Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
But, he wasn't safe, as I along with many others found out. This post is to make us really think about what to do next time, not that anything big will necessarily change, but maybe someone will be more wary if they feel things are not "feeling right". You see, he had a past, a long history of sexual problems and it was all dismissed. Look at the situation today, really look at it and see that a great injustice was done and know that it will probably happen again. The reality is we have to face the facts that there will be more situations where people feel it is best to "cover up" these sins and "forgive" and no real action will be taken. This is a sad reality, but it is evident - especially as you read again the details of this long road and how long it took to get this criminal sentence and his admission of guilt by his plea bargain.
It has been a true "trail of tears" and devastation. Pastor Wade Burleson did the best job of creating and posting a timeline based on the facts. This was posted on his blog last year, I have asked his permisssion to post it again here. It is baffling to me upon reading it again, what in the world does it really take to get the churches attention? How many cries for help are really needed? How many witnesses? How much "grace and forgiveness" is extended to the abuser by being sensitive to his position, but yet the "victims" are trampled, humiliated and left alone to deal with it, most of the time placed in absolute shame by the ones they went to for help. What a shame.
My personal note: In addition to all of the information below from the past, we now know that he has fathered children (atleast 3 confirmed); he has solicited sex through text messages to teens (part of the plea was that he asked for those charges to be dropped); he has molested teens in his office during "counseling"; he has had many relationships with women, single and married (while he was married); there have been payoff's, silence being the condition; people that have also had their credibility ruined after trying to report alleged rape or other sexual misconduct - the list goes on. I kept an actual notebook as the information poured in listing the proof against him. It could have all been avoided years ago, by the actions of many along the way.
Wake up call, what does it really take?
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
The Sordid and Strange Darrell Gilyard Story and What It Reveals About the SBC ,The Florida Times Union reports that Darrell Gilyard, a former Southern Baptist pastor, will appear in Florida court this month to defend himself on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct against a fourteen year old girl. Gilyard, who resigned January 4, 2008 as pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida after his arrest, is an interesting case study regarding the old, but sad axiom in the Southern Baptist Convention - "It's not who you are, but who you know that gets you places." Though one cannot be sure of the motives of those involved in the following story, it seems that there is an air of "us vs. them" mentality in some SBC leadership circles that leads to cover ups and excuses for inexcusable conduct among SBC ministers.
Darrell Gilyard burst on the SBC scene when he preached at the 1989 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference at the instigation of Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines. Gilyard related to SBC pastors how he had grown up as a homeless teenager, living under a bridge in Jacksonville, Florida, only to be miraculously converted and called to preach. He expressed gratefulness to both Vines and Patterson as he articulated the need for young, conservative gospel preachers to follow the leaders of the conservative resurgence. His message received a standing ovation at the SBC Pastor's Conference, and a star had been born in SBC circles. Jerry Vines had "discovered" Gilyard in Jacksonville, and Paige Patterson had discipled Gilyard as the young preacher attended Criswell College in the mid-1980's.
Gilyard would later repeat this "homeless" story on Jerry Falwell's Old Time Gospel Hour television broadcast, only to have his adoptive mother, Barbara Davis of Palatka, Florida, tell the media afterwards that she had raised Darrell from age 5 to 19 in middle income comfort, and that his story of living homeless under a bridge was a lie. Unfortunately, lying was the least of the problems of this young man who was fast becoming a rising star among Southern Baptists. While Gilyard was at Criswell, a long litany of sexual allegations against Gilyard came to the surface. It was during this time that Gilyard, with the encouragemnt and recommendation of Paige Patterson, became a staff member at Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas. What happened next is unconscionable.
Predatorial Behavior Explained Away
According to The Dallas Morning News, Concord's Senior Pastor, E.K. Bailey said a dark side of Mr. Gilyard began to emerge while "ministering" at Concord. Rumors began to fly that the associate pastor was making advances on women in the church. In 1987, within two years after his hiring at Concord, Mr. Gilyard was fired in front of 1,500 members of Concord Baptist for having had inappropriate sexual relationships with at least, according to Pastor Baily, twenty five women members of the church.
Mr. Bailey said officials from First Baptist, Dallas, Texas, the church that sponsors Criswell College, attended the open service during which Mr. Gilyard was fired. Though Criswell College and FBC Dallas representatives were present at the Concord service where Gilard was fired, Patterson later decided there was not enough "evidence" to further investigate Mr. Gilyard or discipline him in terms of Criswell College or Gilyard's ministry among SBC churches. Gilyard was promoted among SBC churches by Patterson, Vines and other conservative leaders. In fact, according to Pastor Bailey, "Paige Patterson wrote me an unkind letter over the whole ordeal (Gilyard's firing). He basically told me that he would have come out to my church and solved the problem for me if I had told him first." Notice, according to the letter, the problem was not the young ladies being victimized. The problem was not the sexual impropriety of Mr. Gilyard. The "problem" was the public firing. It never would have happened if Patterson had been involved.
Pastor Bailey, now deceased, said First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas and specifically Paige Patterson, continued to promote Mr. Gilyard throughout the predominantly white Southern Baptist churches. "You saw his star rising and rising," said Pastor Bailey, "and you knew what kind of a person he was." Pastor Bailey's comment illumines the theme of this post: "It is not 'who' you are, but 'who' you know that matters in the SBC."
