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  • #31
    Thanks you all so much. I have been feeling a peace and calm about this weekend and i do believe we can look forward and enjoy the wedding. Our son and his wife to be are Godly young people. He is going to attend seminary when undergrads are complete, so this has been quite an enlightening and learning experience for him. He is now considering christian counseling along with pastoral studies, so maybe God has a purpose in all this.
    Many of you wondered why we are still affiliated with this church. It has been our family church for almost 100 years, my grandma emmigrated from Sweden where the state church was very controlling and they could not even study the Bible in their own homes. When they got here, a group started the Free Church as we are affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church. I believe these problems are with our pastor, not the denomination. He has been here 25 years and feels quite at home here and is very controlling, dogmatic, and legalistic.
    We have not been attending here regularly. My elderly dad attends there and it means a lot to him to have our family there. He feels like it is his legacy in some way. We have only attended for a few special events just for him.
    We have been attending a church in a neighbor town. It is hard because we are in a rural area and it is a 25 mile drive. This church does have a yourth group outreach that meets in our town twice a month. That is how we decided on them as we have 2 teenage sons who are very active in our former churches youth ministry. We have been torn that way because we dont want them to come to spiritual harm because of this.
    In the letter read to the church, they made it very clear that this is in no way over for them...they stated that they will pursue her for repentance and reconciliation... so that is what I fear. We have considered legal action but the waters are muddy there for several reasons...we are exploring that avenue further....
    I have been nesting in the Psalms right now...The Lord will protect me and deliver me from my enemies...I just never dreamed that my enemies would be members of our church family or other "Christians" Thanks so much..your prayers are coveted this weekend!!


    • #32
      Originally posted by Annie View Post
      I have been nesting in the Psalms right now...The Lord will protect me and deliver me from my enemies...I just never dreamed that my enemies would be members of our church family or other "Christians" Thanks so much..your prayers are coveted this weekend!!
      I am so sorry that you and your family have experienced this UN-Christlike behavior by "the church". Their actions do not glorify Father.

      I have experienced a situation w/some similarities and agree w/you that I never dreamed such treatment would come from my family~in~Christ. I do believe this is one way the enemy works. Another way he works is in keeping us from God's Word and prayer as a result of our hurt. You mentioned that was a struggle at one point in the thread.

      I am glad that you seem to be healing and that you have peace about the wedding. I hope it is wonderful!!!


      • #33
        The Evangelical Free denomination is a respectable one. This pastor needs to be held accountable for his actions, including harassment if he is threatening to "pursue" the issue. Your son or perhaps someone else trustworthy needs to find out who in the denomination handles issues when a pastor needs discipline, and let them know what's going on. Your loyalty is to Jesus, not an errant church. In fact, we are to expose evil, not accommodate it. Praying for you!


        • #34
          I agree with Accepted - find out who the over-arching body is in charge of the Pastor at the church (not the Elders, but the actual denomination) and pursue this with them. Take it all the way up the chain of command if necessary. If that is not possible, personally I would send a cease and desist letter and if they continued harassing her, I'd seek a restraining order. They are seriously out of line. She does not deserve to be harassed in her place of business or in her home. She was not at fault here and for them to doggedly publicly shame her over her ex-husband's behavior simply because she was the one who filed after he refused counseling and kicked her out of their marital home is unbelievable.
          "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)


          • #35
            I just did a quick web search - here's the contact info for the Evangelical Free's office. In your shoes, I'd call Monday to seek counsel from them about how to handle the situation. I'm sure there is someone there who can help you. And, don't dance around it - be very very blunt with the people you speak with about what is going on with the Pastor, the public shaming, the harassing your daughter, the details of the divorce, etc.

            Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA)
            901 East 78th Street
            Minneapolis, MN 55420
            (800) 745-2202
            "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)


            • #36
              I would take this excellent suggestion and contact the head office. If you can explain the situation better in writing, you might call them first to determine who should receive the email and who has the power to intervene. The local guys have gotten away with this for far too long. They are suppressing the true work of the church there, and it's time for it to stop. Party's over.
              Please do write again next week to update us about your son's wedding. He sounds like a fine young man that God has blessed with a godly wife-to-be.


              • #37
                The wedding went well..there were not many friends from church there. I thought this was all settling down again, our pastor called again this noon and wants to have another meeting. He wants to meet at 7 AM tomorrow morning. My husband told him in no uncertain terms NO. They wont leave us alone.


