Analysis of Mark Mitchell’s Email to Covenant Life Church Regarding Larry Caffery

This is a brief post that is an analysis of Covenant Life Church’s Mark Mitchell email regarding the arrest of Larry Caffery. This email is basically useless as it withholds key information and shows that the DNA of Sovereign Grace remains in the organization.

“I am a passionate believer of freedom of speech. I would not support anything which would impinge on aggressive robust freedom of the British press, but when things go wrong and there has been outright illegality, there should be proper accountability.”


“Organization can never be a substitute for initiative and judgment.”

Louis Brandeis

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!

Proverbs 16:16 NIV

There has been a lot happening with Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Covenant Life was formerly ground zero for the movement of spiritual tyranny known as Sovereign Grace. Its pretty clear that its DNA is still present and a factor I would contend. On Friday I plan to review the newest situation but I read the following letter by Mark Mitchell to the congregation and I felt it deserved to be analyzed. Larry Caffery was arrested on March 16, 2016. Covenant Life Church allegedly learned of the arrest on March 26, 2016. Mark Mitchell who once claimed that Satan was attacking Covenant Life emailed out the congregation on March 29. I want to do this quick post analyzing the letter Mark Mitchell sent to the congregation. Since we are talking about Mark Mitchell, the “Church Lady” from Saturday Night Live makes another appearance. Mark Mitchell earned that title here at The Wondering Eagle when he claimed that CLC is under satanic attack in the form of a Washingtonian article about Covenant life.

When I read this email below that Mark Mitchell sent out it raised a number of issues, that I think need to be discussed. I will write below in red and as always I invite correction and your thoughts.


Dear church family,

I am sorry to bring sad and disturbing news. We learned Saturday that a 66-year-old male member of the church was arrested earlier this month and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor. We are grateful that law enforcement is involved. We are not naming the accused at this time to protect the minor.

No doubt when I read this letter I could only guess that this was first vetted by an attorney. That reflects in this email given the obtuse nature of the communication. I am grateful that Mark appreciates that law enforcement is involved. I would be fascinated to know if law enforcement would state in the course of time about how much and willingly Covenant Life cooperated.  Now what does disturb me is that Covenant Life will not name the accused in this email to the congregation. How does that help people in Discovery Land? How does that help the rest of the church? How can parents ask their children some questions about their safety? You kind of need a name…and in this situation its necessary to tell the name so that people will know. Again for me this shows how Covenant Life is more committed to their image than to do the right thing. The reality of the situation is that if they moved quickly and released the helpful information then their image problem would take care of itself. Do the right thing up front and that will solve this problem and their image will take care of itself.

We’ve been learning all we can so that we can communicate with you fully and accurately in the days to come. We want to reassure you that our child protection measures are robust, and we continue to work hard to ensure Covenant Life remains a place of safety for children.

The second paragraph is at odds with the first. If Mark Mitchell and CLC were learning all that they could so that they could communicate all that they could…why did they withhold the name of Larry Caffery from the church in this email? I see this email which I would consider worthless to be more of a public relations move by a business or major corporation than a church. Its goal is to give the appearance of action when in reality it largely does nothing. It states something happened then leaves people in the dark about the details or even the perpetuator. After all I learned about this situation at Covenant Life a few days before the congregation did. How could an outsider know some of this information ahead of the congregation? Covenant Life’s communication is slow and warped, which is a legacy of Sovereign Grace.

Now here is the thing that caused me to be stunned and resulted in my jaw hitting the ground. In the paragraph above despite the history of all the problems of child sex abuse and  even this knowledge of the situation Covenant Life describes their child protection measures as robust. I almost choked when I saw that! You can’t make this stuff up! Is the reason why Covenant Life sent two women to be tools before the Maryland legislature to oppose changes to the Statute of Limitation issues due to the fact that their child protection measures are robust? Let’s stop for a second and ask…how do you define robust? According to robust means strong and healthy, hardy and vigorous. If situations like Larry Caffery are coming out of a robust program I would like to know what is sick? What is an unhealthy program? Can someone from Covenant Life Church explain that to me?

So far as we know nothing related to these charges occurred at the church. However, if you have any information we encourage you to contact Montgomery County Police at 301-279-8000.

I see this last paragraph as being legal maneuvering. Does it matter where the charges occurred? They are destructive wherever they occur. What can happen at home can still be harmful and dangerous. Plus the person in the situation carrying out the abuse was involved in Discovery Land from what I understand.

Mark Mitchell

I really view this email to be worthless on so many fronts. It gives the idea that action is occurring when it does nothing. It doesn’t communicate the needed action to the people at the church. I read this and was like..”okay…that’s it?” This email left me wanting for more. If I were a parent I’d grab my kid and run for the doors. Like I said…if this is robust…what is spiritually sick? Mark Mitchell can you explain that to me?