Let me illustrate. After Gilyard's termination at Concord in 1987, he had little trouble gaining employment as assistant pastor for Hilltop Baptist Church in Norman, Oklahoma. Hilltop is a Southern Baptist Church and Senior Pastor Dan Maxwell hired Gilyard in 1988, less than a year after Gilyard was terminated at Concord. Maxwell had previously hosted a series of "conservative resurgence" pastors' meetings at his church at Hilltop, with Paige Patterson as the guest speaker. A former staff member at Hilltop, who would later serve with us at Emmanuel, told me that Pastor Maxwell hired Gilyard in 1988 at the sole urging and recommendation of Paige Patterson. Patterson told Maxwell to hire Gilyard, in spite of the allegations in Dallas, because the women in Dallas could not be believed. This squares with what Pastor Maxwell would later recount to The Dallas Morning News when he explained why he had hired Gilyard. "Paige Patterson said he had been out there (to Concord Missionary Baptist) and talked to the women and there had been nothing to the allegations. He (Patterson) could not substantiate them." However, less than a year after Gilyard arrived at Hilltop, allegations of sexual misconduct against Gilyard surfaced at that Southern Baptist church as well. Two women told Pastor Dan Maxwell that Mr. Gilyard had made sexual advances toward them, and a third woman confessed to having an affair with Mr. Gilyard.
Pastor Maxwell says he took this information of Gilyard's misconduct to Dr. Patterson. Dr. Patterson called and spoke personally to the woman who said she had an affair with Mr. Gilyard. After Patterson spoke to the woman, he told Pastor Maxwell that he did not believe the woman's story. "That individual's story changed many times," Dr. Patterson later explained to a reporter of The Dallas Morning News. "That bothered me," he said.
What is disturbing to me is the fact that Patterson is "bothered" by the womans story and not by the fact Gilyard is once again accused of sexual impropriety; particularly since Patterson already knew of Gilyard's 1987 sexual misconduct at Concord Baptist Church. Patterson was "bothered" by the woman's story at Hilltop, but NOT by Gilyard's alleged sexual misbehavior at Hilltop? Gilyard was terminated from Hilltop in early 1989 by Pastor Maxwell, and the friendship between Maxwell and Patterson, according to a staff member at Hilltop at the time, was terminally breached.
Back in Dallas in 1990
After being released from Hilltop in 1989, Mr. Gilyard made his way back to Dallas, Texas, and with the assistance of Patterson, Gilyard become the associate pastor at Shiloh Baptist in Garland, Texas. Before long, sexual misconduct allegations surfaced at Shiloh against Gilyard. Once again, Dr. Patterson intervened on behalf of his disciple. In 1990 Dr. Patterson met with two women who represented friends who, they said, were involved with Mr. Gilyard. Don Simpkins, a pastoral counselor, also attended. Mr. Simpkins said Dr. Patterson asked him to counsel Mr. Gilyard once a week. "I was supposed to "polish the rough edges," said Mr. Simpkins. Mr. Simpkins said that after a few visits with Mr. Gilyard, he suspected some "personality disorders' and wanted to test Mr. Gilyard . "He refused," Mr. Simpkins told the Dallas Morning News, "so I called Paige to let him know it wasn't going well, but he never returned any of my calls."
Gilyard was fired from Shiloh Baptist Church in 1990, only to wind up as pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas a few months later. In July of 1991, reports of sexual improprieties by Pastor Gilyard at Victory Baptist (his fourth church in four years), burst into the public realm. The allegations by the women at Victory Baptist Church who claimed to be his victims are so bizarre that I will post them verbatim from the July 14, 1991 Dallas Morning News article that made them public:
"When it came to women (Gilyard) would not allow them to usher, serve on the finance committee, teach men or take classes with them.But outside the church, according to the women who claim to have been victimized by him, Mr. Gilyard spent most of his time with women. Those who talked with The Dallas Morning News about their experiences asked to remain anonymous . . . A woman joined Victory Baptist shortly after she moved to Dallas last year. Mr. Gilyard offered her a job at the church. "He called about 10 o'clock one night and said he wanted to talk about my work," she recalled. "We talked for a while like that, then the conversation shifted and he started getting real personal. He wanted to know what attracted me to him. I should have hung up, but I felt flattered.' She said the phone call became more sexually explicit until finally she hung up. I felt dirty and sick afterward," she said.She said she told Darrell DeBoard, the administrator at Victory Baptist, two or three days later. The woman said she also quit her job at the church and moved out of town that weekend.Mr. DeBoard declined to discuss the incident, saying he could not violate a confidence . . . Martha Dixius, a social worker who taught Sunday school at Victory Baptist, said a woman in the congregation approached her in November for help. The woman, said Ms. Dixius, had "a trust level of a 7-year-old. She is very naive.' In a counseling session, Ms. Dixius said, the woman told her that Mr. Gilyard had noted her visitor's card and phoned her the next day with an offer to show her through the church. During the tour, he asked her questions a bout her personal life.The next evening about 6 p.m., the woman told Ms. Dixius, Mr. Gilyard drove to her apartment and called her from his car phone. "She let him in her apartment because he told her he wanted to talk about some of the problems they had discussed the night before,' Ms. Dixius said. "She told me that by 6:30, she was raped." The woman told her she was too confused and frightened to call police. The woman told Ms. Dixius that Mr. Gilyard continued to go to her apartment for six months and have sex with her. "He would - call her from the car phone and say, "I'm coming up, let me in,' and she would be too frightened to say no.' After counseling the woman for four months, Ms. Dixius referred her to another counselor. The two counselors met with the woman and Darrell DeBoard, administrator of Victory Baptist. "The word "rape' was used a lot," Mr. DeBoard recalled, "but I understood that to be emotional rape. She was graphic with details, so it was hard not to believe that something had happened."
