2011-03-31 Open Letter To SafeHarbourChurch

March 31, 2011

To the congregation, friends, and affiliates of Safe Harbour MCC


It has been over a year since I served as your intentional interim pastor. In that year, I have worked at not being drawn into discussions about the church or the issues surrounding the church as required by my understanding of the interim process and because I believe it is the right thing to do.

I have recently been contacted by some people regarding the situation at SHMCC and, I understand, some have used my name and possibly my words to try to influence others or to criticize others. I feel it is best if I provide as many of you as possible with my actual thoughts on what is happening there.

First I would point out that I did not feel SHMCC leadership or congregation ever embraced the concept of the interim process. I have the impression the leadership agreed to the process because it would bring in additional revenue from the Region, Toronto MCC, forgiven tithes from the denomination, and my personal financial support of my position at SHMCC. This resulted in a lack of participation in the process and very little benefit to the congregation.

My intention was to model and instruct for you a healthier way to be church. The foundations for this instruction were based in direct dealing, honest speaking, and seeking your spiritual leader in the right way, for the right reasons, to find the right person.

Current events suggest to me that you have not incorporated any of these in the culture of your church. I believe that you hired Rev. Paty for the wrong reasons and in the wrong way. I always believed Rev. Jennifer was the right person to take over the spiritual direction of SHMCC. However, for her appointment to be successful the congregation needed to take an honest look at how they had done business in the past and decide how they wanted to do business in the future and then seek a pastor that would team with the congregation to do the work. SHMCC never came to terms with their history, did not identify clear and shared goals, and therefore could not commit to a shared vision with their new pastor. I feel this is confirmed by the failure of SHMCC to install their new pastor. Installation services are the time when the congregation, the pastor, the denomination, and community come together to commit to the common vision of the church and to pledge their mutual support. This never happened at SHMCC. I also believe the selection of Rev. Jennifer was for the wrong reasons. I knew from my arrival at SHMCC that some influential people in the congregation had decided on Rev. Jennifer as the next pastor for the church. Rather than use the time of the interim to get healthy, these persons used the time to solidify their intention to hire Rev. Jennifer. Power struggles were conducted to make certain the right people were in power positions to make this happen. It is clear to me that these persons were seeking to hire a chaplain not a pastor. Chaplains are hired by individuals, families, or organizations to do the bidding of her or his employer. The employer sets the agenda, controls work conditions, and basically owns the chaplain. A pastor is someone called by God to do God’s bidding within a congregation or community. The calling congregation partners with the pastor to achieve the mission of the church. Pastors are empowered to instruct and move the congregation forward without the interference of individuals. I believe, when some in the congregation learned Rev. Jennifer intended to be a pastor and not a chaplain, they withdrew their personal and financial support of the congregation in the hopes of influencing the ministry of Rev. Jennifer and the church as a whole. Which has resulted in the crisis the church now faces.

I was drawn into this discussion when Tanya posted on Facebook that SHMCC was closing. When I stated the church was not closing because no vote of the congregation had taken place, she responded that this news had been shared with WayvesMagazine. There are people in the congregation who may believe they have the ability to close the church but they do not. The congregation will have final say on whether the church closes or stays open. Those persons will have the choice as to whether to stay or go if the church votes to stay open but they cannot close the church. The impact of stating the church is closing In public venues is to speak dishonestly. This statement denies the authority of the congregation and causes confusion in the community. Some members of the congregation heard for the first time that their church was closing by reading it on Facebook. This is not accurate information and cause significant hurt and anxiety to those who call SHMCC their church home.

I shared this opinion with some who contacted me. They chose to share my thoughts with others without asking my permission. I would have given permission but that is not the point. Direct dealing requires that one not share another’s story without their permission. Dishonest and indirect communication has been part of SHMCC’s past and I believe it will be a primary cause for its closing if that is the course of action the congregation takes. I am sending this letter to anyone I have an e-mail address for who was associated with SHMCC. I give you permission to share my words with others. I would prefer you not interpret my thoughts for others.

I am saddened by the turn of events at SHMCC. I bear no ill will toward any of you. I had sincerely hoped you would be successful in creating a healthy congregation so you could do the important work God has for you to do in Halifax Regional Metropolitan Area.


Rev. BobBond?, Intentional Interim Specialist, Eternal Joy MCC, Dayton, Ohio, USA