Belleville Church Will Appeal to Synod Rather than Disaffiliate

Instead of disaffiliating from the Christian Reformed Church, the council of Maranatha CRC in Belleville, Ontario, decided in July to appeal decisions by Classis Quinte (a regional group of churches) to Synod 2012, the annual leadership meeting of the Christian Reformed Church.

The appeal regards requests by Classis Quinte that

  • the Maranatha council “apply special discipline to [Rev.] John Visser,” deposing him from the office of minister of the Word and sacraments in the CRCNA.
  • in the event that not all officebearers comply, classis, through its classical ministry committee, suspend those members of council and be empowered to help form a new council in the Maranatha congregation.
  • the Maranatha council provide honorary suspension to staff members engaged in healing ministry at the church and allow classis to appoint an accredited team to evaluate the healing ministry.

Those requests resulted from a May 2011 meeting of classis. At a subsequent meeting in June, during which the Maranatha council was given further opportunity to present its case, the classis upheld its requests.

The leadership of Maranatha initially indicated that it intended to disaffiliate from the denomination rather than comply with the requests of classis. (See Ontario Church Signals Intent to Disaffiliate From Decnomination.)

Classis Quinte’s requests came after an independent team assessed that Visser was guilty of breaking confidentiality and abuse of office, which are grounds for deposition in the CRC. Classis made the requests of the Maranatha council, since only a local council can apply discipline to its pastor.

In its report, which was presented to classis, the assessment team noted that the issues raised all related to Maranatha’s healing ministry. Members who have been concerned about the healing ministry had raised several issues, among them: excessive power imbalance between counselors and counselees; labeling and diagnosing, a practice in which staff members diagnose a counselee's condition; and confidentiality—staff sharing a counselee's personal information with council.

A former member filed a million-dollar lawsuit against the church, charging that the pastor had abused his position of influence in a counseling relationship for his own gain, but the lawsuit was subsequently dropped.

Dave Botting, assistant pastor of Maranatha, told The Banner that the church’s council is appealing the decisions because “classis is asking council to do something that it can’t do in good conscience before God.”

Botting said that the council does not believe that the assessment was fair, nor that the grounds to the motions have merit. “This goes to the heart of the ministry of this church, and council stands behind the integrity of its senior pastor, its staff, and our ministry,” Botting said. “We do not believe we received a fair hearing or an opportunity to fully present our case. We are looking forward to a judicial code hearing.” (The judicial code is part of the Church Order of the CRC to ensure just treatment of those involved in judgments and decisions of the church.)

Since The Banner published the initial story, hundreds of comments on its website have illustrated just how divided the congregation is, with a group calling themselves “concerned members” stating that they have waited years to have their side of this story heard, while many others vigorously defend the church and its healing ministry.

Classis Quinte plans to hold another meeting about this matter on Sept. 13 in Brighton, Ontario.

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

See comments (41)

Comments

I feel that an important piece of information was missed in this story. There are only six elders in total at Maranatha. Two of whom no longer have a mandate as their terms have expired.
Leadership has decided to delay elections even though nominations were submitted in June. This in a congregation of 850 people?

hoping for change - you are correct except for one corrections: "This is in a congregation [that used to be] 850 people."

Its time for John Visser to step down. His boundaries are compromised, and his iron hold on Maranatha is not healthy. The church is suffering, and its healing can't begin until John moves out of the way.

If the church is suffering, it's not the "iron grip" of Pastor Visser causing it, but the kangaroo court of Classis, with their seeming inability to follow even the most basic process of church order. Once the real story comes out, how Classis was duped by a small number of discontents and is controlled by just a few authority figures with more conflicts of interest than you can count, Classis Quinte had better hope Pastor Visser isn't "malicious" enough to sue them all for libel.

It's time for everyone who doesn't know what it really going on to shut-up and let Maranatha try and have an impartial hearing for the first time with the synodical judicial code committee. My guess? Classis will try to sabotage the appeal process and force Maranatha to disaffiliate which is what, evidently, those controlling Classis wanted all along.

