31 on the open letter of February 7th, as a current PSC attendee in support of continuing under Booker’s leadership. Although I have no idea if he might feel differently, given the facts that have come out since then, especially the letter from Kris Perkins.

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  77. Eyewitness,

    I encourage people to be careful about labeling people with psychiatric diagnoses. To say someone has the characteristics of (blank) is very different from saying “this person is a(blank.)” Even if you have an MD/PhD, if you are not that person’s doctor, then you cannot truly make an accurate diagnosis of that person because you don’t have a full picture of what’s going on. I have a bachelors degree in psychology, and one of my professors made the astute point that, “The most dangerous people out there are ‘armchair psychologists’ who have an ounce of information about psychology but are out there diagnosing everyone and trying to treat people with no clinical degree.” I have been in the position several times where I have had to request an intervention for friends or family members of mine, and it was because their health had so deteriorated and they became so unable to take care of themselves, that there was no question that something was wrong, but I never launched a diagnosis at or about them because I’m not qualified to do so. It’s truly an awful experience, and not something where someone should be lording a diagnosis over someone just to seem intelligent.

    I know people love talking about narcissism today, honestly because narcissists tend to be fascinating creatures since they tend to be in the limelight and have a great deal of charisma and a commanding presence. Yet, as often as I’ve heard this term thrown around, it is not statistically possible for everyone that I’ve heard labeled a narcissist to be a narcissist. There are hundreds of diagnoses on the books, but right now the only thing you hear about is narcissism. It’s trendy right now.

    Lastly, a good clinician submits to psychiatric analysis themselves so they can be aware of their own glitches before they begin identifying that of others. I guarantee that the armchair psychologists out there do not do so, because they are more interested in how intelligent they seem in analyzing someone else’s behavior, which really is a tool to deflect analysis away from them. Most of the armchair psychologists I’ve met have plenty of underlying issues of their own. It harkens to what Jesus said about caring for the plank in your own eye before helping someone with the splinter in theirs. Just a word of caution about applying labels. Stay humble. Suspecting that someone’s behavior is in line with a diagnosis is very different than distinctly stating, “This person is an X.” In one case, you’re behaving out of concern for that person and others, but in the other case you’re just being a judgmental gossip.

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  78. Jack,

    Jack, I’m a bit more optimistic. I didn’t think we’d see the change in numbers that we did from the annual meeting to our latest special meeting. In the annual meeting only 33% would not affirm Mark. In the latest special meeting 55% not only don’t affirm him moving forward, but think that he’s biblically disqualified to minister based on the evidence. That’s huge. And the folks who attended the annual meeting are only a portion of the full membership.

    For a time the congregation was asleep amidst a crisis. Most people just want to come to church, sing a few songs, listen to a good sermon and go home. This situation took a great investment, emotionally, intellectually, and in terms of time spent reviewing the issues. I think the average member just didn’t want to invest that, but now so many ministers’ and elders’ testimonies are finally coming out that confronting the issues can’t be avoided anymore.

    I have confidence that now that the congregation has been made aware they understand the value of their involvement in the governance of this church. I can’t tell you how slow or fast change will happen, but I believe now that the congregation has had the wool removed from its eyes, change is already underway.

    If Mark doesn’t resign on his own nor the elder board demand that he step down, there will be a huge backlash against them. If they insist on keeping him, the church will atrophy, because he’s already had the opportunity to correct his behavior when Michael called him out on his actions, and he did not. We have no reason to believe that he will change, and we have no assurance that he will not create strife and division even if he’s given a new team. He’s had more than three years to prove himself with a staff of gifted ministers, and we see that he destroyed that. There’s no question that his inability to collaborate and his poor leadership skills were at play.

    If he does leave, and we’re able to exact some change within our elder board, this church will be able to refresh. There needs to be a reshuffling on the elder board because they stated themselves, they were aware of the situations going on with the various ministers whose written to testimonies we received last week, and now we know they did not take their complaints seriously enough. Hopefully, we can have at least some of our ministers that we lost return, and people who have left the church due to their frustrations with the church will return as well with the promise of a new beginning. We can reinvest in making the 4 PM service, the vivacious, spirited contemporary service that it was, and endeavor to do both the traditional and contemporary services well, casting a wide net to seekers in the interest of forwarding the great commission to the best of our ability, not to serve our own music preferences. We can endeavor to respect each other, in spite of our differences in styles of worship and political views. We can work to create diversity within our leadership staff, our nominating committee, our elder board and our ministry leaders, and yes, we will have to work intentionally to do so. God loves diversity, He created it, and He rejoices in seeing all of His people using their gifts and talents to serve Him, not just in a way that makes some comfortable, but in the way that God relegated those gifts. We are a church that respects that God‘s daughters have gifts to share with the church (as do people of other ethnicities and persons with disabilities) including gifts of leadership and sound Biblical wisdom. I know the church is not ready to accept a female senior minister at this time, but we do embrace women at all other levels: ministry leaders, deacons, elders, nominating committee, and even on the search committee for the senior minister itself. Mark’s biggest folly was that he was intent on exacting his agenda for our church based on who he is, and not caring who the congregation is, except for an influential few who like to throw their weight (and money) around. My hope is that those influential few are now running scared because they realize that the congregation has been awakened. This is no one person‘s church. This is God‘s church, and God caused this great shake up for a reason. It was a reckoning that was long overdue. I have faith that Park Street can rise from the ashes a stronger church, if they don’t settle back into their old ways and repeat the patterns that caused us to break in the first place.

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  79. N: Verrengia’s name is number 31 on the open letter of February 7th, as a current PSC attendee in support of continuing under Booker’s leadership. Although I have no idea if he might feel differently, given the facts that have come out since then, especially the letter from Kris Perkins.

    I would hope so. I was really surprised and disappointed to see Dan Verrengia’s name on the open letter supporting Mark & current leadership – ESPECIALLY since he is a pastoral counselor!!

    He of all people should know how easy it is to disguise and cover up abuse, and to support abusers in Christian communities (sadly, this is the norm, not the exception).

    He should have been one of the first to note how serious the allegations were, and instead of taking the word of Mark-loyal elders, to push for an objective, thorough, independent investigation by trauma-informed experts.

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  80. My comments following the bruha at a significant distance;
    *
    Pastor Booker has to resign or be fired. If you can’t get 60% of the vote you have to step down.
    *
    Sadly; Park Street probably won’t recover – for a variety of reasons including the age of the church, the age of the membership and the cultural changes including increased secularization and the impact of the internet.
    *
    For reasons we probably cannot fully understand, all the chaos serves God’s ultimate purposes.

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  81. Susan Lane: I encourage people to be careful about labeling people with psychiatric diagnoses. To say someone has the characteristics of (blank) is very different from saying “this person is a(blank.)”

    We agree. NPD or Narcissistic Personality Disorder is the psychiatric diagnosis and can only be diagnosed by the professional.

    “Narcissistic” or “Narcissism” or “Narcissist” are words commonly used in the culture to describe certain patterns of behavior.

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  82. Friend of Park Street Church:
    Anyone get an official announcement of these results?Is withholding this information in compliance with the bylaws? What voting community (town, state, congregational church, etc.) needs to wait 4+ days to get the results of the ballot? I’d understand if there were 1.1 billion people voting and it took days to tabulate the votes…. but I had expected an email at least to members since the count was done on Sunday.

    Corrected % for abstentions:

    42.85% or 186 votes for Mark Booker
    55.76 % or 242 votes against Mark Booker
    1.38% or 6 abstentions
    434 total votes cast

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  83. So Park Street Church needs “processing sessions” now? The latest spin / abuse in writing from the weekly newsletter:

    Processing Sessions with Elders and Senior Minister
    The Board of Elders and Mark invite you to join them for times of processing, for the congregation to share with them as we walk through these challenging months. They’ll be available the following times in the Granary Room:

    Fri, Jun 7 | 6:15 PM
    (preceding All-Church Prayer at 7:30 PM in the Welcome Center)
    Sat, Jun 15 | 9:30 AM
    (feel free to come at 8:30 AM to begin with 1 hour of All-Church Prayer on Zoom)
    Thur, Jun 20 | 7 PM
    Tue, Jun 25 | 7 PM

    [Again tagging the Board of Elders here for the record as they are individually and legally responsible for this continuing abuse. The list is from the Park Street Church website as of June 5, 2024]

    JASON ABRAHAM
    Moderator
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    DEBORAH GALLAGHER
    Clerk
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIE HALVORSEN
    Elder
    TERM: 2 YEARS (2026)

    GREGG HANSEN
    Assistant Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    MARY HARVEY
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    LINDA HERMAN
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    RICHARD IBEKWE
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    GABRIEL LING
    Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    DAVID MURGATROYD
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    GEOFFREY RAUX
    Moderator-Elect
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    KIRSTIN PELTZ
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    DANIEL VOGELZANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    JOSHUA WANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    STEVE WEIBLEY
    Elder
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIANNE WHITE
    Missions Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    ANDREW ZIEGLER
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

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  84. Elizabeth Klein:
    So the only thing PSC leaders are doing in response to the Special Meeting vote is holding “processing sessions” for the congregation to meet with Mark & the elders on June 7, 15, 20 & 25?

    This has the whole “time is your friend” vibe all over it – what Mark told Cindy Cutlip about what he learned from a mentor about leaders in times of crisis.

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  85. Eyewitness,

    Codependency ought to be recognised by everybody. If your religion bosses are codependent, make sure you’re not (and leave that religion). Simple.

    The Ahab & Jezebel problem was codependency. I bet the APA (and the virtue signalling arm of the evangelical publishing industry) have never heard of codependency.

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  86. Friend of Park Street Church: Processing Sessions with Elders and Senior Minister
    The Board of Elders and Mark invite you to join them for times of processing, for the congregation to share with them as we walk through these challenging months.

    I am quite concerned about these “processing” sessions. I do not recommend that anyone attend these unless surrounded by some simpatico friends. In other churches, these are “let’s lean on the members.” Be careful. I doubt these will be pleasant gatherings.

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  87. dee: I am quite concerned about these “processing” sessions. I do not recommend that anyone attend these unless surrounded by some simpatico friends. In other churches, these are “let’s lean on the members.”Be careful. I doubt these will be pleasant gatherings.

    Hi Dee
    Thank you sincerely for prompt advice about these ‘invitations to be ‘processed’ with the risk of getting ‘brainwashed’ by strange spirit(s). I will follow your advice to ignore the EVITE. I will look forward to meet you when you come to Boston to celebrate your first grand BUNDLE-OF-JOY.
    love and prayer from NAAH

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  88. dee,

    These “processing sessions” have been going on for months with the staff. The strategy is very simple. “We pretend to listen to you, hoping that we can convince you that we care about what you think.” But the real goal is to show how you are being influenced by demonic brothers and sisters and that you too need to repent and kiss the ring.

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  89. Elizabeth Klein: So the only thing PSC leaders are doing in response to the Special Meeting vote is holding “processing sessions” for the congregation to meet with Mark & the elders on June 7, 15, 20 & 25?

    Good Lord! Is this thing ever going to end?! The congregation has already had two lengthy sessions to deal with the matter. What is left to “process” at this point? The majority of the congregation has spoken. Why prolong this agony for all parties concerned? Perhaps the congregation should consider getting outside assistance to rescue ‘their’ church from its leadership.

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  90. dee: I am quite concerned about these “processing” sessions. I do not recommend that anyone attend these unless surrounded by some simpatico friends. In other churches, these are “let’s lean on the members.” Be careful. I doubt these will be pleasant gatherings.

    I’m reminded of more double meanings and doublespeak. “Yes, we WILL process… we will process YOU into a compliant widget who dutifully brings their money to us!” <— fill in with the ‘abuse du jour’ and that’s pretty much what is going on.

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  91. BTA:
    dee,

    These “processing sessions” have been going on for months with the staff. The strategy is very simple. “We pretend to listen to you, hoping that we can convince you that we care about what you think.” But the real goal is to show how you are being influenced by demonic brothers and sisters and that you too need to repent and kiss the ring.

    If I were still a member of PSC, I’d go to one of these “processing sessions” and bluntly ask, “When is Mark resigning?”

    Then, if Mark and the elders hem & haw, I’d ask them how open-handed Mark genuinely is about his call to PSC, as he claimed to be prior to the Annual Meeting vote in February.

    It’s interesting to look back at this video Mark sent out to the congregation before that Annual Meeting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku1nYw63GFc

    Although the elders praised Mark’s humility for holding his call to PSC with an open hand, notice that Mark’s language is actually quite slippery. Mark never says that he’d honor a congregation’s “no” vote by resigning. Also, my guess is that Mark felt confident that he’d have enough affirming votes in February anyway, which may have made it rather easy to have that supposedly open hand towards his call.

    I think that these “processing sessions” with Mark and the elders would have a similarly slippery vibe.

    Mark knows how to charm people, and that’s what he would most likely do here. He would know how to look very sorrowful and sincere, and how to quote Bible verses, but without committing to anything concrete, such as, “I am sorry that I hurt X by doing Y,” or, “Yes, I will honor the congregation’s conscience by resigning, since they believe I am disqualified for pastoral ministry.”

    Bluntly put, I agree with Max. There is nothing here for the elders to have to process.

    The congregation spoke with the vote on June 2, loud and clear. I had some hope that this week, the elders would finally face reality, and see that Mark has to go – and that Mark would realize this, too. Instead, he seems to be playing the “time is your friend” game that he spoke to Cindy Cutlip about.

    Go to a “processing session” if necessary for confrontation and closure. And if you get anything other than a concrete timeline for Mark’s resignation to honor the congregation’s vote, then run, do not walk, away from Park Street Church.

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  92. Max: Good Lord!Is this thing ever going to end?!The congregation has already had two lengthy sessions to deal with the matter.What is left to “process” at this point?The majority of the congregation has spoken.Why prolong this agony for all parties concerned?

    It sure takes Mark & the elders an awfully long time to say, “We don’t care what you think.”

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  93. Max: Good Lord!Is this thing ever going to end?!The congregation has already had two lengthy sessions to deal with the matter.What is left to “process” at this point?The majority of the congregation has spoken.Why prolong this agony for all parties concerned?Perhaps the congregation should consider getting outside assistance to rescue ‘their’ church from its leadership.

    BRING IN GRACE!!!!!!

    They don’t just do independent investigations. They also do Organizational Assessments. GRACE is the gold standard org for doing a thorough, transparent, deep dive into a troubled church, uncovering the layers of culture and factions, and making recommendations for the church to follow.

    C’mon, elders. VOCA & the Vicinage Council just aren’t cutting it.

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  94. I don’t have a dog in this fight other than sorrow about what is happening to a place that was so important in my young adulthood. So, please disregard what I’m about to say if it is not helpful. I’m. sure some of you are ready to leave, walk out the door and “knock the dirt off your sandals”. If that is what you need to do for your mental and spiritual health, do it. But, it seems to me the better thing to do is to stay and be the proverbial “burr under the saddle.” But, withhold your money and your volunteering. If you worry that this will hurt the missionaries or other organizations PSC supports give to the missionaries through their mission organizations or give directly to the other organizations supported. Churches can’t function without money and volunteers. Let the leadership know why you are revoking this support. Now, those who support the current regime will double down and if they continue down their authoritarian road you might end up in “ church court” and be kicked out. But that is the worst thing they can do you. “Church Court” holds no standing in the real world.

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  95. Elizabeth Klein: BRING IN GRACE!!!!!!

    They don’t just do independent investigations. They also do Organizational Assessments. GRACE is the gold standard org for doing a thorough, transparent, deep dive into a troubled church, uncovering the layers of culture and factions, and making recommendations for the church to follow.

    Agreed. But that’s exactly why some church leaders don’t want GRACE to look into things! They don’t want their “layer” to be exposed.

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  96. dee,

    I agree with Dee, Max and the others. These meetings are intended to just gain distance from the special session in the hopes that we will weary of our request that Mark resign. They want to string out their time for double talk because they’ve been called out on their dishonesty and they’ve been found guilty. Mark wants more time to cast the wool, once again over the congregation’s eyes with his silver tongue. They just want to go back to behaving his business as usual and think that they can talk the congregation out of their decision that Mark is biblically disqualified to be our Senior Minister. There’s nothing more to talk about. We’ve seen the evidence, we’ve had a several hour long meeting with them to discuss the issues, now face the music. I’m so disgusted by this church’s unwillingness to face its own sin, even when they’ve been caught red-handed. Now they want to evade the consequences by stringing things out for another month or more so the church’s anger will cool down and they can try to talk us into giving it Mark yet another chance, when he’s already proven he’s not worthy of it.
    The B.S. is so obvious. It makes me ill.

    I don’t even want to put this church through another investigation honestly. What, another hundred thousand dollars to tell us that our leadership is corrupt? Demand that Mark leave, make the elder board do a complete reboot and let’s be done with this nonsense.

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  97. I don’t mean to suggest we are capable of making a diagnosis. But there is a lot of evidence to suggest that Mark should be assessed in order to get him the help he needs.

    If you’re still at PSC, you might want to wait a little longer to see if anything more comes of these “sessions.” But I’m not optimistic: you need to get out now, it’s not safe for anyone who has concerns. The leaders who are left are willing to destroy the church to follow this man’s delusions. Let them deal with the huge budget shortfalls and meager attendance. I’m sorry but I’m afraid this has stopped being a church and has become a cult centered around Mark.

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  98. Michael in UK,

    Co-dependency is nothing new and was a big buzz-word in the 90s, kind of like narcissism is today. “Religion” simply refers to the rituals and disciplines we engage in to live out a life that honors God. The only person we are “dependent on” is Christ, and neither he, nor God the father, nor the Holy Spirit need us at all, but they love us just the same, in fact so much so that Christ was willing to come and accept torture and 9-inch nails in his hands and feet to pay for our sin – sin that we like to pretend doesn’t exist.

    We all sin, including churchgoers and their pastors so, as with any organization, you can have problems. Yes, sometimes you get a pastor who can create a particular cult of personality, whereby the congregants overlook myriad problems because the pastor is sweet and personable and can talk his way out of anything. (This is where codependence can seep in.) Yet, when “religion“ or a church is healthy, the congregants remember that their devotion and loyalty is to God alone, because people are sinful and fallen, and churches are simply groups of sinful and fallen people who have expressed a desire to turn away from that fallenness and live a life that honors God. Yet, it’s not possible for any person nor organization to be perfect, and sometimes a Christian will have to stand up to their leadership. That’s what you see happening here.

    You sound like someone who has soured on “religion“ so, I would encourage you not to judge Christ based on the disagreements and skirmishes that happen among Christians, or even the scandals that sometimes break out. I encourage you simply to read the book of John, the fourth book of the New Testament, and judge for yourself if you think Christ is worth dedicating your life to. I’m sorry to have met you under the circumstances, but I pray that the Lord himself will guide you to him and answer any questions that you may have.

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  99. Former Boston Girl: But, withhold your money and your volunteering. If you worry that this will hurt the missionaries or other organizations PSC supports give to the missionaries through their mission organizations or give directly to the other organizations supported.

    From one former Boston girl to another, I have said the same thing in this and in 15 years of other church disputes. Well said!

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  100. BTA: these “processing sessions” have been going on for months with the staff. The strategy is very simple. “We pretend to listen to you, hoping that we can convince you that we care about what you think.” But the real goal is to show how you are being influenced by demonic brothers and sisters and that you too need to repent and kiss the ring.

    Good point.

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  101. NAAH: Thank you sincerely for prompt advice about these ‘invitations to be ‘processed’ with the risk of getting ‘brainwashed’ by strange spirit(s).

    No “strange spirits” necessary.
    Mortal physical humans are capable of some extremely dark and nasty things all on their lonesome.

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  102. What I am finding very concerning is that as far as I can see there has been no acknowledgement or communication from PSC of the result of the vote taken at the Special meeting on Sunday. No email sent out to the members who could not attend and no mention of the special meeting at all in the invitation to processing It’s almost as if they are pretending it didn’t happen. Does anyone who is a member/was at the meeting know if the Clerk officially recorded the result?

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  103. KAJ: What I am finding very concerning is that as far as I can see there has been no acknowledgement or communication from PSC of the result of the vote taken at the Special meeting on Sunday.

    It Never Happened, Comrades.
    doublepluunhappening.
    To remember different is Thoughtcrime and Treason.

    “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” ― George Orwell, 1984

    (There is a reason when Christians say “Praise the LORD!”, guys like me hear “Long Live Big Brother!”)

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  104. KAJ:
    What I am finding very concerning is that as far as I can see there has been no acknowledgement or communication from PSC of the result of the vote taken at the Special meeting on Sunday. No email sent out to the members who could not attend and no mention of the special meeting at all in the invitation to processing It’s almost as if they are pretending it didn’t happen. Does anyone who is a member/was at the meeting know if the Clerk officially recorded the result?

    I honestly don’t know but I am seriously doubting it. The fact that they haven’t communicated it is unreal. I’m at the end of my rope with these folks because not publicly acknowledging it shows ZERO integrity!!!!!

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  105. Susan Lane:
    dee,

    I don’t even want to put this church through another investigation honestly. What, another hundred thousand dollars to tell us that our leadership is corrupt? Demand that Mark leave, make the elder board do a complete reboot and let’s be done with this nonsense.

    Given that PSC’s giving is down, and there’s a $500K+ deficit, I’d tend to agree. The congregation came to their own conclusion about the multiple spiritual abuse allegations last Sunday.

    I do think tho, that a GRACE Organizational Assessment is desperately needed here.

    With all the factions, cultural complexities, total breakdown of trust at PSC, you need basically the equivalent of ServiceMaster cleaning up natural disasters to help turn PSC around.

    You need a thorough, transparent & painful deep dive, and helpful recommendations – LOTS of them – from outside, trauma-informed, experts who really can diagnose abusive church systems, which is what PSC is.

    Even a new bunch of elders might not help, given the current culture of toxic leadership.

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  106. Elizabeth Klein,

    I suppose you’re right, but let’s hop to it before the we lose the entire congregation to other churches. I would even donate to a G.R.A.C.E. Investigation so we don’t have to tap our endowment fund once again. I know many others would be willing to do the same, including the gentleman who offered to underwrite $100,000 toward an independent investigation. Let’s get it done. We need to put pressure on this elder board to stop dragging their feet and face the music.

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  107. Susan Lane:
    Elizabeth Klein,

    I suppose you’re right, but let’s hop to it before the we lose the entire congregation to other churches… We need to put pressure on this elder board to stop dragging their feet and face the music.

    Absolutely, and I hope the whole congregation holds the elders’ feet to the fire here, not just the petitioners. They’re beyond exhausted.

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  108. “You need a thorough, transparent & painful deep dive, and helpful recommendations – LOTS of them – from outside, trauma-informed, experts who really can diagnose abusive church systems, which is what PSC is.”
    *
    I’m sorry, at this stage that actually serves no purpose.

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  109. The annual meeting results were sent out in the Thursday email, curious that the special meeting results were not. Perhaps they expect the petitioners to, since they are the ones who called it?

    Also, these listening sessions sound a lot like Damian’s experience with bait-and-switch. Instead of a VOCA-led or recommended meeting, Mark opted to overrule it and invite select members of the Personnel Committee. Instead of having VOCA here, Mark will likely select BoE members (Ziegler, Murgatroyd, Peltz, and Roux) instead.

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  110. Max: Pat Chen
    Andrew Swenson
    Emma Nyquist
    Robyn Bunch
    Dan Verrengia
    Kris Perkins
    Kimberley Morrison
    John Knight
    Cindy Cutlip
    Shannon Jacobs
    Michael Balboni
    Nick Dedeke
    Yannick Assogba
    Damian Long
    Julian Linell
    Pay Park
    Tammy McLeod(?)
    Tim Leary(?)

    I think you may mean Raymond Kam and not “Pay Park”?
    Also, you are missing one person: Bill Pearson.

    Otherwise, the list of people who have resigned, been laid off, or fired on account of Mark Booker looks accurate.

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  111. Unfortunately exhausted as you all are I think you still have quite a fight and need to push back very hard and very fast. My guess is the less involved members of the congregation were shocked when 3 of the ministers resigned and were horrified when they read the emails from the former ministers Kris & Kimberley (I think the heart wrenching testimonies from those 2 former Ministers were what finally swung the vote). But summer is here, people will be going on holiday and the memories will fade. Come autumn when the BOE have done nothing but have a few processing meetings it will be back to business as usual. You will all be incredibly frustrated and have to get another meeting called but this time there will be no new shock revelations, no ministers to do last minute resignations (they’ve already gone), and some of the members who don’t like Mark but don’t have such a strong attachment to Park Street will have left so you will have lost some of your support. At the very least should someone not be insisting that the 3 ministers who resigned should be asked to stay until facts and next steps are more clear? If that is not done in the next couple of days then they will already be gone and it will be too late. I hate to say it but stretch it out too long and Mark/Jason will be there to stay. Given that he is preaching on Sunday I’m guessing Mark doesn’t believe he is biblically disqualified……

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  112. Dee, thank you SO MUCH for your post.

