An overview of some of the key players of the elder board at Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania. This looks at several members of the community and points out how while they may have not violated law, in the end they failed moral laws. Plus the elder list for 2017 has been published and Brock Estes is on it and eligible to be elder. This begs the question does allegations of rape now make one a prime candidate for being an elder in Steve Estes’s church?
Is Brock Estes qualified for elder?
“My daughter has Aspergers syndrome on the Autism Spectrum. She is very high functioning but has some social issues and trouble making friends. She was never a fan of math, until Mr. Culbert. He took her love of hockey and the Flyers, with his love of hockey and the Penguins, and made her days enjoyable. In 7th grade she got advanced on the PSSA for Math, that was unheard of, but thanks to Mr. Culbert taking time and being patient, and helping Brittany learn the way she enjoyed, was a huge factor. He still sees her in the hall, and will make sure he says something to make her smile.
How Mike Culbert was Described in the Citadel Heart of Learning Award
So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.
1 Timothy 3:2 NLT
8 Men from CEFC’s Elder Board
What happened to Hurit was incredibly serious and I also believe she was the victim of a series of alleged crimes, in a coming post I would like to detail the parts of Pennsylvania Commonwealth law that I believe that Community Evangelical Free Church has broken. These are criminal allegations that I believe. Plus I believe alleged felonies were committed against Hurit, by Brock. In the case of Hurit what makes the situation all the more disturbing is that 8 men by their profession had education and training and should have been able to intervene and do the right thing morally in the end. But that did not happen in the end.
Let’s look at each man individually:
- Mike Culbert is a math teacher at Twin Valley Middle School. He was nominated as a finalist for the Citadel Heart of Learning Award. His wife Kelly also works in the Twin Valley Middle School as well. Mike as I understand it is a popular teacher. He is certified to teach in Pennsylvania. The trial of Hurit by Peacemakers which was a sham was also led by Mike Culbert.
- Doug Mountz as I understand is a retired educator. He has taught at Twin Valley Elementary School.
- Rick Renninger as I understand is a teacher as well. His biography on Equipping Leaders International gives an interesting picture on the various educational roles he has had over the years. Plus there is more about Rick which you can read about in this email here. The joke within CEFC is that the church sends him on a vacation to Africa each year.
- Al Kimball is one of the pastor’s of Community Evangelical Free Church. He is the pastor of pastoral care. I have already written about him in this open letter which you can read here. Al from what I understand went from being enraged over what Brock allegedly did with the gun to drinking the Kool-Aid and defending it. I would love to know how he can sleep at night given what he was a party to. (Quick shout out to Al! Al the next time I get up there I hope we can have that talk about how you changed your mind and supported the unthinkable; practicing church discipline on an alleged rape victim. I would love to sit down with you and hear the step by step process of how you jumped on board this indefensible act.)
- Matt Carter is the youth pastor at Community. He sat across Hurit and told her in a restaurant in Lancaster that he considered what happened to her to be rape. He did this a little over a week before leading the ex-communication service. The excommunication service ended with the church praying and casting over Hurit’s flesh to Satan. This prayer was led by Mike and Kelly Culbert with many witnesses to the congregation.
- Then there is Steve Estes…who Mike Culbert called the quarterback of this entire scheme. On a side note I would love to know what is being said about all this at Westminster Theological Seminary? Love is sometimes doing the hard thing, and in Brock’s case loving him would be turning him into law enforcement. In the near future I am going to write a post on the reasons why Brock needs be arrested, prosecuted and convicted for the allegations of criminal activity. Its for a wide range of reasons from people’s safety, to his job as a correction’s officier in the Berks County Jail. After all it begs the question…if Brock could allegedly point a gun at his wife, then what could he do to an inmate? And there is this concern…if Brock did something to an inmate would the inmate be believed? No the inmate is vulnerable by his very position by being incarcerated.
- Another person on the elder board at the time and participated in the discipline of Hurit is Dr. Christopher Schreier. Chris is employed at Ingleside Medical Associates where he practices osteopathic medicine.
- The last person is Dr. Lawrence E. Kenney. Dr. Kenney is employed at the Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania which has multiple locations to include places like Reading, Pottstown, and more. Dr. Kenny practices ophthalmology.
Many people may wonder if any of the educators or doctors violated their certification in participating in Hurit’s excommunication. For example Dr. Kenney is certified to practice in Pennsylvania and holds numerous professional medical memberships in the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Montgomery County Medical Society which is located in King of Prussia, and the Pennsylvania Medical Society. In his professional capacity he did not violate his medical license, because their behavior happened outside the realm of their profession. For example doctors are required and mandated reporters…but that only happens when their patient confides in them that they are being domestically abused and their life threatened. Doctors or any physicians can not be held responsible for behavior outside of their professional realm. The same goes for Mike Culbert as a teacher who is just bound to report what is observed in the classroom setting. So while they did not break Pennsylvania mandatory reporting laws, I would strongly suggest as Christians they committed an epic fail regardless.
How Mike Culbert, Dr. Kenney, Dr. Schreier Morally Failed
In addressing the two members of the medical profession I have this to say. My father was a trained physician in California. On a regular basis he had to maintain his training, renew his license, and take the classes necessary to continue his medical practice. It’s not just because of the laws they are required to follow, but also out of the deep respect of the medical profession.
Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means, “first, do no harm.” It is one of the foundations of the medical profession and ethics, that a physician should not do any harm. This has guided many physicians and those in the medical profession for generations. It is the bedrock of western medicine. A physician does no harm, but let’s look at what happened with Dr. Schreier and Dr. Kenney. As individuals in the medical profession morally they did harm as elders. They used their influence as elders to go after an alleged domestic abuse victim who knows she could be dead. Think about it…a Christian doctor going after an alleged rape and alleged domestic abuse victim. This is profoundly disturbing and if I were in the medical profession in the Elverson, Pottstown, Morgantown or Reading area I would have incredible concerns about their judgment. Yes they may be incredibly skilled in their job, and yes they have gone to fine medical schools, but in the end they did incredible harm. Not just to an alleged domestic abuse victim, but also the community of Elverson, Pennsylvania. To put it simply as Christians they failed morally in going after Hurit. Before them they had a member of the “least of these.” Brock Estes allegedly raped his wife and on another occasion pointed a loaded gun at her. She was vulnerable and in a troubled and difficult marriage at the time. So did Dr. Schreier and Dr. Kenney come to Hurit’s aid? No they did not…as elders they came to support the man who had allegedly abused his wife. As I said “primum non nocure” means “first do no harm” and as physicians who were also Christians they did incredible harm.
Mike Culbert morally failed as a Christian in that he enabled and supported the alleged behavior of the abuser Brock Estes in going after Hurit as well. Mike Culbert really should know better especially after all the training that he has received in his lifetime. Like Dr. Schreier and Dr. Kenney he also failed morally in refusing to help one of the “least of these.” That is despicable and needs to be called out. Of course here is the other question I have as well. Is Mike Culbert in the position he is because he can be influenced by Steve Estes? Or in other words…is Mike Culbert a tool of Steve Estes? I have heard some interesting information about Mike Culbert over these past few months.
Brock Estes on the 2017 Elder List
There is another disturbing aspect that come out of Community Evangelical Free Church recently. The list of eligible elders for 2017 was published along with the qualifications for elder. You can see the page below but it lists criteria of having Christ-like character. In breaking it down further it says that an elder must be substantially faultless, worthy of respect, not addicted to alcohol, governed by his mind and not his passions and more. On that list of eligible men to be elder is Brock Estes which again you can see below.
I find this incredibly disturbing and as part of this post I am also asking Eddie Cole of the Eastern District of the Evangelical Free Church of America for a statement on the newest list of qualified elders. This action by Community Evangelical Free shows a number of issues. The first is it indicates how corrupt this church is and why this place is extremely unhealthy. Granted these are allegations which need to be proven in a court of law, but does Community Evangelical Free view allegations of sexual assault as a crime? Or are allegations of sexual assault common and the norm in most marriages? If they are then that is the first as I have not heard that in other circumstances. Another aspect that is disturbing is the message that sends to domestic abuse victims. This brazen and corrupt act only empowers abuse and forces it back into the shadows. When a man who allegedly raped his wife and pointed a loaded gun at her is now eligible for elder, will a person in a domestic abuse situation come forward and speak of her condition? Again I would like to know what does Kathy Elberly think about this development? A man who allegedly raped his wife is now eligible for helping to govern a church? Here is another problem that is deeply troubling especially in how Community Evangelical Free Church bullied and ran an alleged rape victim out of town. In the closing time of Hurit’s church discipline process the elders demanded and wanted to control the meetings and her life. They would not accept her proposals or offers. All the offers had to be on the terms of the CEFC Elder Board. Now we have a man eligible for elder candidate who doesn’t even attend Community Evangelical Free. I have heard that Brock attends Iron Works in Phoenixville, or another Evangelical Free church nearby.
I know there is much going on behind the scenes with the Evangelical Free Church of America (EFCA) in both Pennsylvania and Minneapolis. I have refrained from writing about what is happening because I want the system to work. I view the situation in Elverson as a test for the denomination. The ability or inability of the EFCA to deal with this matter is going to show itself in the course of time. If Eddie Cole, Greg Strand and the denomination can resolve the problem of Steve Estes then the denomination takes a giant leap forward toward becoming healthy. If the denomination cannot deal with Elverson than this denomination is toxic and to be avoided. The ability of an organization to resolve challenges and problems are a test to its health. In this situation if things break down then this organization has deep systematic and systemic problems that cannot be fixed. For the health of people in the organization it then becomes best to avoid this denomination altogether. It is my hope that if Greg Strand and Eddie Cole cannot get the church to change its course, then they should remove Community Evangelical Free Church from the denomination. They should call in the loan and let the place go under. No one enjoys seeing a church fold, but if it prevents another unjust act of church discipline and helps the community heal, then so be it. It is deeply disturbing after all the meetings and efforts going on behind the scenes in the EFCA that Community Evangelical Free Church puts out an elder list with Brock Estes on it. Brock Estes doesn’t even meet many of the qualifications for elder because of his alleged alcoholism, and allegations of criminal activity. By taking this act Steve Estes and the Elder Board of Community basically thumb their noses at Eddie Cole and Greg Strand. This act by Steve Estes shows a profound amount of arrogance. It honestly needs to be dealt with and confronted. That’s it guys, please know that I love you.