                • #38
                  Annie, please call the main national office for the Evangelical Free church in the post above tomorrow morning to seek guidance on how to close the book on the situation with this "pastor". Be very clear that you are former members of the church and the pastor is publicly humiliating your family and he is now harassing your family and you want it to stop immediately on both fronts. Be very clear that one does not attend church to be abused and make it clear to the people you speak to that that is what is occuring and it needs to stop NOW.

                  Hugs. I'm sorry your friends did not attend the wedding, but it sounds like it was lovely anyway. My best wishes and heart-felt prayers for a wonderful marriage to your son and his new bride.
                  "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)


                  • #39
                    Dear Annie, I'm so glad that the wedding went well. What an occasion for rejoicing! I'm sorry that the timing of this difficulty with your church coincided with the happy occasion of your son's wedding.
                    But that's just life. Events, both good and bad, don't always happen at just the 'perfect' time.

                    You may be reluctant to contact the head office of your church's denomination. It would be good if your husband would be willing to do this (just an opinion of a couple of others on this board and me, included). However, you and your family have to be the ones to make this decision, because it will be your family who will have to deal with the 'fallout' of such an action in your small town.
                    Personally, I think someone needs to get this pastor/elders back on track (if they were ever on track to begin with ), but your family may not choose to be the instruments of reproof in this circumstance at this time. You two will have to be the ones to decide this, not us. We aren't the ones 'in' the circumstance; you are, and your dh and you have to do what the two of you think is best.

                    Hopefully, your family will soon have some peace about all of this. The Psalms are wonderful comfort for trying times, as you know. I heard a great sermon on radio yesterday by Dr. Robert Jeffress (Pathway to Victory). 'Living a Life that Matters' is the name of the series, but the particular sermon yesterday was all about trials that we face in this life (based on Joseph's time in prison) We can trust God and His purposes in all of our trials. It was one of the best sermons on suffering/affliction that I've ever heard. In the search bar at, you can type in his name. This sermon is listed in recent radio broadcasts, and the date it was broadcast is yesterday, May 8, should you decide to listen online. All of us have our trials, and this sermon was a great encouragement to me, as I'm sure it was to others.

                    God bless you, Annie. Please post again soon and let us know how you're doing.


                    • #40

                      Dear Annie, I am so sorry for what all you and your daughter have gone through. But listen, our God is in control of EVERYTHING. He has had mercy on your daughter. He has allowed her to not suffer with this man for the rest of her life. He has had mercy on the little children that could have been born into this mess. Can you thank God for His mercy in your life and the whole situation? God knows this situation--He has pity on your woes. Bring your sadness and hurt to Him. He will help you in His omnipotence. Do not allow this church to continue to ABUSE you family. THEY ARE SICK PHARISEES--HYPOCRITES! Now, the only thing that matters is what does God think--that is it. You MUST keep your heart and mind on God and His Word. You must read the Word daily and pray--leave that cult and find a better church even if you have to go out of town. Lift up your head and your spirits because you are RIGHT WITH GOD. Your daughter did not do anything wrong--she needs YOU NOW. You must show your daughter how to lean on the Lord during the hard times--because as believers we must expect persecution--but we are shocked and surprised when it comes from other believers. Nevertheless, the devil goes about as a ROARING LION, seeking whom he may devour--and yes, he uses carnal, proud, believers who are caught up in their own POWER OVER CHURCH MEMBERS. I don't care who they are--if they are not following scripture get out of there. They are not manifesting the FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT--love, joy peace, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, can correct someone in LOVE--they are not even doing that. Therefore, I would GET OUT OF THERE! The Lord wants you to come to Him--leave your burdens with Him and sit back and watch Him work on your behalf. I speak from experience. This whole situation can be used to allow you to have a deep relationship with the Lord that you NEVER DREAMED POSSIBLE. But you must run to Him and cling to Him through prayer and reading the Word--then one day you will look back and be thankful that this whole thing happened because of how the Lord has dealt in your life--I speak from experience. Verses will jump out of the page and you will know God is speaking TO YOU! Test Him--Your Sister in Christ.


                      • #41
                        Annie, how are things going?
                        I feel for you and your daughter. If the members of that church were real Christians, the would have rallied around your daughter. If they still contact both of you, go to the police. I would think that is would qualify as harassment. From what I read, the best think for her was a divorce. If they keep coming to your property, ask them to leave without hearing what they have to say. When they either don't leave aor whont quit comming over, call the police and file a complaint about them tresspassing.
                        And remember this, they will one day have to explain this un-Godly behavior to the Lord.


                        • #42

                          Our church is part of the EFCA, and our pastors nor any of the church leadership would act like that--or condone that behavior. Who knows what untold damage this has done to that congregation and the community! I urge you to make a complaint about this pastor to the EFCA before he harms anyone else.

                          My heart breaks for you and your family and am so relieved to hear that you have disassociated yourselves from that poisonous, legalistic so-called pastor, and are resting on the promises of our Lord and Savior.

                          Please consider contacting the EFCA about this church. They are nothing but bullies with titles. For certain, contact law enforcement if you or any of your family continue to be harassed.


                          • #43
                            Here I am again...I thought i would check in and let you all know what is going on. I truly do covet your prayers. This has been such an isolating experience, and I really don't have any one to talk to about this.
                            Some updates...we have been attending a church in a neighboring town, and the pastor has agreed to counsel our daughter. He has spoke with her several times and has stated that he believes that she is truly repentant and also that she is carrying a lot of "stuff" from this ordeal and needs to talk several more times to "unload". Our old church stated that they were going to send any new church we attend a letter stating that our daughter was under discipline and that she should not far that has not happened. We are praying that our new church will find favor with her and with us and that they will disregard a letter. I feel like they are hunting us down and will not let us rest or find a spiritual home. I am so weary.
                            ...we also reported our pastor to our district superintendant. We called the national office and they would not deal with it unless we contacted the district office first. The district superintendant was very sypathetic to us and was concerned. He called our pastor and talked to him and called us back and his attitude has turned 180 degrees. Was totally against us. We know that our pastor and this man are personal friends, so we have no hope there. They sent us another letter after that calling us to a meeting with the pastors, elders, and the district head. We are to sign a statement saying that we will stay in this meeting until there is reconciliation and everything is worked out, with no time limit (hours? days?). I feel like this is a trap. We have to send a letter with our grievances and only that will be discussed, and we can not talk or mention anyone who is not in the room. My husband and I am against this, and dont think we will agree to go or to meet again. We dont know where that will lead.
                   dad, who is 94, was very distraught about all of this and he went into the pastor to visit him about all this. Our pastor lost his temper and absolutely cut my father apart. He stop in front of him and yelled and shook his finger in his face. He told my dad that he was making accusations about the pastor harrassing us. My dad came home and he had slips of paper with the word ACCUSATION written on them all over the house. He has slipped into a depression, has stopped eating, has had several falls, has been hopitalized, and was in the nursing home for a week. Now he has been dismissed home, and I have to care for him now, too...
                   the midst of all this, a young man has dropped into my daughters life. He is a Christian, kind, gentle, daughter is scared to death that the church will find out and they will send people to visit him. That has happened to other people in the church who dated after a divorce. ...I am just so broken, and hurt. I am truly beginning to doubt the call of Christ in anyone, including my own...why is this happening and how can I get it to stop? I was a work the other night and a friend from church was discussing a small unrelated thing involving her daughter, I mentioned that had happened to my daughter too, and as soon as I mentioned her name she turned around and walked away...conversation daughter is dead, they dont even mention her name or let me speak of her. I guess that's how they cast her out as a heathen or a tax collector. She has told them she is sorry. They told her that they want to see her forever broken.
                            I just need help and prayers. Thats about all I can think of thats new...I thought I would let you know.


                            • #44
                              Annie, there is nothing Christian or Christ-like about the way you are being treated.

                              Do not go to the meeting. You owe them nothing. Your daughter owes them nothing. Your DH owes them nothing. You Father owest them nothing.

                              I am so sorry you and your family are going through this. I'll continue to pray for your family and your daughter.
                              "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Acts5:41 View Post
                                Well, a couple of things.

                                He could have manifested mental illness. It is VERY common for things like bipolar disorder and all to pop up in the early 20's. However, he has to WANT to get help, take whatever he is given, as directed, and live a pretty quiet life. Anyway...

                                Regarding the church, you said it was:

                                You're wrong.

                                IT IS ABUSE.

                                I would leave the church. The fact that the pastor completely neglected a young woman in crisis, for SIX WEEKS, says it all.

                                The fact that he would berate her for ending a marriage her husband terminated... .

                                I really hope you are not giving them any money.
                                I agree Acts