This timeline is constructed from “Is It Enough?“, a case study of First Christian Church of Florissant by Professor Douglas Lay. The timeline has been updated to include events that have occurred since the study was published. View the graphical timeline here.
2005: Brandon Milburn was brought into FCCF by Ruth and Steve Wingfield and began volunteering with the children’s ministry.
2006-2007: Milburn was employed as an intern with 5th graders at FCCF. During that school year a former staff member reported concerns about Brandon being alone with boys, it’s unknown who that report was made to.
- 3 boys stated how uncomfortable they had gotten with Milburn
- June 2007, Milburn committed the 6 counts of sodomy for which he was charged
- October 2007, Milburn committed the 7th count for which he was charged
October 2008 – April 2009: Milburn left FCCF and was employed at Southeast Christian Church in KY, his home church.
August 2009: Milburn returned to FCCF as a youth volunteer and to re-connect with the minors he abused in 2007. He also re-enrolled at SLCC to pursue a BS degree in preaching
Summer 2010: Milburn interned at Discovery Church in Simi Valley, California. Brandon met Scott Strandell and family while interning at this church.
July 2010: Scott Strandell became the Executive Pastor at FCCF.
August 2010: Milburn returns to SLCC and a campus dorm.
August 2011: Milburn graduates from SLCC and is hired by FCCF as the Creative Elements Director. He is employed at FCCF until January 2012.
August 2011: During an FCCF Mission Trip to Joplin, MO, Scott Seppelt spoke to Milburn regarding sleeping with a male youth behind a counter away from everyone else. Milburn and the same youth did not ride home on the bus but in a separate vehicle. Seppelt did report this to Wingfield. (This appears to be the first time Steve Wingfield receives a direct report of inappropriate behavior by Milburn.)
January 2012: Milburn began contract work at Gateway Christian Church which received a recommendation letter from Steve Wingfield. During this period Milburn continued to volunteer with the youth at FCCF on Wednesday evenings.
February 2012: Gateway reported rumored allegations of inappropriate behavior toward minors by Milburn to Steve Wingfield.
February 2012: Dawn Varvil was called by Virgil Brazle berating her for calling the mother of a victim. Virgil accused Dawn of harassment. He then threatened that she would never work in youth ministry again.
February 2012: Steve Wingfield and Scott Strandell called a meeting with Dawn Varvil to discuss rumors. Dawn Varvil reported concerns about possible inappropriate behavior toward certain youths by Milburn which were dismissed and ignored. These concerns were for six different boys, in addition to the two young men who brought charges against Milburn.
February – June 2012: Brandon Milburn continued to volunteer in the student ministry at FCCF.
June 2012: Brandon Milburn was allowed to be a VBS leader in the FCCF student ministry. This is after Wingfield has received three reports from adults about Milburn’s behavior.
July 2012: Milburn returned to CA and was employed at Mission Ventura, which received recommendation from Steve Wingfield.
July 2012: Scott Strandell ended employment at FCCF.
August 2013: Milburn was hired at Real Life Church in Valencia, CA with a recommendation from Steve Wingfield.
February 2014: Milburn returns to St. Louis for John Strandell’s wedding. He was arrested and charged with six counts of sodomy against two minor boys from FCCF, a seventh charge was eventually added.
February 11, 2014: KSDK NewsChannel5 Story on Milburn.
February 11, 2014: KTVI Fox2Now story on Milburn.
February 11, 2014: KMOV-TV story on Milburn.
February 11, 2014: Post-Dispatch story on Milburn
February 11, 2014: FCCF publishes the following press release:
Having just heard of these charges from something that happened in 2007, our first concern is with how we can best help any victim heal. The charges point to a time when as a college student he served in a part time role as an intern. For the last several years he has been living in another state. We have a justice system who can do the investigation and we will assist them any way we can as our church family works through this.
Brandon had not lived in California for several years but had been given access to children at FCCF until June 2012.
January 26, 2015: Milburn pleads guilty to seven counts of 1st degree statutory sodomy.
March 20, 2015: Open Letter to Steve Wingfield posted on Facebook.
March 23, 2015: Pastor Paul Wingfield called SLCC president Dr. Veech and angrily declared that White Flag Christian Church could not support an institution tied to an agitator like Lay. He told Veech that his church was halting contributions to the college, effective immediately.
March 28, 2015: Professor Doug Lay publishes the 6th edition of the FCCF Case Study “Is It Enough”
March 30, 2015: Milburn is sentenced to 25 years in prison.
April 1, 2015: A Question and Answers meeting was held for Chldren’s Ministry Workers in the FCCF Student Ministry.
April 12, 2015: Jim Taylor’s “Elder’s” Statement to the Congregation.
April 16, 2015: Steve Wingfield and First Christian Church of Florissant file a temporary restraining order with the St. Louis County Courts, seeking to silence whistle blowers at FCCF. The restraining order was dismissed by the courts on first amendment grounds and was not issued.
April 16, 2015: Steve Wingfield and First Christian Church of Florissant file a defamation law suit against four former members of FCCF. Targets of the suit are a former youth pastor and his wife (Titus and Kari Benton), a college professor and Sunday school teacher (Professor Doug Lay), and a wife, mother and youth sponsor (Dawn Varvil.)