    The wording of the motion itself (with the photo) is very helpful, as is your post title. The majority of the congregation has voted NOT to affirm Mark Booker. The elders are stunned. They are just not getting it!

    Thank you for providing the breakdown of votes, which the church has yet to announce publicly.

    186 votes for Mark Booker = 42.86%
    242 votes against Mark Booker = 55.76%
    Nearly 56% of meeting participants believe Mark is disqualified for ministry!

    One minor math correction – the number of abstentions is 6 (of 434 votes), which works out to be 1.38% – not 0.01% of the votes.

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  113. Remember the Dissenters: Nearly 56% of meeting participants believe Mark is disqualified for ministry!

    Most pastoral candidates would not accept a call to a church if the congregational vote was less than 90% in favor of them assuming church leadership. A true pastor would not want to divide the church before they even came on the field. I doubt that too many would stay if faced with 56% of the church feeling they have become disqualified.

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  114. Max: A true pastor would not want to divide the church

    Yes, that has been the point all along… Mark is not a true pastor. His intention is to divide the church as part of what he is quoted to have called “the great purge.” He is purging the ministerial staff, and ready to purge 56% of the congregation if necessary.

    What is especially interesting to consider now is how 43% can still support a wolf even after being presented so many eye-witness testimonies? That is the nut that needs to be cracked.

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  115. Watcher: Yes, that has been the point all along… Mark is not a true pastor.His intention is to divide the church as part of what he is quoted to have called “the great purge.”He is purging the ministerial staff, and ready to purge 56% of the congregation if necessary.

    What is especially interesting to consider now is how 43% can still support a wolf even after being presented so many eye-witness testimonies? That is the nut that needs to be cracked.

    Watcher,

    Hi Watcher and all friends of PSC
    Here is the ‘official’ report on the 6/2/24 meeting from the BoE w/ the “PEACE OF CHRIST”
    We are going round and round in circles— ready to get ‘PROCESSED’ by the elders.
    I hope they will not use the endowment fund to pay for another round of 4C investigation

    June 7, 2024

    We write to you with deep faith and conviction that our Lord reigns over Park Street Church. Our trials may continue, but the love of our Savior will outlast them all. Love is something that we, as your Elders, want to live out with you. We hope that we can minister to you through these challenging times, and that you will be able to see our heart for the church as we seek to lead her in the path that we believe God is directing. Right now, many of you have shared your thoughts about what that path should be. There are many different interpretations about what happened at the recent Special Meeting and what it means for the future of Park Street Church. We think that it is important that we speak clearly and directly about what we believe.
    We believe that some in the congregation have lost trust in us.
    We believe that there was a call for further assessment of the matters concerning our Senior Minister, especially into those matters that were made public in the week leading up to the Special Meeting.
    We believe that Mark Booker has the character, gifts, and integrity to lead Park Street Church and should remain as our Senior Minister.
    The Special Meeting was to review and possibly rescind a decision of the Board. The vote to affirm our decision failed. While many have argued that this vote is indicative of the congregation’s view of Pastor Mark, it is more directly a view of the congregation’s lack of trust in the Board’s collective judgment. It is apparent that trust in the Board has been diminished over the past several months by a campaign that has been waged against us and Mark. Throughout this time, the Board has sought to remain measured in its response. We have stepped in at times to address a particular issue and provide limited information to correct a false narrative. But, in general, we have tried to avoid engaging in a back and forth with those who have mischaracterized and slandered our Senior Minister with one-sided anecdotes, and who have painted the Board as a partisan body that cares more about our own power than the well-being of the church.

    The void created by our relative silence has been filled by a narrative propagated through a website, blog, media outlets, handouts passed at church and stuffed in pew Bibles, and unsolicited email blasts maligning the character and integrity of Pastor Mark and the Elders. Sadly, that narrative appears to have taken hold in many of you. While we regret that, we do not regret the posture we chose to pursue over the past year. We believe that it is not edifying or Christlike to publicly engage in argument over interpersonal conflicts and confidential matters. There are, of course, responses to every perspective that has been shared. There is more to each story. We could produce and provide counter-testimonies to each of those that were shared this past week, and we could go on the attack against some of those who have spoken out, and who have not told the full truth. But what would that accomplish? Would it serve to build up or to destroy?

    Engaging in this way cannot undo what has been done. It would only hurt more people. Our chief desire should not be to win the debate, but to lead in a manner that points to the cross. As Mark has said to many of the Elders over the past months, while we may desire a particular outcome in our current struggles, the outcome is not what is most important, it is how we conduct ourselves and whether we remain faithful to the Lord and act in a way that is honoring to Him. That is our aim.

    At the same time, we grieve with many of you over the injuries that have been suffered by Mark and his family. Despite our conviction to walk in a less confrontational manner, we feel we failed the Bookers by allowing Mark’s reputation and character to be publicly sullied without providing a more robust defense. At our Board meeting this week, we wrestled with whether and in what manner we should engage more directly to defend Mark and the truth. This is a question we will continue to ponder in the coming days. In the meantime, we do want to address—in general terms—the cumulative effect of the barrage of emails and testimony that were circulated last week. We understand how disorienting this has been for many of you, especially those who know and love the people who have spoken. Mark, himself, acknowledged that the picture painted of him was troubling. But we must remember the context. Proverbs 18:17 says that “[t]he one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” Sunday’s meeting, and the lead-up to it, was not a trial. It was largely an expression of personal opinion in a public forum, without any ability to probe beneath the conclusory accusations that were made or to question those who made them. This is not how truth is discovered.

    In contrast, three different bodies have had the opportunity to engage in actual investigation and examination. While they did not question every person who spoke this past week, or read every document that has been circulated, their work concerned the same issues and much of the same testimony. Each of those bodies made determinations that came to consistent conclusions. Our hope was that this consistency would have been enough for the congregation to accept our determination. Sadly, that did not happen.

    The call at the Special Meeting was for this matter to be assessed further. While we continue to believe this is not necessary or appropriate, and while we could simply reinstate our prior decision and move on, we will heed this call. In 1 Peter 5, the Apostle exhorts elders to exercise oversight, not “as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock.” We tried to do this previously when we first called the Vicinage Council. Following the Annual Meeting, the Elders had the support of a supermajority of the congregation to move forward with Mark, but our hearts ached for the evident divide in our church. We searched for ways to promote unity and health across our congregation. While we did not think further investigation was warranted or fair to Mark, and while we had the mandate to press forward, both Mark and the Board submitted to the Vicinage Council for the sake of the congregation. We believed that, regardless of the outcome, the Vicinage Council process was one that all of our members would accept, and could serve as a basis for rebuilding trust and restoring health.

    Rebuilding trust is a top priority for the Elders. One of the ways we think we can best do that is by making ourselves more available to you. Many of you have judged us without ever getting to know us. Many have never had a chance to hear our perspectives or see our hearts on the many issues facing our church. We know that, in a church of this size, that is hard. But we want to do better. For the rest of June, there will be sessions where you can meet and communicate with Mark and different Elders. The Elders have also pledged to make themselves available on an individual basis as much as they can. We will be reaching out to many of you, and we invite all of you to email us if you want to spend time with us, and we will work hard to find time for coffees, lunches, zoom meetings, and the like. We want to increase dialogue with you, and we want you to see us for who we really are.

    We recognize, however, that rebuilding trust will take time. For that reason, we have decided that the Board should not take the lead on the further assessment that was called for at the Special Meeting. Although we continue to believe that the Board is the most appropriate body to do that work and render a final decision on this matter, we acknowledge that our prior decision has not been accepted. Accordingly, we have reached out to our Conference leadership and asked that the Vicinage Council be reconvened to render a final determination on the issue of Mark’s Biblical fitness. Separate from the Board, the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (“CCCC”)—of which Park Street Church is a member—is the next most appropriate body to render a decision on these matters. Michael urged the congregation to submit this matter to the CCCC, members who have submitted petitions called for the CCCC’s intervention, and Kris also indicated a respect for and willingness to present to the CCCC. Notwithstanding the outcome-based arguments that have been made against the Vicinage Council’s credibility, it is our view that a Vicinage Council from the CCCC is the correct outside body to conduct further assessment.

    To that end, the Vicinage Council will be given all of the recently disclosed testimony and information provided to the congregation this past week. It will be asked to assess this information and testimony, conduct any interviews it deems appropriate, and review any other information and testimony it deems relevant to the question of Mark’s Biblical fitness. We will communicate with you further when we know more details about the Vicinage Council’s timing and process.

    As we move forward with the Vicinage Council, our posture will be one of humility and acceptance of the Vicinage Council’s final determination. In the interim, however, we must follow our own judgment. As we stated in our letter sent on May 6th, we stand in full support of Mark as he will seek to faithfully and courageously lead Park Street Church into our next chapter. It remains our conviction that Mark has the character, passion, spiritual gifts, and rightness of heart and mind to successfully lead as our Senior Minister.

    We understand that many of you have a different conviction. You believe that, following the Special Meeting, we should request Mark’s resignation and that this will heal the church. We know that our contrary viewpoint will be characterized as blind devotion to Mark. But that is not the truth. The truth is that our church is sharply divided. Only three months ago, the congregation voted to affirm Mark’s continued calling to Park Street Church. The vote count to affirm Mark was over 100 votes higher than the vote on Sunday to not affirm the Board’s decision. During the past few days, we have heard from many congregants saying they will leave if Mark stays, and, as announced last week, some of our staff have already departed. But we have also heard from many congregants saying they will leave if Mark goes, and we know that many of our staff will also depart if Mark does. The Board’s job is to do what it believes is in the best interests for Park Street Church as a whole, and what will best preserve and promote our mission. In our judgment, based on the information we know about our Senior Minister and our experience with him, we believe it is in the best interests of Park Street Church for the Bookers to remain.

    These are challenging times. We love you and are praying for you and our church. Please pray for us. Let us all exercise our faith in this moment. Let us put aside the ways of the flesh and seek the peace that comes with knowing that God is sovereign over all.

    In the Peace of Christ,
    The Board of Elders

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  116. NAAH: In the Peace of Christ,
    The Board of Elders

    https://www.parkstreet.org/about-us/elders/

    Tagging the Board of Elders here for the record as they are individually and legally responsible for this abuse. The list is from the Park Street Church website as of June 7, 2024.

    JASON ABRAHAM
    Moderator
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    DEBORAH GALLAGHER
    Clerk
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIE HALVORSEN
    Elder
    TERM: 2 YEARS (2026)

    GREGG HANSEN
    Assistant Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    MARY HARVEY
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    LINDA HERMAN
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    RICHARD IBEKWE
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    GABRIEL LING
    Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    DAVID MURGATROYD
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    GEOFFREY RAUX
    Moderator-Elect
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    KIRSTIN PELTZ
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    DANIEL VOGELZANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    JOSHUA WANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    STEVE WEIBLEY
    Elder
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIANNE WHITE
    Missions Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    ANDREW ZIEGLER
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

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  117. NAAH,

    Wow.

    So let me get this straight… they are saying they feel they could defend Booker and themselves better, but they think it would hurt more people to bring further truth to light, so they are calling the VC back into this situation, to tell the congregation to get in line, once again?

    Do they not believe truth will set free, and “faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs)?

    Do they really think that openly presenting any further evidence they (claim to) have, is going to make this whole tangle any worse?

    Interesting tactic, and probably some members of the congregation will fall for it, but not many I hope.

    Maybe there could be a new open letter, calling on them to hire GRACE to get involved. And clarifying that the CCCC, and the VC of it, did not live up to the “Congregational” part of their name. Esp Hamilton and that mess about expecting all staff to offer resignations to a new senior minister. That did not sound congregational.

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  118. N,

    N,

    Dear friends of PSC
    I am just a lay member with no insider info, no official ‘responsibility’— but striving to faithfully hang to the True Vine, hoping the PSC branch will not be cut off .
    That BoE letter is so long and redundant I did not waste time reading it thru— just read the first and last paragraph, then posted it for Dee and friends. Maybe Dee can professionally analyse it. I am simply too disgusted to read it again. Praying the Lord will help us discern His will how to respond with wisdom, grace and courage..

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  119. In my view, it no longer matters who is right and who is wrong. Both sides are too entrenched to ever come to a unified result. Either way if the status quo continues this church is in deep trouble. The only way to right the ship, in my view, is for the current Senior Minister to resign. A strong interim must be hired. My choice would be Leith Anderson (but he is 77 and probably would not be willing to do this.) But someone who has his kind of expertise and respect in the evangelical world would be optimum. This probably means looking outside of New England and GCTS. Then PSC needs to hire a top notch search firm to find the next Senior Minister. No more lay search committees since they have shown they are not very good at searching. A good interim and a reputable search firm will do similar work to what an investigative group will do. I’ve been a partner in such a firm and understand how they work.

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  120. Points taken from the recent elder board letter letter from the Elders:
    “There are those who seek to malign Mark with one sided stories. We could speak our side of the story to those testimonies release this past week (but we don’t want continue the arguments back-and-forth, for the sake of the church, essentially.) Yet, you had the opportunity to speak your side of the truth at the special meeting, did you not Elder Board? Whatever rebuttal you had, the congregation did not agree.

    “Like many of you we all regret how Mark has been hurt in all of this.” Wha??? Flip the responsibility on the victims, will you? Turn the focus on how the perpetrator was hurt, will you?
    These aren’t just examples of narcissism, it’s organizational narcissism. Mark Booker has become a god to them, I can’t believe that they seriously think they can pass this garbage off as truth!

    “We really think it’s our fault, the elder board, because we’ve kept so silent. )Not that you haven’t received testimony upon testimony upon testimony of Mark’s poor behavior, including lying, attempting to coerce information from personal conversations between the ministers, deception, manipulation, withholding information from the congregation, trying multiple times to circumvent the congregational process to exact his agenda.) “Oh gosh, but we still think he’s a great minister and has the character to serve. We’re just going overlook that he destroyed the entire ministry staff with his behavior.”
    Mark Booker, you flipping coward! Are you really going to let the elder board take the hit for your mistakes? No question that they were a party to these multiple accounts of abuses that we’ve seen in writing, but what kind of spineless creature gets the elder board to take the hit, and then let them try to sell you like you’re some kind of victim?

    My God man, how do you sleep at night? If you cared at all for the health of this church, you would resign immediately, but that’s never been the case. How sickening.

    Unbelievable.

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  121. Susan Lane: “Like many of you we all regret how Mark has been hurt in all of this.” Wha??? Flip the responsibility on the victims, will you? Turn the focus on how the perpetrator was hurt, will you?

    Classical DARVO … Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. It’s a sad day when church leaders use this manipulative tactic to avoid responsibility for their harmful behavior and shift blame onto the victims … the “victims” in this case include multiple staff and church members who have been spiritually abused, terminated, or disciplined for informing and warning the Body of Christ and for simply loving PSC enough to make a stand.

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  122. NAAH: We believe that some in the congregation have lost trust in us.

    Uhhh … yeah, like most of them based on the recent vote!

    NAAH: We believe that Mark Booker has the character, gifts, and integrity to lead Park Street Church and should remain as our Senior Minister.

    But a majority of the church members don’t! Isn’t this a “congregational” church?

    “Has the character”?! Multiple staff have reported that he doesn’t.

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  123. Date: June 7, 2024

    Subject: Fwd: Reflections on the Special Meeting

    https://mailchi.mp/parkstreet.org/message-from-the-board-of-elders-may-2512726

    Wow! Just wow! This is so much worse than I had expected!

    Also…. Welcome to TWW, abusive “elders” at Park Street Church… it’s nice to know you are here reading all of this! As people Google your names, they will find them here… so if you aren’t interested in being a party to this abuse… or if you are tired of the rumored “one voice policy”… do speak up!

    Welcome to the Board of Elders, tagged here for the record as you are individually and legally responsible for this abusive letter. The list is from the Park Street Church website as of June 7, 2024.

    JASON ABRAHAM
    Moderator
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    DEBORAH GALLAGHER
    Clerk
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIE HALVORSEN
    Elder
    TERM: 2 YEARS (2026)

    GREGG HANSEN
    Assistant Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    MARY HARVEY
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    LINDA HERMAN
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    RICHARD IBEKWE
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    GABRIEL LING
    Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    DAVID MURGATROYD
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    GEOFFREY RAUX
    Moderator-Elect
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    KIRSTIN PELTZ
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    DANIEL VOGELZANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    JOSHUA WANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    STEVE WEIBLEY
    Elder
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIANNE WHITE
    Missions Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    ANDREW ZIEGLER
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

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  124. Time to shake the dust off your feet.

    Aimee Byrd, author of The Hope in Our Scars, advises going to a church where the Christ in you is seen and recognized.

    Park Street Church is not that place. And you can’t change the hard hearts of Mark & the elders. Only God can.

    I’m so terribly sorry.

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  125. 2 names removed at request of said persons. They claim they signed this in error.

    Also, some of you might want to have your name removed from this list now that you have more evidence of Mark Booker’s abuse.

    https://openletter.earth/an-open-letter-to-the-park-street-church-community-1bd3e2be?limit=0

    Margaret Sloat, Stoneham
    Heather Hutter, ASL Interpreter, Lynnfield
    David Sloat, Stoneham
    Heather Lewis, Reading
    Elizabeth Lohnes, Melrose
    P.H. Benjamin Lohnes, Consultant, Melrose
    Janese Free Newell, Professor, Criminal Justice & Criminology, Boston
    Sarah Richey, Nurse, Boston
    Jamie Bush, Consulting, Bush & Company, Boston
    SueBush, Hingham
    Julianne White, Boston
    Michael White, Boston
    Brett Bone, Boston
    William Richey, Boston
    Mary Frances Giles, Southborough
    JULIE HALVORSEN, North Easton
    Hannah Schundler, Boston
    Rosanna Verrengia, Retired, Wobirn
    Chloe Verrengia
    Jake Lubinski, Boxford
    Sarah Fullerton, Boston
    Dan Dawson
    Emily Dawson
    Acacia Abraham, Flower designer, N. Reading
    John Free, Professor of Physics (retired), Boston
    Catherine Choi, Boston
    Laurel Sweeney, Consultant, Access Strategies LLC, Merrimac
    Michele Choi, Boston
    Karen Coley Christiansen, Retired Nursing Faculty, Boston
    Gregory OBrien, Self employed, Lynnfield MA
    Daniel Verrengia, Woburn
    Emma Verrengia, Canton
    Norman Graf, Retired, Marblehead
    Meghan Holt, Charlestown
    Amanda Cox, Consultant, Belmont
    Maggie O’Brien, Teacher, Lynnfield
    Sam Beverage, Peabody
    Elizabeth Buckler, Boston
    Jean Free, Teacher, retired, Boston
    Ann-Marie Keltner, Boston
    Myra Bruce, Wakefield
    Amanda Ghilardi, Watertown
    Jim Bruce, Lexington
    David Bruce, Wakefield
    Jennifer Collier, Watertown
    Cosette Yungton, Hingham
    Sabina Yungton, Hingham
    Judy Engibous, Cambridge
    Deborah Gallagher, University administrator (retired), Arlington
    Jessica Kelley, Danvers
    Jonathan VanderWoude, Music Teacher, Middleton
    Lori Chang, , Watertown
    Simon Chang, Senior IT Engineer, Harvard Medical School, Watertown
    Sam Greydanus, Attorney, Bridgewater
    Elisabeth Beverage, Stoneham
    Jeff Lewis, Reading
    Julie Boyd, Medford
    anonymous
    Lyford Beverage, Tewksbury
    Bryan Robinson, Arlington
    Sara Robinson, Arlington
    Brian Hutter, Lynnfield
    Phil Mell, Letter Carrier 02184, USPS, resident of Plymouth
    Marana Avant, Brookline
    Anna Koon, Artist, Jamaica Plain
    Swaroop Pidakala, HR Professional, Malden public schools, Malden
    Ruth Smith, Medford
    Bhagya Gundugollu, Teacher, Malden Public Schools, Malden
    Sheryl Cunningham, Needham
    Joe Cunningham, Needham
    Richard Elliott, Director of Facilities, Marietta
    Peter Holt, Charlestown
    Joan C. Lacey, Admin Assistant, Brookline
    Kathy Weld, Dover
    John Saunders, Boston
    Barbara Carlson, Cambridge
    John Carlson, Architect, Cambridge
    Charles Gallagher, Data Analist, BDO USA, Arlington
    John Chung, Former Minister to Missions
    Laura Roscoe, Sourcing manager, Jamaica Plain
    Brian Jones, Software Engineer, Retired, Manchester, MA
    Frederica Jones, Retired, Manchester, MA
    Brian Lacey, Attorney, Brookline
    DEBRA MULLEY, Physician, Beverly Ma
    Valerie Beaver, Newton
    Rebecca Hansen, Beverly
    Esther Gerendas, Wayland
    anonymous
    Ben Beaver, Newton
    Brent Lacey, Brookline
    Patricia Cooper, Homemaker, Harvard
    Jonathan Verrengia
    Mark halvorsen, Easton
    Jimmy Hartono, Engineer, Wayland
    Margaret Diffenderfer, Newton
    Charles Peltz, prof. emeritus, roslindale
    Anne Montague, Former Clerk
    Eleanor Peltz, Boston
    Jessica Ross, Dental Hygienist, Newton
    Joseph Campanella, Cambridge
    Gaby Campanella, Cambridge
    Deborah S (Love) Fujimaki, Nurse, SEMI Sapporo NPO |Hokkaido, Japan, Nopporo Ebetsu
    R Paul Johnson, Sw Engineer, Burlington
    Robert rawnsley, Retired, Engineer, Melrose
    Ellen Rawnsley, Pharmacist, Melrose
    John Cissel, Boston
    Amy Swint, Billerica
    Reuel Swint, Billerica
    elysia cooke, Concord
    Colleen Forrest, Boston
    Lyford Beverage III, Structural Engineer, Park Street Church, Dracut
    Andrew Buckler, Boston
    Joan T Leighton, Accountant, Joan Trumbull Leighton, CPA, Belmont
    Diana Bennett, Minister
    Julie Ling, Boston
    Ben Swilling, Winchester
    Ruthie Swilling, Winchester
    Teresa Pregizer, Roxbury
    Charles and Turid Larson, Needham, MA
    Jennifer Oakley, Attorney, Imago Dei Fund, Hingham
    Paul Oakley, Hingham
    Nick Johnston, Helicopter Mechanic, Tewksbury
    Herman J Smith Jr
    Dorothy Saunders, Boston
    Elaine Phillips, Retired Professor, GLOUCESTER
    Stephen Christiansen, Physician, Boston University, Boston
    susan touloukian, boston
    Jennifer Lilley
    Drew Cleveland, Brookline
    Alex Johnston, RAWS Technician, Tampa
    Hanna Gazda, Physician-scientist, Sutton
    Irene Johnston, Tewksbury
    Emily Freedman, Needham
    Peter van der Meer, MD, Bedford
    Cherry Choi, Boston
    Philip Choi, Boston
    Mia Chung-Yee, Professor/musician, Lincoln
    Matthew Lenig, Charlestown
    John Wendel, Attorney, Worcester
    James Huse, Sr, Senior Management, retured, Hingham
    Carol Huse, Boston
    Jess Pulzetti, Winchester
    Elizabeth Gallagher, RN/CCLS, Boston Children’s Hospital, Arlington
    Jeffrey Collier, Watertown
    Richard Camann
    Bonnie Ziegler, Southborough
    Patrick Freytag, Newton
    Will Gerber, Attorney, Boston
    John Yee, Lincoln
    Charles Downing, Boxford
    Abigail Downing, Boxford
    Marty Lindemann, Retired, Walpole
    Vilma E. Ortiz, MD, Physician, Boston
    Megan Ibekwe, Cambridge
    Paul Burke, Boston
    David Rix, Burlington
    Linda J. Yee, Retired, Park Street Church, Boston
    Jim Huse, Hingham
    Kristin Gerber, Attorney, Boston
    Christian Briere, Malden
    Laura Burnham, Boston
    Evan Burnham, Boston
    Anna Kandoyan
    Lia Rix, Homemaker, Birth Year, Burlington
    Jill VanderWoude, Middleton
    Peter C Bennett, Retired, Plymouth
    Ronald Barndt, Retired, West Newton
    Wie Ja Shin, Canton
    Christine Vasko, Wellesley
    Betty Tyson, Watertown
    Sarah Henry, PA-C, Wellesley
    Jeff Lee, Boston
    Chris Nichols, Retired, Arlington
    Deb Weibley, Clinton
    anonymous, Retired
    David and Alex Cist, Winchester
    Meredith Stewart, Boston
    John Goempel, Tewksbury
    Ellen Nichols, Educator, Arlington
    Theodore Touloukian, Architect, Boston
    Judy Dean, Professor, Medford
    Josua Batubara, IT Specialist, Quincy
    Jamie Chan, Boston
    Irene Anderson, Nurse, Retired, Boston
    Sam Ghilardi, Watertown
    Diane Schmunk, Designer, Online attendee
    Jim Schmunk, Executive Search, Attend online
    Cameron Henry, Wellesley
    Sandra L. Palmer, Retired, Rough and Ready, CA
    John palmer, Retired engineer, Rough and Ready, CA
    Sharon Postma, Mendon
    Hugh Edward Rutledge, Project Manager, SAVVAS, Waltham
    Penny Kulakowski, Chaplain/Nurse, Danvers
    Elizabeth Beth Rutledge, Admin Assistant, The Arc of Massachusetts, Waltham
    Wesley Ireland, Boston
    Elizabeth Ireland, Boston
    Jude R Kyambadde, Medford
    Mark Lewis, Retired Law Enforcement, Online Attendee, Bayview, Idaho
    Susan Brune, Bayview, Idaho
    Elise Vasko, Wellesley
    Ethlyn Ottley Greydanus, Pastor, Online particpants, Holland
    Joshua Siewert, Consultant, Belmont
    Ruth Siewert, Psychologist, Belmont

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  126. Please do not post all these names. We signed this letter thinking it was in support of a broad range of leaders when we didn’t know what we do now. We would no longer feel comfortable putting our names on this. We have tried getting our names removed but are not able to. Please remove these names from such a public and widely-read forum. If anyone knows how to get your name off this letter please let us know!
    Thank you.