It was only during the time that the Dallas Morning News made the above allegations against Gilyard public that Paige Patterson ended his support of Gilyard. Gilyard had been fired from FOUR churches in FOUR years for allegations of sexual misconduct from dozens and dozens of women. Patterson knew of the sexual misconduct allegations against Gilyard at Concord Baptist Church in 1987. He knew about the sexual allegations against Gilyard at Hilltop Baptist Church in 1988. Gilyard preached at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference in 1989 after being introduced to Conference leaders by Patterson and Vines. Patterson knew about the sexual misconduct allegations against Gilyard at Shiloh Baptist Church in 1990. Patterson knew about the sexual misconduct allegations against Gilyard at Victory Baptist Church in 1991.
Again, The Dallas Morning News made public the sexual misconduct allegations against Gilyard on July 14, 1991, at least six years after initial accounts of Gilyard's sexual improprieties surfaced at Criswell. Since that day in 1991 Patterson says he has had nothing to do with Darrell Gilyard.
Gilyard left Dallas in late 1991 and went to Florida where he eventually became pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville in 1993. The state of Florida is now seeking to prosecute Gilyard for "lewd and lascivious conduct" against a fourteen year old girl while serving as pastor at Shiloh in Florida. The sordid and strange Darrell Gilyard story has yet to end, but there are some lessons we can learn from it in the SBC.
(1). Information is power - to either check or correct poor leadership.
One wonders if glowing recommendations regarding Darrell Gilyard and his "ministry" would have continued from SBC leadership, in spite of their knowledge of allegations of sexual impropriety against Gilyard, had it not been for the public revelations of the Dallas Morning News in 1991. Thank God for a free, independent press. In addition, we thank the Lord for those women who have been victimized by Gilyard but are now making their voices heard in order to prevent other predatory behavior. Tiffany Croft, a young lady who became a victim of Gilyard's immoral conduct, wrote to me this past year expressing her desire to stop Gilyard from victimizing other women and girls. Croft eventually started a blog of her own called Let's Stop Darrell Gilyard Together". She is proof that every voice counts. She has made a difference.
(2). Southern Baptist churches would do well to remember that the qualifications for effective pastoral leadership are measured by the words and testimonies of those church members who have been recipients of a pastor's love and ministry - not professional endorsers.
In other words, though it is often not "who you are, but who you know" that gets you places in the SBC, a wise church will discount the big names on a resume and do due diligence with those people who have experienced the ministry of a pastor over the course of years. Likewise, big name denominational leaders may say negative things about people they do not like, but the "proof" of effective pastoral leadership is in the people being led.
(3). It is a shame when those outside the SBC must call our leaders to account for their actions because we Southern Baptists are too fearful to hold our own leaders accountable.
The Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called on the trustees of Southwestern Theological Seminary to remove President Paige Patterson for protecting Darrell Gilyard from being held accountable for his sexual misconduct in the 1980's and 1990's. SNAP believes victimized women and girls could have been protected from the predatory behavior of Gilyard had Southern Baptist leaders, particularly former SBC Presidents Vines and Patterson, held him accountable when they first were informed of his behavior. On January 9, 2008, President Paige Patterson officially responded to SNAP's request that Patterson be removed:
"Christa Brown and the SNAP organization have alleged that years ago, and even in the present, I have protected Darrell Gilyard, most recently the Pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, when he was involved in sexual misconduct. These snap judgments by Brown and others are misinformed and inaccurate. "
Patterson goes on to write about how he "moderated" the 1991 meeting where Gilyard was terminated from Shiloh Baptist Church in Dallas, but . . .
(a). He does not answer why in 1987 he rebuked Pastor E.K. Baily for terminating Gilyard from Concord Baptist Church after "twenty-five" women accused Gilyard of sexual misconduct.
(b). He does not answer why he recommended Gilyard to Hilltop Baptist Church in 1988 AFTER knowing the charges against Gilyard at Concord.
(c). He does not answer why he arranged for Gilyard to speak at the SBC Pastors Conference AFTER he knew of the sexual misconduct allegations at BOTH Concord Baptist and Hilltop Baptist churches.
(d). He does not answer why he refused to "believe" the stories of the women who claimed to be having sexual relationships with Pastor Gilyard; that is, not until The Dallas Morning news reported the stories of these women publicly.
(e). He does not answer why he arranged for a "pastoral counselor" to work on "the rough edges" of Darrell Gilyard in 1990 after Gilyard had been terminated from his THIRD church in THREE years (Shiloh Baptist, Dallas, Texas) for sexual misconduct instead of working to remove Gilyard from all pastoral ministry.
Why Bring All This Up Again Now?
Southern Baptists have proven we do not like to air our dirty laundry. When things become known to the outside world, we attack the messenger, rather than deal with the problem. We must change our approach. Southern Baptists must stand up and speak out, rather than mock or ridicule those who do.
According to the blog Abuse and Christianity, Darrell Gilyard has been back in the pulpit of a Southern Baptist affiliated church while he awaits his trial in Florida. Rather than act as if Southern Baptists would never ignore sexual predators in the pulpit, rather than mock and ridicule those who expose our lack of moral judgment, we should learn from our history so that Southern Baptist churches and pastors will not be tempted to repeat it.We must understand that if we don't clean up our own house, nobody else will.
In His Grace,Wade
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I know many are filled with mixed emotion, some are just angry, some are still so hurt, some are still disbelieving, some are rallying around him still, others are lost in grief.
I guess I am wondering about the whole heartbeat overall of how this has affected everyone. I am still concerned for those of you that feel you will "never step foot in a church again"...are there any of you that still feel this way? If so, I want you to understand that God still has a plan for your life. I want you to hear that over and over again until it takes root in your heart.
Are there any of you who think you will never get over the pain? The disappointment? The shock?
How about the people that have been reading this blog and others and think that "see this is what those churches are like" and therefore you stay away? This maybe has had a negative affect on you? We want to give you a better message. God can do amazing things despite the frailty and sins of all of us. He loves us where we are, no requirements to come to HIm perfect and without problems. In fact, He delights in making sense of our problems and helping us through them.
To those of you that have been faithfully praying, don't stop now, keep lifting everyone up. There are so many hurts left to be healed. Some people are really just beginning to deal with this. Some have held out until the very end hoping he was innocent. Now they are allowing themselves to see it and deal with it for the first time. Keep praying. Obviously the enemy would love to get in there now and really work on people's hearts. Pray against bitterness and anger - pray that God heals hearts and help people to keep their eyes on Him. It is certainly understandable to feel angry with Gilyard and even those that allowed him to have authority, but please don't turn that anger against God.
Darrell stated in an article last week: “I stood in court today recognizing that I made serious mistakes and that I disappointed a great number of people,” Gilyard said. “It is my intention when this is all over to make it up to everyone as best I can.”
Well, we hope that he will really recognize this and that he will have some remorse - the important part however is for him to repent and come clean with God. You see, in his message he is still talking about "the people". He is talking about making it up to everyone as best he can. I am not sure that any of this can be "made up", not by a man (human) anyway.
But God can! God can make something beautiful out of ALL of this! Even for Darrell. But it will be God doing it and only God should get any credit for it.
"The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:17-18 NIV
Share your feelings...I want to pray for you, and so do many others.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you. (vs. 5)
I am reminded today of how good God is. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, he has paved the way and He never abandons us. Even in sin, He provides a way of escape - but He leaves that choice to us.
For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord...have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of dakness, but rather expose them...it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible...be careful how youlive-not as unwise, but as wise... Ephesians 5:8-15. (Also read Eph. 4:18-19)
We also have the chance to forgive, we learn from Paul that "what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel..." Phil. 1:12) His suffering and imprisonment were a huge trial for him, but he saw it as an opportunity. He forgave his captors and rejoiced even in suffering. Phil. 4:4
Thursday, May 21, 2009
You would think that her message to him would be of anger and possibly asking “how could you?” Instead, she showed a true testimony to the world of what we are taught Biblically to do, to love our enemies and those that persecute us. I am blessed just to have been there to see this exchange, to see grace and mercy extended in the midst of much pain. Here are some of her words:
She began her message with one simple truth; the Bible tells us that If we are to confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. However she pointed out one of the most overlooked points of that verse – IF – She proceeded to remind Darrell Gilyard that confessing sins, admitting failure, is exactly what prisoners of pride refuse to do.
And then Phil. 3:14 states “I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me.” She reads this to him and then asks, “Is this what God called you to do as you reached for the goal? God began a good work in you and I am sure He will complete it until it is finished according to Philippians 1:6”
At this point in the courtroom, it was silent, everyone was listening. I looked at Judge Weatherby and he was leaning forward a bit with his chin resting on his hand, listening. Hank Coxe had to have felt uncomfortable, he kept glancing over at her and then to Darrell. Darrell was still, head down, hands clasped behind his back. A surreal moment as this former parishioner is preaching to her former Pastor.
She goes on to tell him that “God uses Satan to fortify His church, even when Satan appears to win, ‘Darrell’, he loses.” And that “Confession does not create a relationship with God, it nourishes it.” She tells him that though he did not lose his position with God, he has lost his peace with God.
Isn’t that so true? God never stops loving us, but we feel a loss because we are separated due to our lack of repentance of sin.
Darrell was certainly an incredible speaker and knew God’s word, how odd and uncomfortable it had to be for him to hear this. She reminds him that he, as the Shepard abused her daughter inside of the Shepard’s office. Among other things she also reminds him that lives have been destroyed and that he will have to give an account for this.
Her final message is so amazing it is God talking through a wounded person right in the midst of tragedy…she says “Just know God loves us and wants the best for us. I will pray for you as always that at some point you get right with God. You are forgiven by me. I have no malice in my heart as we all have sinned and woe is the man or woman that does not confess and turn from their wicked ways.”
Hallelujah! Praise be to Jesus! To Him is all of the glory and honor and praise! Ministering to the man that hurt her daughter, the same man that was supposed to minister to her.
A dear friend called me tonight to pray with me, she was also abused at the hands of a minister as a young girl. We have talked and shared our stories before and one thing we are both aware of and thankful for is our stories. We have shared before that our stories have made us who we are today. They are testimonies of God’s power, His love, His grace and His mercy. He has taught us so much about forgiveness and trust, though by worldly standards we should be bitter, unforgiving and unable to trust. It is the contrary; God has allowed great strength, trust and healing to come from tragedy and heartache.
On this note, as we were talking she shared this thought with me and it touched me deeply and I feel is so appropriate to end on. I said in an interview today that it is time to lay down the label of “victim” and replace it with “overcomer”, I want you to know that you do not have to let his crimes against you define who you are, but it can define Who God is.
My sweet friend shared that out of the dark places in our lives, He will help us to sift through and “mine” through the rubble and discover riches that we wouldn’t have otherwise. No matter how devastating the storm, the aftermath can look so bleak and you are tempted to carry around this “victim” armor, lay it down and dig for the treasures that God will bring from it. They are there, waiting to be discovered.
Darrell Gilyard had to stand there at the podium and listen first to the Judge read out his crimes and the penalties, then hear the mother of a victim describe the pain to her family and all of the lives his sin has touched.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Darrell L. Gilyard will face some earthly consequences this time. It is official, a plea agreement has been reached and signed.
- The deal is 3 years incarceration and then 3 years probation. He will be listed as a sexual predator, so this label will follow him
There were several plea agreements offered over the last weeks, all for a lighter sentence, of course, and they were rejected by the SA. This one insures that he will go to a State facility vs. county jail.
- From what I am told, he plead guilty to the charges against him and did not deny any of them.
- I also asked if he will have forced counseling - I am told that he will have a psychological evaluation upon entering and then be forced to maintain counseling thereafter.
The sentencing will take place on Thursday this week. He is being told to expect a packed courtroom and a media circus.
Thank you ALL for following this story and for ALL of the tips, leads, stories/testimonies, names, addresses, phone numbers, prayers and vigilance that have been put into this through the blog. Your pursuit of justice and cries for help have made a difference! I am so thankful and so proud of many of you brave warriors. Some of you may not have found the courage to tell your story or give a tip - but you can rejoice now in the fact that it will be just a little bit harder for him to violate the next person, and you can now begin the journey needed to heal.
- To the many victims - those listed in the criminal charges and those that are suffering in silence. This is just one step, keep walking. Justice does not heal the wounds, but sometimes it can make it hurt just a little less. But you need help dealing with the pain and allowing yourself to fully heal and trust again. Please reach out.
- To those of you that have believed in his innocence, I pray for you now as you realize all of the ways you may have helped him continue in this destructive course. I pray that you will admit your fault and ask the Father (and anyone else involved) for forgiveness and mercy.
- To the church members (in Palatka) that have recently welcomed him into your congregation, as you are shocked and possibly angry that he was allowed access to your loved ones, I pray as you consider your leadership and how things are dealt with from this moment on. If you feel your daughters or wives were exposed to him during his time at your church, get help! Do not remain silent and in shame. That is where the devil uses his sin to destroy. Shame is a form of bondage and can destroy you. Reach out for help.
I want everyone to know, before the nasty comments come in, I am NOT rejoicing or laughing about the downfall of this man - this is not a laughing matter for me, it is VERY sad and disgusting. Though I feel he deserves this punishment/consequence it has come at a high price for many others. I have pursued this because he has YET to have any mercy or shame for his actions - he was still in the mindset to keep going. If a sentence would not have come, I am confident that there would be more victims. Over the next 30 months (more or less) while he is behind bars, there will be safety from this one predator.Darrell L. Gilyard, if you are reading this, please know that I am strong because what you meant for evil against me, God meant for good. He has been my rock and my fortress, whom shall I fear? When I lie down and sleep, I will meditate on HIM in the nightwatch - and praise Him for all the good He has done!! To God be the glory!
Victims/survivors, won't you join me in praises to the King of Kings? He alone is worthy to be praised!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Gilyard, 47, of three lewd and lascivious acts with a teenager is scheduled for trial next month.Court documents show the civil lawsuit was settled in mediation last week. Terms are confidential.Kesha Emerson initially accused Gilyard of using a 2004 counseling session after her husband died to convince her she needed to have sex with him to hasten her healing.
Her lawsuit accused Shiloh of negligence in hiring, supervising and retaining Gilyard as pastor.Emerson amended the complaint last month to say that when she rejected Gilyard’s advances he pushed her to the floor and sexually assaulted her. When she later discovered she was pregnant, she said Gilyard persuaded her that only by continuing to have sex with him would she receive support, the amended lawsuit says.Emerson’s attorney, Barry Bobek, said at the time he hadn’t fully interviewed his client before filing the first lawsuit. He declined comment Wednesday; lawyers for the church and Gilyard didn’t return phone calls.Emerson’s paternity suit seeks child support, medical and life insurance from Gilyard for a 3-year-old girl. Gilyard filed a response denying a sexual relationship with Emerson.Gilyard was arrested last year after the mother of a teenage parishioner told police she found obscene text messages from him on her daughter’s cell phone. His criminal trial is scheduled May 26. Gilyard, a Palatka native, rose to prominence in his 20s, pastoring one of the nation’s 10 fastest-growing churches. He left that church, Victory Baptist in Texas, amid accusations of sexual impropriety and came to Shiloh in 1993.The West Beaver Street church quietly settled a 1996 sexual misconduct claim involving Gilyard for $300,000.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I did not know what to expect as I was just notified yesterday and was pleasantly surprised by the depth of compassion that David has for victims. Just before the conference, he explained his usual process and what to expect. He was very easy to talk to and put my mind at ease immediately. David travels all over the country working with those abused by Pastors/clergy and I can't help but to think how sad that this provides a full time job. We would like to think that this is very isolated and uncommon, but the reality is that it has become a serious problem.
David is concerned not so much with justice, as he has learned that this rarely happens here on earth, but that there is some added prevention through awareness. He is also very heart broken over every life touched by this type of abuse, he was once a victim himself. He fully understands the entire painful process and can identify with every story, as different as they may be. He became teary eyed over and over again as we discussed things following the interview. Not to say that he is in any way weak for this emotion, I believe it shows so much humanity and Christ likeness to be compassionate about others. We only know of some of the stories and only if they become public, but David along with Christa Brown (among others) carry this burden in their souls, as they face hundreds (maybe more) of these victims each year.
One thing that rings true - there are many, many more victims (of Darrell and others) that are still trapped in their own bondage of secrecy. There are so many different individual reasons for this secrecy, but the common theme is pain and fear. This fear can be crippling and the pain overwhelming. Even if these efforts do not result in some consequence for Darrell, we have still created awareness, we may have kept one person from being victimized and we may have helped someone break the bondage of silence which ultimately leads to healing.
Let's applaud SNAP's efforts and their personal sacrifices while raising awareness and pursuing safety for all of us within churches. And I applaud many of you that have participated in helping to strengthen this case by bringing forth information that will ultimately make it tougher for Darrell to victimize again. Thank you.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
The Times Union article is edited and rewritten a few times before going out, so there are other things that I said that did not make it into the final article and may come out at another time. A few of those things I would like to address here:
1) One thing I stated is that I am still not in full agreement that there was ANY need to "look at" or "verify" my blog. As far as I know, they only verified ownership with the subpoena (though I will always wonder). IF I find out during this process that more than this was done, then I will deal with that appropriately. Right now I can only go by what I am told and the facts that I have looked into. The reason I spoke out and also posted previously is that I do not feel Detective Hinson did more than this, I have a reason for believing that (reasons that I cannot share at this time).
The second reason is that I feel that Detective Hinson was "being thrown under a bus" and the others involved at the church were apparently not going to stand up for him. There are other facts that play into this decision and I feel that FBC has some explaining to do. It was the "pass the buck" scenario from the church admin. all the way from the top - "I didn't have anything to do with this, it was him." then that person says "No it was actually that guy over there" and eventually the trail went all the way down to resting on Hinson's shoulders and that is NOT the truth. He should not lose his job or credibility, face public rage, internal affairs investigation etc. if there is more to the story, don't you agree? I do not feel he abused his power or did favors. I know a few details about this situation and I feel it was his job to investigate based on what he was given, he did not act alone. That is why I did my own research and made my own decision. I could be wrong, but I would rather be wrong after a knowledgeable decision than a hasty one made on emotion.
2) Another thing that wasn't printed in the article is that for the last month I have been on my own "fact finding mission" and have talked to many different people, compared different people's version of the events and statements, talked to Deacon's (hearing FBC side of things), hearing Tom's version of events along with his evidence of things, attempted to meet with Pastor Brunson, John Blount and any others they deemed relevant, talked with my family, evaluated the impact of my involvement, lost sleep, prayed, laid out all of the facts that I learned. I have been very frustrated and bothered by it all, and my spirit is restless about it all. I have tried to make decisions based on what I feel God would have me do vs. how I feel (because I was really angry about this) and not wanting to add fuel to an out of control fire. I feel that the full truth has not yet come out, but I am confident that it will. And I am praying for that to happen as well. I want to know the truth and it is very hard to find it right now because everyone is trying to cover for themselves.
One thing I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that this was not handled correctly - period! Not humanly right, but definitely not spiritually!
God's word is alive and active, it is relevant and applicable to everyday life - it is not only applicable to those we want it to apply to, but for the other side as well. We cannot use scriptures against Tom and his blog, cursing what he is doing and then not do the same for the reaction of the church, the Pastor, the Discipline committee, the Deacons, the police and S.A. office. You cannot single only one person out, the Bible applies to all other than the fact that the State (law enforcement) is not bound by God's law. The church brought the State and law enforcement into this by asking for an investigation, asking for information and receiving it (Tom's name), asking for a tespass warning and issuing it by men at the church and then officially by law enforcement, then the final blow, calling Tom names in the public newspaper. Where is the line drawn that says, "Tom did this and it's wrong in our eyes, but anything that happens from this point is just his punishment and our hands are washed clean..." Who decides that ? Are we now judge and jury? What in the world happened to the rest of the scriptures?
"A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel." Prov. 15:18 "A man finds joy in giving an apt reply and how good is a timely word." (vs.23) "He who listens to a life giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor. (vs. 31-32)
"The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: they will not go unpunished. Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil. When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice." (16:5-8)
Many of you want to be angry with Tom Rich for blogging in the first place. Well, go ahead and be angry, but sin not. That is Biblical! All day long you can blame this on Tom, but you will be wrong. Pastor Brunson has many critics, all Pastors do, should he handle it differently than a regular man? Yes, because he has a higher calling and role. He has to handle it with grace and humility and he really should meet with the person at least once before deciding what needs to be done from there. If it is an unreasonable person and he sees no way of reconciling the differences, then certainly tougher choices need to be made, in love, with grace and humility. But if it all comes down to agreeing to disagree and asking the person to handle things differently, then he is showing love and grace and humility. And in the best case scenario the persons fears, problems or qualms are settled in this meeting and restoration happens. No matter the outcome, the Pastor would have tried. Tom could have had his questions answered, his fears or qualms resolved and then the blog would be shut down. Or he may have met with him and discovered that he felt he still needed to keep blogging, but the Pastor's accountability would be covered. The Pastor has to answer for how he handles things just as Tom does. Obviously, we are all accountable as well.
