This is a follow up post to what was written previously at The Wondering Eagle. This post is a sample statement of what the EFCA could possibly issue in regards to Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church. This post is written for Greg Strand and Eddie Cole. I sincerely hope a statement by the EFCA can be issued for the peace of Elverson, Pennsylvania.
“A statement is persuasive and credible either because it is directly self-evident or because it appears to be proved from other statements that are so.”
“Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday.”
My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
Pslam 62:7 NLT
In the previous post I made the case why the EFCA should release an official statement on Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, Pennsylvania. You can read that in, “Why the EFCA Should Plant a Church in Morgantown, Pennsylvania and Issue a Public Statement on Steve Estes Community Evangelical Free Church Situation in Elverson.” A public statement will be good for those who left Steve Estes’ church, those in the community of Elverson who were affected, and the EFCA as whole. As our society and culture sadly moves into a post-truth era, the EFCA can assert itself in a very healthy way by issuing a statement and going on the record. In an age of skepticism, corruption and the #MeToo era the EFCA can assert itself in a positive way and become more like a lighthouse in difficult times. Its my hope that Eddie Cole and Greg Strand can take the lead on this topic. If any former members of Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson want to write a post as to why they would like to see the EFCA issue a statement on Steve Estes church you are free to do so here. You can publish it. Below is a sample statement that I hope can give both the Eastern District Superintendent and the Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing something to contemplate.
The EFCA became aware of a situation in one of its churches in south central Pennsylvania, called Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson. The allegations concerned a controversial church discipline and excommunication which divided the community and led for a large number of individuals to leave this EFCA congregation.
The EFCA put together a fact finding committee to investigate and see if there is any validity to the charges that existed. Our fact finding committee consisted of five individuals. Eastern District Superintendent Eddie Cole spearheaded this fact finding committee and Greg Strand and the EFCA in Minneapolis also supported and assisted in this committee. Greg Strand is EFCA Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. In this committee the EFCA interviewed a number of individuals from the church and the community. Those interviewed included Brock Estes, Steve Estes, the Leadership of Community Evangelical Free in Elverson. The EFCA investigated the situation for ___ months.
As a result of the investigation in the end the EFCA determined the following about Community Evangelical Free Church of Elverson:
- While the EFCA is elder-led this particular church was found to be elder-ruled.
- This EFCA congregation performed an unjust and uncalled for church discipline situation on an alleged sexual assault victim.
- This EFCA congregation performed an unjust excommunication.
- This EFCA congregation was found to deal with excessive nepotism with the Stoltzfus family having too much influence in this church.
- This EFCA church brought about unnecessary division in the community of Elverson, Pennsylvania.
- Steve Estes also had a conflict of interest in performing the questionable church discipline situation due to his ties to his son.
Having arrived at those conclusions this is what the EFCA wanted Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson to do to correct this situation.
- The EFCA wanted Steve Estes to retract the church discipline.
- Steve’s church was to hold a repentance service and seek forgiveness from the community.
- This EFCA church was to apologize to Brock’s former wife.
- This EFCA church was to apologize to all the former members who left during the conflict.
- This church was encouraged to incorporate reform that would transition it back to an elder led church.
- We also made some personal recommendations about Brock Estes that we believe should remain confidential.
- The EFCA also agreed to provide counseling and support for Brock’s ex-wife.
- The EFCA also agreed to help former members who left Steve’s church.
This is what happened with the reforms the EFCA asked Community to undertake. The church retracted the church discipline. However, the church dropped off a letter at the home of Brock’s former wife at 7:00 in the morning. This letter had a lot of issues that the EFCA was concerned about. This church did not apologize, nor did it repent to the many former members who left. As the situation continued the EFCA requested to speak to Community and the church refused to let that happen. We gave this church information and requested that the leadership disseminate to the congregation and the church refused. In addition this church’s leadership actively misled its congregation and slandered the EFCA. They did so through the end times theology issue. When the EFCA decided to remove this church from the denomination Steve Estes church then decided to break away. The official lender of the EFCA Christian Investors Financial has called in the loan.
The EFCA is displeased with how this situation ended. We were willing to work with this church to help solve this problem in the Elverson community. Every time the EFCA tried to work with the leadership of Community Evangelical Free Church of Elverson, the church resisted, and refused to cooperate. The EFCA wanted to see healing and unity that came together in the Elverson, Pennsylvania. The fact that did not happen is solely due to the leadership of Community Evangelical Free in Elverson.