I have some concerns about Mr. Bottings statement in this story.
The Classis Assessment Team was a hand-picked group of independent professionals appointed by Classis. They were given private personal information, unsolicited, of a confidential nature that was gained in a counselling relationship with Pastor Visser. The team stated that "what we witnessed as an outside assessment team was, in the way we were feeling, basically the distribution of therapeutic smut in the context of a posture of self-defense". The Assessment Team received information, of a private nature for the purpose of defending the healing ministry and the staff and council that run it. Mr. Botting states that the "council does not believe that the assessment was fair". All fairness aside, this assessment was truth! There is no debating that what the team claims was done, was done and further there is no question that what was done was just cause for dismissal based on the oath the Pastor Visser took when he became a pastor in the CRCNA.
Mr. Botting goes on to state that the grounds to the motions have no merit. The grounds as expressed by the Classis Committee were that "with malicious intent to break the sacred vow of confidentiality he(Pastor Visser)disclosed personal and private matters that were entrusted to him". This fact has been proven by the team. The second ground given was "abuse of Office in that he created, directed and participated in Healing Ministry that placed people at risk". Maranatha Council has refused to abide by the "Safe Church" practices of the CRCNA and have decided to instead develop their own. This was necessary because no assessment by the CRCNA or secular professionals would accept their theories. They use techniques such as age regression, re-birthing, diagnosis of multiple personality disorders and other psychological ailments and communicate their diagnosis at their own discretion to membership, council or family members of the counselee. This is all done using untrained staff as counsellors in continuous sessions, some lasting years.
There has been a decade of evidence within Maranatha to show that these beliefs and practices cause harm. To say that these grounds have no merit is unbelievable to say the least!
Mr. Botting also states that “We do not believe we received a fair hearing or an opportunity to fully present our case". Their case was in fact presented to the Church Visitors, during a one year assessment in 2008 and 2009, they further stated their case at the May Classis Meeting and for almost the entirety of the nine hour emergency Classis meeting held in June. Not to mention over ten years of appeals by concerned members where the case of the ministry was stated. By all accounts they have had ample time to state their case and defend their position. The Church Visitors, Classis, the Classis Assessment Team and many concerned members all came to the same conclusions after hearing leadership "fully present their case". To say you have not been heard Mr. Botting is a complete fabrication. The truth is you have not been believed.
The irony of this whole situation is that those involved in the "healing ministry" at Maranatha have caused the greatest amount of hurt in the Churches history. It should also be noted that the biggest supporters of this ministry stand to lose paid positions propagating these practices.
For the sake of the remnant that remains at Marantha and all those waiting to return I ask you in leadership there to stop this fight and accept the decision of our Classis.

Maranatha Member - I take great exception to the statements you have made. You are assuming that only your minister is a good and Godly person. Believe me that we all take our ordination vows and our membership obligations within the church of Jesus Christ very seriously. Your comments are rude and offensive and lack respect for the office of Christ ordained upon those who serve as minister.

Further, your emotional outburst is not helpful, its not truthful and it is not Christ-like.

I certainly hope and pray that your character and communication is not the 'good fruit' Maranatha Staff and Council continue to reference in defence of their ministry. If it is, then your post is more evidence of the trouble going on at Maranatha.

As for threats of libel, they are unhelpful here and only serve rumour and to further mire the name of John Visser into malice. Suggesting this, does not serve well for Maranatha or its Pastor, and only serves to further substantiate the claims of your "concerned members."

May God bless us all, as we seek his glory and goodness.

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counselling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of the Director of Restoration Ministry--that have been gotten in counselling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'daughter' Juliette (director of restoration ministry).

"At Issue" - The whole point is that this assessment that a breach of confidentiality happened IS entirely open for debate. Just because the committee thinks it happened does not necessarily make it so - they even used the word "feeling" in the quote you used. Maranatha strongly contends it was not a breach and it is their right to fight that argument, is it not? As far as a "malicious intent" goes - that is almost impossible to prove. Did the committee somehow get inside Pastor Visser's head?

