Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A call to awareness today by SNAP

There was a news conference held today by David Cohessey of the SNAP organization. I was invited to attend and take part. Channel 4 news covered the story. http://www.news4jax.com/news/19314837/detail.html#video

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.


Anonymous said...

Everytime I read articles about Gilyard I get sick to my stomach. I can still remember Adrian Rogers standing in the pulpit of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis saying, "Here is our next Billy Graham."

God have mercy on us if this is true!

Keep up the good work and stay after him. Maybe he can hide under one of those bridge underpasses where he said he was reared.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious. Why did you choose to protest in front of Shiloh when Gilyard is no longer a part of that ministry and they are trying to heal and move forward? Since you found it necessary to protest in front of a church, why not protest in front of the church in which he is currently preaching? If this is solely about convicting Gilyard why not protest at the courthouse? It's amazing that you are doing everything possible to protect the image of First Baptist but you don't mind bringing negative attention to Shiloh.

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

I am in agreement that this was not the best choice to film in front of Shiloh. I apologize for this and I am truly sorry to all offended by this.
The conference was planned by SNAP and I was simply invited to attend, it was not my plan though I greatly appreciate the efforts of SNAP in doing this. I probably should have suggested an alternate location and I regret this error. I felt bad once we arrived and even voiced this to David Clohessey (SNAP) that Shiloh is trying to pick up and move on and I did not want to cause problems. So, I do want to say I am sorry for this and take personal responsibility for allowing it to happen - since David Clohessey is not local, I should have been the one to guide this to another location.

Please forgive me. This was not a protest by the way. He contacted me because they wanted to give a final plea to any other victims or people that have knowledge of other victims. And also to extend a message to victims. This was not about Shiloh, nor was it a protest. As far as the church he is preaching at, I am not really sure where he is preaching currently. I have heard rumors, but I haven't substantiated any of them, so being that I was called about this "news conference" at the last minute last night, I did not have a lot of time to prepare, though I agree that would have been a better location.

As far as FBC, I am not trying to protect them, I want the truth to be told. I have not taken up for them in any way nor am I protecting them.

I have no grudge or problem with Shiloh (for the record) I hope that your church fully heals and grows. I have stated this many times in the past. Please do not assume this of me, it is not how I feel. As a whole, Shiloh was very much a victim as well. Certainly some knew what was going on, but as a whole, the church loved their Pastor and was victimized as well.

Thank you for voicing your displeasure and for also being gracious in the way you presented your questions.

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brother/Pastor Rod said...

Well said Tiffany the majority of Shilites are good people. Many of them I know and respect.There are a few left-overs who still have an allegiance to D.G.,but they will soon be history!

Thy Peace said...

News4Jax > Group Protests Against Former Pastor

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone here is not understanding what being Christ like is all about. Yes, it's very obvious that Darrell has a "HUGE" problem, to say the least, but he is human just like the next man.

God said he alone is judge, not us. Of course we all feel that what he is accused of is very disturbing, but we are not his judge and it is not christian of us to constantly make light of another's downfall. There is nothing that any human can say that will be worst than the wrath of God. We should all be careful of how we handle this situation and any other that we are choosing to openly play judge...We all will have to stand before the Almighty Judge and what will he have to say about how we conducted ourselves.

All sins are equal...what have you done today? If this is truly about seeing justice, then take it to God in prayer and handle your business in the court room. If this is truly about the MAN, FOLLOW THE MAN...You may need to be asking God for forgiveness too for the way you are choosing(or being led)to handle this situation.
Shiloh is a building where people choose to worship with their families and it didn't commit a crime! Don't you get caught in the same sinful trap...

Satan uses anybody and everybody if you allow him to. You may need to go back to scripture, I think you missed the part about us all being equal.

Anonymous said...

I just read the newspaper acount of the "protest". Sounds like a bunch of nothing since there were only 3 people there.


I hate to be piling on because I appreciate your blog and writings, but you guys made a huge error in doing this in front of Shiloh church. He's not there any more and what you did does nothing but further dirty their reputation. Hopefully you will write a letter to their church apologizing.

Anonymous said...

OK, maybe it was not the best choice, holding it in front of Shiloh.

However, why is everyone so quick to say Shiloh as an institution is not to blame for Gilyard preying on young women? To say the church does not share in the blame of what happened to these women is ridiculous.

I'm not trying to drag Shiloh through the mud here, but let's be truthful.

