In an addendum to the elder email, MacDonald wrote a short note admitting to battling “cycles of injustice, hurt, anger, and fear which have wounded others without cause.” He added that he has “carried great shame about this pattern” and added that he wants to address “these recurring patterns” and looks forward to a “welcomed time of sabbatical rest.”
(Julie Roys) Rocked by allegations of financial impropriety and abuse, Harvest Bible Chapel today announced that founding and senior pastor, James MacDonald, is taking an “indefinite sabbatical from all preaching and leadership in Chicago.” (MacDonald will continue to preach and teach from Harvest’s newest campus in Naples, Florida.) The church also announced it is launching a “peacemaking process,” which will seek to “identify and address our personal failures, sins, and errors in leadership.”
The announcement comes a week after Harvest dropped its lawsuit against me and four other defendants, following a judge’s refusal to keep all documents subpoenaed in the case private. It also comes about a month after my exposé in WORLD Magazine revealed allegations of financial mismanagement and a culture of deception and intimidation at the church.
According to an email elders sent to staff and members, Harvest will be partnering in the peacemaking process with two “highly respected ministries” modeled after a book by Ken Sande called, “The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.” The email, however, did not name the specific ministries that will be brought in.
The elders added that the church would reach out to individuals who “have complaints against us,” and would thoroughly examine the church’s financial and leadership policies and make “whatever changes necessary.” They also claimed that MacDonald had “recused himself fully from any direction of this peacemaking process.”