Sye Ten Bruggencate’s recent confession of a moral failure that saw him stepping down from ministry entirely is “more serious than simply a broad moral failure,” according to the elders overseeing his care.
In a series of statements, Aaron Koning and Steve Richardson, writing on behalf of the Session of Faith Presbyterian Church, explain that a widely-shared story by the Roys Report claiming that Bruggencate engaged in a “troubling circumstance” with a congregation member was false and that no other member was involved. [Letter posted in full at the end]
Instead, they explain:
Following admissions by Sye Ten Bruggencate of fornication with a vulnerable woman, and following a formal complaint (with evidence) by the woman concerning the particular admissions given by Sye, the Session has begun a full and thorough investigation. Sye has been suspended from all privileges without limit of time while the church judicial process is followed.
From what we know, a third party found out about Bruggencate and this woman and threatened to expose him and make the sin public, which is what prompted his public confession.
Upon confession of sin, the “vulnerable woman” brought forth more and new information about the sins that Bruggencate indulged in that were previously not mentioned, filling in the breadth and scope of what it means to have a “moral failing.” In response to her series of accusations, Bruggencate has admitted to some so far, but not others, and this has prompted the session to investigate further.
In an ominous move that does not bode well, Richardson told the Roys Report that “the concerns from the woman are more serious than simply a broad moral failure” and suggested that the woman go to the authorities for help. The reporter covering the story, Jackson Elliot, writes:
Richardson said he does not see anything that suggests that what happened was against the law. Even so, he said he has suggested that the woman go to the authorities for help.
‘Sye has confessed to moral failure, and that is a fairly broad category,’ Richardson said. ‘We want to do the right thing, first of all for the complainant, and also for Sye. If we need help from outside, we will be seeking it,’ he said.
Faith Presbyterian Church Statement regarding Sye Ten Bruggencate
) I had hoped it would not be necessary to use this blog for this purpose, but I am told that already speculation is swirling because of an error made by The Roys Report. The article reports, “In a statement to The Roys Report, Faith Presbyterian pastor Steve Richardson said that Bruggencate confessed a ‘troubling circumstance’ to the church on Sunday, involving Bruggencate and a congregation member.” This statement is false.
I have written to Jackson Elliott (of The Roys Report), and he has told me the correction will be made. I can say categorically that the “troubling circumstance” did not involve a congregation member.
Here then is our statement regarding Sye Ten Bruggencate and his public confession: Our church leadership became aware on Sunday evening of a very troubling circumstance involving Sye. We acted upon the information swiftly and had ample cause within 48 hours to take essential action. By Tuesday, we had asked Sye to step away from ministry and placed him under the process of church discipline. We directed him to make public his confession to us that he had acted far beyond the boundaries of acceptable conduct.
Our inquiry has not stopped there. As a church, we are investigating further to make sure we have all necessary information to make decisions about additional steps. We have a rigorous written process for dealing with such matters and we will be following that process scrupulously.
To respect laws governing privacy, we cannot, as an institution, disclose personal identifying information at this time.
We are extremely mindful that many institutions, churches but also schools, sports teams, political organizations, media outlets and others, have failed to act swiftly or seriously in the past. By their delay, they have made worse the suffering of one or more parties. We will not be rash, but we will not make that error, either. We will be making further public statements when and as the situation allows.
Aaron Koning and Steve Richardson on behalf of the Session of Faith Presbyterian Church
Note: As of 00:25 Friday March 5, The Roys Report has made the necessary correction.
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