I’m Janna L. Chan, Todd’s assistant on this blog. Like Todd, I’ve been advocating against sexual abuse and the cover-up of sexual abuse at Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries (recently re-named Sovereign Grace Churches) for several years. I also share his interest in addressing general abuse issues in many of the denominations and Churches that directly or indirectly support Covenant Life Church and Sovereign Grace Ministries.
As such, Todd has been kind enough to let me experiment with updating folks about some of the issues that have come up in the comments sections of recent posts. Among other things. So here goes. Please note, this is Part 1 of this week’s update efforts because a lot has happened since The Washingtonian magazine published at article investigating sexual abuse allegations at Covenant Life Church.
Where is Steve Shanks?
The “Where’s Stevo” post, pertaining to former long-time SGM/SGC leader Steve Shanks disappearance from his Church in Gilbert, Arizona has received many hits. Please note that Todd added a paragraph to this post referencing credible allegations that Steve Shanks was involved in counseling members and Pastors at Sovereign Grace Churches respecting their unethical and likely illegal decisions to cover-up allegations of child sexual abuse instead of reporting them to the police. At the very least, leaders in SGM/SGC failed to prevent the alleged perpetrators from having further contact with children in the relevant Churches.
Is P.J Smyth Really Interested in Running Covenant Life Church Or Is He Just Using It To Gain Entry To The United States
The “CLC – Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire!” post, which references new Covenant Life Church (CLC) Pastor P.J. Smyth’s background has also generated a lot of interest. In particular, Todd has demonstrated that running CLC may not be P.J. Smyth’s primary concern given the amount of traveling to Churches in his “Advance” para-Church Ministry he has done over the past few months.
In addition, Smyth does not appear to have attended Seminary. Specifically, his biography distributed by Covenant Life Church does not reference any educational credentials he may have. This is noteworthy because CLC’s search committee publicly expressed a clear interest in finding an educated lead Pastor given that former Pastor Joshua Harris claimed that his poor leadership of the Church was due to his lack of formal education.
Todd also noted that Smyth appears to be recycling sermons (i.e. giving the same ones at different Churches). Lastly, one of Smyth’s comments indicates that former Covenant Life Church Pastor Joshua Harris decided to leave the Church’s employ at least a year prior to his official announcement to that effect. In addition, many people noted that Pastor Harris appeared to have turned over his job functions to Mark Mitchell, Covenant Life Church’s current executive Pastor.
If this is the case, then Pastor Joshua Harris appears to have been fully compensated for a job he was no longer really doing for at least a year prior to his official departure. This is relevant due to question and concerns about whether or not Harris was given severance pay for a job he quit voluntarily. Even if he was not given an official bonus, being allowed to “call it in” regarding his job as a lead Pastor counts as a perk, in my opinion.
Thanks for Reading
I hope this mini-update was helpful. In particular, please re-read the Where’s Stevo article as it contains important new information about Steve Shanks likely role in handling sexual abuse allegations in Sovereign Grace Churches.