An Open Letter to Steve Highfill (Can we Agree that a Pastor who Allegedly has Been Involved in a Cover-up of Deviant Sexual Scandal Should not be Speaking at The Bridge Fresno?)

An open letter to EFCA West District Superintendent Steve Highfill. This post is about Bryan Loritts scheduled to speak at Andrew Smith’s The Bridge Fresno. EFCA West needs to be aware of what occurred in Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis. Bryan Loritts should not be speaking, he needs to go back to Memphis, Tennessee and own his mistakes and role in the alleged cover-up. 

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

Martin Luther King 

“The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”

Margaret Chase Smith 

The Lord detests lying lips,
    but he delights in those who tell the truth.

Proverbs 12:22 NLT 

Fellowship Memphis and Bryan Loritts sitting next to John Bryson. 


I haven’t written you an open letter for a long time. The last time I wrote you openly was in, “An Open Letter to Steve Highfill (EFCA West Director)” I want to bring something to your attention. Its a situation that reminds me as to why this blog which deals with the EFCA is so important. You have a situation in The Bridge Fresno that the EFCA needs to be aware of. Plus as the District Superintendent you should be cognizant of this so that this does not happen in any other EFCA West churches. 

Steve, I would think that if you and I both sat down and talked we would agree on a lot of things. We would agree that child pornography is wrong and illegal. We would also agree that a pastor who allegedly was involved in the destruction of child pornography should not be given a podium at an EFCA church. For you this situation probably does not put the EFCA in a good light, especially when it taints the organization. Steve, when I write this blog I write it with a lot of resources. My resources are pastors, people who lead the men’s or women’s ministries at individual churches, church planters, those in para-church ministries, alleged crime victims and more. Sources and access are key to writing a blog like this. I view it like journalism and I also work at protecting sources and methods as well. Nearly two years ago I heard of a situation involving Bryan Loritts and John Bryson at Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis. The person who contacted me told me of a situation and I was so shocked by what I read I pulled my car over on the road to think about what I was emailed. Its a story of voyeurism, not reporting an alleged crime to the police, alleged child pornography and more. Between two churches the total number of victims I believe is in the hundreds. Fellowship Memphis came close to getting away with the cover-up. If you want to read the entire story there is this Memphis Commercial Appeal article followed, by the independent article that I did. “Former Grizzlies announcer Rick Trotter reportedly recorded women at another church in 2010” and “The Sordid Tale of Rick Trotter, Bryan Loritts, John Bryson and Acts 29 Fellowship Memphis and Downtown Presbyterian Church.” The problem with that Memphis Commercial-Appeal article is that it does not include the role Bryan Loritts played in the Fellowship Memphis scandal. That was left out. When I wrote about it I connected the dots based off what I heard and my understanding of church governance and culture to see the that he allegedly played. Some of the sources have stated that the article I wrote above was the first complete article that also tied Bryan Loritts to the dark scandal.

Now Steve I know the EFCA is congregational from floor to ceiling. I also am aware that Districts are modeled on congregationalism as well. But you really need to know and understand what Bryan Loritts did and the role he played. Your EFCA West District needs to know. I did a quick check and Bryan is not scheduled at any other EFCA church in your district. He is scheduled to speak at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in November. I will write about that and contact TEDS for a statement down the road. But Bryan should not be speaking at any EFCA church. Bryan needs to go back to Memphis and own his mistakes and errors. He needs to seek forgiveness and own his sin. Is that too much to ask a Christian pastor to do? Admit and state that they made a mistake and deal with it? By ignoring this the EFCA is going to enable and hurt Bryan in the long run. That is the situation that is before The Bridge Fresno. Will Andrew Smith be able to tell Bryan that he will not be speaking? Will he have the courage to do this? This is something that needs to be done. I hope that this can be done for the health and well being of The Bridge Fresno and EFCA West. If neither organization can do the right thing then that will speak volumes about the EFCA. Honestly though I am hoping that the EFCA can do the right thing. I will also offer this if you want to discuss this in a phone call I can also do that. This is going to be a brief letter but I needed to bring this to your attention as I am busy writing about the EFCA. 

I wish you well in Tulock, 

Very Respectfully, 

David Bonner 

One thought on “An Open Letter to Steve Highfill (Can we Agree that a Pastor who Allegedly has Been Involved in a Cover-up of Deviant Sexual Scandal Should not be Speaking at The Bridge Fresno?)

  1. Hey – I just want to say thank you, thank you so much for your blog. I think you’re doing extremely important work, and I hope that more people who are searching and seeking and questioning will stumble upon it by fortuitous accident, like I did.

    From this person in particular – I look forward to seeing more RVA posts.


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