A Message from Pastor Jorge
Dear Grace Church:
As you may be aware, Willow Creek Community Church, the Willow Creek Association (host of the Global Leadership Summit) and Bill Hybels have been in the news since late March. (See sites below) Accusations of sexual impropriety and abuse of power by Bill Hybels have been made by several women. In the midst of the allegations, Bill Hybels has resigned as Senior Pastor at the Willow Creek Community Church and from the Board of the Willow Creek Association plus he has been removed as a speaker at the 2018 Global Leadership Summit.
As you can imagine, I am personally disappointed and devastated at these allegations. It is no secret that Bill and I are personal friends. He spoke at Grace Church in 2011 and I interviewed Bill in front of 2000 United Methodists at the Florida Annual Conference in 2016. With all this said, you need to know that I have read every blog, article and letter that I could find or was sent to me so that I might be up to speed regarding these allegations. I have been in personal conversation with Dave Wright, our Willow Creek Association Field Team point person and Tom DeVries, President and CEO of the Willow Creek Association. I have also had numerous conversations, emails and texts with four other Lead Pastors of United Methodist congregations in Florida who host the Global Leadership Summit; Kevin Griffin (Crossroads Church), Matthew Hartsfield (Bay Hope Church), Dale Locke (Community of Hope) and Ben Stillwell-Hernandez (First UMC, Homestead). Most importantly and appropriately, the Grace Church Operational Team has met on several occasions to discuss the future of the Global Leadership Summit being hosted at Grace Church given these allegations.
This is to inform you that we have decided to not host the 2018 Global Leadership Summit. There is one primary reason. After careful and prayerful consideration, your pastors are concerned that even with Bill’s absence at the Summit, the unresolved accusations create a cloud of suspicion over the Summit. We in no way want to endanger the integrity and reputation of Grace Church.
I have had the awesome privilege of serving in Southwest Florida for 22 years. In this time, I have become close friends with Dennis Gingerich, the Founding Pastor of Cape Christian Fellowship in Cape Coral (capechristian.com). He along with a handful of other Cape Coral pastors and I have met most Mondays for lunch for 22 years. Cory Demmel is the new Lead Pastor and a Global Leadership Summit host veteran. They have graciously picked up the responsibility of hosting the 2018 Global Leadership Summit at their beautiful Cape Coral campus for 2018.
Because of Jesus,
Jorge Acevedo, Lead Pastor
Articles on Bill Hybels accusations: