Home      Dis: Carl St

Pastor Stevens


May 11, 2005

Dear Pastor,

I write to my sons in the Lord whom I dearly love. My desire is to share with you a little about my personal life over the last 3 years. I have had excruciating back and stomach pain for a very long time. Sometimes the pain is so severe that I cannot sleep. I have also had great challenges in my family life as many of you know. I deeply love my Sons and my family. Please understand me at this point in my life, as I have endeavored to do the best I can. I have not been perfect both as a father and a pastor. I have not succeeded in every way. Please forgive me. God knows my shortcomings. Some of you also know them. This has been a very painful time for me not only physically but emotionally both as a father and a pastor because of how much love I have for my family and for the flock God has given me to watch over and care for. I also know that I am accountable before God. I have walked before God the best way I could. Please permit me now to acknowledge to you certain issues that have caused division within the ministry.

1. I am told that I have been a conscientious steward regarding the church’s finances. I have always exhorted pastors at ordination and in the pulpit to be responsible with regards to women, finances, and doctrine. However, I took it upon myself to make a decision involving a large sum of money given to compensate people who were harmed by one of my staff pastor’s indiscretions. I did this without accountability to the Body of Christ. To this day, I believe the decision to make the payment was the right one. The way I accomplished this, in not advising the local assembly, nevertheless, was wrong. For that I repent and assure you that it will never happen again.

2. Also in this regard, I failed to administer proper discipline to the pastor who fell. I allowed him to continue in his responsibilities without requiring disciplinary actions like I have done during my forty years of ministry in every other such situation. I apologize for that failure. It was based upon my sentimentality. I ask you for your forgiveness. Checks and balances are now in. place to prevent this from ever happening again.

3. As my spiritual sons in the Lord, you know the style and method of ministry that God has given me. I have loved you and served you and have always dealt, with you with loving rebuke where necessary, but mostly with exhortation. In my state now with my weakened powers of ministry and the pressure that has come upon me as an elderly pastor I admit to you that the things I have heard and the correspondence and E-Mails that I have received have hurt and angered me and sometimes I have spoken out of frustration. I apologize for that. In my heart I desire unity and I trust that you have always known this to be true. I ask that you give me grace as an elderly man who often lives under intense pressure. Forgive me. Please give me mercy and grace so that I can feel comfortable with who I am. At this time in my life, please make life a little easier for me. Please love each other and forgive each other in every way. According to the Word of God, we must find our security in His mercy, grace and lovingkindness alone. It is in that security and lovingkindness that I apologize to you, as well as anyone and everyone that I have hurt in any way. Although I would like very much to have dialogue with each of you that have been hurt, please understand that my weakened condition prohibits me from engaging in such a dialogue about these matters.

4. Now, regarding Sandy Cove I understand that it is very near and dear to you. I was apprehensive about it because it was a meeting that I chose not to attend. Because of that, I did not know what would take place. In my years of ministry, we have never had such a meeting. It does not mean that I did not trust you or that you did not have good intentions, but we have never come to this place in our ministry before. Because of this, my apprehension about it was rooted in the delicate phase that our ministry is now going through. To be very honest, I did commission Pastor Powell to hold the conference and we did agree that I would not attend. However, I became apprehensive about the conference because I was getting competing views about it. I do not think the conference or its conclusions were wrong. I embrace your coming together as one to strengthen this ministry.

As I close this letter, let me thank you for all your prayer for our ministry and for me. I wish you all God’s best in your endeavors as led by the Spirit. Thank you also for all you have done to support me in the work that Christ has performed in our ministry all these years. I love you all deeply. I appreciate your faithfulness to God, to this ministry, and your loyalty to me these many years. My joy would be so enriched to be with each of you personally, to behold each of you and to have that rich communion with you that has always been my treasured privilege. It is my desire to see each of you go forward in unity to preserve the integrity and nature of our affiliation and to strengthen the ministry to which Christ has called us. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. May God keep you and bless you.

In His grace,

Pastor Carl H. Stevens