The headline ripped straight from the RFT …
Church Cites “Stress, Grief, and Fatigue” For Embattled Pastor Steve Wingfield’s Sabbatical
After months of criticism, pastor Steve Wingfield is taking a paid sabbatical to escape the hubbub.Boasting a congregation of more than 2,000 members, Wingfield’s church, First Christian Church of Florrisant (or FCCF), is among the largest evangelical institutions in north county. It’s also become a battleground between Wingfield’s supporters and those who believe he failed to improve the church’s sexual assault policies after a former youth minister was exposed as a child a molester and sentenced to 25 years in prison in March.
In a statement made during the July 26 Sunday services, Stan Dubose, vice chairmen of the church’s board of elders, told the congregation that Wingfield needed a break.
“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,” Dubose said, according to a recording made by a church member. “It is important for you to know that this action is in NO way a reflection of a change of direction on the part of the elders regarding our support, trust and belief that Steve Wingfield is a man called of God to be and to serve as senior pastor here at First Christian Church.”
The statement is curious, since it appears to play on both sides of the Wingfield controversy: On one hand, Wingifeld’s supporters insist their pastor has the endured “emotional trauma” of unfair criticism and harassment; Wingfield’s opponents, however, argue that his authoritarian “leadership style” is destroying the church.