But are we really going to do this all over again? Hundreds of comments going around and around in circles? Let's let the appeal process go forward in peace and instead think about how we are going to move on once this fiasco is all over.

"CRC Minister" - I have no idea if you take your vows seriously or not. I hope that you do. I know that there are many good and sincere pastors out there. But even sincere pastors can be sincerely wrong.

If you are so sure what I've said is not truthful and that your position is sound, then you won't have problem with the appeal going forward, I presume?

I took the time this morning to re-read the comments on the past articles published on this subject. I was able to see a pattern in the responses of the person who goes by the name of Maranatha Member that is quite revealing. The tone of this person has always been aggressive and threatening and their position typically has little basis in fact. It was claimed by this person in a comment made in an earlier article that they were not a staff person. They also revealed that they recognized a quote as having come from a document that had not yet been released and was only available to Staff, Council and Classis. With this knowledge I think we can safely assume that Maranatha Member is on Council or is a person very close to leadership at the Church who is leaked private information. Please keep this in mind when reading the entries provided by this person.

In response to Maranatha Member.

I have no problem with the appeal going forward. That being said, while the procedure is underway, I believe that there are still serious risks of harm being done to people. As such, it is my position that there be a temporary suspension of all 'Restoration Ministry' activities and that John Visser take a temporary leave of absence (with pay) until the results of the appeal are brought forward.

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counseling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of the Director of Restoration Ministry--that have been gotten in counseling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'spiritual daughter'—the director of restoration ministry.

A few comments we would like to make:

1. We are astounded that the banner would open up the comment section again on such a contentious issue, without once again considering the irreparable damage that it will continue to cause individuals, the local church and the broader church body.

2. A comment to “CRC minister”, assuming that your cover title is correct I am incensed that a local CRC minister, (I assume it can only be a local minister, member of classis Quinte by the comments made) would even consider adding any comments to this blog except to encourage unity within the body and allow due process to take place.

3. Further, a comment to all, we continue to find it shameful, that people, including “CRC minister” would continue to publicly state and print offensive and damning judgments of others and not attach their names to those statements.

4. Forums like this in no way create unity; they are the breeding ground for much harm. Do we forget that Satan is the great deceiver that he seeks to divide and conquer and yet we chose to play right into his hand. One day we who are in Christ will all stand before our Lord and worship Him together as one body, to us this is a sobering thought in regards to how we treat our brother or sister in Christ as we walk upon this earth, shame on us for our actions. Lord forgive us as your children.

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counseling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of the Director of Restoration Ministry--that have been gotten in counseling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'spiritual daughter'—the director of restoration ministry.

We posted this earlier, but somehow it disappeared almost immediately, we will try once more.

A few comments we would like to make:

1. We are astounded that the banner would open up the comment section again on such a contentious issue, without once again considering the irreparable damage that it will continue to cause individuals, the local church and the broader church body.

2. A comment to “CRC minister”, assuming that your cover title is correct I am incensed that a local CRC minister, (I assume it can only be a local minister, member of classis Quinte by the comments made) would even consider adding any comments to this blog except to encourage unity within the body and allow due process to take place.

3. Further, a comment to all, we continue to find it shameful, that people, including “CRC minister” would continue to publicly state and print offensive and damning judgments of others and not attach their names to those statements.

4. Forums like this in no way create unity; they are the breeding ground for much harm. Do we forget that Satan is the great deceiver that he seeks to divide and conquer and yet we chose to play right into his hand. One day we who are in Christ will all stand before our Lord and worship Him together as one body, to us this is a sobering thought in regards to how we treat our brother or sister in Christ as we walk upon this earth, shame on us for our actions. Lord forgive us as your children.

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counseling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of the Director of Restoration Ministry--that have been gotten in counseling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'spiritual daughter'—the director of restoration ministry.

As background for this current new piece, readers may be interested in the former news pieces as background. That can be found at this weblinks:
- http://www.thebanner.org/news/article/?id=3438
- http://www.thebanner.org/news/article/?id=3418
- http://www.thebanner.org/news/article/?id=2982
- http://www.thebanner.org/news/article/?id=1846

"CRC Minister" - What makes you think there are "still" people at risk at Maranatha due to Pastor Visser's leadership? You do have specific reasons for believing that? I'm personally still waiting for examples of the people hurt so far - I know that the committee didn't list any in their report. Do you have some that would help explain your obvious strong feelings about the matter?

To the others that are suggesting I am not being truthful in my postings, please provide examples. I AM passionate about this situation and I apologize if that comes across too strongly. But there is a lot more to this story than most people know and a lot of is not God-glorifying in the least.

For some more background to this story, readers may also be interested in a website sponsored by some of the concerned members of Maranatha. It provides some of the backstory that is not being released by the council of Maranatha. It is at this weblink - http://maranathacm.weebly.com/index.html

For some more background to this story, readers may also be interested in a website sponsored by some of the concerned members of Maranatha. It provides some of the backstory that is not being released by the council of Maranatha. It is at this weblink - http://maranathacm.weebly.com/index.html

For some more background to this story, readers may also be interested in a website sponsored by some of the concerned members of Maranatha. It provides some of the backstory that is not being released by the council of Maranatha. It is at this weblink - http://maranathacm.weebly.com/index.html

Thanks to the banner for printing this update, especially as the printed article on the last edition of the banner was not up to date (assuming because of print deadlines).

Looking from the outside, it seems there are a lot of 'flags'. This leads me to one of two conclusions (or a bit of both):
1.) Some people are being petty in their 'flagging' so as to sensor an opinion they dislike.
2.) Some people are being unchristian in their remarks.

As a minister myself, I would be deeply saddened if the prodigy of my church's ministry (former or current) was unable to 'speak the truth in love.' This is true for 'concerned members' and 'maranatha members' alike.

Pastor John must be disapointed just as much with the way some of his supporters communicate as he is by some of the comments of his detractors.

Praying for you all and respectfully submitted,

David

For some more background to this story, readers may also be interested in a website sponsored by some of the concerned members of Maranatha. It provides some of the backstory that is not being released by the council of Maranatha. It is at this weblink - http://maranathacm.weebly.com/index.html

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counseling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of the Director of Restoration Ministry--that have been gotten in counseling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'spiritual daughter'—the director of restoration ministry.

The strategy of council and staff of Maranatha appears to be to drag this out as long as possible in order to allow them enough time to use the pulpit to upset enough concerned members to leave so that when the vote finally happens to disaffiliate there will be no one left at Maranatha except for those who support the current leadership. No matter what happens I will be there even if I am the only one left. Some one has to stand up to the bullying, intimidation tactics of those
who are supposed to be representing our collective will as a congregation. I still have confidence in our classis and synod to stop this abusive leadership and allow us to start a new chapter in our history. If they fail to do so, those of us who are still faithfull to supporting the CRCNA will have no choice but to start over, the sooner the better!

David: Thankyou for your concern. I would like it noted that at this point in the process it is of little concern to me how dissappointed the pastors at maranatha are with current and former membership. Their scheming has brought us to this point. With one word from them this situation would be over. Should we obey or have sympathy for a small group of men and women who willingly sacrifice the lives of those they serve for their own protection. This after they have been proven to be unfit to lead
, after years of ignoring concerns, after over 2 million dollars are borrowed from the congregation for failing personal companies described as "kingdom business", after refusing to give voice to the community through scheduled elections...and I can go on. We are not their children, they do not own this community. it is time for the tables in the temple to be overturned. it is time for this manipulative staff and council to be shown the door. Do not give them opportunities to create further damage. What they are protecting is income and pride in position. If it was the congregation they were protecting they would have acted, or left long ago.

It is obvious that this Banner comment section is highly dysfunctional at this point, to say the least. Not only that, but it is entirely inappropriate to being discussing this issue publicly with partial information while an appeal is underway. Let's let the appeal process go forward and let us all agree to hope it will be fair, expedient and God-glorifying.

As for Pastor Visser, since the public position of Maranatha Council is that the charges of harm to the community are completely erroneous, unproven and without merit, that same Council cannot then with integrity suspend him - with pay or otherwise.

Maranatha Member:
If you can not own up to your own personal opinion by using the simple words "I believe" at the beginning of your sentences, it makes it awfully difficult to listen to you express everything in terms of absolutes. Comments in this forum are a healthy way to express our freedom of speech rights as long as it is done in a civil and respectfull manner. There is no denying the dysfunctional situation we find ourselves in. However that is not a reason to continue to communicate truth and facts as well as opinions. To attempt to silence a dissenting voice is very unhealthy. Let people decide for themselves.

Classis delegates have not based their requests to council on erroneous, unproven facts but on the facts as provided by council and John Visser himself to the assessment team. This is evidence not in dispute. It is also a fact not in dispute that the safe church practices that are used in every other CRC church are not used at Maranatha. As long as our council allows our staff to continue to breach confidentiallity and abuse there office, I believe we have no choice but to call it as it is. Professional people approved by Classis, council and staff, unrelated to anyone or anything at Maranatha and who have expertise in recognizing abusive practices, should not be disregarded nor disrespected. The fact that council and staff will not allow a complete analysis of our healing ministry by an outside team of professionals, says a lot. John Visser has stated from the pulpit that he would lay down his life for his ministry. Meantime the only ones being hurt and damaged are those in the congregation who stand up to him. I can not see how that can be construed as laying down ones life when so many have been hurt. The words sound brave and strong but the actions do not match those words. The assessment team is fully aware of the pain suffered by many of our members and former members.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, makes the sounds of a duck, chances are it is a duck.

In response to Martin & Tina Vanderlaan:

1.) You are 'incensed' based on false assumptions (which is a rather silly reason to be 'incensed'--you know what they say about 'assuming'). I am not a member of Classis Quinte, and never have been.

2.) While it ay be all well and good to demand people use their actual names, this situation is riddled with power-imbanances. The threats of litigation are a case in point. If I (or others) could trust the safety of expressing their thoughts, we would use our full names. But this whole situation has illustrated that things are not safe at Maranatha. Threats of being "sued for libel" are not open and inviting.

3.) If you were to reread (rather than reacting with an emotional outburst of rhetoric) my posts you would see that I am committed to letting the process run its course, beginning with the classis motions and continuing with the appeal. You will also read that I take my vows as a minister of the gospel very seriously. That being said, I refuse to reduce pleas for church unity to tolerance of rebellion against classical authority and abuse of power and the potential for harm against people.

Here is the latest. There was a special insert in the bulletin today. Instead of a congregational meeting to discuss this situation, Maranatha Staff and Council will hold three consecutive information nights where they will "present information on the dispute and time will be given for questions for information". Does that mean no questions that require real answers can be asked? Just questions for information? We have seen this strategy before when they began their campaign of change. Meetings with lots of talk and very little time for real discussion or voting. Maybe we will hear a reiteration of their presentation from the emergency classis meeting. Eight hours of posturing and no sign of humble repentance. Is there any question now of their intentions. Divide and Conquer has been their strategy for the past decade. It was easy when they just had an individual, a couple or a family to deal with. Now they intend to divide all of us. Do they even hear what they are saying?

I respectfully request that The Banner discontinue this comment page. I am concerned with the whole situation at Maranatha and I have been for a long time. I am now also concerned that the 'discussion' here is not contributing positively to the situation but is providing a forum for less than loving words to be thrown around which does nothing to resolve a very hurtful and emotionally charged situation. The Banner is to be commended for the carefully worded and factual article which was written. I believe that is enough information.

I also trust that the delegates of Classis and Synod have the wisdom, desire for truth, justice and mercy, and above all, the Holy Spirit guiding their decisions. I am willing to wait for their assessment of the situation. And I pray that Maranatha will be able to continue serving the Lord within the CRC.

The following is a link to a document called "Timeline of Concerns" that has been prepared by a group of members and past members of Maranatha for the purpose of clearly showing the chronology of events that have brought us to this crossroads. Please feel free to download this document and distribute it to any and all persons you know who may benefit from the information provided. You can find the document at http://www.box.net/shared/9t9fz8f4uxytoixp6z1t

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counseling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of the Director of Restoration Ministry--that have been gotten in counseling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'spiritual daughter'—the director of restoration ministry.

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counseling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of the Director of Restoration Ministry--that have been gotten in counseling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'spiritual daughter'—the director of restoration ministry.

Sociologists looks for patterns in human behavior and in social institutions. As you read the following pages, a profile of pastoral and spiritual abuse will emerge. Abusive churches, past and present, are first and foremost characterized by strong, control-oriented leadership. These leaders use guilt, fear, and intimidation to manipulate members and keep them in line. Followers are led to think that there is no other church quite like theirs and that God has singled them out for special purposes. Other, more traditional evangelical churches are put down. Subjective experience is emphasized and dissent is discouraged. Many areas of member's lives are subject to scrutiny. Rules and legalism abound. People who don't follow rules or who threaten exposure are often dealt with harshly. Excommunication is common. For those who leave, the road back to normalcy is difficult.
Source: Churches That Abuse, by Ronald Enroth.

The apple never falls far from the tree (Matthew 7:16). You need to look at her father to see who's child she is, and why she acts like she does. (proverbs 20:11)

Dave Botting, Juliet Dewal, and Valerie Peters, are John Visser's spiritual children that he has groomed for not only their paid staff and leadership positions at Maranatha but also as his counselling staff,accountable only to him. With out John they are unemployed. They will defend John, confidentiality or no confidentiality.

Really I mean REALLY ask your self, how is it that John and his staff and the people who he has counselled can not see and are blinded to what is going on.

Please research co-dependence and you will find your sight.
I suggest the following book available on-line.

http://www.apologeticsindex.org/716-churches-that-abuse-online-book

I suggest the book The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by Jeff VanVonderen and or Healing Spiritual Abuse by Ken Blue available where you buy your books.

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counseling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of the Director of Restoration Ministry--that have been gotten in counseling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'spiritual daughter'—the director of restoration ministry.

The comment that is continually being flagged is a statement from a member of Maranatha that shows confidentiality has been broken before and the charge was made by Classis is only one of many instances that this has occured. I would suggest that this member has been flagged because they mention the position of the staff person and thereby are naming the person. Perhaps posting this comment with a more general description would keep it up. I did not delete it. This does go against the Banner's posting policies so I suspect it will be taken down if posted again. I can confirm that this is a common occurance in our history and quite often the breach was done in a defensive move or for justification of actions.

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counseling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of a current staff member--that have been gotten in counseling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'spiritual child'—a current staff member at Maranatha.

It has just been confirmed that Peter Lammers has stepped down as Chair of Council at Maranatha. With this position now available I would like to submit John Visser for the Chair's position to avoid futher confusion.

I find it difficult to take Dave Botting's comments seriously. Does he seriously believe that the Restoration Ministry is kept in confidence? He knows very well that at staff meetings confidential information is shared. Ask the former Director of Friendship ministries what she has heard--confidential information gleaned from counseling sessions. I, myself, have been told things about people--from the lips of a current staff member--that have been gotten in counseling sessions.

I love Pastor Visser, but I believe he is blinded to the unethical actions of his 'spiritual child'—a current staff member at Maranatha.

Because this matter may be appealed to synod, we will not be allowing commenting on this article.

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