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This review is written at the request of Pastor Earl Blackburn, Chairman of the Administrative Council of ARBCA. It is not intended for distribution beyond the original target audience; in fact, the writer requires permission to distribute further in onder co avoid additional misunderstanding. AS well, it is not now nor bas it ever been my desire to publish these matters ‘beyond the original principals involved in the matter herein described. From the beginning, it has been my intention to serve the interests of the kingdom as it relates to the health and vitality of ARBCA churches and the various members. Finally, this report is not meant to analyze fully the proceedings mentioned, but is limited to review of whether or not Tom Chantry was given an ‘opporbunity to address the committee of investigator. lightened difficulty at Miller Valley Baptist Church, Prescot, Arizona first came to my attention on 6 November 2000. My friend Tom Chantry called, seeking my advice. Over the course of the next few days, as events unfolded rapidly in Prescot, events that ultimately prompted Tom to resign his pastorate, he confessed to me spanking several children from the church family over the course of time. He acknowledged to me wrongdoing in the matter, confessing that he never should have spanked the children under his tutorial care. ‘He resigned that week, telling me be did not believe he could work any longer in that caviroment, particularly with the elders. When be and the elders went to visit the various families involved, in which be repented and asked their forgiveness, Tom concluded it had gone well. It appeared as if the fiumilies had forgiven him and that they were eager to put the past ‘ochind them. They loved his preaching, were eager to bear him proclaim the word of God, and were able (o submit to his pastoral oversight. Within days, however, the elders suggested to Tom that in their judgment other problems had surfaced which required similar attention, problems unrelated to the spanking of children and which were somewhat vague. The elders believed that an open mecting, where members could air their grievances or disappointments with Tom and his ministry, would be the best course of action. I belicve they also suggested that at some point a vote of confidence in his ministry would also be in order. These later developments made no sense to Tom and he resigned, belioving be had lost the confidence of the elders and with their proposal would soon lose the confidence of the membership. Within « week, I began to hear serious accusations pouring out of Prescott, accusations having to do with matters that I had been told were put to rest. The Prescott elders asked to mest with several ARBCA AC men in Escondido on 14 November, where I was present. By then, the ‘sharges against Tom in his handling of certain children had both multiplied and intensified. The ‘lders made no mention of any other concems they had about Tom and his ministry, as Tom had ‘opined; rather, the treatment of children was the only focus. No decision was reached, but clearly those who listened to the words of the elders were moved, ‘At the suggestion of Walt Chantry, and with the involvement of David Dykstra (Chairman of the ARBCA Membership Committee), Earl Blackbur (Chairman of the ARBCA AC), and Bob Selph (Coordinator of ARBCA), it was agreed that an investigative team, made up of mutually agreed upon persons, travel to Prescott and seek to discover what had recently happened that resulted in the resignation of the church's pastor. These men were to investigate, to gather informatioa, to bring back a report, and to make recommendations. This was not a church council in the traditional and confessional sense, but an ad hoc committee of men sent to investigate, In this context, it was assumed that both sides would have an opportunity to air grievances. Due to the ever-advancing number of charges now leveled agaiast Tom Chantry and their possible implications, the Chantry family believed that Tom should not remmn to the Prescott area alone. His parents believed that he ought to have a witness of the proceedings with him, as well ‘as one who could act as a counselor and, if necessary, one who might prompt ‘Tom to a suitable response. The family chose me, and I agreed to go in this capacity In anticipation and preparation for the meeting in Phoenix, each of the parties was asked to submit @ paper, outlining his understanding of what had unfolded in the church, along with any oncems or grievances, Tom read me his report in advance, and it matched what be told me previously, both as to his guilt and to his concen about the growing number of vague charges leveled against him just before he left Prescott, charges unrelated to the original matter of disciplining some children whose parcots were members ofthe church. ‘The ad hoc committee met from December 13-16, 2000 in Phoenix, Arizona. When Tom and I arrived on Wednesday afternoon, the three investigators (Pastor Rich Jensen, Elder Mike McKnight, and Pastor Tedd Tripp) met with us briefly to outline the approach they planned to use. They intended to meet with all the children and their parents, the elders, and with us. They promised that they would take as much time as necessary with each one, including us, to ensure faimess. They assured us that, as with each of the parties, Tom would be heard. They appeared affirming, and both Tom and I were encouraged. This approach seemed to us both reasonable and equitable. It took a great deal more cime for the investigators to meet with all parties than any of us originally imagined, so that the three men did not convene with us until about 1:00 p.m. the next day. Mike McKnight chaired the meeting and led off immediately by telling us that they had met with the elders and the families. They believed the children were credible witnesses, that the children had not consulted with one another about