Open Letter Of Resignation
This document is in response to Brethren in Christ (BIC) Leadership’s May 23, 2019 appeals decisions communication in which a response deadline of May 30, 2019 was given for Lead Pastor, Justin Douglas and the Strategic Leadership Team.
In May of 2018 our You Belong video, which had been published over a year prior, was brought into question through a malicious document that was distributed in various ways. The Bridge Leadership was contacted by BIC leadership to answer questions of theology and practice surrounding human sexuality. The Bridge leadership began further discerning our convictions and direction as an organization largely related to matters of LGBT inclusion and theology. With integrity, we notified our Bishop and Leadership Council of our shift in theology and how we desire to live out our core value of Belonging by Acceptance. Through this notification we also expressed the desire to remain connected to the Brethren in Christ: Justin, as a licensed pastor and The Bridge, as an affiliated ministry. After Pastor Justin’s license was revoked and our request to remain in a unique relationship was denied, we took action to appeal those decisions. Our request to appeal to General Conference Board was denied. We were required to appeal to the teams that made the initial ruling (Commission on Ministry and Doctrine and Leadership Council). This is not how we understood the appeals process would occur based on information in the Manual of Doctrine and Government (Article 13.6). We believe appealing to the same leadership boards that made these initial decisions was improper.
In a May 23, 2019 conversation with Bishop Bryan Hoke, Pastor Justin was made aware that the BIC was pursuing John Reitz for Interim Pastor of The Bridge Church. Without The Bridge’s knowledge, John (a staff member of The Bridge under Pastor Justin’s leadership) was contacted by BIC National Director Alan Robinson regarding the potential to become the future Interim Pastor for The Bridge Church. These Interim Pastor discussions occurred prior to the completion of our official appeals process and it would seem they have been occurring for some time. Due to John’s consideration of this potential Interim Pastor position without Pastor Justin being notified, he became privy to confidential conversations regarding The Bridge's appeals planning, processing, and information.
The process of appeals, as experienced by us, was unfair because the BIC National Director Alan Robinson was preparing and planning for a specific outcome, while exclusively overseeing and directing the appeals process.
As part of our commitment to ensure a successful transition of leadership, our staff has prepared detailed information outlining various processes to help onboard the new leadership of The Bridge. All staff and ministry leaders have removed personal property and returned Bridge-owned property. The compensation provided on June 1, 2019 will be Pastor Aly and Pastor Justin’s last pay period to receive a paycheck, healthcare, and benefits via The Bridge Church. Pastor Justin and his family will vacate the parsonage as soon as possible, but no later than July 31, 2019.
It is with deep disappointment that the undersigned staff and volunteers are resigning in protest of the process executed by BIC Leadership.
Resigning Effective 5/31/19
Justin Douglas (Lead Pastor)
Alyson Wert (Campus Pastor)
Bob Raves (SLT Member/Treasurer)
Nancy Shirley (SLT Member)
Chelsea Miller (SLT Member)
Chad Krebs (SLT Member)
Nick Cargas (SLT Member)
Chris Dilger (BridgeKidz Director)
Lynn Diven (Rental Coordinator)
Glenn Shirley (Worship Leader)
Ryan Moran (Worship Leader)
Curtis Smith (Worship Leader)
Rose Hoerner (Hospitality Leader)
Sherri Long (Communications Director)
Beth Raves (First Impressions Leader)
Bryan Goody (Worship Leader Midtown)
Allen Fernandez (Audio Leader Midtown)
Keith Landers (Slides Leader Midtown)
Kyle Bohn (Hospitality Leader Midtown)
Kristin Johnson (First Impressions Leader Midtown)
Resigning Effective 6/9/19
(In order to allow all necessary financial procedures to be transferred appropriately)
David Baker (Accountant)
Kim Baker (Accountant)