With the situation involving P.J. Smyth’s father beating against the door of Covenant Life Church, The Wondering Eagle has a question. When the Washingtonian magazine published a story about Covenant Life and SGM, Mark Mitchell claimed that Satan was attacking the church. And that this attack came just as God was about to move at Covenant Life. That was in 2016, my question is what will Mark Mitchell say about this latest scandal in 2017?
“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.”
“Prudence is what makes someone a great commodities trader – the capacity to face reality squarely in the eye without allowing emotion or ego to get in the way. It’s what is needed by every quarterback or battlefield general.”
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5 NIV
Drink up Covenant Lifers!
The Church Lady appeared on Saturday Night Live for the first time on October 11, 1986. The role was created and played by Dana Carvey. The Church Lady’s real name is Enid Strict who is an elderly uptight woman. The Church Lady hosts her own talk show and is smug, condescending, and “holier-than-thou.” The Church Lady is a spoof on Christian televangelists. On Church Chat her guests receive sarcastic praise from her. In the interview it breaks down to a tirade of about their secular activities and lack of holiness. In the process she becomes very judgmental and damns them. She criticizes others for following their desires of their “naughty parts.” When asked how Dana Carvey came up with the character he said he based it upon women he knew from his church growing up. Their peculiar knacks and behavior while keeping attendance records helped Dana to later inspire him to create a character on Saturday Night Live. The Church Lady’s most well known statements are “Well, isn’t that special?” and “How convieeenant!” and the most famous of all, “Could it be…SATAN?!?”
Here at The Wondering Eagle, there is one man who earned the reputation of the Church Lady for his behavior. This man, when his church was being written up in The Washingtonian, claimed it was an attack by Satan. This man who will always be The Church Lady at The Wondering Eagle is none other than Mark Mitchell at Covenant Life Church.
Who is Mark Mitchell?
Let’s start with some background on Mark Mitchell. Mark was born in Los Angeles, California and eventually moved to Tampa, Florida. He graduated high school as the valedictorian and went to earn a bachelors and masters in electrical engineering from the University of Florida. in 1988 and Georgia Tech in 1990. But he set all that aside and a career in science to enter pastoral ministry. Mark joined the pastoral ministry at Covenant Life in April 1996 and taught in the Singles Ministry until 2002. He eventually oversaw Mercy Ministries and become involved in the Alpha program. In 2007 he became the Outreach Pastor and was responsible for all outreach ministries. Mark Mitchell became the Executive Pastor in 2013 and has been in that role since then. Mark Mitchell never attended the Sovereign Grace Pastors College, which reveals that he has some sense of discernment. Mark is married to his wife Terri and all their adult children reside in the Gaithersburg, Maryland area.
Mark Mitchell and “Satanic Attack…”
In late January of 2016 the Washingtonian magazine published an article from Tiffany Stanley called “The Sex-Abuse Scandal That Devastated a Suburban Megachruch.” In that article a lot of things were discussed about both Sovereign Grace Ministries and Covenant Life Church. In regards to Covenant Life it was written how many conservative evangelical Christians looked upon Covenant Life Church as being a cult. It also discussed the sex abuse allegations that rocked the church. For example there was the story of Pam Palmer having her infant daughter shriek and run and hide under a chair instead of forgive her abuser. The meeting was organized by John Loftness. In addition the magazine article dived into the story of Peggy Walsh and David Adams. David sexually abused his adopted daughter and was convicted and served time in prison. The story discussed how C.J. Mahaney’s brother-in-law Gary Ricucci wrote a letter of supporting Adams early release from prison less than two years into his sentence. Then the article goes into the lawsuit that Susan Burke spearheaded. Finally it looks at the situation with Nate Morales who was eventually tried and convicted for sexual abuse. The Washingtonian article was a damning indictment on Covenant Life and its culture, which showed how toxic and insular the culture became.
The week the Washingtonian story was released P.J. Smyth and Mark Mitchell led a membership meeting at Covenant Life. They discussed how their assumption that the magazine article would be critical. Neither P.J. or Mark Mitchell thought it a coincidence that this article was being released just as Covenant Life was getting ready to put its past behind them. In that same meeting Mark Mitchell spoke about how Satan is attacking Covenant Life in the form of that Washingtonian magazine article as it was going to interfere with what God was going to do at Covenant Life. Yup….you have a church that allegedly engaged in allegations of criminal activity and when you are called out, you scream and state that you are being attacked by Satan. This, my friend, is why The Wondering Eagle has generously bestowed Mark Mitchell as the Church Lady of Covenant Life. Since Mark Mitchell pretty much has said, “could it be Satan?!?” I personally would love to hear Mark Mitchell say “well…isn’t that special?” To read more about Mark Mitchell I would direct you to “An Open Letter to Mark Mitchell (Executive Pastor Covenant Life Church)” and “Mark Mitchell (CLC’s Church Lady) on Covenant Life Church Being a Community of Healing and Hope.”
Another Scandal for Covenant Life
In the past week another scandal was emerged and we are in the early stages of this dark situation. P.J. Smyth’s father has allegedly engaged in serious abuse of young adult boys. You can read about the history of that scandal in “An Overview of the Situation with John Smyth and the Disturbing Allegations of Abuse in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.“ Then you can read how P.J. is reacting to the news involving his father and the statements Covenant Life has put out in “Analysis of Covenant Life Church’s P.J. Smyth’s Statements on the Situation Regarding his Father, John Smyth QC.” We are in the early stages of this and information is slowly coming out. Party of the reason why I am deeply concerned about Covenant Life is because the facts aren’t adding up. The reaction being conveyed is different and begs further questions. Time will tell how this scandal will go.
How Will Mark Mitchell React to the Latest Scandal?
The point of this article in many ways is to ask this one important question. If more information comes out about P.J. how is Mark Mitchell going to react? This post may take on a lot more meaning in a few weeks, but I am curious to ask this before hand. How is Mark Mitchell going to react? Is he going to claim that Covenant Life is under Satanic attack again Will the Kool Aid flow in generous and greedy amounts? Will it be business as usual as the machine kinds in. What is that machine? Deny everything and trivialize or explain away the problem. So while this scandal is growing I would like to ask you beforehand…what do you expect to see from Mark Mitchell? Please feel free to comment below. As always I love you guys!