Willow Creek leaders voice support for Hybels | WORLD
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Willow Creek leaders voice support for Hybels

Bill Hybels Creative Commons/Photo by Mary Fairchild

Willow Creek leaders voice support for Hybels

Pastor Bill Hybels and leaders of Willow Creek Community Church, a multicampus megachurch in the metropolitan Chicago area, responded to accusations of pastoral misconduct in a meeting and at worship services over the weekend. The accusations against Hybels became public in a report released by the Chicago Tribune Thursday night, which interviewed people who said Hybels made suggestive comments, gave extended hugs, kissed one woman without permission, and had one extramarital affair, though the woman reportedly involved in the affair has since denied it happened. At a meeting Friday night, church elders told church members they knew about the accusations, hired outside counsel to investigate them, and found them unsubstantiated. “The accusations you hear in the Tribune are just flat-out lies,” Hybels said at the meeting, according to the Tribune. Pam Orr, the church’s highest-ranking elder, addressed questions about why leaders didn’t inform members of the inquiry into Hybels’ alleged misconduct earlier. “We had concluded in the first investigation that we found no evidence to support the allegation brought forward,” Orr said. “To bring that into full light, to bring that to the congregation just did not seem appropriate at the time.” At least three board members of the Willow Creek Association, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the church, resigned because they were unhappy over how the investigation was handled. At the Friday night meeting and Sunday worship services, Hybels received standing ovations from attendees. He said he plans to continue working at the church until his planned retirement in October.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is WORLD’s executive editor for news. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.


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