these matters, and that they had not heard their pparents speaking about them. Mike wanted to hear what Tom had to say about the various incidents, but that he should be cautious in responding because the investigators believed entirely ‘what the children had told them. The other wo men nodéed in agreement. It appeared they had already unfairly come to a conclusion about matters even before hearing Tom. For the next two or more hours, Tom responded to questions put to him regarding his behavior with the children. The questions had to do with the number of children disciplined, the manner, the frequency, and the intensity. Tom responded cobereatly and dispassionately, seeking to address specific concems. At one point he mentioned an incident with a child, no longer in the church, about which the investigators bad no knowledge. I thought this was a good sign that Tom ‘was fortheomiag. This period came to an end when Mike made the cbvious point that there were major discrepancies between what the children, parents, and elders told them and what Tom acknowledged to be true, especially as to the Teasons for the punishment, as well ag to the frequency and the intensity oft. Tom was asked if he could explain this, At this point, Tom seemed glad for the opportunity to address the investigators. He told them that he believed there were reasons other than the children for the different reports and why things had escalated, reasons that he ad introduced in his writen report. As he began to address the issue, ‘Tedd Tripp excused himself to go to the restroom, and while he was gone Rich Jensen took the copy of Tom’s account and quickly began to dismiss Tom’s allegations—even before Tom ever listed them. He spoke for the three in saying that they had previously read the statement but did not believe there was any merit to his concems. One of the men said that anything other than his fully confessing to the charges made against him and the discrepancies was irrelevant. Irrelevant, but they had not given him the opportunity to explain his point of view whatsoever. By then ‘Tedd had returned and Tom was asked if he had anything else to say; that is, to say about the children and his treatment of them. Tom realized that since the men would not hear his explanation of events as they unfolded, because they had already made up their minds, he bad nothing further o say. The investigators then dismissed us and said that they now needed to decide what recommendations they would make. Tom was devastated. He was very much ready to admit that he had done wrong; he had done so previously to the various families; be bad done so to me and other good friends; he had done so over the last two hours, including admitting to a case about which the investigators had no Imowledge. It is true that there were discrepancies, and Tom had his own view as to how the charges could accelerate in mumber and intensity, but he was not given the opportunity to elaborate, Anything he had to say, except for further repentance, was irrelevant! He and I expected the worst. Imagine our surprise, then, when we were asked to meet with the investigators about an bour later. Instead of pressing for some form of church discipline or civil charges, they told us they ‘wanted to give Tom back his life. They believed he had not been forthcoming, that he was far ‘guiltier than what he was willing to admit, but they also believed he was a gifted young man and should retum to the ministry someday. They were not able to entrap him in contradictions, nor could they prove their suspicions, but because they believed the children they were resolute in their conviction that Tom was far guiltier than what he was willing to admit. They outlined a course of action whereby the following would be given counsel: the families to forgive Tom, even though they belioved he had not fully confessed wrongdoing; the elders on how to lead the church through this difficult period, including allowing Tom to move kis membership to another ARBCA church without recrimination; and Tom to join an ARBCA church of his choice and to seek counseling from a biblical counselor. Note: The investigators did commend him in one area. They believed that his resignation as pastor was appropriate, In this, they believed Tom hhad been right and the elders wrong in wanting to keep him as their pastor. This approach quite surprised me, given the convictions of the investigators regarding Tom’s ‘guilt. Ihe was as guilty as they believed, and what his excessive actions might suggest, should he serve a church ever again? Nevertheless, Tom was asked to think about the proposal and call ‘them, They were off to present the same to the parents and to the elders. Xt was my conviction that Tom should accept their proposal. Though he did not have an ‘opportunity to present his case about the deteriorating relationship between pastor and elders, which exacerbated the situation, it would allow him to pick up the pieces of his life. Tris course ‘would not resolve Tom's concerns, but it had the potential for giving him back his life, especially aivea the nature of the charges against him and how they would be interpreted in the world in ‘which we live Tom agreed he should accept, as did his parents and Tom’s closest friends. It was his best chance to return to a life of normalcy, and it appeared to offer hope that all this could be put bebind him and be could get on with life, including the possibility of future ministry. There was nothing particularly onerous about what he was asked to do—join a Reformed Baptist church and seek counseling, especially for anger issues. ‘At Tom’s request, however, when I phoned Tedd Tripp to accept their terms I did ask if Tom could address the investigators the next day when the final draft of the document to be signed was presented, Tedd assured me that that would be most appropriate, After all, Tedd said, we would ‘ot want anyone to go away unhappy because they had not been heard.