April 16, 2015: A GoFundMe page is set-up to help pay legal bills for the four former FCCF members being sued by Steve Wingfield and FCCF.
April 25, 2015: FCCF issues “Can a Church Ever File a Lawsuit?” document that describes the Biblical basis for filing a lawsuit in a court of law.
April 27, 2015: Professor Doug Lay files a “motion to dismiss” with St. Louis County Courts.
April 27, 2015: Lawyer A.W. Johnson (Doug Lay’s attorney) issues 4-page letter to Steve Wingfield’s attorney listing the problems with their defamation suit and highlighting that they have not acted in good faith and have not responded to attempts to set up meetings between the parties. He suggests they drop the suit immediately.
April 29, 2015: An iPetition is created to collect signatures from FCCF members who beilieve that the church should NOT be a party to a lawsuit against its members.
May 5, 2015: The Riverfront Times publishes article on Brandon Milburn and First Christian Church of Florissant, and highlights Steve Wingfield.
May 6, 2015: SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) issued a press release sighting the Riverfront Times 5/5/15 article.
May 6, 2015: Berger’s Beat mentions failed request for restraining order.
May 8, 2015: Riverfront Times publishes article about “Whistle Blowers Fight Back“.
May 11, 2015: Senior Pastor Steve Wingfield and First Christian Church of Florissant withdraw defamation lawsuit “without prejudice”, meaning they can re-file the suit at will.
May 12, 2015: The St. Louis Post Dispatch publishes article about Wingfield and FCCF withdrawing lawsuit.
May 13, 2015: The Riverfront Times publishes article titled “Pastor Drops Lawsuit Against First Christian Church of Florissant Whistleblowers“.
May 15, 2015: RNS (Religion News Service) publishes an article titled “A grand deception: The successful response of sex offenders“.
May 20, 2015: Rumors swirl that senior pastor Steve Wingfield has suspicions that the GoFundMe page set up to help pay legal bills for the defendants being sued by the church is “fraudulent”. His plan appears to be alerting the “authorities” (police chief and FBI) that this has happened on “multiple occasions” and should be investigated.
May 21, 2015: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch publishes an article on Professor Lay’s resignation.
May 22, 2015: Andrew (Jake) McDonnell publishes “Return to the Gospel First Christian Church and St. Louis Christian College“.
May 29, 2015: The Riverfront Times Blog (Danny Wicentowski) posts “Professor’s Accusations Led to South County Pastor Yanking Bible College Funding“.
June 2, 2015: RestoreFCCF.org publishes 15-year attendance history for First Christian Church of Florissant that clearly shows it has been downhill since 2007.
June 4, 2015: Dawn Varvil’s lawyer sends lawsuit notice and “Demands” letter to Steve Wingfield’s lawyer.
June 5, 2015: Riverfront Times publishes “Whisteblower Demands Church Change Sexual Assault Policies, Hints at Lawsuit“.
June 6, 2015: A GoFundMe Account for Abuse Victims is setup by member of First Christian Church.
June 7, 2015: RestoreFCCF.org publishes an analysis of attendance since 2007; what could be versus what is.
June 8, 2015: The St. Louis Post Dispatch publishes a front-page story; “The Battle for First Christian Church of Florissant“.
June 8, 2015: SpritualSoundingBoard.com publishes “Church Leaders Who Revictimize Abuse Victims and Theology That Harms Both Victims and Perpetrators ”
June 13, 2015: Matt & Amy Mueller are “banned” from First Christian Church of Florissant property.
June 15, 2015: RestoreFCCF.org re-publishes Dawn Varvil’s lawsuit notice.
June 15, 2015: Resignation request letter mailed to FCCF elders.
June 26, 2015: Former Youth Pastor Responds to Open Letter from Church Leaders Who Mishandled and Failed to Report Child Sex Abuse published by Julie Ann at Spiritualspringboard.com
July 10, 2015: Julie Ann publishes “A Closer Look at Ethical Issues Involving First Christian Church of Florissant and the Counseling They are Offering to Sex Abuse Victims ” on spiritualspringboard.com.
July 22, 2015: FCCF announces six month sabbatical for Senior Pastor Steve Wingfield. The announcement was made at the Wednesday evening service. Nothing has been posted on fccf.org as of 7/23/15.
July 26, 2015: Stanley Dubose announces senior pastor Steve Wingfield’s 6-month paid sabbatical and explains it this way: “During this time away from the church, Steve will be seeking counsel, not only to address the stress, grief, fatigue and emotional trauma that he has sustained, but also to address issues that have become deficits to his management and leadership style.”
Aug 4, 2015: Danny Wicentowski of The Riverfront Times Blog publishes article about Steve Wingfield’s paid sabbatical.
Aug 18, 2015: Actual contract addendum for Professor Doug Lay’s employment contract surfaces. It seems that “silence” became a condition for employment, which is contrary to what the school told students and the public.
Feb 7, 2016: First “preaching” day, back on the job for Steve Wingfield.
Feb 19, 2016: FCCF announces dismissal (pdf) of the remaining pastors: Dennis Hounshell, Virgil Brazle and Bob Farmer.
Apr 3, 2016: “Beyond Band-Aids” sermon by Steve Wingfield.