My Trip to Elverson, Pennsylvania; and my Visit to Community Evangelical Free Church

 

This is a quick report on my weekend in Elverson/Morgantown Pennsylvania. I met with a few people formerly involved in Community Evangelical Free Church, and a current member. I have other members who have contacted me asking questions. I attended Community for church on Sunday morning where I afterward introduced myself to Al Kimball and explained that I was the blogger writing about the situation with Brock Estes. Since Community drove an alleged domestic abuse victim out of town, I drove up to Elverson from Washington, D.C. and for the day drove the Senior Pastor and the Stoltzfus family out of CEFC. The score is now Steve Estes 1 and Hurit 1.

“You have to go where the story is to report on it. As a journalist you’re essentially running to things that other people are running away from.”

Lester Holt

“Running away will never make you free

Kenny Loggins

The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.

Proverbs 28:1 NLT

 

CEFC Bulletin

CEFCBulletin3

Proof of my attendance at Community Evangelical Free Church

I’m typing this from the Elverson, Pennsylvania area and I had a very interesting weekend. During my time here I was able to meet with some former members, a current member and then I walked into the Lion’s Den itself and introduced myself to the preacher this morning as well as Al Kimball. It was a busy weekend.

On Saturday morning I zipped through the Amish countryside listening to Hans Zimmer and had breakfast with one former member and a current member of Community Evangelical Free Church (CEFC). We discussed the situation and I heard them out. I listened to them express their anger, and frustration and how they don’t want to see Brock Estes get away with a crime. I have a number of sources who are telling me what is going on, and that list of sources grows in time. I probably spent close to 2 hours in a diner listening and discussing. When they asked why I drove up from D.C. I said that it was to shake hands, sit across from people and look them in the eye. I am not a person who hides behind my computer. Instead I like to get in the trenches and meet people and get to know them. I love people. And writing this blog has allowed for that to happen. Each person I view as a gift and I also view the people I meet as precious. Often times my hope is to give them a platform to allow them to share their concerns.

On Saturday evening I met with two former members of CEFC. I listened and over some pizza heard their story and explained what I knew about the situation with Hurit. They were disturbed by what they have heard. Face to face I explained why this story has been so disturbing to me and why I am not going to let it go until Hurit finds justice and the legal system deals with Brock Estes. It sickens me that Hurit knows she could be dead, and that this situation is continuing. When I was asked why I care and have gotten involved I explained my own false accusation, and what I endured from a Care Group Leader from Redeemer Arlington, a former Sovereign Grace church in the Washington, D.C. area. In my darkest night I wanted someone to intervene. I had hoped that someone would help, resolve the situation and assist me in finding peace. In the end peace was denied by Andrew White and Redeemer Arlington.  I would like those in pain here in Elverson, Pennsylvania to find that peace so they won’t have a gapping hole in their life.  In this dark season created by Steve and Brock Estes’ sin I want to be able to assist. You need peace after all, this is your home. It’s your community. It doesn’t need to be like this at all. The conversation that evening with a couple of former members lasted for nearly three hours I believe. From 6:30 to about 9:30 but there was so much to say and questions they had to ask. I thanked them for their time and respect them as much as all the other people I met on Saturday.

On Sunday morning I was prepared to walk into the lion’s den. On Twitter I tweeted that if I disappear tell the police to look for me in the field behind the church! I showed up a few minutes before the 10:45 service started. I understand Matt Carter was to be there but he was no where to be found. All  the other men whoops I mean Stoltzfus’s  and Estes were no where to be found either. They had made themselves scarce. I was looking forward to meeting Steve Estes, Matt Carter, and Merle Stoltzfus and others. I had wanted to go up, meet them, shake their hand, introduce myself and place a name with a face. I wanted to get to know them, after all we’re going to interact quite a bite as time passes. The worship was good, the closing video is one of the songs they sang this morning. Then we had communion so we all drink the grape juice (myself included). John Sletta gave the talk based off Galatians 4:3-11. I listened intently and closely to what was said. John looks like a great guy and he is a type of guy that I would like to get to know. After the service came to an end I went up to John  and I introduced myself. I shook his hand and explained that I am the blogger writing about how Brock Estes allegedly almost killed his wife in pointing a loaded gun at her, and about Hurit’s alleged rape. John was concerned that I was basing my information off second hand sources and said he knew all the people involved. I told John that Community Evangelical Free Church needs to repent, and needs to rescind Hurit’s excommunication. The church owes her an apology. We spoke for a few minutes and I explained that I am not here to fight him. I told him that I appreciated his talk. If John ever finds himself in the D.C. area I would be happy to buy him a drink and dinner. We wouldn’t even have to talk about the situation with Brock and Hurit.  Afterward I went into Al Kimball’s office and asked if I could speak with him for a couple of minutes. I shook Al’s hand and explained to Al directly that I was the writer who wrote about how Brock allegedly almost killed Hurit, and Brock allegedly raping Hurit. Al looked at me, the color changed  in his face and he said that there is nothing he is going to say. I asked him another question, and Al said, “Dave I am not going to talk about it.” I wasn’t there to be rude, and I thanked him and left. So on the record Al Kimball has nothing to say.

When I consider the situation I think the score is now Steve Estes (1) and Hurit (1).  CEFC drove Hurit out of town on trumped up allegations. She was the victim of alleged domestic abuse and an alleged sexual assault by the Senior Pastor’s son. The way Community treated her is so unjust. The next stage in the story comes with me. I notify the Elders and CEFC leadership in this post, and an email that I am coming up there to visit. In response they flee and scatter and are no where to be found. So now I guess we can say that the Stoltzfus and Estes families fled for the day. We will see what happens next time.

To Community Evangelical Free Church and the Estes and Stoltzfus families I want you to know the following. I am not going to let go of this story. It begs for justice. I intend to keep writing and covering this story until justice comes. At some point in the future I will return to attend church and ask Steve Estes, Matt Carter, and the Stoltzfus families about how Community Evangelical Free Church excommunicated an alleged rape victim and I hope to have some discussion on this issue. I am here to stay. Maybe the next time Community Evangelical Free Church has their movie night on the green I will pop up there for that event. Can I suggest Spotlight?

In regards to the issues at Community Evangelical Free Church I want to list some of the topics you will see in the next two to three months on this blog. These are some of the forthcoming posts:

  1. An overview of Hurit’s situation in Christian Counseling and Education Foundation with Cecelia Bernhardt in David Powlison’s office. My efforts to get a statement from CCEF and the conference at CEFC on May 6, 2016. Why is a church that excommunicated an alleged rape and domestic abuse victim holding a conference on abuse? Is that not disturbing or what?
  2. An open letter to Al Kimball explaining to him why he needs to speak about this topic and why it’s growing and not going away.
  3. A post explaining why Brock David Estes needs to be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted of his alleged criminal activity. How he still poses a threat and why he needs to be arrested before someone in the community is killed.
  4. An overview of Matt Carter’s role in CEFC. His upcoming sabbatical and some thoughts on the situation with him.
  5. The role John Barber plays at CEFC. This would be a good post to have the music playing from the film “The Godfather.”
  6. Issues in CEFC’s Elder Board. Communication problems, with 2 Elders speaking for the entire board and how the Elder board is controlling and adversely affecting people.
  7. As a history nerd with a lot of academic information under my belt I want to explore what happened when Richard Nixon encountered scandal and how he responded with the “Checkers Speech” in 1952. I want to compare and contrast that with how Steve Estes has responded to this scandal.
  8. Issues in mandatory reporting laws. A quick summary of the Penn State scandal, the fall of Joe Paterno  and how mandatory reporting laws have changed. CEFC has a number of professionals who are bound by their profession to report.
  9. An update on the building situation and how things have changed in the past couple of months. Members are leaving, and this will be a post about a long, slow and painful bleed.
  10. An overview of the situation with Ryan Smith. Was Ryan as a police officer an accessory to a felony? When he took Brock’s gun did he violate Pennsylvania law in not reporting the situation and did he show favoritism? Did Ryan Smith inform his police superiors of this situation? And does the Pottstown Police Department know of this incident?

Those posts will not be in that order, however the CCEF one will be first as that is coming up soon. I hope to get that up in the next week. One other thing I would like to do…I am considering buying a home in Elverson, maybe one from behind the church and then I can write and report on the changing situation at CEFC. When I bump into Steve Estes, Al Kimball, or John Barber I can ask them questions about the situation. Now that would be neat! 🙂 If you have a home for sale let me know! So as I wind this down let me say that I will be back to Community in the future. If anyone from Community or Elverson wants to speak my email is wonderingeagle261@gmail.com. The next time I go up I will not announce it so I can pop up at church and sit in the service. So I will let Schwarzenegger speak for me as I close this out. Again I love you guys! Al Kimball it was great meeting you! I look forward to more interaction! 🙂

15 thoughts on “My Trip to Elverson, Pennsylvania; and my Visit to Community Evangelical Free Church

    • LOL..Todd I just want to keep the pressure on until Hurit finds justice. Apparently I learned recently there was another member of CEFC who left her husband and 4 kids. There is no talk of church discipline at CEFC which shows how subjective the system is. Hurit was disciplined to cover up Brock’s alleged illegal activities and to protect Steve’s job and preserve his power. Though in the end I think its pretty clear that Steve only hurt himself and Brock in the end by acting this way. My .02.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. An observation (disguised as some questions), followed by a question & a suggestion:

    Observation:
    Why is it so difficult for those pastors/elders to simply say, “Hey, we kind of screwed this up. We’re genuinely sorry. Can we talk about it?” How hard would that be? The whole thing could go away in 5 minutes. But these types rarely ever do that. Being senior pastor (or a member of his family, or a sycophant-elder) means never having to say you’re wrong or you’re sorry. Do they not realize that instead of making them look like “strong leaders”, it makes them look like a bunch of weasels? Strong leadership serves people; it doesn’t lord over them.

