Chris Conlee resigns from Highpoint Church: new statement from Jules Woodson
Statement from Jules Woodson:
Over the past 6 months, since I originally went public with my story, and through the resignations of the other 3 pastors involved, Steve Bradley of StoneBridge Church has refused to acknowledge or be held accountable for any wrong doing to include his failure to report my assault to law enforcement.
As #ChurchToo stories continue to pop up in headlines nationwide, (i.e. Bill Hybels, Frank Page, Paul Pressler, Mark Aderholt, to name a few,) people are beginning to understand how damaging and traumatizing clergy sexual abuse can be...It is a gross abuse of power that violates victims physically, emotionally and spiritually. However, churches continue to minimize abuse by handling reports internally and with toxic theology that focuses on cheap grace and forgiveness over accountability and justice.
My goals in continuing to speak out are not self motivated for pity or attention but instead, to encourage other abuse victims who have been shamed and silenced by the church, to know that they are not alone. I want my story to help educate others and effect positive change in how the church handles abuse and treats victims.
I think Chris Conlee's resignation was a necessary step and I'm grateful he is no longer in the pulpit for now though I am confused as to why it took 6 months for Highpoint to realize this. I also feel that the leaders missed an important opportunity yesterday to affirm to the world that in moving forward, they will be a church that no longer tolerates abuse and will become a safe and supportive place for all victims. Instead, they were vague about the resignation in the official statement they released and told reporters who reached out that they were not commenting.
The New York Times: I Was Assaulted. He Was Applauded.
Thread: When my story first went public at the beginning of January, Chris Conlee stood before his church @hpmemphis, embracing my abuser Andy Savage, and publicly acknowledged that he had known about my abuse for years but never reported it to the proper authorities. https://t.co/Z2OA5ss17A— Jules Woodson (@juleswoodson11) July 11, 2018
Christians, accountability starts at the top. Let justice flow down like waters in every place where these things have happened or been mishandled. Grateful for @juleswoodson11. https://t.co/a8TDIg4cwq— Rachael Denhollander (@R_Denhollander) July 12, 2018
Chris Conlee is the pastor who hired Andy Savage, the pastor who sexually assaulted Jules Woodson, and when years later Savage finally confessed, he received a standing ovation from Highpoint Church.— Eric Atcheson, the Esoteric Cleric (@RevEricAtcheson) July 11, 2018
There's no sign of repentance at all in their joint statement. None. #churchtoo https://t.co/Eh6fmplHlR
Abuse survivor Brooks Hansen also spoke out after Chris Conlee's resignation: