Faith, Trust, & Pain Amist The Dust: An Open Letter To Those Affected by Willow Creek South Barrington’s Current News
Start writing a post

Faith, Trust, & Pain Amist The Dust: An Open Letter To Those Affected by Willow Creek South Barrington’s Current News

We can't run from everything, especially away from God right?

Faith, Trust, & Pain Amist The Dust: An Open Letter To Those Affected by Willow Creek South Barrington’s Current News

My name is Abby Perez. I am 19 years old, a college student, lover of learning about human rights, a grown Christian woman, and a past/current Willow Creek Community Church attendee. Either, you the reader, probably know nothing of when I say "Willow Creek" or absolutely everything. So here's a simple question to sum up everything about Willow Creek's (first ever that I know of) scandal: What do you as a church do when the man, who created programs of change, developments of support, a community that thousands of people call home, has become the topic of sexual misconduct?

Holy, that's a lot. But hey, unfortunately, Christian/Catholic pastor scandal in regards to sexual misconduct is a big punchline in popular media, so no big deal, right? But I think I'm getting a little ahead of myself; let's hold on there to let me explain this whole situation of what very much could be Willow Creek Community Church's first and biggest scandal.

It all started March of 2018 when the first allegation from a woman claiming lead pastor and founder of Willow Creek, Bill Hybels, had been sexually inappropriate with her. Hybels has been projected to retire by the end of the year, but these accusations had caused him to feel for the sake of the Church, to step down and give his chosen two heirs, Steve Carter and Heather Larson, the new lead pastors with the same elders (leaders). Long story short, the elders of Willow handled and responded to these allegations against Bill in a very unprofessional and unjust way, in grace in light to Hybels and arguably disrespecting or dismissing the woman completely.

Too much of Willow go-ers and Willow supporters surprise, the actions made by the leaders to such left an unflattering taste in their mouths, considering Willow is a huge force in promoting the Christian way or simply a humane and loving community message. After the case was closed for a few months, many still had questions and felt incomplete, some questioning the church altogether. And either you love and know all about willow or you don't, the Willow Creek association is defined as a mega church with mega amounts of influence.

With serving thousands on their main campus in South Barrington, Illinois (where I had started my strong faith) and serving many hundreds more throughout the Chicago area, including their North Shore campus (where I reside in my faith.) Then came Sunday, August 5th.

New York Times had come out with a news article with several additional allegations, re-opening Hybel's investigation wide open again, making another whole case up. But it wasn't just cases being open, many eyes were opened by the travesties and stories these women had reported. Many were hurt, including the leaders of the Church, inevitably forcing their hand to step down.

Throughout that week many sudden changes had to be made and many hearts were challenged. And without a doubt, his whole situation has left me unquestionably rattled. It comes from huge amounts of confusion and disappointment in a young adult who loved all this man started. I grew up for about half my life through this congregation and volunteered, led, and was apart of for so many years. I grew my faith and found some higher power I hadn't through this Church. I heard this man praise the man and woman he gave heir to his Church an amazing, equalizing, and appreciative invitation to lead. I've had many friends become a huge part of this church, heavily get involved as well, and eventually work for the Church that they believed in too.

It's not just a personal effect but a community disparity—something we relate on for an unfortunate manner.

So when I talk to others and share the same pain stricken fear in our voices, know that this is more than another church scandal. We fear that same generalization, we fear to discredit due to few people (yet powerful people) of the Church, we fear people will be in fear themselves to find God through us or at all.

Willow Creek annually has been hosting 5ks for different causes, is known and connected to many other organizations and churches internationally, even hosts another annual, multiple day events educating and promoting the help of international needs around the world. And as heartbreaking as it is to think that all these inspiring events and much more become hidden behind one (but huge) sin of one man, it becomes more and more apparent this need of breakage in a "perfect" Church.

This disgust of sin needed to be told, this change showed own personal need for growth in leadership, and it shows its community who they're people. And just like how people say you must take care of yourself properly before properly taking care of and loving others, it's become a pain-staked realization that Willow needed a wake-up call—something of a turning point. Sometimes we don't see the things we need to work on if they're kept under the skin, and the whole body of the Church is tested. Although an odd take on everything, Willow, we've got to believe, I've got to believe to see the good in this pain, the good in this truth.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.


While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.


Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.


When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.


I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.


We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.


The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.


Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments