Dear WCV Community,
This past season has been a difficult one. Thank you for hanging in there. The purpose of this letter is to communicate what’s been going on in Winnipeg Centre Vineyard since the shocking news of Nathan’s arrest on August 10, 2018, his immediate resignation from WCV, and his conviction on December 14, 2018.
We know the events and information surrounding this ordeal have been hard to digest. Each new media report stirred up many emotions. For some of you this has triggered past trauma – for others you’re ready to put it all in the past. We want you to know that no matter where you find yourself we are committed to walk this out in the best way possible.
Our Pastoral Staff, Board of Directors and Elders learned about Nathan’s arrest between August 12 -14. Immediately we sought counsel from the Vineyard Canada National Team, legal advice, and the Winnipeg Police. A joint leadership team meeting occurred on August 17th, and the community was informed of Nathan’s arrest on August 18th at our Sunday morning gathering and via email.
Corporately there have been three grief and prayer evenings, a grief run, as well as one sharing circle time. Resources on grief, trauma, and talking to children and youth about loss have been compiled. Many hours of pastoral care have been given to those most vulnerable and most directly affected. Some have also accessed our list of available and qualified counsellors who are willing to support WCV people through this season. (If you’d like to receive this kind of care please contact anyone on the leadership team). Additionally, we’ve accessed outside support from other Vineyard pastors and leaders, including members of the Vineyard Canada National Team who have come to be with us at regular intervals. This national support will continue.
This situation has magnified a few weaknesses in our leadership structures as a church. We sought wisdom and guidance from leaders in Vineyard Canada and elsewhere in order to strengthen how we work together as a leadership team.
Since August, the Pastoral Elders and Staff, the Lay Elders, and the Board of Directors have begun meeting together as a whole “Leadership Team” in order to increase collaboration, communication and effectiveness. This coming together has allowed for more voices to be in the mix while at the same time maintaining each team’s unique function. Besides leading the congregation through this time, the team has initiated a number of conversations looking at staff roles, leadership functions, policies and procedures. Specifically, our abuse policy, kid-check system, as well as support and accountability structures for leaders in WCV have been reviewed and are being updated accordingly.
To make this work, the team is relying on Ben Kelly (BOD Chair), Krista Heide (Lay Elder Point Person) and Andy Wood (Pastoral Executive) to provide leadership and collaboration.
Many of you have inquired about care for Nathan throughout this past season. Our Vineyard Canada National Directors, David and Anita Ruis, have been walking alongside Nathan since the beginning and are committed to carrying this for the next season. We recognize that there are many vulnerable and affected people in our community, and for this reason, as David Ruis stated in our gathering on December 9, Nathan will not be returning to Winnipeg Centre Vineyard. As time goes on, there will be talks about how and what reconciliation looks like, but this will not happen on a Sunday morning and will not be forced. We commit to do everything we can to provide a safe place for those who are most vulnerable in this situation.
We are all deeply affected and grieved by this situation. We apologize for the parts of our functioning that is clunky. As we seek to follow God’s leading we are committed to continue to grow and improve as well as continue to care for those most vulnerable.
This process of helping our community and any others affected will take considerable time. As we continue to offer resources, gatherings and support, please know that we want to make a safe place for healing to happen. If you need support, want to share concerns or want to have someone meet with you, please contact anyone from our leadership team.
In the end the church is built on one person: Jesus. Hard situations make this even more clear. Though this season has been difficult, it has been so good to see our level of desperation and focus increase. Jesus truly is our centre, our strength, and our light – especially in suffering. Just as we regularly pray for our whole church, would you keep praying for us?
If you have any questions or need to talk for any reason, we’re here.
The WCV Leadership Team
Andy (Pastoral Executive)
& Beckie Wood
John & Violet Rademaker
Jodi & Mike Labun
Krista (Lay Elder Point Person)
& Cliff Heide
Paul & Sherry Ansloos
Jason & Theresa Eheler
Rod & Elisa Jersak
|Board of Directors
Ben Kelly (Chairperson)