    Friend of Park Street Church,

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  127. I was at tonight’s meeting. I was sitting by j.h. I asked her who wrote the lenghty elders letter. She said all the elders did it. I warned everyone in the room that if Mark were to spiritually abuse someone else. Then the church could be sued and with the knowledge that they did nothing to stop when it first came out. I would like to thank the elder who comforted me by acknowledging that I was abused by a SP.

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  128. KAJ:
    Sorry. My previous post was not very well stated. If a legal court rules that one of the ministers has been unfairly dismissed then Mark/the BOE would have to stop pretending that they are the victims and accept that they are being abusive.

    But also the church should sue for fraud given that Mark misrepresented himself in his job application and then caused all this chaos. There are lots of missteps on marks part that legally should have been addressed but were not.

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  129. janiceg: spiritually abuse

    Do you reckon Mark & the BoE know what that term means at this point? Do the Vicinage Council and CCCC recognize spiritual abuse as real? Seems to me that their prior “investigation” ignored the legitimacy of this form of abuse and delivered to the BoE what they wanted to hear. A truly independent investigation by an organization like GRACE would tell them differently.

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  130. Former Boston Girl:
    In my view, it no longer matters who is right and who is wrong. Both sides are too entrenched to ever come to a unified result. Either way if the status quo continues this church is in deep trouble. The only way to right the ship, in my view, is for the current Senior Minister to resign. A strong interim must be hired. My choice would be Leith Anderson (but he is 77 and probably would not be willing to do this.) But someone who has his kind of expertise and respect in the evangelical world would be optimum. This probably means looking outside of New England and GCTS. Then PSC needs to hire a top notch search firm to find the next Senior Minister. No more lay search committees since they have shown they are not very good at searching. A good interim and a reputable search firm will do similar work to what an investigative group will do. I’ve been a partner in such a firm and understand how they work.

    Right and Wrong DOES matter…

    I think people did become obsessed with whether Mark Booker had appropriate paper qualifications, that they lost perspective. Mark Booker has been shown to be highly manipulative, drunk on power, extremely self-centered, talks the talk but does not walk the walk, sets people out against each other. It is highly likely that Mark Booker is mentally ill in a way that disqualifies him from the ministry.

    Right and wrong does matter, because someone who has a fairly recent history of abuse is NOT Biblically qualified for the ministry.

    There were plenty of red flags when it came to Mark Booker. I voted NO because Mark Booker did not post his CV somewhere public, such as the Park Street Church website or LinkedIn. I found Mark Booker to be extremely charismatic–and that can be a sign that the person in question is also extremely narcissistic and controlling (which Mark Booker has proven to be). It is abundantly clear that the Senior Minister Search Committee was INCOMPETENT–they DID NOT order an appropriately thorough background check (senior executive level) conducted by a third party AND they DID NOT order a three day, comprehensive psychosocial evaluation, conducted by a third party organization that specializes in this sort of service. At the time the search committee was operating, requiring a senior minister to pass a executive level background check and a thorough mental health evaluation is the norm.

    Once Mark Booker was installed as Senior Minister, I greatly limited my involvement with Park Street Church. I have family members that suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder AND in my 20s, I was a member of a personal development cult. I am very familiar with the damage that very self-centered people do. Mark Booker’s personality reminded me of both the cult leader and both family members who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    At this point, those who continue to support / enable Mark Booker are just as guilty of the sins, of the destruction Mark Booker has done and is continuing to do.

    The ONLY right thing for Mark Booker and his closest supporters to do is to resign. Do the right thing, so that there is a chance Park Street Church can recover. The longer these people are involved with Park Street Church, the deeper the wounds will be, decreasing the chance that Park Street Church will survive.

    Since Mark Booker is refusing to do the right thing–resign, he DOES NOT deserve a generous severance package. Instead, he MUST be given the severance package the ministers he fired / forced out got. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Ditto for Mark Booker’s allies who are on staff.

    Once Mark Booker and his allies are gone, Park Street Church MUST extend the right hand of fellowship to inactive members and former members who left the Church during Mark Booker’s tenure. Furthermore, Park Street Church must offer to rehire the ministers Mark Booker fired or who resigned. Most, like Kim Perkins, have moved on and are doing well.

    Park Street Church MUST hire the Freedom of Mind Foundation. Park Street Church has become a Cult of Personality–and needs to work with a team of experts who help people and organizations recover from such a problem. I also think Park Street Church needs to hire GRACE as well. GRACE is familiar with abuse within the church, but it is not familiar with helping groups that initially were not high demand / high control / Cults of Personality but became high demand / high control/ Cult of Personality heal from this. Freedom of Mind Foundation is out of Newton, MA.

    All finalist candidates for Senior Minister of Park Street Church MUST undergo a three day (or more) comprehensive, psychosocial evaluation. If the candidate is married, the wife MUST also attend. The comprehensive, psychosocial evaluation will be made public to the congregation. Finalist candidates will be REQUIRED to post their CV on the Park Street Church website. Members can post questions and concerns.

    All finalist candidates will undergo an executive level background check. This includes contacting people who might have knowledge about the candidate, but the candidate does not give as a reference.

    The congregation will be presented with three, fully vetted, psychologically tested finalist candidates to select from, using a ranked choice system. The winner is invited to preach a sermon at Park Street Church and the congregation will vote on whether this man shall be called.

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  131. Notice how in these communications the Elders cast (not in the right way) responsibility on themselves but NEVER Mark? In fact, the only time Mark has taken any responsibility was in that one sermon (of which was very generic). Mark does not believe he has actually done any wrong, and many around him agree. This church promotes unrepentant sinfulness.

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  132. A Former Member of PSC,

    Of course, right and wrong matters. All I meant was that both sides seem so entrenched and so intent on “winning” (whch now is impossible for either side) that the only thing that can set the church on any kind of a positive trajectory is the Senior Minister’s immediate resignation – which you also advocated. A top notch search firm will do all that you demanded of candidates. However, it will be expensive.

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  133. Former Boston Girl: Of course, right and wrong matters. All I meant was that both sides seem so entrenched and so intent on “winning” (whch now is impossible for either side)…

    At which point the rules of the Zero-Sum Game (Win-Lose, I Win by Making You Lose) mutate into the rules of the Spite Game (Lose-Lose, You’re Going to LOSE even if I send us both to Hell!).

    I’ve seen a family feud go from Zero-Sum to Spite Rules.
    It might be Godly these days, but it sure isn’t pretty.

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  134. A Former Member of PSC: At this point, those who continue to support / enable Mark Booker are just as guilty of the sins, of the destruction Mark Booker has done and is continuing to do.

    “Do not hurry to lay hands on anyone ordaining and approving someone for ministry or an office in the church, or in reinstating expelled offenders, and thereby share in the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.” (1 Timothy 5:22)

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  135. A Former Member of PSC: Park Street Church has become a Cult of Personality – and needs to work with a team of experts who help people and organizations recover from such a problem.

    Given the issues at hand, does anyone really doubt this? Only cult followers of such personalities would continue to support a leader with a “resume” of spiritual abuse.

    A Former Member of PSC: I also think Park Street Church needs to hire GRACE as well. GRACE is familiar with abuse within the church

    Which is probably why the BoE will not consider bringing GRACE in.

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  136. Susan Lane,

    Thank you, I am having powerful (invisible) help today. I never equated Christ, or Holy Spirit in my true peers, with the blood curdling shenanigans in all shapes and flavours I’ve continually been engulfed in – most of which I am determined not to detail, they are so grievous – and I also agree with Former Boston Girl to challenge “them” (tacitly) to act against you if you don’t volunteer / give (if you’ve got the nerve) (what if doctrine gets turned into lies though?)

    Another thing that we can all recognise without exotic terminology: possessive.

    If you have to stay, stay on your terms and not theirs.

    I tried arriving at one of my churches after the badly amplified rock concert which entailed guessing my moment, and banging hard enough on a window to get someone to unlock the venue. I felt as comfortable being brazen as one might, but it often failed in practical terms. No-one noticed the atmosphere of enforced hysteria except me. Their small groups kept collapsing in nonsensical chaos.

    At another fellowship, a headline coverup was the cloak for “miraculous” property fraud, which in turn was the decoy for another big ill. Eventually, one gets fed up with the hype and the loss of genuineness by one’s erstwhile pals.

    Codependency is big in commerce, politics, and some families including non-religious ones. Evangelism that comes to terms with the world’s mighty in order to use material means (works of the flesh) to “influence”, was and is codependent, many years both before and after the 1990s.

    I don’t do buzz phrases on purpose (except satirically), not being an essentialist. A thing doesn’t stop existing just because the chattering classes withdraw its profile.

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  137. Headless Unicorn Guy,

    Since the ad hominem evangelicalism of J Stott and C Henry by its codependency and possessiveness, abolished intellect and prayer, it has spread its bad example into all fields through wedge driving, weaponising children against other children, bait and switch, illegitimising, passivity, outsourcing, abdication, enforced incompetence, warped business modelling, poverty, etc.

    I have literaly invented my own religion without bosses, based solely on meanings of Holy Scripture, from fragments of insight encountered here or there and night cold sweats.

    In childhood I had a balanced if dormant belief. This was added to in good or bad directions according to the whims of whom I was mixing with. Then the interlopers cemented their position under numerous identical ideologies.

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  138. Elizabeth Klein:
    Many of you here are deeply concerned about The Park Street Five.

    There is now an opportunity to tangibly support them!

    Thank you so very much, Ling Yi Liu, for organizing this GoFundMe effort: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-park-street-church-ministers-in-transition

    One could zero out the “18% tip” to GoFundMe once a donation amount is selected.

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  139. The Elder/Oligarchs oppose the congregation, declaring: “We believe that Mark Booker has the character, gifts, and integrity to lead Park Street Church and should remain as our Senior Minister.”

    “we have reached out to our Conference leadership and asked that the Vicinage Council be reconvened to render a final determination on the issue of Mark’s Biblical fitness”

    No!, ‘the Conference’ is the Conservative CONGREGATIONAL Christian Conference; as such, the Vicinage Council has no business being the final determiner, its role is advisory only, to the congregation.

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  140. Jerome: ‘the Conference’ is the Conservative CONGREGATIONAL Christian Conference

    Surely the good folks at PSC now know that their church can no longer be viewed as “congregational” … it’s clearly an elder-ruled church! Congregational governance was overruled in the last vote on Mr. Booker. When elders keep coming back until you vote like they want you to, the pew essentially has no say in governing the church as a congregation.

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  141. Jerome: No!, ‘the Conference’ is the Conservative CONGREGATIONAL Christian Conference; as such, the Vicinage Council has no business being the final determiner, its role is advisory only, to the congregation.

    As always, Jerome, you are spot on. I said from the beginning that this was a church takeover, and it appears congregationalism is on the chopping block.

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  142. Jerome:
    No!, ‘the Conference’ is the Conservative CONGREGATIONL Christian Conference; as such, the Vicinage Council has no business being the final determiner, its role is advisory only, to the congregation.

    To the VC “Conservative” is more important that “Congregational.” To say that they will be reviewing new evidence is misleading. They already heard the testimony from ministers who resigned and Cindy and John. They didn’t have the testimonies of Kimberly and Kris but they will receive “contradictory evidence” and reaffirm their previous (terrible) decision. This is a middle finger to the congregation. Watch out next year at the Annual Meeting for bylaws to officially disenfranchise the congregation further.

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  143. NAAH,

    I was struck by the similarities to this letter and one Dee published from the elders of the Chapel Hill Bible Church elders following the first of 3 articles in the press. It would be interesting to read these side-by-side for the comparison.

    For context, it’s important to know that no one ever alleged sexual or physical abuse by a leader at CHBC. The leaders hired Leighton Ford Ministries and also GRACE to do assessments in the aftermath of a resignation by the executive pastor following an investigation by an attorney. Then the leaders voted not to release the full GRACE report, but rather their own summary of the GRACE report.

    https://thewartburgwatch.com/2022/12/05/2-2-chapel-hill-bible-church-is-done-talking-and-lamenting-it-tells-some-church-members-to-go-away/
    (There were 2 more. One was by the Roys Report, and another by Religion News Service which was picked up by the Washington Post.)

    Dee covered the events at length.

    Here’s her article on the petition: https://thewartburgwatch.com/2021/09/27/chapel-hill-bible-church-a-petition-signed-by-78-and-the-use-of-ndas-to-keep-things-on-the-down-low-whats-going-on-with-the-leaders/

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  144. NAAH: The Special Meeting was to review and possibly rescind a decision of the Board. The vote to affirm our decision failed.

    The Special Meeting was to review and possibly rescind a decision of the Board. The vote to affirm our decision failed.

    Note that they did not include the actual vote. There is also a difference in what they said the vote was about and what congregants posting here have said the vote was about.

    What was the percentage that would have been needed for the motion to have succeeded?

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  145. dee: I said from the beginning that this was a church takeover, and it appears congregationalism is on the chopping block.

    Within SBC, it’s quite common for New Calvinists taking over a traditional non-Calvinist church, by stealth and deception, for pastor/elders to keep going back for a vote until they get what they want. The first vote the NeoCals go for is to change a church from congregational governance to elder-rule in order to establish complete authority over the congregation. There appears to be some remnant of congregationalism at PSC which the elders would probably dearly love to see go.

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  146. Watcher on the Wall,

    Watcher on the Wall: One could zero out the “18% tip” to GoFundMe once a donation amount is selected.

    Hi Eliz and Watcher and all fellow pilgrims
    Praise the Lord for inspiring LYL to launch this effort so that faithful PSC members may do something tangible while waiting in pain and grief. Our donations to the PSC Missions Budget is at immediate risk of being robbed by agents of the Evil One. We must urgently support our faithful ministers and families; they deserve much more than 18% tips (an afterthought from luxurious meals). Do not muzzle the ox who ploughs your field (sorry my memory of scripture reference requires much improvement). Let us pray and (1) ask the Lord to decide how much each of us should pitch in, ASAP (2) empower LYL with wisdom, courage and love to manage this project for His Glory

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  147. Max: Does “Conservative” imply Calvinism as the underlying theology?

    Don’t know for sure but the CCCC was established in the mid 1950’s by the Congregational churches who chose not to be part of the merger that created the United Church of Christ. I’ve always been told that they now view themselves as the “real” Congregationalists. Just an aside, the 4 C’s do ordain women and have been known to have at least one transgender pastor in their midst (early 2000’s). MB’s denomination is closing in on taking a vote to bar ordaining women.

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  148. NAAH: We must urgently support our faithful ministers and families; they deserve much more than 18% tips (an afterthought from luxurious meals).

    The tip amount is for the organization “Go Fund Me.” GFM already takes out a service fee.

    “If a donor makes a $50 donation to a US fundraiser, the individual receiving funds will receive $48.25 once transaction fees (2.9% + $0.30) are deducted.” Service fee is a percentage of your gift.”

    The tip is on top of the service fee and goes to GFM.

    https://support.gofundme.com/hc/en-us/articles/203604424-Learn-about-fees

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  149. I can’t possibly respond to all the outrageous and abusive remarks in the Elders letter from Friday, but here is just one jaw-dropping quote: “At our Board meeting this week, we wrestled with whether and in what manner we should engage more directly to defend Mark and the truth. This is a question we will continue to ponder in the coming days.”

    So the only lesson the Elders took away from the Special Meeting is that they should have been more aggressive in defending Mark? Notice how they define their position as “the truth” while characterizing opposing perspectives with all the following words and phrases: “a campaign waged against us,” “false narrative,” “mischaracterized,””slandered,” “one-sided anecdotes,” “unsolicited email blasts,” “maligning,” “barrage of emails and testimony,” “expression of personal opinion,” and “conclusory accusations.”

    Notice that the Elders claim to resist the temptation to “go on the attack against those who have spoken out,” but isn’t that exactly what they are doing here? Instead of showing a willingness to listen to a congregation that must be reeling after the departure of three beloved ministers in less than a week, the Elders unleashed a 2,000 word screed viciously attacking the character and motives of those with different perspectives.

    Beyond the question of who is right or wrong on the particulars, I think Mark and the Elders should ask themselves a simple question: will people see Christ in my words and actions? Because for me, I see Christ in the three ministers who resigned last week at great personal and professional cost. I see Christ in the Kris’s letter, when even though he had some hard truths to share, he did not let that overcome his love for even those who oppose him. I see Christ in Michael’s courageous stand for the truth, even though he lost his job and church community as a result.

    However, I do not see Christ in the Elders’ email. I do not see Christ in Mark’s refusal to cede power, even when doing so would be the best thing for the church. This is what tells me that Park Street’s leadership has lost sight of the whole point of church, and they are not following Christ’s example of sacrificial, servant-hearted leadership. This is a profoundly sad and disappointing reality, and I can only pray that Christ works through his church in spite of the pride and arrogance of his servants.

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  150. Seeking Truth: So the only lesson the Elders took away from the Special Meeting is that they should have been more aggressive in defending Mark? Notice how they define their position as “the truth” while characterizing opposing perspectives with all the following words and phrases: “a campaign waged against us,” “false narrative,” “mischaracterized,””slandered,” “one-sided anecdotes,” “unsolicited email blasts,” “maligning,” “barrage of emails and testimony,” “expression of personal opinion,” and “conclusory accusations.”

    Good Lord! Are there ‘any’ elders left on the PSC BoE who have any spiritual sense?! Has the lure of the inner ring and groupthink deafened them to the cries of multiple victims under Mr. Booker’s tenure?!

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  151. Why did the elders take 5 days and 2,000 words to reject the congregation’s legitimate vote? Because it’s getting harder and harder for their rationalizations to make sense. Freud defines the term as an unconscious defense mechanism that uses illogical arguments to justify unacceptable actions and resolve personal anxiety or conflict. Here’s how it goes. The elders respect the authority of a pastor. He may be dishonest, unethical, and unqualified, but we will defend his position, no matter what. So, what do you do when 14 pastors, who know Mark better and understand Park Street better than anyone, agree that he’s the wrong man for the job? You must rationalize. You say “While many have argued that their statements are indicative of the vast majority of Park Street pastors. No, it is more directly their lack of respect for the former senior pastor’s judgment”. You blame the truly Congregational senior pastor who led the church through its best years ever. Gordon Hugenberger earned everyone’s respect through the brilliance of his sermons, the compassion of his interactions, and the absolute integrity of his faith and life. He never needed to weaponize the personnel committee or overwhelm anyone with hyper-religious language. The elder’s rationalization is simple: “We know more about the ministry than all 14 of these most experienced pastors. We know what and who created their conflict better than they do”.

    We are a congregational church, so the elders must respect the congregation’s authority. But what do you do when the congregation wants to hold a no-confidence vote? You find lawyers who will parse the bylaws in order to postpone it as long as possible. Then what do you do when the truth finally gets out and the congregation passes that no-confidence vote? You use illogical arguments to resolve your anxiety or conflict. “While many have argued that this vote is indicative of the congregation’s view of Pastor Mark, it is more directly a view of the congregation’s lack of trust in the Board’s collective judgment.” Or, the people in Park Street church don’t know what they are talking about. “We know more about what they are thinking better than they do. They think they are upset with Mark. But we know that they are actually upset with us”. Is this rationalization or narcissism?

    So, they respect the office of pastor. But 14 of them have so little insight that they don’t know what they are talking about. They respect the wishes of the congregation. But more than half of them have so little insight that they don’t know what they are angry about. Thank God the elders are here to define everyone else’s reality for them. Is this rationalism or narcissism?

    And what is the solution? Back to the VC. The team that spent hours and hours looking for reasons – “lots of people like him” – to defend their friend and pastoral peer. Then they gave only ½ hour to each of the pastors who are the most experienced and knowledgeable of the situation. Does anyone doubt the second outcome? Will the VC find apparently logical arguments to resolve their personal anxiety or conflict? What will be the explanation this time? It can’t be the strength of Mark’s character, leadership skills, qualifications, preaching skills, or management skills. Will they fall back on the flimsy “It’s all Hugenberger’s fault.” I really hope it won’t be the elder’s solution: “We agree that the pastors and this congregation are too dense to know the real issue.” Or will the VC have the courage to do what the elders refuse to do…humble themselves and admit that they made a mistake? The search committee that they hand-picked and chaired was in a rush to end the very long search. In that rush, they just hired a nice guy who has a sincere faith, and sounded very religious. But now we know that he is the wrong fit for this particular church.

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  152. “If a donor makes a $50 donation to a US fundraiser, the individual receiving funds will receive $48.25 once transaction fees (2.9% + $0.30) are deducted.” Service fee is a percentage of your gift.”

    Thanking you for clarification….
    Wish to be sure: the service fee is mandatory, but tips is optional. Correct ?

    The tip is on top of the service fee and goes to GFM.

    https://support.gofundme.com/hc/en-us/articles/203604424-Learn-about-fees

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  153. Max: Good Lord! Are there ‘any’ elders left on the PSC BoE who have any spiritual sense?!

    I’d settle for any elders left with some SENSE, period.

    Has the lure of the inner ring and groupthink deafened them to the cries of multiple victims under Mr. Booker’s tenure?

    In one word, YES.

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  154. Seeking Truth:
    I can’t possibly respond to all the outrageous and abusive remarks in the Elders letter from Friday, but here is just one jaw-dropping quote: “At our Board meeting this week, we wrestled with whether and in what manner we should engage more directly to defend Mark and the truth. This is a question we will continue to ponder in the coming days.”

    So the only lesson the Elders took away from the Special Meeting is that they should have been more aggressive in defending Mark? Notice how they define their position as “the truth” while characterizing opposing perspectives with all the following words and phrases: “a campaign waged against us,” “false narrative,” “mischaracterized,””slandered,” “one-sided anecdotes,” “unsolicited email blasts,” “maligning,” “barrage of emails and testimony,” “expression of personal opinion,” and “conclusory accusations.”

    Notice that the Elders claim to resist the temptation to “go on the attack against those who have spoken out,” but isn’t that exactly what they are doing here? Instead of showing a willingness to listen to a congregation that must be reeling after the departure of three beloved ministers in less than a week, the Elders unleashed a 2,000 word screed viciously attacking the character and motives of those with different perspectives.

    Beyond the question of who is right or wrong on the particulars, I think Mark and the Elders should ask themselves a simple question: will people see Christ in my words and actions? Because for me, I see Christ in the three ministers who resigned last week at great personal and professional cost. I see Christ in the Kris’s letter, when even though he had some hard truths to share, he did not let that overcome his love for even those who oppose him. I see Christ in Michael’s courageous stand for the truth, even though he lost his job and church community as a result.