If a church has a leader like Gilyard, and they have lay people in leadership positions that know Gilyard's past and don't warn the people about Gilyard, then the "church" - its people, its donors, its laymen, its staff and pastors and even its members - they all share in some of the blame. We get the leaders we deserve. If we, the congregation, place our leaders on pedestals as God's representives to deliver God's word, and we pay and treat them like rock stars, and lavish them with gifts and huge salaries, and give them vast amounts of power with little accountability, then WE....THE CHURCH....THE MEMBERS...share in the blame to some degree for what is done by these pastors. Whether it be financial abuse, or sexual abuse.

The damage done to churches by out of control Senior Pastors is a responsibility everyone in the church must accept.

The leaders of this church WERE notified about Gilyard's past.

But they chose not to warn the women of the church, and instead put our entire community at risk by sticking a guy who obviously had a major sin problem in a pastoral position. Now he has harmed women in our community, and is going to put us through an ugly trial.

So I say lay off Tiffany and SNAP for holding this in front of Shiloh. Shiloh as an institution had a responsibility to thoroughly investigate Gilyard's past, to apply scripture to the qualifications of Gilyard to hold a pastoral position, and either they didn't or they ignored it and thus exposed the women of Shiloh and all of Jacksonville to great risk...all because the guy could deliver flowery sermons which could bring in the dollars. How sick.

A few other questions:

Has Shiloh, its trustees, etc, apologized to the community and to the Gilyard victims for what has happened at the hands of their former pastor?

Have they apologized for knowingly hiring a man based on past behavior not being fit to even be a Sunday School teacher - as their senior pastor?

Have they purged from all leadership positions - lay and staff - men who knew of Gilyard's past but failed to hold him accountable?

You have nothing to apologize for Tiffany, but the fact that you did shows you have grace, humility, and genuine love and concern for people.

God bless you Tiffany.

Anonymous said...

Your apology is accepted. Thank you for acknowledging your bad judgement in this....many people can learn from you.

Brother/Pastor Rod said...

"April 29, 2009 9:36 AM"

Thank you Anon well stated! I agree with you whole-heartedly!

Anonymous said...

"God said he alone is judge, not us. Of course we all feel that what he is accused of is very disturbing, but we are not his judge and it is not christian of us to constantly make light of another's downfall. "

Go read 1 Corin 5 carefully. Pay close attention to verses 9-13. Then report back and tell me what is scripturally wrong with your comment. There will be a test to make sure you 'get it'

We have GOT to teach folks scripture. There is a famine in the land of God's Word. (It is basically due to preachers but we have no excuse not to know scripture)


Anonymous said...

I get so sick and tired of people saying "All sins are equal." " God has to judge." All sin may be equal but when called to lead sheep, you must meet the qualifications based on scripture. Clearly Gilyard did not meet those but the church as a business was looking at $$$$. Not saying God can't use sinners as He obviously can.

The church or churches that continue to allow him in their pulpit without time away to be healed, they will pay. God is not sleep.

Ok so we can't judge and bring to light these demonic behaviors by a so-called man of God? Well would you want to know if a child molester or convicted killer lived next door to you? Of course you would. Pastor, teacher, or any lay person, if they break the LAW they must pay!!!

Better yet if you have school kids and one of their teachers fondled them, would you just say "All sins are equal, don't judge or bring to light these behaviors"? Darn skippy you would not say it. Neighborhood Watch would be alive and well in your community.

Gilyard have a lot of people under his web just like Jim Jones.

I pray PEOPLE wake up and do so by getting in the Word!

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

Anon @ 5:44 - excellent points!

For those of you that have sent the messages of your disappointment, I apologize again.

For those that have forgiven me, I am grateful and appreciate your kindness.

I emailed a letter first thing this morning to your Pastor apologizing as well.

Anonymous said...

Tiffany, you are much too hard on yourself. At least you didn't fly a 747 through uptown Manhattan this week.

And that WAS staged.


Anonymous said...

Shiloh paid and settled a lawsuit and now this case gets settled. When will Shiloh ever be held accountable for enabling and protecting this man? Same for Trinity and its years and years of covering for Bob Gray? If they didn't know about these guys, okay. But they did know, and they protected the reputation of the pastor and kept empowering him to abuse others.

Same at FBC Jax. The enablers continue to allow Mac Brunson and Maurilio Amorim to use church funds to brand the pastor and build his personal wealth all in the name of Jesus. The opposite is happening praise Jesus. Mac is tearing down FBC Jax's brand instead of FBC Jax building his.

And before you say the sins are much different, not really. As some have posted here already, "all sin is equal", so Mac's abusing the congregation for financial reasons is no different than abusing the congregation for sexual reasons.

These abusers of the sheep need to be held accountable. Amen.