    Question:
    Is the EFCA Eastern district leadership or national leadership doing anything this time around, since Dr. Cole took over for Mr. Musser? Seems to be taking an awfully long time for anything significant to happen. Seem feckless & ineffectual at this point.

    Suggestion:
    Eagle, since you’re in for the long haul (kudos for that), it might be very useful to have a special “tag” on all posts you’ve written pertaining to this specific situation, and to have a link at the top menu of the blog that links to all of those posts, so that people who become aware of this blog in the future (I suspect that may happen), can follow the story clearly & get acclimated to the situation. Just a thought. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How can he claim you are basing your info off second hand sources when you have interviewed Hurit directly?

    Great summary of your weekend.

    Like

    • Remnant, I interviewed a lot of people, and I also saw a lot of documents, even CEFC documents that were provided to me. My sources are primary people in the midst of this situation from the beginning. They are also courageous. Hurit and I spoke by email but there are a lot of people who have talked, texted, emailed, and I have met. My sources is not just one or two…its quite a few people and it keeps growing as more people contact and want to share.

      Like

  3. Al said, “Dave I am not going to talk about it.”
    And the seminary where Steve Estes “teaches” can’t say anything either.

    “Those who lack the courage will always find a philosophy to justify it.”
    ― Albert Camus

    Liked by 2 people

      • You are very welcome! I think going forward this has to be made public. Not everyone has the privilege of reading your blogs. Pottstown police should be told of their officer who also covered up when he should have reported it. Newspapers should be informed too as to what happened because not only was it a crime against this poor woman and covered up but a “big powerful presence” (this church) instigated it all under the guise of true Christianity.😰

        Liked by 2 people

  4. JEFF CRIPPEN ♦ APRIL 20, 2016 ♦ 3 COMMENTS

    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. (1Cor 5:1-3)

    I was blown away the other day. Seems like this happens pretty regularly to me as I receive reports of gross, open, rank evil being not only tolerated but virtually invited into local churches. The latest report was that of a church appointing a man to the office of elder, having made NO effort to look into his background. This man had been put out of the last church he was in for divisiveness, abusive behavior, and a consistent pattern of working to gain glory for himself. He is, in other words, a Diotrephes (see 3 John). Did this newest church bother to look into his background? Did they contact the prior church that had known him for decades, warned him repeatedly, and finally put him out of the church? No. What they did do is violate Paul’s plain instruction to us all:

    Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. (1Tim 5:22)

    How is this even possible, we ask? Can pastors and church members really be this foolish? I suppose they can be, but it seems that there must be another reason why it is soooo easy for the wicked to creep into a local church, put on their long-practiced facade of super holiness, and pretty quickly gain the power they so crave. And I think that one of our readers here at ACFJ, in keeping with 1 Corinthians 5 as quoted above, nailed the reason precisely the other day.

    Sheisovercoming commented on March 13, 2016 –

    I believe it is more than being naive. I believe that underneath is pride… a pride that cannot acknowledge it is wrong… a pride that will look at any suffering the victim goes through as God’s judgement on her. “See, we were right. See how hard a time she is having? See the suffering and pain of her children? It is because she left. If only she would have listened to us but she insisted that she was right. She just wouldn’t submit to our counsel and return.”

    But the real reason she and her children are now suffering [having a hard time] is because they were thrown out and left abandoned by those called to practice true religion toward her and her children.

    This has caused far more damage in my children’s lives than the evil of their abusive father. They knew he was evil. What they didn’t expect was for him to be lifted up by their “Christian community” and their “family”, and for themselves to be considered evil for seeking refuge from a very wicked husband and father. They didn’t expect those same people would only accept and care about them if they rejected their mother and follow in the ways of the wicked.

    Thank you SO much for this comment. Tremendous insight here. Evil is enabled in our churches through the PRIDE and haughtiness of the leaders and members of those churches. As a pastor I have on a number of occasions called other pastors when I found out that a wicked person who we had to do battle with in our church, was now attending their church. I called them. I tried to warn them. What was the response? Arrogance. “Well now, Jeff, we think we can do just fine ministering to these folks.” And then these prideful pastors turn right around and go tell the wicked one that I called about them, thus increasing their wrath toward me. So guess what? I don’t even try anymore.

    This is the same arrogance that Paul rebuked in the Corinthian church. Here they were, looking at open, gross evil in their midst and instead of being grieved about it and putting it away from them, they BRAGGED about it. You can just about hear the form of their boasting — “In our church we are very gracious. We are all sinners too, you know, but God is so wonderful and forgives us. We are just about the most forgiving bunch on the planet.” Paul nailed them on this hogwash and exposed their hearts. Arrogance. Boasting. Disobedience.

    Arrogance welcomes and enables evil in our churches. It invites the abuser to stay, and sends the “unforgiving” victim, who is longing for justice, out of the church after hammering her for her “unforgiveness.” Therefore, I claim that this is the Lord’s word to such boasters:

    “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Rev 3:15-17)

    https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2016/04/20/pride-as-fuel-for-abuse-in-the-church/

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.