We all are fallible and make mistakes and now there is this mess. The church should have had a meeting with Tom, it shouldn't have been only granted based in their rules and regulations being agreed to (that isn't fair) it should have been gracious, loving and available. If there was a threat on the church or Pastor, then I would be saying something different. The only threat was Tom's words and opinions and that is a constitutional right. We cannot use a separate set of rules for the church and then bring in the government (police and SA) but then say "separation of church and state" it is one or the other. We want separation of church and state for our own religious freedom - if the church isn't careful, we will have more situations like this one and lawsuits and then eventually the gov't. will intercede, little crossovers like this can lead to many things that are not in the churches best interest.
3) With that being said, I do not believe that Toms's name should have been released to the church under these circumstances. There was not enough concern gained during the "investigation" to keep it open, meaning actual criminal behavior, so there was no reason to "warn the church" as the Sheriff states. If they linked Tom to some threatening email, or stalking the Pastors wife, then certainly I can understand where they would need to be aware and warn "watch out for John Doe and call if you see him around" type of thing. But this is not the case! Their own report says such. If this is JSO's usual policy, then it needs to be re evaluated based on this case. After all, look what was done after identifying him to the church. Isn't this exactly why he blogged anonymously in the first place? What if the church didn't agree with me blogging about the crimes of Gilyard? Could they go to the JSO and tell them that things are happening to them and I might be to blame? Would that be reason to investigate me?
Do we really need to involve the authorities on a hunch? Or worse, an emotional decision based on our dislike of someone? After all, the blog was just an opinion, no direct threats, no reason to allege he may be stalking, the stalking supposedly happened long ago anyway, why the sudden concern? It just isn't right. But even if they were fearful, there are certainly many people that should have been on the radar other than just Tom Rich, myself and the BBC.
Unfortunately, there may be further consequences for not doing things God's way.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
For those of you that are not aware of this situation, the watchdog blog is concerning First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, the blogger has been anonymous since he started the blog in August of 2007 and posts about concerns he has within the new administration of his church. I do not attend this church and have not been involved with the blog, however, I did grow up in this church and my parents and many friends are still active members. Another reason I have not commented on the blog. However, watchdog took an interest in the Gilyard situation and has been a poster here, as well as an encourager during my blog. He and his wife have now also become our friends.
First Baptist Church went to a Detective in the Fall of last year citing concerns about the blogger, filed a criminal report stating "an Internet incident with possible criminal overtones"; an investigation was opened on September 29th, 2008. My direct issue is that during this investigation my blog was also "looked into" and a subpoena was requested and subsequently granted. I did not learn of this until recently, early March, I was not notified prior to this. I was shocked, then outraged, then worried about the possible violation of many of you (especially victims and anonymous posters). I made an immediate post on the watchdog blog (March 18th comment) and I then checked my anger and decided to get all of the facts together before stating anything further.
Since this time, I have spoken with Deacon's from First Baptist, I have heard their "side" of the story, I have also spoken with others inside and outside of FBC, I have requested a meeting with Pastor Brunson and those involved (didn't happen), I have spoken with the JSO detectives and those involved, I have reviewed all information from all sources and questioned those things that did not make sense to me, of course I have prayed about it as well. I mapped it all out, verified questionable information, made a timeline....I have extensively researched and done my homework before presenting a response.
Below is what I have learned, verified, and now believe to be the truth as best as I can present it. I certainly could still be wrong and more facts will come I am sure.
I have been assured and also believe that Detective Hinson only looked at my blog from the perspective of ownership and to verify that I was not the watchdog or an alias, that we were not conspiring together in some way - thus he looked at the information on my profile and my IP address and then verified that information with Google/Comcast. Once that was confirmed, I was set aside and no further information was requested or gained. He also promptly closed the investigation into the watchdog after realizing there was nothing criminal or any direct threat to the church. This is what I have been assured of and I have asked some tough questions and also made some accusations regarding my fears and concerns. I have asked extensive questions over the course of this last week and all questions have been answered and some more than once, as I re-questioned some things to clarify. I have not felt they withheld anything and I am shocked that they were as open as they have been, they certainly could have told me they "couldn't comment" and I would have just had to deal with it.
Detective Hinson, in my mind, may have had no choice but to look into this case and I feel he did his job, whether or not the church provided him with credible "concerns/evidence" is another matter and will all come out in the end. I just do not want my readers to be concerned or fearful, and I do not want the finger to be pointed at Detective Hinson as I feel that blame would be inappropriate knowing all that I now know. Trust me, the truth will all come out, much like the Gilyard case, just wait and see.
This statement was released to me today by Sheriff Rutherford:
Thursday, April 22, 2009
I would like to clarify some information that has been reported about a recent Intelligence investigation conducted by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, regarding perceived threats against a local religious congregation.