    However, I do not see Christ in the Elders’ email. I do not see Christ in Mark’s refusal to cede power, even when doing so would be the best thing for the church. This is what tells me that Park Street’s leadership has lost sight of the whole point of church, and they are not following Christ’s example of sacrificial, servant-hearted leadership. This is a profoundly sad and disappointing reality, and I can only pray that Christ works through his church in spite of the pride and arrogance of his servants.

    All of this. 1000% this.

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  155. Jerome,

    “we have reached out to our Conference leadership and asked that the Vicinage Council be reconvened to render a final determination on the issue of Mark’s Biblical fitness”

    No!, ‘the Conference’ is the Conservative CONGREGATIONAL Christian Conference; as such, the Vicinage Council has no business being the final determiner, its role is advisory only, to the congregation.
    ++++++++++++++

    seems to me this is a legal matter.

    legally, the Vicinage Council cannot render a final determination.

    correct?

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  156. I find it disturbing and am absolutely disgusted that BoE and Mark repeated blame Pastor Gordon Hugenberger for their own doings. Please NOTE Pastor Gordon Hugenberger finished his term in the middle of 2017 and Phil Thorne was the interim pastor 2017-2020 before Mark started. I’ve been at PSC since 2007 with Pastor Gordon, it was never like this at PSC.
    Things were unsettled after Pastor Gordon retired and during the transition (2017-2020). I can only speculate (no evidence) that the toxic culture worsened over time (2017-), if it did in fact started before Mark’s term. Cowards blame others for one’s own wrongdoings.
    Based on church bylaws, who can fire this senior minister? who can fire this BoE?

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  157. Max: Does “Conservative” imply Calvinism as the underlying theology?

    It implies “new reformed”. Lloyd-Jones, Spurgeon or Wesley (non establishment) would, I think, view Arminius (two-fifths of the way through his honest logic reworking when he died of an illness) as a truer Calvin than Calvin (a politician and careless of logic).

    “New evangelism” leaders since C Henry and J Stott, instead of spiritually ringfencing the incidental compromises of some classes (target the young or poor) as they should have known from Scripture that they were able – like Jesus and the prophets did by simple admonishment – have by their media power foisted their own devised complicity (works of flesh) on all the general public (to the extent wouldbe agnostics now have a fatally confused sense of sin).

    This is why we should not allow religion bosses to veto our individual discretion as their (at least) equals. “New evangelicalism” by shutting up the heavens like brass and throwing away St Peter’s key, effectively invented artificial unintelligence by its enforced abdications (law of the Medes and the Persians). Kant, Barthes, Bergson and numerous others have commented how history, fashion and ideology proceed in waves that in real truth are not inevitably fixed to each other. It’s time to unravel the tonguetwisters of the takeover artists trapped in acting out the sole meme in their repertoire (which appears equally egregiously in non-protestant milieux). All kudos to the saucepan bangers at Park Street.

    Housewife to cheapskate tinker: “Are you copper bottomin’em my man?”
    Cheapskate tinker to housewife: “No, I’m aluminumin’em mum.”

    Max,

    Like when in the UK they blame a recent breath of fresh air opposition leader for the ills of a 1980s demagogue?

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  158. NAAH,

    Oh you mean when they make you stop being “illegals” in your own church?

    In one of my churches (which didn’t have a “membership” system) their best preacher, a lady who had been genuinely kindly, told me “the nasty people have left” and so that was when I left: I had hung on for some months because I had wanted to freely if quietly assert my God-given witnesshood out of deepseated empathy, but when she said that my nerves failed me.

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  159. It looks like Squatter Mark’s strategy is to refuse to leave. With his previous tampering of the elder nominating process, and with the most recent elder resignations, none of the elders have chutzpa to stand up to him. Most of the Wolf Pack-Elders loyally love Squatter Mark. It is the blind protecting the blind.

    Every effort to remove Squatter Mark will be blocked by the Misled-Clerk. The Misled-Clerk is blind to reality.

    The Lion-Pride Vicinage Council has already ruled in Squatter Mark’s favor. “Truth has been discovered” they pridefully announced. What an idiotic statement. The Wolf Pack-Elders are going back to the Lion Pride Vicinage Council for a final decision, because the Pride has also become Squatter Mark’s protector.

    Squatter Mark’s plan is simple: Hang on, refuse to leave, appeal to the Pride to roar, the Wolf Pack to howl, refuse any additional meetings. He is a Squatter par excellence.

    Only a supermajority of the Sleepy-somewhat-Awakening People can remove Squatter Mark, which seems difficult to imagine happening at the moment. Will the People submit to the Pride and the Wolf Pack?

    God can remove the Squatter at any moment. The Squatter received a stern warning last Labor Day weekend with his major bike accident. The Squatter obviously did not listen.

    The Squatter, the Wolf Pack, and the Pride VS. Jesus Christ.

    Lord, have mercy.

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  160. Watcher:

    Only a supermajority of the Sleepy-somewhat-Awakening People can remove Squatter Mark, which seems difficult to imagine happening at the moment.

    God can remove the Squatter at any moment.The Squatter received a stern warning last Labor Day weekend with his major bike accident. The Squatter obviously did not listen.

    Lord, have mercy.

    I won’t speculate about why God allowed Mark’s bike accident.

    But I totally agree with you, that the congregation needs to rise up and make a whole lotta noise about disregarding their clear vote at the Special Meeting. And that only a noisy supermajority would have a chance at succeeding at ousting Mark.

    (Isn’t that what got the 4 PM service reinstated? A LOT of pushback from a lot of the congregation?)

    Also, whatever happened to Mark humbly holding his call with an open hand? That was only for the Annual Meeting when the elders were pretty certain the vote would go in his favor, and not the Special Meeting, when the vote did not?

    I agree with you, that the Vicinage Council is very likely to clear Mark.

    I’m sure they prayed about their deliberations the last time. (Who at PSC isn’t praying about this mess??) They probably really believed that they were genuinely objective. However, pastors overwhelmingly side with other pastors, the way cops overwhelmingly side with other cops. So the VC’s automatic sympathies would be with Mark and what he’s going through. That instinctive loyalty and sympathy would be extremely difficult to dislodge.

    Additionally, within the CCCC, Park Street Church is seen as a very big fish (lots of institutional and cultural influence in American evangelicalism) in a pretty small, denominational pond. Because of PSC’s history and large-reaching influence, it would be EXTREMELY against the grain for even top CCCC leaders to go against the official (elder-decided) ruling at PSC in any matter. And it’s especially against the grain in the CCCC, which has a polity of congregational autonomy, anyway.

    The only time the VC said, hey, PSC should have followed CCCC guidelines, was in the matter of whether or not all staff ministers should resign when a new senior minister comes in.

    Yes, this is a thing in some churches and denominations, but not in others.

    An aside: I wonder if this is an old guard kind of tradition, assumed as best ecclesiastical practice at one time, but with harmful downsides that are now a whole lot more evident in this era of spiritual abuse exposés. (Sort of like the Billy Graham Rule was also a thing for a reason, but has some downsides that weren’t seen or acknowledged back in the 1950’s.) Seems to me, this tradition of expected staff minister housecleaning just paves the way for a senior minister to treat the church like his (usually his) personal fiefdom.

    Also, to my knowledge (please do correct me if I’m wrong), PSC has never operated this way. (Also, see the above: CCCC churches are autonomous, right?)

    But the key point here that the VC never acknowledged was this: it is cruel to enact that churchianity tradition retroactively, when neither the staff ministers nor the congregation have any idea that a massive housecleaning is going to take place!! A truly objective VC would have noted this.

    The VC already had more than enough evidence of Mark’s disturbing behavior the last time around – Michael Balboni, Cindy Cutlip, and John Knight’s for example. Yet they chose to discount these testimonies, and additionally, did not find it necessary to meet with any of the petitioners in person. This is objective???

    Meanwhile, the elders darkly hint that, hey, we can throw dirt on those who have expressed concerns about Mark! Which is just really gross. Eleven people have testified about Mark’s disturbing behavior: Michael Balboni, The Five, Cindy Cutlip, John Knight, Kimberley Morrison, Kris Perkins, and a former Missions Committee member.
    All different people, different experiences at different times, and different working relationships with Mark.

    THEY CAN’T ALL BE WRONG.

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  161. A P.S. to what I said about CCCC guidelines.

    Are there even any standard CCCC guidelines on how to prevent, recognize, and respond to abuse? Abuse of all kinds: sexual abuse of children, sexual harassment and abuse of adults, spiritual abuse, domestic violence, bullying, etc.

    To my knowledge, PSC doesn’t have any abuse guidelines of the sort, which is astonishingly reckless (and stupid, especially for a church that prides itself on being so educated & culturally salient).

    Ever heard of Spotlight? Or #ChurchToo??

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  162. I think it is time to take off the gloves of politeness.

    Background:

    From Luke 17:3 Ministries: https://luke173ministries.org/

    “TAKE HEED TO YOURSELVES: IF THY BROTHER TRESPASS AGAINST THEE, REBUKE HIM; AND IF HE REPENT, FORGIVE HIM…..Luke 17:3

    Luke 17:3 is the scripture often misquoted, usually by an abuser or his Silent Partners, when he tells you that the Bible says ‘Forgive and Forget’, or that you must forgive him because you are a Christian. However, Jesus is very specific when He tells us to rebuke the sinner, and if he repents, to forgive him. Have you rebuked your abuser, and has he or she repented?

    The Bible tells us to forgive as God forgave us (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13).God forgives us when we come to him, confess our sin, ask for forgiveness (apologize) and repent (turn from our sinful ways).( Ezekiel 33:10-19, Isaiah 55:6, Jeremiah 6:16 & 26:3, Luke 13:3 & 5, Acts 3:19). He does not forgive those who are ‘stiff-necked’, continue doing evil, or refuse to repent. The Lord does not expect more of us than he himself is willing to do! Do we imagine ourselves to be holier than God? God requires repentance, and so must we.”

    —–

    If Mark Booker truly loved the Church, was truly humble and repentant, he would have done the right thing last week–RESIGN. He has been rebuked numerous times. He has been rebuked by the congregation. He insists on remaining in the pulpit and continuing to damage the church in doing so by sowing more seeds of dissention.

    What is a reprobate? Paul, in his letter to the Romans (Romans 1:28 and following) states:

    “Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

    Look at the qualities Mark Booker has exhibited: envy, strife, deceit, malace, malicious gossip / slander, insolent, arrogant and boastful, no understanding, no fidelity, no love and no mercy. One can easily argue that repeatedly saying one thing from the pulpit and then behaving in a diametrically opposite manner for someone who has above average theological training demonstrates God hating. One can easily argue that Mark Booker’s insistence on staying on as Senior Minister when continuing to do this is causing enormous strife and destruction of the church’s historic ministries qualifies as God Hating.

    Mark Booker has demonstrated that he is a REPROBATE. He is Biblically unqualified to hold any sort of leadership role in the church.

    —–

    To the Deacons and Elders:

    Do the right thing: RESIGN. If you continue to serve, you are tacitly supporting the reprobate Mark Booker and his enabling inner circle. If you continue in your position, you have demonstrated that you are Biblically unqualified to hold any leadership role within the church.

    Draw up another Petition for a Special Meeting, circulate it, get it signed. It is clear that the congregation needs to remove the Board of Elders, Mark Booker, Nathaniel Skinner and maybe more.

    —–

    To all employees of Park Street Church–and that includes Park Street School:

    Actively seek out employment elsewhere. Park Street Church is unstable. Many of you have family obligations and need the paycheck. Examine your heart. Can you knowingly work for abusive leaders? Can you knowingly work for cowardly leaders? If you are Christian, can you follow a reprobate?

    Finding another, suitable job takes time, sometimes many, many months, to find suitable work. It’s not easy, even in the best of times. You’ll be spending many, many hours in your job search, from researching potential employers, communicating with them and interviews. You’ll be spending time on your job search that you probably would have spent with your family or doing something else you’d rather do. You’re going to dedicate your leave / time off to interviews… time you probably would have rather spent relaxing.

    —–

    To the remaining ministers at Park Street Church:

    If you are of retirement age, RETIRE. It is the right thing to do. Should you decide to stay, you are enabling a reprobate–and are definitely NOT Biblically qualified to hold ANY leadership position in the church.

    To those who are NOT of retirement age, TAKE A CALL. This is the right thing to do. We who love Park Street Church (whether we are current, former members or caring Christians), know that it takes time to connect with congregations looking for a minister. We know that it can take easily a year, from the time you realize that you need to take a call, to the time you finally leave. We understand that it is very difficult to uproot your family (as Kris Perkins did) in order to accept an out-of-town call. You might have to become a bi-vocational minister. We will be praying for you and for your ministry, wherever it takes you.

    —-

    To the missionaries receiving support from Park Street Church:

    This must be a very difficult time for you. By now, you must realize that Park Street Church is in serious trouble. Donations are rapidly falling. Given what happened on June 2, you can reasonably expect that many more people will either stop or greatly reduce their financial support for Park Street Church. Park Street Church is now living off its seed corn. Accept that Park Street Church will likely have to reduce its support for missionaries. You will have to do more fundraising. It’s entirely possible that some missionaries will be forced to come home.

    Do everything you can to distance yourself from the reprobate Mark Booker and his inner circle.

    Save your ministry.

    —–

    To those who have engaged or have gotten their position in part due to nepotism:

    This includes: Mark Booker’s friends that he put on the Board of Elders, a minister whose husband served as elder while the minister served Park Street Church, to the married couple who served as elders.

    REPENT. Do not serve in ANY leadership position within Park Street Church. RESIGN IMMEDIATELY.

    —–

    To the Vicinage Council and to those in leadership within the 4Cs:

    All of you are fine example of Churchianity, not Christianity. You are Quislings–cowards. Park Street Church is no longer congregational in polity; hence, is not qualified for membership. The Vicinage Council demonstrated that they are not Biblically Qualified to serve the church as an Elder. The VC REFUSED to comply with VC duties under Matthew 18. Numerous people accused Mark Booker of abuse–how dare the VC support an abuser! By failing to hold Mark Booker accountable, you are supporting the destruction of a once fine church. You are enabling a REPROBATE.

    This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, a church (churches, networks of churches or denominations) is destroyed by REPROBATES in LEADERSHIP.

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  163. Considering how (justifiably!) proud PSC is of Matt Carroll, they certainly well should be aware of church abuse. And yet …

    (Longtime Park Streeter Matt Carroll was the data cruncher for the Spotlight team. Played by Bryan D’Arcy James in the movie. At one point in the film he says he goes to his wife’s Presbyterian church but we will forgive that small bit of artistic license.)

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  164. I’ve not yet finished reading the comments….

    For posterity, I’m adding a comment to include a link to an Internet Archive copy I made of the link provided by Friend of Park Street Church of the June 7, 2024, Board of Elders email / letter, Reflections on the Special Meeting.

    Friend of Park Street Church: Date: June 7, 2024

    Subject: Fwd: Reflections on the Special Meeting

    https://mailchi.mp/parkstreet.org/message-from-the-board-of-elders-may-2512726

    Wow! Just wow! This is so much worse than I had expected!

    Also…. Welcome to TWW, abusive “elders” at Park Street Church…. it’s nice to know you are here reading all of this! As people Google your names, they will find them here… so if you aren’t interested in being a party to this abuse… or if you are tired of the rumored “one voice policy”… do speak up!

    Welcome to the Board of Elders, tagged here for the record as you are individually and legally responsible for this abusive letter. The list is from the Park Street Church website as of June 7, 2024.

    Thank you, Friend of Park Street Church, for providing the link to the June 7, 2024, Board of Elders email / letter Reflections on the Special Meeting. 🙂

    The Internet Archive link I made of the email / letter is below:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20240610131144/https://mailchi.mp/parkstreet.org/message-from-the-board-of-elders-may-2512726

    To keep my comment short 🙂 — and no offence to you intended, Friend of Park Street Church 🙂 — I’m intentionally omitting the list of the Board of Elders you tagged….readers can click on the link back your comment to read your list. 🙂

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  165. Fooled by the Open Letter: We signed this letter thinking it was in support of a broad range of leaders when we didn’t know what we do now. We would no longer feel comfortable putting our names on this. We have tried getting our names removed but are not able to. Please remove these names from such a public and widely-read forum. If anyone knows how to get your name off this letter please let us know!
    Thank you.

    To have your name removed from TWW, please email Dee. She can edit the post.

    To get your name off the open letter, you will need to contact those who set it up. Perhaps the open letter website has information about removing a name… check with them and even their parent company.

    It’s important to show who continues to support the abuse at Park Street Church. If you have changed your mind now that you know more, speak up! It’s not too late to become an “upstander” rather than a complicit bystander!

    If that public open letter is not where you want your name… do what you need to do to get it removed. It’s not too late!

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  166. BTA: “While many have argued that this vote is indicative of the congregation’s view of Pastor Mark, it is more directly a view of the congregation’s lack of trust in the Board’s collective judgment.” Or, the people in Park Street church don’t know what they are talking about. “We know more about what they are thinking better than they do. They think they are upset with Mark. But we know that they are actually upset with us”. Is this rationalization or narcissism?

    It’s gaslighting. It’s more abuse in writing…

    By these “elders” …. who are no longer qualified to be named as such!

    This list is from the Park Street Church website as of June 7, 2024.

    JASON ABRAHAM
    Moderator
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    DEBORAH GALLAGHER
    Clerk
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIE HALVORSEN
    Elder
    TERM: 2 YEARS (2026)

    GREGG HANSEN
    Assistant Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    MARY HARVEY
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    LINDA HERMAN
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    RICHARD IBEKWE
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    GABRIEL LING
    Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    DAVID MURGATROYD
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    GEOFFREY RAUX
    Moderator-Elect
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    KIRSTIN PELTZ
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    DANIEL VOGELZANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    JOSHUA WANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    STEVE WEIBLEY
    Elder
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIANNE WHITE
    Missions Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    ANDREW ZIEGLER
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

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  167. 1 Timothy 5:24
    The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later.

    I just think this should be posted outside Park Street Church every few yards along the fences. I can’t stop thinking about it…

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  168. Also wanted to share this sermon here…

    “The Problem of Guilt” by Timothy Keller, the late pastor in New York City.

    Sin with a high hand or premeditated sin is what we are seeing by Mark Booker, Jason Abraham, and others. Park Street Church needs a Prophet Nathan, speaking by the Holy Spirit, to show each person their sin in a way they are refusing to accept right now!

    We have seen your remorse (in Dr. Keller’s explanation) but you need repentance.

    From the transcript:

    “The Bible actually says, in a sense, until you repent, I have nothing to say to you. Until you repent, I have nothing to offer you. Until you repent, nothing else that I have to say to you will make any sense. Until you repent, nothing else that I can offer you will you be able to receive. Repent.”

    […]

    “What the Bible says about your sinfulness can be misused. There’s a big difference between repentance and remorse. In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul says, Godly sorrow over sin leads to deliverance and no regret.
    But worldly sorrow over sin leads only unto death. Did you hear that? There’s two kinds of sorrow for sin. Godly sorrow over sin leads to freedom. See, deliverance, no regret. And there’s a worldly kind of sorrow that leads to death. And the difference between the two is the difference that I’m talking about. Repentance and worldly sorrow or remorse. Now, what is that difference? And here, let me show you. David gets right to it. If any of you have felt bad and guilty in the past, a lot of this language looks very common. It looks very familiar. Have mercy on me. Blot out my transgressions. Wash away my iniquity. See, you’re feeling pure. You recognize all that, right? Don’t do that anyway. You recognize all of that, right? But look, suddenly David says something that brings us up short. It doesn’t look like anything we’ve ever said when we felt bad and guilty and impure. What does he say? Verse 4. Against thee and thee only have I sinned. And right away somebody says, What? What about the poor Uriah laying dead on the battlefield because of the treachery of David?
    What about Bathsheba, ripped away from her husband? What do you mean you only sinned against thee, against God? What are you talking about? Ah, look, David is not denying the fact that he has violated those people. But what he’s actually saying is, I have discovered something profound about the nature of sin. And what he’s showing us is that this is very, very important to understand. This makes the difference, as I’ll show you in a minute, between remorse and repentance. What he discovered is that sin is not primarily the breaking of a law, but it is primarily, and first of all, an attack on the lawgiver and the creator. Let me show you what I mean.”

    From Timothy Keller Sermons Podcast by Gospel in Life: The Problem of Guilt, 17 May 2024
    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/timothy-keller-sermons-podcast-by-gospel-in-life/id352660924?i=1000655901848
    This material may be protected by copyright.

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  169. Friend of Park Street Church: In 2 Corinthians 7

    Meant to add this… to the previous post…

    2 Corinthians 7:10
    For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

    Friend of Park Street Church: Have mercy on me. Blot out my transgressions. Wash away my iniquity.

    From Psalm 51

    Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

    To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

    [1] Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
    according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
    [2] Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

    [3] For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
    [4] Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight,
    so that you may be justified in your words
    and blameless in your judgment.
    [5] Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
    and in sin did my mother conceive me.
    [6] Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
    and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
    [7] Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    [8] Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
    [9] Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
    [10] Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
    [11] Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
    [12] Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

    [13] Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
    [14] Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
    [15] O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
    [16] For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
    [17] The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

    [18] Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
    build up the walls of Jerusalem;
    [19] then will you delight in right sacrifices,
    in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar.

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  170. Friend of Park Street Church: Also, some of you might want to have your name removed from this list now that you have more evidence of Mark Booker’s abuse.
    https://openletter.earth/an-open-letter-to-the-park-street-church-community-1bd3e2be?limit=0

    Did some legwork for those of you who now see this open letter in a new light…

    Help Options
    https://opencollective.com/help

    Contact Open Collective
    https://opencollective.com/contact

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  171. Former Boston Girl,

    “If Mark is now credentialed by the 4C’s I believe the VC can revoke his credentialing. I don’t believe they can require the church to dismiss him. This is how it would work in the UCC.”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    Seems to me the VC certainly can’t require the church (or obligate the church through spiritual/biblical blackmail) to keep him.

    [The elders had said, “we have reached out to our Conference leadership and asked that the Vicinage Council be reconvened to render a final determination on the issue of Mark’s Biblical fitness”

    per Jerome above, “‘the Conference’ is the Conservative CONGREGATIONAL Christian Conference; as such, the Vicinage Council has no business being the final determiner, its role is advisory only, to the congregation.”]
    .
    .
    criminy, i’ve been spiritually/biblically blackmailed many times. it’s utterly sick.

    i’m afraid to say i fell for it (at first). then i caught on, and more or less said “No, i don’t think so”.

    i have one shot at my life. no religion is going to hijack it (not even the one that operates with Jesus as the mascot). I have much better boundaries now.

    christian leaders have no clue how manipulative they are. (Of course some know exactly what they’re doing).

    i marvel at how otherwise intelligent & sincere people allow their conscience & common sense to be disabled by the persuasions of party line.

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  172. elastigirl: i marvel at how otherwise intelligent & sincere people allow their conscience & common sense to be disabled by the persuasions of party line.

    It’s largely a fear based religion.
    Fear that if you (generic you) don’t sign on to what they teach, you are not going to ‘heaven’ in the end.
    That’s how they hijack conscience and common sense.

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  173. A Former Member of PSC: I think it is time to take off the gloves of politeness.

    Jesus wasn’t always polite when dealing with religious leaders.

    He pronounced 8 “Woes” against them in Matthew 23, including:

    “Woe to you, self-righteous scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. So you, also, outwardly seem to be just and upright to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

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  174. PSC’s Elder/Oligarchs wrote: “we have reached out to our Conference leadership and asked that the Vicinage Council be reconvened to render a final determination on the issue of Mark’s Biblical fitness”

    But according to Conference publications, a Vicinage Council should be composed of “experienced local pastors AND LAY PEOPLE” who “OFFER COUNSEL to a congregation in conflict”. “NOT TO DICTATE but to ask questions and prayerfully ADVISE”:

    https://www.ccccusa.com/ministries/conference_care/biblical-peacemaking/

    “we have learned the value of gathering a Vicinage Council of experienced local pastors AND LAY PEOPLE to evaluate, mediate, and OFFER COUNSEL to a congregation in conflict.”

    https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Vicinage-Councils-for-More-than-Ordination-.html?soid=1102213310097&aid=TLGB_RhHPPM

    “Vicinage Councils…Our early history as Congregationalists is full of stories of churches seeking the wisdom of sister churches when facing difficult decisions or conflict. In these instances it was NOT TO DICTATE but to ask questions and prayerfully ADVISE.”

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  175. Friend of Park Street Church: To have your name removed from TWW, please email Dee. She can edit the post.

    To get your name off the open letter, you will need to contact those who set it up. Perhaps the open letter website has information about removing a name… check with them and even their parent company.

    It’s important to show who continues to support the abuse at Park Street Church. If you have changed your mind now that you know more, speak up!It’s not too late to become an “upstander” rather than a complicit bystander!

