MO--Complicit pastor is back on the job; Victims respond
For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016
A vengeful, selfish pastor is back on the job while the brave whistleblowers he sued and hurt are still suffering, as are the families whose kids were abused by a now-imprisoned child molester who worked at the church.
Six months ago, the board of First Christian Church of Florissant put Rev. Steve Wingfield on leave, after he had “banned former FCCF members, (and) his own brother, pastor Paul Wingfield of White Flag Church, pressured a Christian college to fire an outspoken professor-turned-critic,” according to the Riverfront Times.
The controversy erupted after several courageous and concerned congregants began challenging church officials over how they dealt with Brandon Milburn, who sexually assaulted several youngsters.
These individuals, including Doug Lay, Dawn Varvil and Titus and Kari Benton, are heroes. They were ostracized and wounded because they dared to question an egomaniac minister and support abuse victims. And even now, virtually no official at FCCF has taken a single step to ameliorate their suffering. It’s utterly tragic.
Shame on FCCF's Stan Dubose, vice chairman of the board of elders, and on every person who brought Wingfield back to the church and sat passively by while he ducked and dodged in his sermon last Sunday, expressing no real contrition whatsoever for his selfish, mean-spirited attacks on his own church members.
Ministers should not sue church members, period. They should welcome, not attack, those who expose wrongdoing, prevent abuse and help victims.
Wingfield brings shame onhis occupation. And First Christian Church of Florissant’s tolerance of Wingfield brings shame to their church.
We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups at FCCF will find the strength to speak up. We hope they’ll call the independent professionals in law enforcement, not biased and often self-serving church officials.
And we hope that St. Louis’ religious community will shun Wingfield and his FCCF colleagues. That’s one easy way to discourage such hurtful actions by pastors in future child sex abuse and cover up cases.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
After Six Months Away, Pastor at Center of Church Cover-up Scandal Returns
Posted By Danny Wicentowski on Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 6:00 am
Who does Steve Wingfield think he's fooling? The question seemed to twist through the pastor's sermon on Sunday, which he delivered before an audience of roughly 200 in the main chapel of First Christian Church of Florissant, or FCCF.
It was Wingfield's first trip to the pulpit of the evangelical church since his unceremonious banishment to a six-month sabbatical in August, and his return was met . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.