* Our agency is responsible for investigating any perceived threats and possible criminal activity that is reported to us by a citizen. Our detectives routinely share what they learn in the course of the investigation with the victim or complainant.
* Suspects would not be made aware of this information, if it is gathered in an effort to determine if a threshold of criminality exists and none is found. In this case, the case was closed 11/13/08 with no further action by JSO warranted when no criminal conduct or significant threat to the church was determined to exist.
* In this case, the information about suspicious behavior directed at Pastor Mac Brunson and his home and family was provided to a detective whose normal duty assignment with the JSO is to investigate possible threats against Jacksonville’s religious institutions. He is a member of our Intelligence Unit. He would have investigated this situation had the complaint come from those affiliated with a Mosque, a Synagogue, or any religious organization. This is Detective Hinson’s job as the intelligence point person for the religious community, and other designated critical infrastructure sites in Jacksonville.
* All our religious institutions are a major part of Jacksonville’s critical infrastructure and we remain vigilant in investigating all perceived threats and security issues associated with those institutions. In light of recent violent incidents that have occurred in churches around the country, I think our vigilance is necessary and most appropriate to ensure public safety.
Had another officer received a similar threat or tip or raised a similar concern, Detective Hinson would have ultimately been the officer assigned to investigate. I have no issue with his investigation and there is no conflict of interest because he is affiliated with that particular congregation.
* The fact that the medium used to communicate the messages being investigated was the internet is irrelevant. Investigations are conducted into the sources of anonymous letters, phone calls, and in this day and age websites and emails, any time it is deemed appropriate for public safety. We then look at the contents and sources of internet information regularly, as part of our investigations.
* Ms. Croft’s blog was initially reviewed as a preliminary investigative lead due to the fact that the Croft’s blog site was listed on the fbcwatchdog web site and was unknown to the investigator. Once the blog ownership information was verified by the internet provider and matched the information listed on Ms. Croft’s blog site, Detective Hinson determined that there was no investigative value in Ms. Croft’s blog site.
I hope this information helps clarify for citizens that this was not about “outing” a blogger, but instead was about proactively addressing public safety.
John H. Rutherford, Sheriff
Back to the business at hand. Darrell Gilyard's day in court is coming fast, we will cover every bit of the story and keep everyone posted. We are not done yet.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
On a better note, please read the scriptures below, as they are reminders of how things should be amongst us and also of the wonders of the Savior that we serve.
Bless you all, Happy Easter!!!
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Phillipians 2:1-11 NIV
"The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor."
Proverbs 15:33 NIV
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The word teaches us to put on "the whole armour of God" It teaches us to view the Word as "alive and active", "sharper than a two edged sword". Somehow, we forget that it is a roadmap to be used and applied daily. Whether this is due to watered down preaching of the Word or because we, as Christians, are not taking the time to read it. Some only read what our Pastors might preach from on Sunday's. Yet we are told to seek it and know it for ourselves. God may want us to know more than just what is spoon fed to us on Sunday. To grow and mature in our walk and therefore our faith. Then we cannot be shaken.
Psalm 119:160 says that "all His words are true, all His laws are right and they will endure forever". This means that we are to listen to and heed His warnings. We should not follow man, but align everything said with scriptures and only then know if it is of God. This includes our Pastors. If they are not living by the Word they preach, if they are doing things contrary to the Word in any way - do not assume they are leading you in the right direction just because they are titled "Pastor". And we certainly should not enable them in their behavior and sin. Seems obvious doesn't it? Prov. 16:17 and 19 "The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way, guards his life...Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud." We will never benefit from following anyone that is not first following Christ.
There are MANY wonderful, Godly, upstanding Pastors in our churches. Make no mistake in assuming that I am trying to bash or undermine Pastor's or their authority. I am simply saying that somehow in the church we assume that no Pastor should be questioned because that means you question God. This is absolutely false. Any good, God fearing Pastor would agree.
Prov.15:33 says, "The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor." If a Pastor is above being questioned, or worse, sets up the church in a way that keeps Him from being held accountable, watch out. If you follow him and submit to doing things though the Holy Spirit convicts you, then you better repent fast and change your course. Because "the eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good". If you stand up for righteousness in the face of evil, in the right way of course, then you are covered and protected by the Lord. (Psalm 91)
Psalm 97:10-11 "Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for He guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart."
Rest assured, the men at Shiloh and other churches that have followed a man and not God, are going to pay a high price. I wonder if they ever weighed what was being asked of them against scriptures? Do we? I know there are times when I act or react out of selfish nature instead of according to the Word. When this happens, the second it happens, I have moved myself out from under His umbrella of protection. I have opened the door for the enemy. I can repent and step back under His grace, but there may still be consequences. With all of that being said, just in case you missed it, see the post below. Posted by one of our faithful readers, keeping us informed. Thank you.
Article in 3/13/09 Times Union:Jacksonville church was aware of pastor's sexual misconduct, insurer claims Safeco...
Friday, January 16, 2009
Maybe, just maybe there will be no victims in 2009, wouldn't that be something to cheer about? Sadly, I am afraid this won't be the case, as I am told by many close to him, he is just as arrogant as ever and still not an ounce repentant. Keep praying, God is still in the miracle working business.
Maybe this will be the year where he finds earthly punishment and consequences. We know he will have eternal ones. We will see what this year holds and keep praying for protection for the innocent ones around him.
Thank you for your continued reading and support of this blog, we are all in this together.