    If that public open letter is not where you want your name… do what you need to do to get it removed.It’s not too late!

    Hi, Friend of PSC, and Dee:
    I am very curious about the origin of this ‘open letter to the PSC community’:
    (1) who wrote it — we can guess even though unable to confirm
    (2) to whom was it sent ? I have been in this ‘community’ for > 30 yr (longer than Dee). but Dee got it and I never got it.
    (3) How do we know the 100+ people listed actually saw it, and signed it on 2/7/24 ?
    Please try your best to find out and enlighten me ASAP
    Thanks

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  176. Max: “Woe to you, self-righteous scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!

    Let’s use the original meaning of “hypocrite” so we can clarify the Christianese, going back to what the first-century listeners would have heard:
    “Actors Strutting Onstage, Empty Celebrities without Substance…”

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  177. BTA:
    Friend of Park Street Church,
    213 people signed the letter of support for Mark in February and then 242 voted no confidence in June. What changed? The truth came out.

    May I attempt retroactive analysis of that ‘OPEN’ letter and list of signatures
    1) It was NOT open– but tightly CLOSED to the sender(s) and specific recipients selected by the sender(s) to request signature.
    2) How do we know if other real people whose real names were added by the sender(s) to the published list of signatures, who might not have even SEEN that ‘open’ letter at all.
    3) Did the ‘senders’ publicly show how each signature was verified ?
    4) That process is online which is impossible for outsiders to verify.
    It is not standing vote versus ballot vote—- at least you can easily see how many people are sitting or standing.

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  178. There’s a theory that Nathan Skinner authored this letter because many of the early signatures are choir members. Not every signatory is currently at Park St (such as Rich Elliot and John Chung).

    A tidbit about Mark’s accident: he couldn’t even let a traumatic injury make him step away from controlling the church. He was basically running the church while recovering. I thought that was egotistical of him to not focus on his recovery. I also personally think it was irresponsible of him as a father of four and a leader of such a large church to have such a risky hobby of mountain biking (but wouldn’t say it is right or wrong to do). It does fit in with his toxic masculine energy to like an activity like that.

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  179. A Former Member of PSC: above average theological training

    A Former Member of PSC:
    … enabling a reprobate. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, a church (churches, networks of churches or denominations) is destroyed by REPROBATES in LEADERSHIP.

    John Stott was the openly avowing, original church takeover architect and Lloyd-Jones publicly told him off about it in 1966 (mentioned in Iain H Murray’s ‘Evangelicalism Divided’). Stott didn’t sell his own birthright however – only that of the rest of society.

    You are seen as the toys in their pram and they want to throw you out of actually your own space. In their eyes you are the weakest link and you can notice their faces twist as they say so.

    (Just as sadly this does happen in non-protestant, liturgical churches also.)

    If cutting losses, do so assertively which is what the other cheek means: dare them to steal and lie, incidentally listed in your Scripture as hated by the Lord.

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  180. Jerome:
    PSC’s Elder/Oligarchs wrote: “we have reached out to our Conference leadership and asked that the Vicinage Council be reconvened to render a final determination on the issue of Mark’s Biblical fitness”

    But according to Conference publications, a Vicinage Council should be composed of “experienced local pastors AND LAY PEOPLE” who “OFFER COUNSEL to a congregation in conflict”. “NOT TO DICTATE but to ask questions and prayerfully ADVISE”:

    https://www.ccccusa.com/ministries/conference_care/biblical-peacemaking/

    Great point, and thank you for referencing this CCCC document!

    Yeah, so where are the lay people? Also, where is the Vicinage Council’s expertise on spiritual abuse or trauma-informed investigations and care??

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  181. Friend of Park Street Church: Processing Sessions with Elders and Senior Minister
    The Board of Elders and Mark invite you to join them for times of processing, for the congregation to share with them as we walk through these challenging months. They’ll be available the following times in the Granary Room:
    Fri, Jun 7 | 6:15 PM
    (preceding All-Church Prayer at 7:30 PM in the Welcome Center)
    Sat, Jun 15 | 9:30 AM
    (feel free to come at 8:30 AM to begin with 1 hour of All-Church Prayer on Zoom)
    Thur, Jun 20 | 7 PM
    Tue, Jun 25 | 7 PM

    Did any of you go to the first of the four abusive gaslighting sessions to be processed? There was one on the 7th and I’m wondering how it went.

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  182. janiceg:
    This is the web site address with all those who support mark

    Petition · Park Street Church Community Calls for 3rd Party …

    Change.org
    https://www.change.org › spiritual abuse in church

    We, the undersigned, represent concerned current and previous regular attendees and members of Park Street Church. Recent events at Park Street Church have

    Just to clarify: this isn’t a petition to support Mark, but rather, a petition (dating from late March) supporting The Park Street Five and an independent investigation into Mark.

    Here’s the link: https://www.change.org/p/park-street-church-community-calls-for-3rd-party-investigation-non-retaliation

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  183. The email sent from the elders discussing what they are going to do with the vote came at 602 (615 start) on 6/7 so J.H elder read it to us. The face expressions in the room said it all. I asked Mark if he was going to resign. He said no. and he will listen to what the holy spirit tells him. I said that the church is going to have greater problems if it does not investigate michael’s charge of spiritual abuse. Because when it happens again with a person associated some how with the church. THere going to have one hell of a lawsuit as the church knew it was allowing Mark to continue as sp. Two elders just sat in the room and did not say anything the entire time.

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  184. janiceg:
    This is the web site address with all those who support mark

    Hi Janiceg:
    May I point out the change.org letter that you quoted was NOT the open letter supporting Booker. On the contrary, it was petitioners calling for an independent investigation. Petition started by Anonymous A on 3/30/24, I received and signed it on 4/23/24, when 146 people already signed. Update on 5/7/24, 219 have signed. I will try to post it below:

    (hope it shows up below– if not will try again later)

    We, the undersigned, represent concerned current and previous regular attendees and members of Park Street Church. Recent events at Park Street Church have

    C:\Users\Elaine Choi\Downloads\change A.png
    C:\Users\Elaine Choi\Downloads\change B.png
    C:\Users\Elaine Choi\Downloads\change C.png

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  185. janiceg: I asked Mark if he was going to resign. He said no. and he will listen to what the holy spirit tells him.

    Narcissists have no desire to hear you. Even when they appear to be listening, they really aren’t. If they block you out, they will not listen to the Holy Spirit speaking directly or through others. Unfortunately, it appears that the BoE have been influenced by Mr. Booker and will not truly listen either. The PSC congregation is in a difficult dilemma with these leaders.

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  186. NAAH,

    janiceg,

    Former Boston Girl,

    dear fellow pilgrims
    We are always ready to forgive and be gorgiven– esp. me who never learned computer science except by trial and error after age 40. . I will try again to post 2 petitions (1) from saveourministers@gmail.com (will send do the change.org petition in next post)

    May 9 2024

    Dear Board of Elders and Personnel Committee,
    We write to you with a heart of love and concern for our ministers. We strongly urge you not to fire the 5
    ministers who expressed their concerns about leadership. Doing so would create more division and pain in
    an already divided and hurting congregation. Please do not force out these faithful ministers:
    1. Raymond Kam (Minister to Internationals), 8 years of service, 27 years calling PSC his home
    church
    2. Tim Leary (Director of Grad Student Ministries), 14 years of service, 18 years calling PSC his
    home church
    3. Julian Linnell (Minister of Missions), 10 years of service, 10 years calling PSC his home church
    4. Damian Long (Minister of Community), 3 years of service as Minister, Midterm missionary since
    2002-2009, PSC staff missionaries 2009-2020, Director of Cafe 2020-2021, and 27 years calling
    PSC his home church
    5. Tammy McLeod (Director of College Student Ministries), 25 years of service, 25 years calling
    PSC her home church
    Signed,
    Members of Park Street Church
    1. Violette Aftandilian
    2. Lois Andersen
    3. Bob Andersen
    4. Erika Anderson
    5. Anna Assogba
    6. Tracy Balboni
    7. Steve Barlow
    8. Ronald Barndt
    9. Millard Baublitz Jr.
    10. Vera Benson
    11. Melanie Bilazarian
    12. Rob Bradley III
    13. Norma Brunner
    14. Carolyn Cain
    15. Chun (Ivan) Chan
    16. Jonathan Chang
    17. Bailey Chang
    18. Susan Chang
    19. Gal Chaturantabut
    20. Amy Chavarro
    21. Jorge Chavarro
    22. Ruth Chen
    23. Grace Chen
    24. Janice Cheng
    25. Sijo Cherian
    26. Elaine Choi
    27. Jimmy Chu
    28. Clara Chyen
    29. Alisa Clark
    30. Kacey Clark
    31. Daniel Cogswell
    32. Courtney Cogswell
    33. Natalie Collins
    34. Akiko Coram
    35. Kevin Coram
    36. Marilyn Cowan
    37. James Craver
    38. Peter Creath
    39. Michael Creech
    40. Carolyn Cummings
    41. Cindy Cutlip
    42. Pamela Daley
    43. Jamie Dalton
    44. D Gray Dalton
    45. Caroline De Sola
    46. David De Sola
    47. Viva Decarvalho
    48. Nick Dedeke
    49. Hsuan DeLorme
    50. R Stuart DeLorme
    51. Patty Dery
    52. Karen Dowie
    53. Kaori Emery
    54. Andrea Enzinger
    55. Peter Enzinger
    56. Jim Feenstra
    57. Kristin Fehlauer
    58. Daniel Fehlauer
    59. Cindy Frechette
    60. Anita Fritze
    61. Ariel Fusaro
    62. Yuyu Georgescauld
    63. Bénédicte Gnangnon
    64. Frankie Goon
    65. Elisabeth McSherry
    Green
    66. Howard Green
    67. Walter Hansen
    68. Darlene Hansen
    69. John Harutunian
    70. Wenbo He
    71. Linda Hemphill
    72. Chenchen Hensz
    73. Julia Ho
    74. Alana Howland
    75. Li-Li Hsiao
    76. Kai-Ting Hu
    77. Lisa Hui
    78. Kevin (Miller) Hui
    79. Nakyung Im
    80. Alex Ip
    81. Beena Jacob
    82. Sophia Jeon
    83. Shaji John
    84. Irene Johnston
    85. Tom Kane
    86. Erik Kao
    87. Evangeline Kennedy
    88. Stephen Kim
    89. Jooe Kim
    90. Sue Kim
    91. Kwang Soo Kim
    92. Cathy Kim
    93. Haesik Kim
    94. Moo Kim
    95. Eric Klawiter
    96. Lora Knight
    97. John Rogers Knight Jr.
    98. Matthew Krushinsky
    99. Chet Kunz III
    100. Chet Kunz Jr.
    101. Allen Lai
    102. Susan Lane
    103. Jim Layman
    104. Helen Layman
    105. Michael Le
    106. Taylor Le
    107. Eunjeong Lee
    108. Eugene Lee
    109. Leslie Lee
    110. Vivian Lee
    111. ChangHee Lee
    112. Ye Jin Lee
    113. Alexander LeePapastavros
    114. David Lewis
    115. John Lewis
    116. Janet Lewis
    117. Emily Lim
    118. Ethan Liu
    119. Marisa Liu
    120. Hao Liu
    121. Vicky Lo
    122. Alice Loo
    123. Jonathan Lorgunpai
    124. Christine Lu
    125. Saara Luna
    126. Ruth Luna
    127. Joel Luna
    128. Mia Laki Luo
    129. Raphael Martinez
    130. Liz Martinez
    131. Melanie Matthews
    132. Theo MbakaMouyeme
    133. Janice McGrail
    134. Scott McGrail
    135. Grant Means
    136. Christina Michaud
    137. Jurgen Michel
    138. Liz Moore
    139. Wynne Mun
    140. Kudzai Mutembwa
    141. David Newton
    142. Matt Niblack
    143. Esther Nimbalkar
    144. Joseph Oliva
    145. Yingshu Osborne
    146. Jeff Osborne
    147. Nick Papastavros
    148. Joanna Parada
    149. Karolyn Park
    150. Raymond Park
    151. Sang Park
    152. Kimberly Pearson
    153. Jason Peter
    154. Jim Piper
    155. Sarah Pisacich
    156. David Pisacich
    157. Doris Pratt
    158. Teresa Pregizer
    159. Ester Ramirez
    160. Helen Rheem
    161. Raul Rosales
    162. Emily Sackmann
    163. Sally Seaver
    164. Irene Shaffer
    165. Victor Sheen
    166. Mark Shepard
    167. Dustin Spicuzza
    168. Sammi Sung
    169. David Tam
    170. Chun Pong (James)
    Tam
    171. Brittany Taylor
    172. Timothy Tran
    173. Betty Ann Tyson
    174. Doug Vassos
    175. Hope Vassos
    176. Bob Vorce
    177. Max Wang
    178. Kai Wang
    179. Sonya Wang
    180. Sophie Sau Man Wang
    181. Bill Wellman
    182. Lynn Wenger
    183. Erika Whitworth
    184. Robin Whitworth
    185. Brian Wilford
    186. Paulina Wilford
    187. Pebble Williams
    188. Todd Williams
    189. Elizabeth (Betsy)
    Wiltshire
    190. Brian Winey
    191. Karen Winey
    192. Janet Wolfe
    193. Adelina Wu
    194. Ming Yan
    195. Bo Yan
    196. Sze Zheng Yong
    197. Mary Young
    198. Mindelynn Young
    Godbout
    199. John Young Jr.
    200. Jeong Yun
    201. Dan Zhang
    202. Maria Zhu
    203. Sky Zhu
    Previous Members, Regular Attenders, or Other Affiliates of Park Street Church
    204. Benedetta Balboni
    205. Edmund Balboni
    206. Deborah Bliss
    207. Matthew Breuer
    208. Lake Bu
    209. Emily Byrer
    210. Caitlyn Diehl
    211. Elaine Carroll
    212. Matt Carroll
    213. Ema Ciuca
    214. Brett Clark
    215. Liana Clark
    216. Andrew Davenport
    217. Kathleen Davenport
    218. Ujjaini Desirazu
    219. Andrew DeYoung
    220. Christine Ding
    221. Lauren Dukes
    222. Patrick Dukes
    223. Aloysio Fernandes
    224. Kristen Filipic
    225. Florian Georgescauld
    226. Sean Godbout
    227. Janice Graves
    228. Rui Guo
    229. Guy Hamilton
    230. Catherine Harley
    231. Mark Harley
    232. Sarah Hart
    233. Maeve Hedstrom
    234. Jason Hennessey
    235. Xindi Hennessey
    236. Jonathan Ho
    237. Grace Howard
    238. Meg Howard
    239. Tim Howard
    240. Esther Hugenberger
    241. Jane Hugenberger
    242. William Jamara
    243. Kristin Janz
    244. Christina Jen
    245. Tim Johnson
    246. Nick Johnston
    247. Beverly Kafkas
    248. W. Mark Kafkas
    249. Kevin Kang
    250. Eddie Kim
    251. Yuri Kim
    252. Elizabeth Klein
    253. Sean Kolva
    254. Nora Laver
    255. Anabelle League
    256. Riley League
    257. Ava Lee
    258. Clement Li
    259. Elliott Mason
    260. Michael Mathes
    261. Felix Matthews
    262. Kristen Maynard
    263. Laura McJilton
    264. Connie Medak
    265. Debra Morris
    266. Dan Murphy
    267. Georgia Murphy
    268. Mallory Overton
    269. Dee Parsons
    270. Jeffrey Potts
    271. David Saff
    272. Alexander SauerBudge
    273. Sheba Shadrach
    274. Linda Shepard
    275. Chris Sherwood
    276. Charles Slagen
    277. Dotty Slagen
    278. Douglas Stuart
    279. Gayle Stuart
    280. Clare Sun
    281. Stephen Tam
    282. Jasmine Tan
    283. Mauricio Tedeschi
    284. Vivian Tsang
    285. Carmen Tu
    286. Kelechi Umoga
    287. Rachel Utama
    288. David Wilson
    289. Sue Yoon
    290. Martin Young
    291. Steven Young
    292. Jin Yu
    293. En Ze Linda ZhongJohnson

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  187. Max,

    I think that theology, in particular the intersection of “pneumatology” and “ecclesiology” may also be significant here.

    Where is the Spirit “located”? If primarily within the individual believer, then MB’s posture is difficult to argue with — how can one argue with what he claims the Spirit is telling him within the depths of his own being?

    This is just me, of course, but I think that Paul’s theology of the “location” of the Holy Spirit sees the Spirit as dwelling fundamentally among the assembled believers. The churches are temples built of living stones (which are the individual believers) within which God dwells through the Spirit. The Spirit dwells within the group, among the members of the group. (This is why I think we see the pairing of “love one another” with “I will send the Spirit after I depart” in Jesus’ great Johannine supper discourse. The Spirit is repelled from groups in which the interpersonal relational environment is not characterized by love.)

    Perhaps both views, individual and corporate, of the “location” of the Spirit are valid. But if one grants that the Pauline “corporate temple” ecclesiology is valid, then one would need to consider the possibility that the Spirit may be speaking through the group as well as to individuals. When there is disagreement between the group and an individual, regardless of how important or how high status that individual may be, that is grounds for pause. Perhaps it is the discordant individual who is out of step with the Spirit.

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  188. Samuel Conner: the Spirit may be speaking through the group as well as to individuals. When there is disagreement between the group and an individual, regardless of how important or how high status that individual may be, that is grounds for pause. Perhaps it is the discordant individual who is out of step with the Spirit

    I believe that is what we are seeing here. The Holy Spirit would not send a mixed message to the assembled believers at PSC. The recent congregational vote went contrary to the desired vote by Mr. Booker and the BoE … so who is hearing the Spirit regarding the matter at hand? Do church leaders believe that only they alone can hear God speaking? If the Holy Spirit can’t speak to and move through the congregation, then what’s the point of doing church? It’s arrogant to ignore the wishes of the congregation by telling them you are waiting to hear from the Holy Spirit instead … but, in Mr. Booker’s case, it has been shown that he has no shortage of arrogance.

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  189. Max:
    Elizabeth Klein,
    Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

    Max,

    Dear siblings in Christ
    (1) If the organizer(s) and leaders of the ‘All Church Meeting’ are the same person(s) who wrote the recent official emails/announcements in relation to the VC report and the Special meeting, or the ‘Open Letter to the PSC Communiy’ (which we recently discussed), it would be difficult for me to sit still for one hour.
    (2) Last month, upon reading the VC report announcing ‘the Devil has taken a foothold’ in PSC, I shudder to think where to stand when going to worship at PSC. Must look out for the hiding Devil. I am sure Susan Lane and the Five were not in that vicinity. Neither were Kris P, Pat C, Kim M or Mike B.—-these folks are no longer in PSC, BUT the Devil is still lurking here (according to the VC and the BoE).

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

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  190. I attended the Lanesvile Congregational Church in Gloucester for about 20 years, when Gordon Hugenberger was pastor. He was “headhunted” by Park Street in 1996 or so, because PSC at that time was deeply divided and saw in him the peacemaker they needed. Gordon was indeed a peacemaker.At Lanesville he managed to keep together a very diverse congregation–5-point Calvinists, charismatics, working-class, professional–you name it. I have noticed, in reading through these comments, that virtually everybody loves Gordon. It’s just so, so, sad to see what is happening at PSC now. (Also sad to see because I was a member of an ACNA church for a few years, but eventually ran back to the Episcopalians when I saw the more-conservative-than-I-bargained-for direction that ACNA was taking.

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  191. NAAH: the VC report announcing ‘the Devil has taken a foothold’ in PSC

    Scripture says that which comes against ‘the’ Church falls in three categories: the world, the flesh, and the devil.

    I’ve witnessed the devil at work in various ministers and ministries during my long tenure of doing church in America. This ain’t it! What is going on at PSC is largely the work of the flesh … a clash of flesh over who is going to maintain power and control. If and when the right thing is done at PSC, the survivors need to gather in a solemn assembly to repent and pray about the days ahead for that once-great church.

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  192. Below is a letter submitted to the Elders by the petitioner group. I think they make a lot of good points here.

    ————————————————-

    June 13, 2024

    Dear Elders of Park Street Church,

    We are writing in response to your “Reflections on the Special Meeting” letter to the congregation dated June 7, 2024. You wrote that you are praying for the congregation, and we are also praying for you. Christ is the head of the church and we write out of love for Christ and for his church of which you are a part.

    Results of the Special Meeting

    The Board’s letter did not announce the motion and vote taken at the Special Meeting, as it did following the votes at the Annual Meeting. Why? This is not transparent and does not give the congregation information to understand what happened at the meeting.

    The motion made at the Special Meeting was: “I move to affirm the BoE decision of July 30, 2023 that there is no evidence of disqualifying sins, as described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, of such severity that they call for the senior minister to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.” This motion was defeated. Of 428 votes cast, 56% (or 242 members) of the congregation voted no, we do not affirm the motion. 43% (186 members) voted yes, or we do affirm. And 1% (6 members) abstained from voting.

    The clear plain meaning of that vote is that the congregation disagrees with the Board’s July 30 decision and believes that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins on the part of the Senior Minister.

    Please do not attempt to remake the meaning of this vote into a generalized “congregation’s lack of trust in the Board’s collective judgment.” While it is true that the majority of the congregation has lost trust in the Board, it is a distortion to portray the vote as such.

    Final authority in our congregational church lies under Christ with the congregation, to whom the Board of Elders is accountable. This is clearly stated in the By-laws of Park Street Church [link], which state, “The Board of Elders is responsible to the congregation. As such, its decisions are subject to review and modification at any duly convened business meeting of the congregation” (Art. IV, 1.A(ii)).

    The Board has staunchly stood behind the Senior Minister, “linking arms” as has been expressed, despite the testimony of 8 elders and ministers expressing common themes of 1) deception, 2) lack of reconciliation, 3) lack of genuine repentance, specific apology, and restitution, 4) control of information, 5) unwillingness to accept feedback and differing opinions, 6) forcing decisions upon fellow ministers and the congregation, and 7) lack of compassion, empathy, and basic kindness.

    A majority of the congregation does not agree with your stance. The congregation has rejected the Board’s determination that there is no evidence of disqualifying sins. Additional “processing sessions” are disingenuous because you have chosen not to listen to the congregation’s clear message on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

    Requests Based on the Congregational Vote

    The Board states that rebuilding trust with the congregation is a top priority. If this is the case, we pray you enact the following requests which are proper responses to the congregational vote.

    Qualified, Truly Independent Investigation to build trust with the Congregation

    This action has been requested by many congregants since October 2023. The congregation has concluded that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins on the part of the Senior Minister. The proper response is to commission a qualified, truly independent investigation by GRACE [link] of the abuse charges brought against the Senior Minister. The Vicinage Council is neither qualified nor truly independent (see below). What is the reason for refusing to take what is the obvious right step when an allegation of abuse is made within the church (let alone when multiple credible claims have been made regarding unacceptable behavior patterns by an individual in a power position who claims spiritual authority)?

    Since the Board is confident of the Senior Minister’s character and integrity, why not submit to a truly independent investigation by experts to settle the issue and put the congregation’s concerns to rest? The Board’s continued deflection of the issue and avoidance of a truly independent investigation will only erode trust further.

    If the Board had conducted a proper investigation following Michael’s 17-page memo of July 15, 2023, there would never have been a need for the public sharing of private testimonies; the Board is accountable for the necessity of public sharing and should not blame those with testimonies for following their consciences and speaking out after having been given no other choice.

    An independent investigator would have access to whatever documents, people, committees, or lists they deem appropriate. The report would be presented to the Board and congregation while respecting the confidentiality of victims at same time, with no advance editing by the Board or anyone else, at another special meeting. The report should contain their recommendations so the congregation can vote on them.

    When abuse was alleged against the former City Engagement Minister, the Board undertook a third-party investigation, with Mark’s full support [link]. There is no reason the Senior Minister should be treated differently. To treat the two cases differently is to use unequal weights and measures, which is an abomination to God (Prov 20:10, 23). We hope that you seek to lead the church in a godly manner in accordance with the Bible; please do not continue this unjust course of action.

    The Senior Minister must go on leave of absence

    It is not appropriate for the Senior Minister to preach or offer pastoral care while he has been accused of spiritual abuse and the majority of the congregation has voted that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins.

    It is not appropriate for the Senior Minister to administer communion when he is not reconciled to many others (Matthew 5:23-24). We follow the Bible. Please honor the holy scriptures.

    The Senior Minister falsely stated on his resume that he planted Church of the Cross, and he was presented improperly as a candidate to the congregation. To gain trust, he should publicly produce his Oxford diplomas and transcripts, which have been repeatedly requested.