14 thoughts on “Analysis of Mark Mitchell’s Email to Covenant Life Church Regarding Larry Caffery

  1. I maaaaay vomit if he says robust ever.again. spot on, esp about them sending pawns to oppose the statute of limitations. Who would EVER oppose this?!? There should be no statute to begin with, IMO.

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  2. Is this Mark’s complete letter? If so, he conveniently forgot to mention that Caffery was a children’s ministry worker for many years. Guess he didn’t want to freak out the parents. Smh. I do agree, too, that CLC still has the SGM mindset. I left after being a member for over 30 years. I tried to come back later after the “crises” had died down and give it a second chance (what was I thinking!), but I could tell they were still operating like a SGM church. I mentioned that to a current member. They took offense and I think I lost another friendship. Sigh…

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    • Yes this is Mark’s complete letter. AK, it’s hard to talk about this with members of SGM or former SGM churches. I was unsuccessfully recruited into Redeemer Arlington, and clashed. When I asked a lot of questions or pointed out the problems it created a lot of issues. In time I endured a false accusation. So its tricky and problematic and the intense devotion is why some people have told me why SGM and ex-SGM churches are cult like. If you look in the directory you will see a couple of stories about Mormonism as I almost became Mormon in college. I saw similarities and cultural issues that were alike in both organizations. Sorry about the loss of a friend if you need anything juts holler. I live in the D.C. area. 🙂


      • Thanks. Yes, until a person leaves, they can’t see clearly. It has taken years for me to decompress and detox after I left. Once I was away for awhile, then I could see how cultish they were and still are, perhaps to a lesser extent. What I want to say to my few remaining friends who are still there is this: stay away for awhile, do some reflection, ask God to open your eyes, and go to a healthy church for some comparison.

        BTW, I have been reading your blog for awhile now. I appreciate what you are doing. There have been many times I wanted to comment on a post but I get so upset dwelling on all my family has been through that I hesitate. Part of me wants to put this all behind me, so I have to rehash it in small doses.

        If you know of a healthy church in or near Gaithersburg, let me know. Haven’t been able to step foot in another church since we left about 3 years ago. Lost my trust in the institution.


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  3. This email is basically useless as it withholds key information and shows that the DNA of Sovereign Grace remains in the organization.

    If this were 50-60 years ago, their Gospelly Gospel of Destiny would be Marxism-Leninism.
    “Ees PRAVDA, Tovarichi!”


  4. So, here’s my thinking, coming from a congregation on the Northern VA side that had a sexual predator Director of Student Ministries (who was arrested and sent packing):

    1. I can see both perspectives, when it comes to not naming the name. We’re supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. If the guy is in jail right now, he probably wouldn’t do more harm any time soon. He could’ve sent a separate communication to members with minors in the children’s / youth programs, stating the name of the individual, since adults would *hopefully* be able to speak up for themselves. In the general communication, he could’ve then said that if anyone had any concerns regarding someone who might do / might’ve done something like that, they could contact the church (in addition to the police). In a healthy church, the leaders take this stuff seriously. I’m writing from the perspective of *if* the church were healthy. 😉

    2. He definitely should’ve let folks know that the guy has been working in the children’s ministry, if that has been the case. That is NOT information that should be withheld, whether from members or visitors! I am glad at least that he told people to call the cops, with regards to such situations. Children, youth (and sometimes adults) need protection from these types, or at least justice or closure of some sort.

    3. If it turns out that this guy messed with kids from the church, then he should imho be excommunicated. If the judge decides to commute his sentence to counseling, then his next congregation needs to be informed of his sin and crime, and they need to provide appropriate accountability.

    4. I believe that Jesus died for sexual predators, too, and that as such, while sexual predators do need to be kept away from children / their targets, they also need to be granted appropriate counseling and the means to rebuild their lives after completion of their sentence. In the case of our sexual predator, he was excommunicated, I believe; but he was also given counseling, sent to an out-of-state congregation, with the information that he was a predator in need of accountability and support, and given the opportunity to start his life over, with the understanding that he would likely never again work with children or youth. I believe that we did as best we could to help him unlearn his destructive tendencies and be able to rebuild his life, and I believe that to be the right thing to do for him.

    I hope that I’ve provided a balanced perspective here. I realize that sexual predation is a great evil. I say this, me myself being a survivor of sexual assault (albeit at age nineteen, in college). It’s just that I realize that sexual predators are also people who need help — people for whom Jesus also died.


  5. Pingback: An Overview of the Situation at Covenant Life Church Involving Larry Caffery, Efforts to Change Maryland Statute of Limitations Law, and Terry Mayo and Charlotte Ennis as CLC Tools | Wondering Eagle

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