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Church News

Review finds patterns of ‘manipulation, narcissistic behaviour and spiritual abuse’ by former Vineyard leader

by Kelly Valencia

Vineyard Churches UK and Ireland (VCUKI) and Causeway Coast Vineyard (CCV) have published an update regarding an independent review looking into historic safeguarding allegations against former Vineyard leader, Alan Scott.

Commissioned earlier this year after several Causeway Coast Vineyard members accused Scott of spiritual abuse during his time as the church’s senior pastor, the review has so far found “repeated patterns of behaviour” including “manipulation, inappropriate comments, narcissistic behaviour and certain occurrences of public shaming” as well as “spiritual abuse”.

Scott led CCV until 2017 before becoming the leader of Vineyard Anaheim – a congregation he has now taken out of the Vineyard movement and which now operates independently under the name Dwelling Place.

His departure prompted a court case, with several former Vineyard Anaheim church and board members accusing Scott of deceiving other former board members in a premeditated plan to steal the church property, and spiritually abusing leadership and staff members.

As reported by The Roys Report, a former Vineyard Anaheim college pastor said Scott used to expect her to convert three people for every hour she spent evangelising, while others claimed Scott would schedule last minute meetings to see who was dedicated enough to attend, so-called “loyalty tests”.

Now, in a joint statement VCUKI and CCV have apologised to those “who have been hurt”, accepting their failure “to spot some of the warnings signs” and acknowledging the church “did not have sufficient structures in place to ensure complaints came to the attention of trustees”.

“We are sorry that as a church we have not always acted well and been all that Jesus called us to be. We recognise the need to acknowledge the past and be transparent about what we got wrong. We hope that this interim statement and apology will, belatedly and in a small way, allow some to begin to move forward in their journey of healing and wholeness,” the statement continued.

The full report is expected to be released by the end of the year. In the meantime, the church’s leadership is welcoming anyone with experiences and concerns similar to those identified so far to share them with Trusted HR, the independent reviewer.

The church has also set aside a fund for counselling sessions with Trusted HR for those who have already engaged with the investigation.


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