Brief update on the situation at Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania. Many people keep asking the question why are people still going to the church in light of all that has occurred? Plus these are the results from the June 12, 2017 business meeting. Its also my understanding that there are people inside CEFC who do not want to leave the EFCA. Is the Stoltzfus clan going to respect their wishes?
“A divorce is like an amputation: You survive it, but there’s less of you.”
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Romans 1:28-32 NIV
Church bulletin for CEFC from my visit.
I have been meaning to do a quick post on Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania. This will be brief but I am hoping we can have a discussion and ask the question, why are people still attending Steve Estes’ church? To the best of my knowledge I believe 150 to 170 people have left, in a migration that began in December of 2014. But many people are baffled as to why others are still attending. This is an issue that pops up regularly when I interact with people from the Elverson and Morgantown area of Pennsylvania. Recently I was in Elverson last weekend and one person commented in a personal meeting that the parking lot is full. Many people are baffled and wonder why someone would want to attend in light of all that has taken place. Plus its my understanding that a few people joined. Why would people want to join an EFCA church that is not in good standing with the denomination? If you are new to this story Steve Estes church practiced church discipline on an alleged sexual assault victim. Steve’s son Brock allegedly raped his wife while intoxicated and allegedly pointed a loaded gun at her. When she filed for divorce Steve Estes guided his church through an ex-communication of his former daughter-in-law. So here is the question I would like to ask you, why are people choosing to to attend this church in spite of all the issues affecting this organization? I keep getting this question asked and I am hoping that we can have a discussion about this topic. That issue burned in my mind when I read this old CNN article yesterday called “Why people stick by scandal-plagued pastors.” Plus a couple of years ago I wrote “Why Do People Get Involved in Questionable Religious Groups, Cults, and Sects?” Maybe that will help people understand the issues in this situation.
Here is another update as well. On June 12, 2017 in the business meeting CEFC- Elverson voted 80% to allegedly change the by-laws. This is the first of two steps to distancing themselves from the EFCA denomination. The second and final vote which makes separation from the EFCA final is scheduled to take place in November of 2017. What I am also hearing is that before the vote the Elders explained why the church needs to break away from the EFCA in small groups prior to the business meeting. When I think of the effort Steve Estes put into guiding the church discipline of his daughter-in-law I can just imagine the pressure that was put on people to vote in the affirmative. In the period leading up to the ex-communication service of Hurit in December of 2014 the Elder Board as I heard had late night meetings that lasted until 4:00 a.m. Steve Estes and Al Kimbal allegedly got into heated exchanges with Al yelling “But Brock had a gun!” So I can just imagine the pressure that was placed on people to vote a particular way. As one former member said, when he expressed concerns to the leadership of not voting the way the Elders wanted the attitude he got from the Elverson leadership is “if you don’t like it you can leave….” On another note I am also hearing that there are people inside Community Evangelical Free who do not want to leave the EFCA. The EFCA is an established and well known denomination. I have been involved in the EFCA both in California and Wisconsin. I am not involved in the EFCA in the Washington, D.C., area because the EFCA here is Neo-Calvinist and I am not in that theological stream. But I have heard from a couple of sources that there are people inside CEFC who do not want to leave the EFCA. Are their wishes being heard and respected by Merle and David Stoltzfus? As I get more news I will post it in time. For those inside Community Evangelical Free I encourage you to contact the Eastern District office as led by Eddie Cole. If you have questions about what the leadership is saying contact Eddie Cole’s staff. You will get treated with love and kindness. The number of the district office is 610-395-9034 or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. I still need to do a post on the differences between Elder led and Elder rule, I hope to get that up in a week or so. That’s it for the day Elverson I hope you have a good day. Take care of yourself.