2014 - 2019 Youth Ministry

Investigation

Context

We are currently undergoing an investigation of our youth ministry from 2014-2019.  A third-party investigator has been hired to explore the harm students and volunteers experienced during that time. This situation was initially explored in 2021 through a pastoral inquiry. Those who experienced harm (the victims) have asked for a more extensive investigation and The River’s board and senior leaders have agreed that this action is necessary.

All experiences are important to us in the pursuit of truth and healing. We hope that anyone with information to share will feel comfortable to do so in the current investigation.

Participation

The investigation is being conducted by The Stier Group and led by Amy Stier. Ms. Stier has worked extensively with church cultures and has particular expertise in trauma-informed ministry and investigations. Throughout the entire process, names of victims will remain confidential and will not be shared with The River Church Community.

Community Support

Investigations can be stressful for a community. So, we urge everyone to take a posture of prayerful patience and compassion. To those who carry the scars of trauma, we pray for comfort and healing.  

We took time on Sunday, January 28th to address this as a community and created spaces for small group conversations in the initial weeks after the investigation was announced. If you were unable to participate in one of these but would be helped by a conversation with a pastor or board member, you can sign up for one here.

To help streamline communication related to this process, you can direct questions to boardchair@the-river.org. You can also contact a specific staff or board member and their information can be found here.

Victim Assistance

Our priority, in the original pastoral inquiry and in this current investigation, is the support and healing of those who have been harmed. If you have an experience to share, we encourage you to contact Ms. Stier to help give her a full picture of what occurred in our youth ministry. 

We understand and respect that some of you may be hesitant to engage with this process and we would like to support you in any way we can. We are happy to provide someone to pray with you. We have also thought through protective steps for those who might feel vulnerable. Please email victimsupport@the-river.org for more information on either of these offerings. If you would benefit from processing your experience with a professional counselor, we have set aside funds for this purpose, please email counseling@the-river.org for more information.

The information provided to the investigators will inform a final report which will be made public on our website.

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