    The Senior Minister must not return to active ministry, nor is it good for him to do so, until all the above are resolved.

    Ministers who have resigned should be invited to remain and be reinstated until the investigation is completed, with no more firings in the interim.

    Why were Damian, Julian, and Ray’s final paychecks including vacations paid out on Monday, the day after the Special Meeting, without even a pause? Why were they further removed from staff meetings after service removal? Why did Mark and the personnel committee tell Tim Leary he can no longer go to staff meetings and must continue to keep silent? Did the Senior Minister and Board of Elders not take any time following the Special Meeting to be still before the Lord, to seek the Holy Spirit, and to reflect on their past decisions and what would be a godly and wise future course of action? Are the decisions that proceed from the Board of Elders of Park Street Church led by the Holy Spirit or by human wisdom?

    If Mark and the Board are unwilling to invite these ministers to return while a further investigation is conducted, the Board is forcing its own will on the congregation, and will provide further evidence to the congregation that Mark, and now the Board, refuse to honor a fair process.

    Limitations of the Vicinage Council

    By its vote, the congregation rejected the Board’s determination and also that of the Vicinage Council. The Board’s letter portrays objections to the Vicinage Council’s credibility as “outcome-based.” This is untrue, and the Board knows it is untrue. Petitioners notified the Board of strong objections to the Vicinage Council process before the VC process began. That letter to the Board is linked and attached. (Petitioners had asked for a CCCC investigation in October, before it was known that Ron Hamilton, who headed the VC and selected its members, had a relationship with Mark and had advised him not to resign, exhibiting bias, and before there were widespread allegations of spiritual abuse beyond Michael, and even then expecting that qualified independent experts would be brought in.)

    Returning this matter to the VC is a wholly unacceptable response to the congregation’s vote at the Special Meeting. Among other things:

    The VC already rendered their decision and the congregation has said it disagrees. Therefore we should not go back to the same body. Please do not defy the congregation.

    Despite asking the Board for a qualified independent investigation, the five ministers were told that they were expected to participate with the implication that non-participation could affect employment. During interviews, the VC stated the ministers’ actions were not under question yet subsequently referred to these ministers as “unethical” and “insubordinate” in their written report. Please do not subject them to this process again.

    The VC process was inherently biased. Its chair, Ron Hamilton (who selected the other members of the VC) counseled Mark not to resign prior to being asked to conduct an investigation. It is unlikely that the VC chair would conclude that Mark was disqualified from pastoral ministry after previously counseling him not to resign. In the judicial system, an ethical judge must recuse him/herself from a case if he/she has any kind of relationship to the parties involved, particularly if they have already exhibited prejudgment on the matter at hand.

    The VC is composed of past and present senior ministers, who will be inevitably sympathetic to the experience of a fellow senior minister. Inherent, unconscious bias is neither intentional nor an imputation of character. Humility requires that we do not deny bias which exists in all people, but instead strive to wisely recognize the various biases we each hold.

    The VC lacks any individual with expertise in spiritual abuse investigation or psychology, and declined to modify its composition to add such a person. Moreover, in its very uninformed ruling, the VC has demonstrated its lack of understanding or expertise regarding spiritual abuse. In the VC’s report, it states the following as evidence of “conflicting” testimony to Michael’s charges: “Many testified that they have not witnessed or experienced aggressive behavior by Mark.” Abusers do not abuse everyone. If they did, it would be obvious to all. Rather, mistreatment is typically reserved for particular individuals, or sometimes even just one. The VC’s own report demonstrates its lack of the most rudimentary understanding of the dynamics of abuse.

    The VC appears to judge not with biblical standards but worldly standards. Among other things, it states a significant opinion for which it offers no biblical basis that, “A newly called pastor should not be bound to work with staff that was hired by the previous pastor.” Jesus did not tell Peter this before he ascended to heaven. The foremost calling of a pastor, an undershepherd of Christ, is to love and care for the flock (John 21:15-17). Removal of all existing fellow ministers who know and love the congregation is not a way to care for the flock, nor is it a way to build trust. It also should not be needed for ministers of the gospel who live by the Book and are able and willing to reconcile. Our Senior Minister is in the power position and has the ability to create or destroy a climate of reconciliation, but has demonstrated a repeated pattern of inability or unwillingness to reconcile with others.

    The VC has further lost credibility by failing to address whether “the Board’s process of determination was appropriate in the light of the severity of [the] charges [against the Senior Minister].” This was a critical issue that the VC was charged to review. Nowhere in its report does the VC address what the specific steps of the Board’s process were, or why those steps and omissions were just and appropriate.

    There is no purpose in submitting “additional” testimonies to the VC as if they will be truly considered. Many of those testimonies were previously submitted to the VC, but the VC did not adequately weigh or even mention any of the testimonies in their report.

    The outcome of turning this matter over to the VC once again is demonstrably predetermined. Please do not pursue this time-consuming, unwise, and unjust course of action, which will not be accepted by the congregation.

    Accountability and Trust

    The Senior Minister is accountable to the congregation. The Senior Minister has stated multiple times that he is “open handed” regarding his position as Senior Minister at PSC and that he wants to grow in accountability to the congregation. Genuine open-handedness and accountability would mean respecting the vote taken at the Special Meeting by stepping down from the pulpit and taking a leave of absence, and welcoming an independent investigation as has been repeatedly requested.

    It is inappropriate to portray the prior reviews of the Senior Minister’s conduct by “three different bodies” as if a qualified, independent investigation has taken place. The congregation is aware of these reviews and a majority has rejected them. None of these reviews was a qualified, truly independent investigation.

    Board subcommittee’s internal review. This was improper for many reasons, foremost among which is the subcommittee’s failure to call witnesses outside of Mark and Michael despite the existence of available, credible witnesses (former elders Leslie Liu, Nick Dedeke, and Yannick Assogba have testified regarding this unacceptable process). This was a violation of God’s standard of justice, as well as standards of justice established in our society. God has clearly established a rule of justice requiring two or three witnesses (Deut 17:6,19:5; Num 35:30; John 8:17; Matt 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1). Seeking witnesses is never the job of an individual reporting abuse; it is always the job of the reviewing body. God’s justice requires careful investigation by the leaders of a community for protection of both claimant and accused. Despite Michael’s plea to call other available, credible witnesses, the Board subcommittee inexplicably refused to call other witnesses and interviewed only Mark and Michael, creating one witness for each. The subcommittee proceeded to vindicate Mark and condemn Michael based on only one, arguably self-interested, witness. This violates God’s justice.

    Additional reasons for the impropriety of the Board subcommittee’s review include, among other things: (1) inherent bias due to pre-existing relationships with Mark, who attends every Board meeting and works closely with the Board (opinions and impressions from pre-existing interactions create inevitable bias; unconscious bias is neither chosen nor intentional); (2) complete lack of understanding or expertise regarding abuse or its dynamics; (3) disparate treatment of the Senior Minister and the former City Engagement Minister when both were charged with spiritual abuse; (4) a process by which the full Board never heard from Michael and only from the subcommittee; and (5) the process was rushed and did not give the full Board time to adequately consider, discuss, and pray about the decision.

    VOCA review. This was not an investigation and was never portrayed as one. VOCA stated that they are not qualified to assess the presence of spiritual abuse, although they then improperly commented that they did not find what they were unqualified to look for. VOCA is an organization focused on executive coaching and leadership development. Please do not insinuate that their organizational review was an investigation of abuse.

    Vicinage Council. Their process and resulting report were improper due to bias, lack of qualifications, and the other reasons set forth above. Please do not pursue this time-consuming, unwise, and unjust course of action, which will not be accepted by the congregation.

    Your letter states that reestablishing trust with the congregation is a top priority. If this is truly the case, please have the wisdom and humility to seek God’s wisdom and change your course. We desire that Christ will rule over and be glorified by Park Street Church. Like you, we long for a reconciled and united body at PSC. The way to achieve this is not by conducting another improper review by a well-meaning but unqualified, inherently biased council that lacks credibility with the majority of the congregation. We beseech you to take the steps outlined in the three requests above. Please make the decision to seek truth and pursue the justice God requires. This is the way to honor God and unite and heal our congregation.

    To encourage a change in direction that leads towards our church’s healing, we request a response before Damian, Julian, and Ray’s resignations are final, no later than June 17, which is one day before Damian Long’s last day of employment at PSC.

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  193. Letter from 47 people at Park Street Church
    (punctuation added as line holders)
    .
    Date: June 13, 2024 at 1:44:39 PM EDT
    .
    Subject: What was the actual vote count and motion at the special meeting?
    .
    Dear brothers and sisters,
    .
    As a PSC member who did not attend the special meeting on June 2nd, I found the Board’s omission of the specific motion and vote count in its recent letter puzzling.
    .
    The following letter was sent today by concerned members of the congregation to the Board of Elders requesting action before Damian’s last day, June 18th.
    .
    Let us pray for and seek truth and light at Park Street Church.
    .
    Your brother in Christ,
    .
    [name withheld for privacy]
    PSC Member since 2004, attendee since 2000
    Former member of Park Street Union leadership team
    .
    .
    June 13, 2024
    .
    Dear Elders of Park Street Church,
    .
    We are writing in response to your “Reflections on the Special Meeting” letter to the congregation dated June 7, 2024. You wrote that you are praying for the congregation, and we are also praying for you. Christ is the head of the church and we write out of love for Christ and for his church of which you are a part.
    .
    [A] Results of the Special Meeting
    .
    – The Board’s letter did not announce the motion and vote taken at the Special Meeting, as it did following the votes at the Annual Meeting. Why? This is not transparent and does not give the congregation information to understand what happened at the meeting.
    .
    – The motion made at the Special Meeting was: “I move to affirm the BoE decision of July 30, 2023 that there is no evidence of disqualifying sins, as described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, of such severity that they call for the senior minister to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.” This motion was defeated. Of 428 votes cast, 56% (or 242 members) of the congregation voted no, we do not affirm the motion. 43% (186 members) voted yes, or we do affirm. And 1% (6 members) abstained from voting.
    .
    – The clear plain meaning of that vote is that the congregation disagrees with the Board’s July 30 decision and believes that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins on the part of the Senior Minister.
    .
    – Please do not attempt to remake the meaning of this vote into a generalized “congregation’s lack of trust in the Board’s collective judgment.” While it is true that the majority of the congregation has lost trust in the Board, it is a distortion to portray the vote as such.
    .
    Final authority in our congregational church lies under Christ with the congregation, to whom the Board of Elders is accountable. This is clearly stated in the By-laws of Park Street Church [link], which state, “The Board of Elders is responsible to the congregation. As such, its decisions are subject to review and modification at any duly convened business meeting of the congregation” (Art. IV, 1.A(ii)).
    .
    The Board has staunchly stood behind the Senior Minister, “linking arms” as has been expressed, despite the testimony of 8 elders and ministers expressing common themes of 1) deception, 2) lack of reconciliation, 3) lack of genuine repentance, specific apology, and restitution, 4) control of information, 5) unwillingness to accept feedback and differing opinions, 6) forcing decisions upon fellow ministers and the congregation, and 7) lack of compassion, empathy, and basic kindness.
    .
    A majority of the congregation does not agree with your stance. The congregation has rejected the Board’s determination that there is no evidence of disqualifying sins. Additional “processing sessions” are disingenuous because you have chosen not to listen to the congregation’s clear message on Sunday, June 2, 2024.
    .
    [B] Requests Based on the Congregational Vote
    .
    The Board states that rebuilding trust with the congregation is a top priority. If this is the case, we pray you enact the following requests which are proper responses to the congregational vote.
    .
    1. Qualified, Truly Independent Investigation to build trust with the Congregation
    .
    – This action has been requested by many congregants since October 2023. The congregation has concluded that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins on the part of the Senior Minister. The proper response is to commission a qualified, truly independent investigation by GRACE [link] of the abuse charges brought against the Senior Minister. The Vicinage Council is neither qualified nor truly independent (see below). What is the reason for refusing to take what is the obvious right step when an allegation of abuse is made within the church (let alone when multiple credible claims have been made regarding unacceptable behavior patterns by an individual in a power position who claims spiritual authority)?
    .
    – Since the Board is confident of the Senior Minister’s character and integrity, why not submit to a truly independent investigation by experts to settle the issue and put the congregation’s concerns to rest? The Board’s continued deflection of the issue and avoidance of a truly independent investigation will only erode trust further.
    .
    – If the Board had conducted a proper investigation following Michael’s 17-page memo of July 15, 2023, there would never have been a need for the public sharing of private testimonies; the Board is accountable for the necessity of public sharing and should not blame those with testimonies for following their consciences and speaking out after having been given no other choice.
    .
    – An independent investigator would have access to whatever documents, people, committees, or lists they deem appropriate. The report would be presented to the Board and congregation while respecting the confidentiality of victims at same time, with no advance editing by the Board or anyone else, at another special meeting. The report should contain their recommendations so the congregation can vote on them.
    .
    – When abuse was alleged against the former City Engagement Minister, the Board undertook a third-party investigation, with Mark’s full support [link]. There is no reason the Senior Minister should be treated differently. To treat the two cases differently is to use unequal weights and measures, which is an abomination to God (Prov 20:10, 23). We hope that you seek to lead the church in a godly manner in accordance with the Bible; please do not continue this unjust course of action.
    .
    2. The Senior Minister must go on leave of absence
    .
    – It is not appropriate for the Senior Minister to preach or offer pastoral care while he has been accused of spiritual abuse and the majority of the congregation has voted that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins.
    .
    – It is not appropriate for the Senior Minister to administer communion when he is not reconciled to many others (Matthew 5:23-24). We follow the Bible. Please honor the holy scriptures.
    .
    – The Senior Minister falsely stated on his resume that he planted Church of the Cross, and he was presented improperly as a candidate to the congregation. To gain trust, he should publicly produce his Oxford diplomas and transcripts, which have been repeatedly requested.
    .
    – The Senior Minister must not return to active ministry, nor is it good for him to do so, until all the above are resolved.
    .
    3. Ministers who have resigned should be invited to remain and be reinstated until the investigation is completed, with no more firings in the interim.
    .
    – Why were Damian, Julian, and Ray’s final paychecks including vacations paid out on Monday, the day after the Special Meeting, without even a pause? Why were they further removed from staff meetings after service removal? Why did Mark and the personnel committee tell Tim Leary he can no longer go to staff meetings and must continue to keep silent? Did the Senior Minister and Board of Elders not take any time following the Special Meeting to be still before the Lord, to seek the Holy Spirit, and to reflect on their past decisions and what would be a godly and wise future course of action? Are the decisions that proceed from the Board of Elders of Park Street Church led by the Holy Spirit or by human wisdom?
    .
    – If Mark and the Board are unwilling to invite these ministers to return while a further investigation is conducted, the Board is forcing its own will on the congregation, and will provide further evidence to the congregation that Mark, and now the Board, refuse to honor a fair process.
    .
    [C] Limitations of the Vicinage Council
    .
    By its vote, the congregation rejected the Board’s determination and also that of the Vicinage Council. The Board’s letter portrays objections to the Vicinage Council’s credibility as “outcome-based.” This is untrue, and the Board knows it is untrue. Petitioners notified the Board of strong objections to the Vicinage Council process before the VC process began. That letter to the Board is linked and attached. (Petitioners had asked for a CCCC investigation in October, before it was known that Ron Hamilton, who headed the VC and selected its members, had a relationship with Mark and had advised him not to resign, exhibiting bias, and before there were widespread allegations of spiritual abuse beyond Michael, and even then expecting that qualified independent experts would be brought in.)
    .
    Returning this matter to the VC is a wholly unacceptable response to the congregation’s vote at the Special Meeting. Among other things:
    .
    1. The VC already rendered their decision and the congregation has said it disagrees. Therefore we should not go back to the same body. Please do not defy the congregation.
    .
    2. Despite asking the Board for a qualified independent investigation, the five ministers were told that they were expected to participate with the implication that non-participation could affect employment. During interviews, the VC stated the ministers’ actions were not under question yet subsequently referred to these ministers as “unethical” and “insubordinate” in their written report. Please do not subject them to this process again.
    
.
    3. The VC process was inherently biased. Its chair, Ron Hamilton (who selected the other members of the VC) counseled Mark not to resign prior to being asked to conduct an investigation. It is unlikely that the VC chair would conclude that Mark was disqualified from pastoral ministry after previously counseling him not to resign. In the judicial system, an ethical judge must recuse him/herself from a case if he/she has any kind of relationship to the parties involved, particularly if they have already exhibited prejudgment on the matter at hand.

    .
    4. The VC is composed of past and present senior ministers, who will be inevitably sympathetic to the experience of a fellow senior minister. Inherent, unconscious bias is neither intentional nor an imputation of character. Humility requires that we do not deny bias which exists in all people, but instead strive to wisely recognize the various biases we each hold.
    .
    5. The VC lacks any individual with expertise in spiritual abuse investigation or psychology, and declined to modify its composition to add such a person. Moreover, in its very uninformed ruling, the VC has demonstrated its lack of understanding or expertise regarding spiritual abuse. In the VC’s report, it states the following as evidence of “conflicting” testimony to Michael’s charges: “Many testified that they have not witnessed or experienced aggressive behavior by Mark.” Abusers do not abuse everyone. If they did, it would be obvious to all. Rather, mistreatment is typically reserved for particular individuals, or sometimes even just one. The VC’s own report demonstrates its lack of the most rudimentary understanding of the dynamics of abuse. 

    .
    6. The VC appears to judge not with biblical standards but worldly standards. Among other things, it states a significant opinion for which it offers no biblical basis that, “A newly called pastor should not be bound to work with staff that was hired by the previous pastor.” Jesus did not tell Peter this before he ascended to heaven. The foremost calling of a pastor, an undershepherd of Christ, is to love and care for the flock (John 21:15-17). Removal of all existing fellow ministers who know and love the congregation is not a way to care for the flock, nor is it a way to build trust. It also should not be needed for ministers of the gospel who live by the Book and are able and willing to reconcile. Our Senior Minister is in the power position and has the ability to create or destroy a climate of reconciliation, but has demonstrated a repeated pattern of inability or unwillingness to reconcile with others.

    .
    7. The VC has further lost credibility by failing to address whether “the Board’s process of determination was appropriate in the light of the severity of [the] charges [against the Senior Minister].” This was a critical issue that the VC was charged to review. Nowhere in its report does the VC address what the specific steps of the Board’s process were, or why those steps and omissions were just and appropriate.

    .
    8. There is no purpose in submitting “additional” testimonies to the VC as if they will be truly considered. Many of those testimonies were previously submitted to the VC, but the VC did not adequately weigh or even mention any of the testimonies in their report. 

    .
    9. The outcome of turning this matter over to the VC once again is demonstrably predetermined. Please do not pursue this time-consuming, unwise, and unjust course of action, which will not be accepted by the congregation.
    .
    [D] Accountability and Trust
    .
    The Senior Minister is accountable to the congregation. The Senior Minister has stated multiple times that he is “open handed” regarding his position as Senior Minister at PSC and that he wants to grow in accountability to the congregation. Genuine open-handedness and accountability would mean respecting the vote taken at the Special Meeting by stepping down from the pulpit and taking a leave of absence, and welcoming an independent investigation as has been repeatedly requested.
    .
    It is inappropriate to portray the prior reviews of the Senior Minister’s conduct by “three different bodies” as if a qualified, independent investigation has taken place. The congregation is aware of these reviews and a majority has rejected them. None of these reviews was a qualified, truly independent investigation.
    .
    – Board subcommittee’s internal review. This was improper for many reasons, foremost among which is the subcommittee’s failure to call witnesses outside of Mark and Michael despite the existence of available, credible witnesses (former elders Leslie Liu, Nick Dedeke, and Yannick Assogba have testified regarding this unacceptable process). This was a violation of God’s standard of justice, as well as standards of justice established in our society. God has clearly established a rule of justice requiring two or three witnesses (Deut 17:6,19:5; Num 35:30; John 8:17; Matt 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1). Seeking witnesses is never the job of an individual reporting abuse; it is always the job of the reviewing body. God’s justice requires careful investigation by the leaders of a community for protection of both claimant and accused. Despite Michael’s plea to call other available, credible witnesses, the Board subcommittee inexplicably refused to call other witnesses and interviewed only Mark and Michael, creating one witness for each. The subcommittee proceeded to vindicate Mark and condemn Michael based on only one, arguably self-interested, witness. This violates God’s justice.
. 
Additional reasons for the impropriety of the Board subcommittee’s review include, among other things: (1) inherent bias due to pre-existing relationships with Mark, who attends every Board meeting and works closely with the Board (opinions and impressions from pre-existing interactions create inevitable bias; unconscious bias is neither chosen nor intentional); (2) complete lack of understanding or expertise regarding abuse or its dynamics; (3) disparate treatment of the Senior Minister and the former City Engagement Minister when both were charged with spiritual abuse; (4) a process by which the full Board never heard from Michael and only from the subcommittee; and (5) the process was rushed and did not give the full Board time to adequately consider, discuss, and pray about the decision.
    .
    – VOCA review. This was not an investigation and was never portrayed as one. VOCA stated that they are not qualified to assess the presence of spiritual abuse, although they then improperly commented that they did not find what they were unqualified to look for. VOCA is an organization focused on executive coaching and leadership development. Please do not insinuate that their organizational review was an investigation of abuse.

    .
    – Vicinage Council. Their process and resulting report were improper due to bias, lack of qualifications, and the other reasons set forth above. Please do not pursue this time-consuming, unwise, and unjust course of action, which will not be accepted by the congregation.
    .
    Your letter states that reestablishing trust with the congregation is a top priority. If this is truly the case, please have the wisdom and humility to seek God’s wisdom and change your course. We desire that Christ will rule over and be glorified by Park Street Church. Like you, we long for a reconciled and united body at PSC. The way to achieve this is not by conducting another improper review by a well-meaning but unqualified, inherently biased council that lacks credibility with the majority of the congregation. We beseech you to take the steps outlined in the three requests above. Please make the decision to seek truth and pursue the justice God requires. This is the way to honor God and unite and heal our congregation.
    .
    To encourage a change in direction that leads towards our church’s healing, we request a response before Damian, Julian, and Ray’s resignations are final, no later than June 17, which is one day before Damian Long’s last day of employment at PSC.
    .
    In Christ,
    .
    [47 names]

      (Reply & quote selected text)  (Reply to this comment)

  194. Friend of Park Street Church: Final authority in our congregational church lies under Christ with the congregation, to whom the Board of Elders is accountable. This is clearly stated in the By-laws of Park Street Church [link], which state, “The Board of Elders is responsible to the congregation. As such, its decisions are subject to review and modification at any duly convened business meeting of the congregation” (Art. IV, 1.A(ii)).

    Link: https://www.parkstreet.org/about-us/bylaws/

      (Reply & quote selected text)  (Reply to this comment)

  195. Friend of Park Street Church: When abuse was alleged against the former City Engagement Minister, the Board undertook a third-party investigation, with Mark’s full support [link]. There is no reason the Senior Minister should be treated differently. To treat the two cases differently is to use unequal weights and measures, which is an abomination to God (Prov 20:10, 23). We hope that you seek to lead the church in a godly manner in accordance with the Bible; please do not continue this unjust course of action.

    Link: https://mailchi.mp/parkstreet.org/external-investigation-report

      (Reply & quote selected text)  (Reply to this comment)

  196. Letter from 47 people at Park Street Church to the Board of Elders
    .
    (punctuation added as line holders and links embedded in this post)
    .
    Date: June 13, 2024 at 1:44:39 PM EDT
    .
    Subject: What was the actual vote count and motion at the special meeting?
    .
    Dear brothers and sisters,
    .
    As a PSC member who did not attend the special meeting on June 2nd, I found the Board’s omission of the specific motion and vote count in its recent letter puzzling.
    .
    The following letter was sent today by concerned members of the congregation to the Board of Elders requesting action before Damian’s last day, June 18th.
    .
    Let us pray for and seek truth and light at Park Street Church.
    .
    Your brother in Christ,
    .
    [name withheld for privacy]
    PSC Member since 2004, attendee since 2000
    Former member of Park Street Union leadership team
    .
    .
    June 13, 2024
    .
    Dear Elders of Park Street Church,
    .
    We are writing in response to your “Reflections on the Special Meeting” letter to the congregation dated June 7, 2024. You wrote that you are praying for the congregation, and we are also praying for you. Christ is the head of the church and we write out of love for Christ and for his church of which you are a part.
    .
    [A] Results of the Special Meeting
    .
    – The Board’s letter did not announce the motion and vote taken at the Special Meeting, as it did following the votes at the Annual Meeting. Why? This is not transparent and does not give the congregation information to understand what happened at the meeting.
    .
    – The motion made at the Special Meeting was: “I move to affirm the BoE decision of July 30, 2023 that there is no evidence of disqualifying sins, as described in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, of such severity that they call for the senior minister to be disqualified from pastoral ministry.” This motion was defeated. Of 428 votes cast, 56% (or 242 members) of the congregation voted no, we do not affirm the motion. 43% (186 members) voted yes, or we do affirm. And 1% (6 members) abstained from voting.
    .
    – The clear plain meaning of that vote is that the congregation disagrees with the Board’s July 30 decision and believes that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins on the part of the Senior Minister.
    .
    – Please do not attempt to remake the meaning of this vote into a generalized “congregation’s lack of trust in the Board’s collective judgment.” While it is true that the majority of the congregation has lost trust in the Board, it is a distortion to portray the vote as such.
    .
    Final authority in our congregational church lies under Christ with the congregation, to whom the Board of Elders is accountable. This is clearly stated in the By-laws of Park Street Church [link: https://www.parkstreet.org/about-us/bylaws/%5D, which state, “The Board of Elders is responsible to the congregation. As such, its decisions are subject to review and modification at any duly convened business meeting of the congregation” (Art. IV, 1.A(ii)).
    .
    The Board has staunchly stood behind the Senior Minister, “linking arms” as has been expressed, despite the testimony of 8 elders and ministers expressing common themes of 1) deception, 2) lack of reconciliation, 3) lack of genuine repentance, specific apology, and restitution, 4) control of information, 5) unwillingness to accept feedback and differing opinions, 6) forcing decisions upon fellow ministers and the congregation, and 7) lack of compassion, empathy, and basic kindness.
    .
    A majority of the congregation does not agree with your stance. The congregation has rejected the Board’s determination that there is no evidence of disqualifying sins. Additional “processing sessions” are disingenuous because you have chosen not to listen to the congregation’s clear message on Sunday, June 2, 2024.
    .
    [B] Requests Based on the Congregational Vote
    .
    The Board states that rebuilding trust with the congregation is a top priority. If this is the case, we pray you enact the following requests which are proper responses to the congregational vote.
    .
    1. Qualified, Truly Independent Investigation to build trust with the Congregation
    .
    – This action has been requested by many congregants since October 2023. The congregation has concluded that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins on the part of the Senior Minister. The proper response is to commission a qualified, truly independent investigation by GRACE [link: https://www.netgrace.org/independent-investigations%5D of the abuse charges brought against the Senior Minister. The Vicinage Council is neither qualified nor truly independent (see below). What is the reason for refusing to take what is the obvious right step when an allegation of abuse is made within the church (let alone when multiple credible claims have been made regarding unacceptable behavior patterns by an individual in a power position who claims spiritual authority)?
    .
    – Since the Board is confident of the Senior Minister’s character and integrity, why not submit to a truly independent investigation by experts to settle the issue and put the congregation’s concerns to rest? The Board’s continued deflection of the issue and avoidance of a truly independent investigation will only erode trust further.
    .
    – If the Board had conducted a proper investigation following Michael’s 17-page memo of July 15, 2023, there would never have been a need for the public sharing of private testimonies; the Board is accountable for the necessity of public sharing and should not blame those with testimonies for following their consciences and speaking out after having been given no other choice.
    .
    – An independent investigator would have access to whatever documents, people, committees, or lists they deem appropriate. The report would be presented to the Board and congregation while respecting the confidentiality of victims at same time, with no advance editing by the Board or anyone else, at another special meeting. The report should contain their recommendations so the congregation can vote on them.
    .
    – When abuse was alleged against the former City Engagement Minister, the Board undertook a third-party investigation, with Mark’s full support [link: https://mailchi.mp/parkstreet.org/external-investigation-report%5D. There is no reason the Senior Minister should be treated differently. To treat the two cases differently is to use unequal weights and measures, which is an abomination to God (Prov 20:10, 23). We hope that you seek to lead the church in a godly manner in accordance with the Bible; please do not continue this unjust course of action.
    .
    2. The Senior Minister must go on leave of absence
    .
    – It is not appropriate for the Senior Minister to preach or offer pastoral care while he has been accused of spiritual abuse and the majority of the congregation has voted that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins.
    .
    – It is not appropriate for the Senior Minister to administer communion when he is not reconciled to many others (Matthew 5:23-24). We follow the Bible. Please honor the holy scriptures.
    .
    – The Senior Minister falsely stated on his resume that he planted Church of the Cross, and he was presented improperly as a candidate to the congregation. To gain trust, he should publicly produce his Oxford diplomas and transcripts, which have been repeatedly requested.
    .
    – The Senior Minister must not return to active ministry, nor is it good for him to do so, until all the above are resolved.
    .
    3. Ministers who have resigned should be invited to remain and be reinstated until the investigation is completed, with no more firings in the interim.
    .
    – Why were Damian, Julian, and Ray’s final paychecks including vacations paid out on Monday, the day after the Special Meeting, without even a pause? Why were they further removed from staff meetings after service removal? Why did Mark and the personnel committee tell Tim Leary he can no longer go to staff meetings and must continue to keep silent? Did the Senior Minister and Board of Elders not take any time following the Special Meeting to be still before the Lord, to seek the Holy Spirit, and to reflect on their past decisions and what would be a godly and wise future course of action? Are the decisions that proceed from the Board of Elders of Park Street Church led by the Holy Spirit or by human wisdom?
    .
    – If Mark and the Board are unwilling to invite these ministers to return while a further investigation is conducted, the Board is forcing its own will on the congregation, and will provide further evidence to the congregation that Mark, and now the Board, refuse to honor a fair process.
    .
    [C] Limitations of the Vicinage Council
    .
    By its vote, the congregation rejected the Board’s determination and also that of the Vicinage Council. The Board’s letter portrays objections to the Vicinage Council’s credibility as “outcome-based.” This is untrue, and the Board knows it is untrue. Petitioners notified the Board of strong objections to the Vicinage Council process before the VC process began. That letter to the Board is linked [https://parkstreetpetition.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/Petitioners-Statement-on-Vicinage-Council-03-22-2024.pdf] and attached. (Petitioners had asked for a CCCC investigation in October, before it was known that Ron Hamilton, who headed the VC and selected its members, had a relationship with Mark and had advised him not to resign, exhibiting bias, and before there were widespread allegations of spiritual abuse beyond Michael, and even then expecting that qualified independent experts would be brought in.)
    .
    Returning this matter to the VC is a wholly unacceptable response to the congregation’s vote at the Special Meeting. Among other things:
    .
    1. The VC already rendered their decision and the congregation has said it disagrees. Therefore we should not go back to the same body. Please do not defy the congregation.
    .
    2. Despite asking the Board for a qualified independent investigation, the five ministers were told that they were expected to participate with the implication that non-participation could affect employment. During interviews, the VC stated the ministers’ actions were not under question yet subsequently referred to these ministers as “unethical” and “insubordinate” in their written report. Please do not subject them to this process again.
    .
    3. The VC process was inherently biased. Its chair, Ron Hamilton (who selected the other members of the VC) counseled Mark not to resign prior to being asked to conduct an investigation. It is unlikely that the VC chair would conclude that Mark was disqualified from pastoral ministry after previously counseling him not to resign. In the judicial system, an ethical judge must recuse him/herself from a case if he/she has any kind of relationship to the parties involved, particularly if they have already exhibited prejudgment on the matter at hand.
    .
    4. The VC is composed of past and present senior ministers, who will be inevitably sympathetic to the experience of a fellow senior minister. Inherent, unconscious bias is neither intentional nor an imputation of character. Humility requires that we do not deny bias which exists in all people, but instead strive to wisely recognize the various biases we each hold.
    .
    5. The VC lacks any individual with expertise in spiritual abuse investigation or psychology, and declined to modify its composition to add such a person. Moreover, in its very uninformed ruling, the VC has demonstrated its lack of understanding or expertise regarding spiritual abuse. In the VC’s report, it states the following as evidence of “conflicting” testimony to Michael’s charges: “Many testified that they have not witnessed or experienced aggressive behavior by Mark.” Abusers do not abuse everyone. If they did, it would be obvious to all. Rather, mistreatment is typically reserved for particular individuals, or sometimes even just one. The VC’s own report demonstrates its lack of the most rudimentary understanding of the dynamics of abuse.
    .
    6. The VC appears to judge not with biblical standards but worldly standards. Among other things, it states a significant opinion for which it offers no biblical basis that, “A newly called pastor should not be bound to work with staff that was hired by the previous pastor.” Jesus did not tell Peter this before he ascended to heaven. The foremost calling of a pastor, an undershepherd of Christ, is to love and care for the flock (John 21:15-17). Removal of all existing fellow ministers who know and love the congregation is not a way to care for the flock, nor is it a way to build trust. It also should not be needed for ministers of the gospel who live by the Book and are able and willing to reconcile. Our Senior Minister is in the power position and has the ability to create or destroy a climate of reconciliation, but has demonstrated a repeated pattern of inability or unwillingness to reconcile with others.
    .
    7. The VC has further lost credibility by failing to address whether “the Board’s process of determination was appropriate in the light of the severity of [the] charges [against the Senior Minister].” This was a critical issue that the VC was charged to review. Nowhere in its report does the VC address what the specific steps of the Board’s process were, or why those steps and omissions were just and appropriate.
    .
    8. There is no purpose in submitting “additional” testimonies to the VC as if they will be truly considered. Many of those testimonies were previously submitted to the VC, but the VC did not adequately weigh or even mention any of the testimonies in their report.
    .
    9. The outcome of turning this matter over to the VC once again is demonstrably predetermined. Please do not pursue this time-consuming, unwise, and unjust course of action, which will not be accepted by the congregation.
    .
    [D] Accountability and Trust
    .
    The Senior Minister is accountable to the congregation. The Senior Minister has stated multiple times that he is “open handed” regarding his position as Senior Minister at PSC and that he wants to grow in accountability to the congregation. Genuine open-handedness and accountability would mean respecting the vote taken at the Special Meeting by stepping down from the pulpit and taking a leave of absence, and welcoming an independent investigation as has been repeatedly requested.
    .
    It is inappropriate to portray the prior reviews of the Senior Minister’s conduct by “three different bodies” as if a qualified, independent investigation has taken place. The congregation is aware of these reviews and a majority has rejected them. None of these reviews was a qualified, truly independent investigation.
    .
    – Board subcommittee’s internal review. This was improper for many reasons, foremost among which is the subcommittee’s failure to call witnesses outside of Mark and Michael despite the existence of available, credible witnesses (former elders Leslie Liu, Nick Dedeke, and Yannick Assogba have testified regarding this unacceptable process). This was a violation of God’s standard of justice, as well as standards of justice established in our society. God has clearly established a rule of justice requiring two or three witnesses (Deut 17:6,19:5; Num 35:30; John 8:17; Matt 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1). Seeking witnesses is never the job of an individual reporting abuse; it is always the job of the reviewing body. God’s justice requires careful investigation by the leaders of a community for protection of both claimant and accused. Despite Michael’s plea to call other available, credible witnesses, the Board subcommittee inexplicably refused to call other witnesses and interviewed only Mark and Michael, creating one witness for each. The subcommittee proceeded to vindicate Mark and condemn Michael based on only one, arguably self-interested, witness. This violates God’s justice.
    . 

    Additional reasons for the impropriety of the Board subcommittee’s review include, among other things: (1) inherent bias due to pre-existing relationships with Mark, who attends every Board meeting and works closely with the Board (opinions and impressions from pre-existing interactions create inevitable bias; unconscious bias is neither chosen nor intentional); (2) complete lack of understanding or expertise regarding abuse or its dynamics; (3) disparate treatment of the Senior Minister and the former City Engagement Minister when both were charged with spiritual abuse; (4) a process by which the full Board never heard from Michael and only from the subcommittee; and (5) the process was rushed and did not give the full Board time to adequately consider, discuss, and pray about the decision.
    .
    – VOCA review. This was not an investigation and was never portrayed as one. VOCA stated that they are not qualified to assess the presence of spiritual abuse, although they then improperly commented that they did not find what they were unqualified to look for. VOCA is an organization focused on executive coaching and leadership development. Please do not insinuate that their organizational review was an investigation of abuse.
    .
    – Vicinage Council. Their process and resulting report were improper due to bias, lack of qualifications, and the other reasons set forth above. Please do not pursue this time-consuming, unwise, and unjust course of action, which will not be accepted by the congregation.
    .
    Your letter states that reestablishing trust with the congregation is a top priority. If this is truly the case, please have the wisdom and humility to seek God’s wisdom and change your course. We desire that Christ will rule over and be glorified by Park Street Church. Like you, we long for a reconciled and united body at PSC. The way to achieve this is not by conducting another improper review by a well-meaning but unqualified, inherently biased council that lacks credibility with the majority of the congregation. We beseech you to take the steps outlined in the three requests above. Please make the decision to seek truth and pursue the justice God requires. This is the way to honor God and unite and heal our congregation.
    .
    To encourage a change in direction that leads towards our church’s healing, we request a response before Damian, Julian, and Ray’s resignations are final, no later than June 17, which is one day before Damian Long’s last day of employment at PSC.
    .
    In Christ,
    .
    [47 names]

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  197. 2. The Senior Minister must go on leave of absence
    . – It is not appropriate for the Senior Minister to preach or offer pastoral care while he has been accused of spiritual abuse and the majority of the congregation has voted that there is or may be evidence of disqualifying sins. .
    – It is not appropriate for the Senior Minister to administer communion when he is not reconciled to many others (Matthew 5:23-24). We follow the Bible. Please honor the holy scriptures..
    – The Senior Minister falsely stated on his resume that he planted Church of the Cross, and he was presented improperly as a candidate to the congregation. To gain trust, he should publicly produce his Oxford diplomas and transcripts, which have been repeatedly requested. .
    – The Senior Minister must not return to active ministry, nor is it good for him to do so, until all the above are resolved. .

    I am saddened that the author of the open letter failed to discuss the fact that requiring Mark Booker to undergo a comprehensive, multi-day mental health evaluation conducted by an organization specializing in working with congregations that are up in arms, where the pastor has been credibly accused of abuse, where the pastor’s behavior is consistent with a severe and disqualifying personality disorder.

    It’s important that Mark Booker be assessed for Narcissistic Personality Disorder by someone who is expert in diagnosing personality disorders. His public behavior is consistent with that of other leaders known to suffer from this severe mental health disorder. A diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is considered disqualifying for the ministry.

    We are fortunate that such services exist here in Boston: The Albert and Jessie Danielson Institute at Boston University provides such services. https://www.bu.edu/danielsen/clinic/clergy-wellness-assessments/

    If Mark Booker refuses to undergo an extensive, multi-day mental health assessment conducted by a respected third party organization that has no ties to Park Street Church or Mark Booker, Mark Booker’s employment at Park Street Church will be immediately terminated.

    If Mark Booker is found to be personality disordered OR if the assessors express concerns about Mark Booker’s fitness to serve as Senior Minister of Park Street Church, he MUST be terminated.

    If Mark Booker is terminated, he MUST be treated in the same manner he treated the pastors he dismissed. NO GOLDEN PARACHUTE FOR MARK BOOKER.

    Requiring finalist candidates to undergo extensive psychosocial testing and interviews by mental health experts familiar with the clergy does not guarantee that the candidate will be a good ‘fit’ for Park Street Church. It doesn’t guarantee that the candidate will not behave inappropriately while serving Park Street Church. The ministry does attract people who are high in self-confidence and it does attract people who are very much egotistical, drunk on power, self-centered, who either suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder or who are dangerously high in narcissism as a personality trait.

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  198. More abusive gaslighting sessions announced:

    Processing Sessions with Elders and Senior Minister
    The Board of Elders and Mark invite you, the congregation, to join them for times of processing and to share with them as we walk through these challenging months. They’ll be available the following times:

    Sun, Jun 16, 23, 30 | 9:45 AM | Fellowship Hall
    Sat, Jun 15 | 9:30 AM | Granary Room
    (feel free to come at 8:30 AM to begin with 1 hour of All-Church Prayer on Zoom)
    Thu, Jun 20 | 7 PM | Granary Room
    Tue, Jun 25 | 7 PM | Granary Room

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  199. A Former Member of PSC: If Mark Booker is found to be personality disordered OR if the assessors express concerns about Mark Booker’s fitness to serve as Senior Minister of Park Street Church, he MUST be terminated.

    He should not be terminated because he has mental health disorder . A compassionate congregation of believers at Park Street should first seek mental health treatment for Mark. He is not his illness.

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  200. janiceg: He should not be terminated because he has mental health disorder . A compassionate congregation of believers at Park Street should first seek mental health treatment for Mark. He is not his illness.

    It depends on what the mental disorder is and whether the current workplace is a good fit for rehabilitation.

    Think about an addict who works in a hospital dispensary where it’s easy to steal drugs or an alcoholic who works as a bartender. It would not be good for the addict, the alcoholic or their places of business for them to be left in their positions out of compassion for their addiction.

    Power and admiration are the drugs of choice for people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Compassion would guide him into a position in which he could support his family without feeding his disorder. Leaving someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder in a position of both authority and the limelight (preaching) almost guarantees they would never change.

    So in a church in which a pastor has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, for instance, a compassionate response could be to embrace him or her as a congregant, supporting the family as needed.

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  201. Friend of Park Street Church: The proper response is to commission a qualified, truly independent investigation by GRACE [link] of the abuse charges brought against the Senior Minister.

    I am fairly sure that GRACE does not re-investigate what has already been investigated. Someone inquire of them to be certain. They will do a cultural assessment if there has already been an investigation.

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  202. Friend of Park Street Church: Are any of you planning to attend any of these gaslighting sessions? I can’t decide if I’m ok attending, knowing it is going to mean more abuse… and in person…

    The best thing would be to record the sessions, but you’d need to consult an attorney first to be sure you do it in a way that does not violate Massachusetts law since it appears to be a two-party consent state.

    If you can’t do audio recordings, multiple people should go and take notes, capturing verbatim quotes.

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  203. Eyewitness: I am fairly sure that GRACE does not re-investigate what has already been investigated. Someone inquire of them to be certain. They will do a cultural assessment if there has already been an investigation.

    There has NOT been an investigation that is independent and competent for the purposes needed. To call what has been done an “investigation” is inaccurate at best. It is what Mark Booker wants you to think has happened… but there hasn’t been any investigation.

    It’s like looking for something with the wrong tool. “We didn’t find any earthworms with our trusty metal detectors! There must not be any here in this garden! Our work here is done.”

    Abuse investigations must be conducted by (a) trained (b) professionals who are (c) genuinely independent from anyone involved and (d) have proven themselves to competent prior to the investigation.

    None of the work (charades) that has been done to date meets these criteria.

    And I’m sure others could add more necessary criteria to the above short list!

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  204. Friend of Park Street Church: There has NOT been an investigation that is independent and competent for the purposes needed. To call what has been done an “investigation” is inaccurate at best.

    I understand that and agree that what has been done has not been conducted by unbiased and/or qualified people.

    However, the definition of “investigation” would need to be per GRACE policy. I wrote as a caution because I am aware of their policy from experience and would not want you to be disappointed. It may have changed recently or it may allow for an investigation given your circumstances. I am encouraging you to research it beforehand.

    It’s possible that they would be able to do what you are asking, but it would be wise to contact GRACE to ask whether they would do an investigation given what has already happened.

    In any event, they can do a cultural assessment, but that is different. If they do a cultural assessment, it would be important to get the BOE to agree beforehand to allow congregational input into the scope of the contract with GRACE and to certain stipulations such as the BOE and the current pastors and staff would participate in the interviews, and that they would release the results to the congregation. Otherwise, the people paying for the investigation will be the ones negotiating the contract and the congregation may end up surprised. Another option would be to request that members of the congregation selected by the petitioners also be present in discussions of scope.

    Pellucid, a consulting practice of Wade Mullen, also does independent investigations, but I don’t know if there are similar policies.

    I’m encouraging you to research your options beforehand.

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  205. Eyewitness: However, the definition of “investigation” would need to be per GRACE policy. I wrote as a caution because I am aware of their policy from experience and would not want you to be disappointed. It may have changed recently or it may allow for an investigation given your circumstances. I am encouraging you to research it beforehand.

    I’d like to hear more about your experiences. Did GRACE decline to conduct an investigation when asked?

    They are not a substitute for a criminal investigation by law enforcement agencies and they make this very clear.

    They do proactive assessments as well as investigations. Here is their current statement about what they do and don’t do.

    https://www.netgrace.org/independent-investigations

    The problem at Park Street Church is that an investigation needs to be requested by the elders or legal leaders of the organization… but Mark Booker and his sycophants on the board of elders won’t ask GRACE to investigate because they are aware they have done wrong. Outwardly they claim to be acting honestly and rightly, but if they truly believed that, they would welcome an independent investigation into their actions. Their refusal to be independently assessed reveals their fear of being exposed. If they were innocent they would welcome the opportunity to be exonerated.

    Deuteronomy 16:18-20
    [18] “You shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment. [19] You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. [20] Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”

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  206. Confession Sessions with the Congregation and Holy Spirit

    The Congregation and Holy Spirit invite you,
    The Board of Elders and Mark, to join them for times of confessing and repenting of your sins against God and your sinful abuse of your siblings in Christ as we walk through these challenging months.

    They’ll be available to hear your confessions and extend forgiveness to you the following times:

    Sun, Jun 16, 23, 30 | 9:45 AM | Fellowship Hall
    Sat, Jun 15 | 9:30 AM | Granary Room
    (feel free to come at 8:30 AM to begin with 1 hour of All-Church Prayer on Zoom)
    Thu, Jun 20 | 7 PM | Granary Room
    Tue, Jun 25 | 7 PM | Granary Room

    Looking forward to hearing from you during these important sessions…

    JASON ABRAHAM
    Moderator
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    DEBORAH GALLAGHER
    Clerk
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIE HALVORSEN
    Elder
    TERM: 2 YEARS (2026)

    GREGG HANSEN
    Assistant Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    MARY HARVEY
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    LINDA HERMAN
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    RICHARD IBEKWE
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    GABRIEL LING
    Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    DAVID MURGATROYD
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2025)

    GEOFFREY RAUX
    Moderator-Elect
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    KIRSTIN PELTZ
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

    DANIEL VOGELZANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    JOSHUA WANG
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2027)

    STEVE WEIBLEY
    Elder
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    JULIANNE WHITE
    Missions Treasurer
    TERM: 1 YEAR (2025)

    ANDREW ZIEGLER
    Elder
    TERM: 3 YEARS (2026)

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  207. Max,

    A dismissed pastor (for whatever reason) should not be allowed to remain in the congregation. Huge boundary issues at play. The church will never heal because his supporters will continue to treat him as their pastor. Mainline denominations have strict guidelines about this. Retired pastors are not allowed to stay, either, for the same boundary issues.

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  208. If any PSC member would like to ask GRACE if they can or cannot investigate Mark Booker, here’s the form where you can ask for more info:

    https://grace.cliogrow.com/intake/abdb2faf316389d57aa807a879bcdfc9

    GRACE offers a number of services: investigate present abuse allegations, investigate past abuse allegations, conduct a comprehensive culture assessment of your org, and review / form policies to prevent & respond to abuse.

    PSC needs ALL of this.

    In Pivot, Scot McKnight & Laura Barringer say that any abusive church system has to look into their past, not just the present. Look into how Jeff Schuliger got shoved in 2017. It was similar to how Kris Perkins got shoved, even before Mark Booker came around. Look into who knew about John Chung’s proclivities before he got arrested. Look into the Telios investigation into Kimberley Morrison, and the cultural factors that may play into going after a woman in church leadership.

    Anyway, if GRACE is conflicted out of investigating Mark Booker, then anything Wade Mullen would do through Pellucid Consulting, would also be top of the line expertise.

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  209. Yet Another Former Park Streeter: DEFINITELY do not make recordings surreptitiously. This would be opening the door for huge problems. Having multiple people there taking diligent notes would be fine.

    Good point, Yet Another Former Park Streeter 🙂 ….and not just due to whether or not Massachusetts is a one-party or two-party consent state. Using a device (cell phone, tape recorder, etc.) to make a surreptitious recording is too much like what Mark Booker and the Board of Elders might do (and might’ve already done / be doing)….I wouldn’t be surprised if they already were — it’s typical of the unspoken playbook they’re following.

    Having multiple people there taking diligent notes would be above board — definitely not like the playbook used by Mark Booker and the Board of Elders. 🙂

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  210. Friend of Park Street Church: (punctuation added as line holders and links embedded in this post)

    Friend of Park Street Church,

    Thank you for for that. 🙂 And thank you, too, Observant Outsider, for your comment that included the letter. 🙂

    For anyone clicking on the links in Friend of Park Street Church’s comment (and no offence to you intended, Friend of Park Street Church 🙂 ), you’ll likely get some kind of error message — all you need to do is delete the %5D from the end of the URL. 🙂

    I’ve also made Internet Archive copies of all the links in Friend of Park Street Church’s comment.

    For posterity, I’m including a link to the Internet Archive copy I made of the Park Street Church External Investigation Report….and for those who might be interested, there’s proof at the top of the report that Park Street Church used to be called Evangelical. Congregational. International.

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  211. researcher: For posterity, I’m including a link to the Internet Archive copy I made of the Park Street Church External Investigation Report….and for those who might be interested, there’s proof at the top of the report that Park Street Church used to be called Evangelical. Congregational. International.

    Ooops. 🙂 My apologies for unintentionally forgetting to include the Internet Archive link. 🙂

    https://web.archive.org/web/20240614161725/https://mailchi.mp/parkstreet.org/external-investigation-report

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  212. janiceg,

    janiceg,

    The fact is, you can’t terminate someone for having a mental health disorder, but what you can do is establish whether or not they are capable of fulfilling the requirements of their job. Without even discussing any type of mental health disorder, I can tell you that Mark has not been successful in this position. Whether or not the CCCC says he has the right to garner a new team around him, the reality is, we’ve seen his leadership skills over the course of almost 4 years and they have decimated the ministry staff, and caused great distress among the board of elders and the congregation. He lacks the ability to work within a congregational framework, really refuses to do so, and he has poor collaborative ability. We have seen several inconsistencies in his statements to ministers and the church, have had many reports of him trying to glean confidential information from conversations between pastors, he has terminated people without cause, exacted disciplinary action on whistleblowers, resulting in huge financial losses, which we are attempting to cover with our endowment fund, A savings account for the church that should be untouchable. We are having to investigate multiple issues, also being funded from our endowment fund, especially since the elder board is being evasive about investigating the direct issues such as spiritual abuse, the things leading up to Michael’s termination, and even the circumstances surrounding Kimberly Morrison’s strange “spiritual abuse“ charge, where a company with whom Mark is connected with was paid church money in order to investigate claims against a female minister who had no prior complaints about her leadership, when he was confronted with a complaint from a longtime acquaintance of his. Huge conflict of interest here.

    The simple point is, once again, the elder board cannot investigate the elder board. If the congregation is stating that we believe the five ministers, whom we have a long-standing relationships with, that they under-reported the severity of issues with Mark’s leadership based on VOCA report, stating that their initial investigation of Michael’s complaint was too soft because they didn’t reach out directly to any of the parties that were named as witnesses, then they need to humble themselves and submit to a real investigation. They can state that the bylaws prohibited them reaching out to individuals directly, but the point is, to do a proper investigation it needed to be done, therefore a third-party investigation had to be called in to do it, So they should’ve admitted their limitations instead of pretending that there were no real issues with Mark’s leadership. Clearly, the Vicenage council report, was too cursory to investigate Mark’s poor behavior and the boards complicity. They are not trained to identify spiritual abuse, even if they’ve encountered some of it in their experience. That’s not the same thing. They didn’t respond to anyone’s emails, so we have no idea if they had read anything that the congregants or others have had submitted to inform their opinion. There were key former ministers that they never reached out to, and Ron Hamilton himself would tell you he was familiar with Mark Booker before the investigation, and their investigation has no authority over Park Street Church. And what a ridiculous statement by the board of elders that we’re not accepting the vintage Council report because it didn’t validate our opinion, when clearly, they were unwilling to share the less flattering parts of the VOCA report because it didn’t align with their opinion. Who’s right?

    Ron Hamilton told me when I called him a few months after Michael’s departure, was that, unlike what Mark Booker thought about the senior minister being a Director position, that the senior minister was indeed, accountable to the elder board, and the elder board and both were accountable to the congregation. “Ultimately,” he said, “the power in the congregational church lies in the polity.” Mark himself stated, when he came back from his bike accident to address the congregation about Michael‘s accusations, that he did avoid listening to other’s opinions and avoided seeking the insights of others for the sake of expediency. He apologized, but nothing changed. The VOCA firm established a method of reconciling with the ministry staff, that Mark and the elders agreed to, and then went back on their promise. Yet another example of deviousness, but they want to color it otherwise.

    I will also say that there were two female elders, and Kim Morrison as well, who received intimidating, even threatening emails from people who did not believe females should be leading in a church. The elder who reported it to me stated that Mark did absolutely nothing. There was no swift reprimand of these congregants, nor was there any public renouncing of this behavior within the congregation. A responsible organization would have done so.

    There are many more examples from the written statements, but the point is we have enough to terminate Mark at this point for his poor performance, but the elder board needs to get honest with itself. Right now they’re lying for Mark, and the fact that they’re trying to “defend Mark better“ shows that they know that Mark cannot speak for himself. Frankly that’s embarrassing. He had multiple hours at the special session to speak his piece and he either chose not to or didn’t do it well enough to convince the congregation. If he can’t defend his actions, that’s a real problem.

    Anyway, IMO we shouldn’t even have to raise any issue of mental illness. His performance thus far has been poor enough to justify parting ways with him or at the very least demoting him, and finding a new senior minister.

    Eyewitness,

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  213. Patricia Hanlon,

    I absolutely concur…Gordon was a brilliant scholar with a soft heart. He was an outstanding manager who knew when to stand firm and when to be flexible. He earned everyone’s respect by his strong character. Clearly no one in authority at PSC understands anything about Christ-like leadership. No one respects MB, they only defend him in order to defend themselves..

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  214. Friend of Park Street Church: The problem at Park Street Church is that an investigation needs to be requested by the elders or legal leaders of the organization…

    Yes, this is a fact of life in pretty much any congregation. The leaders must ask; they also control the purse strings. And it’s the leaders who negotiate the specifics of the contract with respect to scope, who must participate, who can opt out, etc.

    If there is a culture akin to a wolfpack–or a fox den, it’s akin to asking the fox to get someone to investigate who is behind the nightly disappearance of the hens.

    Leaders can be pressured to initiate an independent investigation, but the devil will be in the details and the congregation may not know the details until it’s too late–unless they have a representative in the meeting where the contract is negotiated and signed.

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  215. Let’s make sure to keep focus that the issues at Park Street are systemic and go back a long time. Although Gordon was a different personality than Mark he was by no means perfect.

    The Globe reported that when John Chung was arrested for voyeurism that there was a previous charge filed against him, this could imply that Gordon knew of this and John Chung stayed on staff and it certainly wasn’t made public.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/07/03/park-street-church-minister-resigns-after-allegedly-peering-neighbor-windowpeeping-tom-incident/8oKFmnzxoh2cALDNnbwIUL/story.html

    In addition, when another pastor was accused of having an inappropriate relationship, it took Phil Thorne, the interim minister to address the accusations and hold a congregational meeting where questions at the time were allowed and answered.

    Gordon had many positive attributes but there were issues with his leadership. The church was in decline when he announced his retirement. People who were withdrawing their membership were sounding alarms, but people weren’t listening maybe because finances were strong and enough new people were coming in to not raise concerns. Park Street also had a host of excuses – like the abundance of new church plants.

    This is all the more reason why a trained group of investigators need to come in and find out how the systematic problems have existed for so many years.

    One of the best lines in the movie Spotlight is the concept – that it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse. Everyone in the Park Street “village” should humble themselves to an independent investigation in order for the systematic abuse to end and healing to begin. It would be wonderful for Gordon Hugenberger to publicly call for this.

    BTA:
    Patricia Hanlon,

    I absolutely concur…Gordon was a brilliant scholar with a soft heart. He wasan outstanding manager who knew when to stand firm and when to be flexible. He earned everyone’s respect by his strong character. Clearly no one in authority at PSC understands anything about Christ-like leadership.No one respects MB, they only defend him in order to defend themselves..

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  216. Eyewitness: Leaders can be pressured to initiate an independent investigation, but the devil will be in the details and the congregation may not know the details until it’s too late–unless they have a representative in the meeting where the contract is negotiated and signed.

    Such an excellent point!

    However, I’d honestly be surprised if the scope of a GRACE investigation is negotiable… it seems like they would not agree to put their reputable name on an investigation that includes certain off-limits areas. “You can search the house, just not that cupboard under the stairs.” <—- Sounds like a good place to search thoroughly! Anyway, this would not be acceptable to professional investigators like those who work with GRACE.

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  217. christine,

    I completely agree that if GRACE or another equally qualified entity were to investigate PSC, they would need to dig into the past, as well as the present mess. Scot McKnight & Laura Barringer say this in their book Pivot, about how to change churches around from toxic to healthy.

    I left in 2017, when Chris Sherwood was elevated to head of counseling after the Kims & Schuligers had already gotten shoved.

    I felt that PSC’s bylaws were violated in the way that Jeff Schuliger got shoved, much in the way that they were with Kris Perkins more recently.

    I also happened to know that what Chris had done was in the context of a vulnerable undergrad, who had come to him for grief counseling. So when PSC shoved 3 really good & faithful ministers, and not only kept Chris but elevated him in a position where he had already done so much damage, I thought, WOW. There is a real screw loose in PSC leadership.

    And I shook the dust off my feet & left. That was in September 2017.

    The 1st church I landed at, after leaving PSC, was CityLife Chestnut Hill. They no longer exist (they’ve totally reorganized), but the pastor then was Tim Chang. He is a gem. At a newcomers’ lunch, he gently encouraged me to go back and bring up my issues with PSC leaders. I said, “They don’t care.” But he was (again, gently) insistent that this was the right thing to do.

    So I thought & prayed about it, and 2 months after that convo (April 2018?) went to meet a couple times with Phil Thorne. “This is a rock you really need to look underneath,” is basically what I said. In the 2nd meeting, I encouraged Phil to bring in GRACE. He was initially hesitant, but I said, hey, just at least have one of your elders call them & see what GRACE is all about, and that doesn’t obligate you to anything. So an elder called GRACE, and they came in to advise. Chris wound up resigning, and Phil, to his credit, had a totally open Q & A where really tough questions were asked & answered – a level of transparency that’s TOTALLY been missing from current PSC leaders these days.

    My guess is that GRACE encouraged Phil & the elders to have that open Q & A. And at that public session, Phil openly admitted that he had been part of that bad decision.

    More of this, please.

    But what he & PSC leaders didn’t do & should have done, was the follow-up. How did we get here???

    If only GRACE had done cultural assessment of PSC, back in 2017!! I felt that Phil should at least have interviewed the Kims & Schuligers, to get their side of the story, and learn how they were treated. But when I suggested he talk to Jeff, he was completely dismissive of the idea. Also, I spoke with a former elder in the spring of 2017, telling him I thought PSC leaders had violated the bylaws in the way they shoved Jeff. That former elder just seemed confused, that that could even be an issue.

    And John Chung: yes – who knew what about his sexually predatory proclivities & when? Were PSC women potentially being put at risk to protect John Chung, without their knowledge?

    PSC needs a ServiceMaster level of cleanup. ALL of this has to be looked into.

    First, properly diagnose; THEN heal.

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  218. Walter Kim was not chosen because they wanted a “star” preacher. In actuality, Walter was too “liberal” in the minds of the group now supporting Mark (i.e. his association with the 4 pm service). Ironically, Walter is now the president of the National Association of Evangelicals and has more acclaim than Gordon or Mark. The church split has been festering for some time, but Mark and his enablers are driving PSC into it full throttle.

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  219. Elizabeth Klein: Walter (& Toni) Kim, and Jeff Schuliger, were all shoved in the spring of 2017.

    At least, that’s when I first heard about it.

    P.S. The Personnel Committee was as involved as the elders were, if not more so. That’s why I thought PSC’s bylaws were violated when Jeff S. was shoved.

    The Personnel Committee took the initiative on getting rid of Jeff, and didn’t even want him to consult with the elders about whether or not he should go. However, PSC’s bylaws are clear: the elders are supposed to be the ones primarily responsible for the ministers. The Personnel Committee answers to the elders, not the other way around.

    I was struck by how similar this was to Kris Perkins’ testimony in how he got shoved in 2021.

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  220. Elizabeth Klein: P.S. The Personnel Committee was as involved as the elders were, if not more so. That’s why I thought PSC’s bylaws were violated when Jeff S. was shoved.

    The Personnel Committee took the initiative on getting rid of Jeff, and didn’t even want him to consult with the elders about whether or not he should go. However, PSC’s bylaws are clear: the elders are supposed to be the ones primarily responsible for the ministers. The Personnel Committee answers to the elders, not the other way around.

    I was struck by how similar this was to Kris Perkins’ testimony in how he got shoved in 2021.

    From Kris Perkins’ testimony:

    “[Mark Booker] let me know that the Personnel Committee knew of this decision, but the Elders did not and if this became more widely known actions toward my termination would move quickly.”

    This is EXACTLY what happened to Jeff Schuliger.

    Here are PSC’s bylaws: https://www.parkstreet.org/about-us/bylaws/

    So, why does the Personnel Committee think it’s at all appropriate to make staff minister decisions without the knowledge and approval of the elders??

    Also, how well you do think PSC’s elders are doing at building “mentoring and SUPPORTIVE relationships with… ministerial staff for whom they are responsible” (PSC bylaws, Article IV.1.B)??

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  221. Elizabeth Klein: From Kris Perkins’ testimony:

    “[Mark Booker] let me know that the Personnel Committee knew of this decision, but the Elders did not and if this became more widely known actions toward my termination would move quickly.”

    This is EXACTLY what happened to Jeff Schuliger.

    Here are PSC’s bylaws: https://www.parkstreet.org/about-us/bylaws/

    So, why does the Personnel Committee think it’s at all appropriate to make staff minister decisions without the knowledge and approval of the elders??

    Also, how well you do think PSC’s elders are doing at building “mentoring and SUPPORTIVE relationships with… ministerial staff for whom they are responsible” (PSC bylaws, Article IV.1.B)??

    Who is on the Personnel Committee? Are they appointed? Elected? Are there Term limits? Or, could some of the same people still be on that committee both in 2016 thru 2024?
    Is there anyone with HR credentials on the committee?

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  222. Something I haven’t seen raised yet. The commenter “niemand,” on June 5, wrote a long summary of remarks made by the “affirm” side before the June 2 vote. I’m curious about the following:

    niemand:
    During the special meeting, which I attended, the “affirm” side used a variety of implicit/explicit reminders like (please bear with me):

    [and the following was part of a lengthy list of reminders]
    ……………

    * not affirming would in effect disqualify the senior minister not only from PSC but from any possibility of ministering in the US – so not affirming would be a grave mistake (who would judge?)

    Now I wasn’t there, so I cannot say for sure whether this is accurate or who said it. Though it’s clear that the BOE would distance themselves from this sentiment now, it would be useful to know who suggested not affirming would disqualify Booker from the current job. And did the BOE counter this claim before the vote?

    Clearly, they are now acting as if the vote was only some sort of referendum on trust in the board (an absurd claim, but whatever), but I’d be curious to know from anyone who attended the meeting how this was presented in the room.

    NOTE: niemand’s full comment may be found here: https://thewartburgwatch.com/2024/06/03/a-majority-of-park-street-church-members-vote-against-affirming-mark-booker-as-senior-pastor-the-hot-potato-passes-to-the-stunned-elders/#comment-491362

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  223. Emily,

    mle bire,

    Former Boston Girl,

    Observant Outsider,

    Max,

    Emily,

    Friend of Park Street Church,

    christine,

    Eyewitness,

    BTA,

    Dear supporters of PSC and fellow pilgrims of the Universal Church:
    The reversal of the BoE’s 7/30/23 wrong decision is finally successful on 6/2/24— it is 11 months overdue. The congregation is legally authorized to reverse what the SM did to disqualify M. Balboni and the remaining 5 ministers from serving PSC. Now, our IMMEDIATE concern is the livelihood of the Five ministers and families, their living expenses if and when they stop getting PSC paychecks. Please offer tangible advice ASAP how we can legally rehire / retain these beloved and faithful ministers

    i.e. Regardless of whether the disqualified SM resigns or goes on leave or gets fired or offer mental health Rx etc etc— that important and complicated issue will require weeks and months to discuss and resolve—-but should NOT be our task of first priority : which is to PROVIDE FIVE FAMILIES WHO NEED DAILY BREAD TO SURVIVE AS HUMAN BEINGS IN THIS DARK WORLD.

    NAAH– speaking the truth with love, pleading for godly counsel

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  224. Emily,

    There is not much publicly available information about the Personnel Committee, but I have been able to scrounge up a few details by looking at old Annual Meeting reports and archived webpages.

    The Personnel Committee was added to the bylaws in 2013. I found a letter from the Acting Moderator at the time explaining that one of the bylaw amendments proposed at the Annual Meeting was “[n]aming the Personnel Committee as an official Committee of the church.” Here is an archived version of the letter: https://web.archive.org/web/20130225130632/http://images.acswebnetworks.com/1/934/LetterreBylawChanges.pdf

    The way this is phrased, it sounds like the committee was already established by the Elders, but was only being formalized in the amendment. This is confirmed by the 2016 Annual Meeting report, which is one of the few places I have found a list of PC members from the past. In the report, each member is listed with a date after their name, which appears to be the date which each member began serving on the PC. Three of the members, one of which was Gordon, are listed as starting in 1999: https://www.parkstreet.org/sites/default/files/psc_annual_report_2016_web.pdf

    Because the Senior Minister appears to be an ex officio member of the PC (in English, he’s automatically a member) and Gordon started his Park Street ministry in 1997, I think it is reasonable to conclude that the PC was created in 1999, even though it was not enshrined in the Bylaws until 2013.

    The reason I recite all this is to show that the PC has been around for a while, first as a committee created at the discretion of the Elders, and then as a committee required by the Bylaws. Even though it was formalized in 2013, its function and composition are left very vague in the Bylaws. Its purpose is to advise the Elders and Senior Minister “on all personnel matters of the Church in accordance with policies established by the Board of Elders.” Its members are appointed annually by the Moderator with the “advice and consent” of the Elders.

    Note that the PC is clearly under the authority of the Elders, and there is nothing that would give them the right to act independently. But the ability of the Elders to actually exercise oversight is very slight. Once the PC is established, there are no term limits on its members, as made clear by the fact that in 2016 there were two members (not counting Gordon) who had served since 1999. The Elders can give their “advice” on who gets picked, but the Moderator is the one who does the picking. And since the Moderator and Senior Minister both serve on the PC, they have a window into its workings denied to most of the Elders. Because the Senior Minister is the one ultimately making hiring and firing decisions, this presents a very easy way to keep the Elders out of personnel related discussions until the real decisions have already been made.

    This post is getting very long, so I will follow up on this post with evidence that the PC operates outside of the Elders’ control and oversight.

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  225. janiceg,

    the paychecks of the FIVE will stop in < 1 week, because the SM and BoE remain powerful and disregard the 6/2/24 vote (whereas the SM will continue to get his paycheck by his own executive order)

    I am copying the post by Eliz Klein on 6/9/24—as follows

    There is now an opportunity to tangibly support them!

    Thank you so very much, Ling Yi Liu, for organizing this GoFundMe effort: https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-park-street-church-ministers-in-transition

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  226. Seeking Truth,

    The Personnel Committee seems to have exercised power far beyond what is granted to it in the Bylaws, and even the Board of Elders has expressed concern over its functions. The evidence comes from Board meeting minutes posted to the Petitioners’ website, covering meetings from March 2020 – July 2023: https://parkstreetpetition.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Appendix-B.pdf

    On May 5, 2021, while Mark and the PC were actively seeking Kris Perkins’s termination, David Rix (then the Moderator) presented his nominees for several committees, among them the PC. This prompted a conversation about the “composition and role” of the PC, and the Moderator said the Elders would have a chance to discuss this more in the future. He promised to circulate the PC charter developed in 2007 for the Elders’ review. This tells us that although there is an Elder-approved charter for the PC, the Elders did not have access to this document in 2021. They relied on the Moderator to send it to them only after questions arose.

    On June 2nd, the discussion about the role of the PC promised by the Moderator took place. This seems to be the same meeting when the Elders’ received Kris’s letter of resignation after being forced out by Mark and the PC, as mentioned in the June 11th email to the congregation. Notably, the Elders raised several concerns about the PC’s lack of transparency and expressed a desire for future conversation and changes to its operation.

    The Elders discussed the “membership selection and approval process and appropriate length of service” for PC members, implying concern with the selection process dominated by the Moderator and the lack of term limits. They also discussed “at length how the role of the Personnel Committee relates to the Elders’ role and whether changes should be made.” The minutes note that no changes were made at this meeting, but that the topic would be discussed further. However, meeting minutes for the next two years contain almost no mention of the PC, and no attempts to revise the 2007 charter to address these issues.

    These minutes are illuminating in light of Kris’s letter, where he says that the Elders were not told of Mark’s decision to terminate him, but that the PC was active in consulting with Mark. It seems like the Elders reacted to being left out of the decision making process by asking questions about the transparency and accountability of the PC, and then never followed up on this conversation (at least in the minutes I have access to). Without access even to the PC charter, the Elders relied on the Moderator and Senior Minister for all communications about extremely important personnel matters.

    My conclusion from all this is that the PC has been operating outside the Bylaws and completely immune from Elder oversight, let alone congregational oversight. Its members are handpicked by the Moderator, its workings are mysterious even to longtime members and insiders, and it has been implicated in the improper termination of numerous ministers without having to account for its decisions to the congregation. A healthy church would immediately audit and eliminate such a secretive and unaccountable committee. Unfortunately, this is the entire culture of Park Street leadership today, so it will take a lot more than that to set things straight.

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  227. simul justus et peccator,

    Former Boston Girl,

    Former Boston Girl,

    This is absoiutely false information about Dr. Hugenberger–
    I know he showed up only VERY RARELY since he retired from PSC
    (1) for his good friend Kris Perkins’s farewell on a Sunday several years ago.
    (2) in Feb 2924 in order to vote at the annual meeting as a PSC member
    (3) on the Sunday recently when there was a reception for Walter Kim, his good friend
    Neither he nor Phil Thorne can be blamed for the mess which Mark Booker and the current BoE produced at PSC since 2000.

    sincerely, NAAH

    MOD: Going to assume “Feb 2924” should have been “Feb 2024”.
    GBTC

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  228. Seeking Truth: My conclusion from all this is that the PC has been operating outside the Bylaws and completely immune from Elder oversight, let alone congregational oversight. Its members are handpicked by the Moderator, its workings are mysterious even to longtime members and insiders, and it has been implicated in the improper termination of numerous ministers without having to account for its decisions to the congregation. A healthy church would immediately audit and eliminate such a secretive and unaccountable committee. Unfortunately, this is the entire culture of Park Street leadership today, so it will take a lot more than that to set things straight.

    Thank you so very much for all your research into the Personnel Committee! I have been wondering about this for a while now, but have not had the time or resources to find out more.

    Is this the current list? The source has other lists of various committees that are outdated… so perhaps this list is outdated too.

    Personnel Committee
    Jason Abraham, Moderator & Chair
    Mark Booker, Senior Minister**
    Kathie Lindemann, At-Large Member
    Ling Yi Liu, Missions Treasurer
    David Murgatroyd, Elder
    Martha Neu, F&A Committee Representative
    Margaret Sloat, At-Large Member
    David Rix, Former Moderator
    Mike Ahearn, Church Administrator**

    **Employed by Park Street Church

    Also… I think I need an organization chart… here are the list of groups of church leaders! Are ALL of these in the bylaws? This is a long list…

    Staff
    Board of Elders
    Officers
    Deacons
    Deacons Subcommittee
    Finance & Administration Committee
    Investment Committee
    Membership Committee
    Missions Committee
    Nominating Committee
    Personnel Committee

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  229. Located the following info via this URL on Jun 16, 2024:

    https://parkstreet.churchcenter.com/pages/staff-elders-and-deacons

    Personnel Committee
    Jason Abraham, Moderator & Chair
    Mark Booker, Senior Minister**
    Kathie Lindemann, At-Large Member
    Ling Yi Liu, Missions Treasurer
    David Murgatroyd, Elder
    Martha Neu, F&A Committee Representative
    Margaret Sloat, At-Large Member
    David Rix, Former Moderator
    Mike Ahearn, Church Administrator**

    **Employed by Park Street Church

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  230. Moderator: I noticed that Friend of Park Street Church just posted the list…please feel free to eliminate/delete the post I just submitted to you…thanks!