This is an open letter to Merle Stoltzfus of Brick Lane Community Church, formerly Community Evangelical Free Church of Elverson, Pennsylvania. This communicates my thoughts about Merle. From his own small group to other small groups, Elverson and the greater EFCA at the time, Merle has quite an anger problem and its my understanding that a number of Stoltzufs children were embarrassed over how Merle worked to protect Brock. This is a letter I have been meaning to do for a long time.
“Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it’s set a rolling it must increase.”
Charles Caleb Colton
“There is something in corruption which, like a jaundiced eye, transfers the color of itself to the object it looks upon, and sees everything stained and impure.”
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NLT
Merle Stoltzfus and his wife
I have been wanting to do this letter to you for a very long time. I have written other open letters to other personalities in the former Community Evangelical Free saga. For example I wrote an open letter to Al Kimball, Matt Carter and Steve Estes. Given the control you have in Elverson there are a lot of issues that I wanted to ask. I want to let you know that even though Community Evangelical Free left the EFCA, I remain deeply concerned about Brick Lane Community Church. Brick Lane needs to be closed and I am committed to writing about it until it finally closes its doors.
Merle for you faith is a business. A while back you did that video for Center of Faith and Work at LaTourneau University. You put your faith on display and talk about how it influences your business. In light of the issues with Stoltzfus Enterprises that I wrote about in, “Is Stoltzfus Enterprises Cutting Corners in Pennsylvania? Construction Issues in Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson, and Summerfield,” its troubling that you wear it on your sleeve. Your father Ammon is someone who I have a lot of respect for. In contrast in light of how you run Elverson and the former Community Evangelical Free Church you exhibit a lot of corruption. That corruption has been hurting people in Elverson and those who have ties to it.
The most disturbing aspect of your corruption is the efforts you were involved in to protect Brock Estes from facing legal ramifications from his alleged rape and domestic abuse of his wife. Brock as you very well know allegedly raped his wife and pointed a loaded gun at her. She knows that she could be dead. Brock at the time worked for the Berks County Jail and you went around proclaiming that Brock had to be protected because of his job. Bloodlines trump the law and honesty for you Merle. When faced with doing the right thing the Stolztfus clan will always emerge on top. Your behavior in your business, church and community personifies corruption. And the situation tore the community apart. From your own small group to many others in the church and inside the EFCA. The EFCA spent a lot of time and money trying to fix the mess you made. You had refused to repent and own your mistakes. From what I have heard about you Merle you have quite an anger problem. I have heard that you can grow contorted and livid to the point of even being red or purple in the face. That is not good at all Merle. That is not good for your health. The fights some people had with you was deeply troubling. And you did all that while touting your faith all along. That is sick Merle. Many people saw through the display. From those in Elverson, to others at the time.
Why couldn’t you do the right thing Merle? Why can’t you own a mistake? Admit error? Your protection of Brock Estes hurt not only the church but Brock as well. Brock needed counseling and professional help for his alleged alcoholism and his sleeping disorder. Your behavior highlights privilege and more however after what I heard about Ammon I think he would be deeply disappointed in you. Ammon was loved in the community. People still talk about him today. In your case you are reviled. Over and over people have shared experiences about you. You are described as being deeply condescending and arrogant. Always having the last word. Humility is a word that is foreign in your vocabulary. And yet you proclaim your faith all along. That is troubling Merle. I believe that you have the markings of a Pharisee. The pain and trauma that has been left in your wake demonstrates that quite well. Over 200 people have left the former Community Evangelical Free Church in Elverson. I predict that is going to grow in time. The Stoltzfus clan in 2014 was about 15% of Community Evangelical Free. Today if I made an educated guess it would be about 40%. Brick Lane is going to be toxic and the nepotism which led you to make bad decisions is going to get worse. Its because of this that I want to communicate this message to you and Elverson. I am willing and eager to write about the issues in Brick Lane Community Church until its closed. Given how everything is kind of jumbled together if there are other issues in Elverson that is tied to the Stoltzfus clan I am willing to write about that as well. However I also know this. From what I have heard in the past Merle some of the children of the Stoltzfus are embarrassed over how you and Dave behaved to protect Brock. They see the issues as originating with Brock and believe that you were wrong in how you conducted yourself. Many of the Stoltzfus children have more common sense, decency and integrity that you do Merle. I believe that its important to get that on the record as I have written so much about Community Evangelical Free. Below people in the area are free to leave any comments or relay any experiences that they have had with you.
While I would like to see you do the right thing, the reality is that you won’t do the right thing. You rejected what the EFCA wanted you to do. You ignored and rejected what people said to you when they came up to you. You told people that they can leave if they don’t like it. You manipulated small groups in order to get people to vote to leave the EFCA. You did so much to protect Brock and shield him from his reckless endangerment that you hurt so many in the process. So I don’t believe you will do the right thing after all. This brief letter is something that I have been wanting to get off my chest for sometime. And today is the day to communicate these thoughts to you Merle.
This is all I have to say to you tonight.