One day after new allegations against Bill Hybels and the resignation of its teaching pastor, Willow Creek has announced an advisory council of Christian leaders from across the country will oversee an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations that created the firestorm.
“For many weeks we have been working together with the Willow Creek Association in seeking an independent investigation to examine any and all accusations made …” Willow Creek Lead Pastor Heather Larson wrote in an email to church members.
“This has been a difficult process because of the public nature of these allegations, but we are working on finalizing this key group of people,” she continued. “This council will have full autonomy and authority to pursue and investigate any and all allegations. Furthermore, an anonymous outside donor has come forward to completely cover the cost of this investigation to ensure there is no undue influence on the process and the conclusions.”
The email follows one Larson sent to church members Sunday in which she said she was “heartbroken” by the latest accusations against Hybels, detailed Sunday in The New York Times.
“I also understand that some are waiting for more information about past allegations and related investigations,” Larson wrote Sunday. “Many also want to know about our follow up with Bill Hybels and our plans for selecting a new lead teaching pastor. We will give you a fuller update as soon as we can, and I know it is urgent.”
The latest accusations, exposed in the New York Times, caused Teaching Pastor, Steve Carter, to resign from the church.
The ongoing scandal is also threatening to overshadow this week’s Global Leadership Summit planned for the South Barrington, Illinois church and 690 satellite sites.
SOURCE: Bob Ditmer