The senior pastors of Causeway Coast Vineyard (CCV) have stepped down following discrepancies with the current investigation into its former pastor, Alan Scott.
Earlier this year, the church published an update of an interim review into Scott’s time leading CVV, which identified “repeated patterns of behaviour”, including “manipulation, inappropriate comments, narcissistic behaviour and certain occurrences of public shaming” as well as “spiritual abuse”.
At the time, the church’s leadership, including senior pastors Neil and Janet Young, apologised for the damage caused. Neil Young specifically stated he was “sorry for any of his actions that have caused pain or meant that anyone has had a negative experience at this church".
However, in a statement delivered to the congregation on Sunday, the senior leadership and trustees of CCV declared that the Youngs “no longer fully support the statement released on July 2nd or the ongoing independent review process”.
They also made clear their inability to continue to adhere to the spiritual and structural authority of Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland and the governance of the CCV Trustee Board.
“In light of this, their future as Senior Pastors of Causeway Coast Vineyard is untenable, and Neil and Janet have come to the sad conclusion that they need to resign,” the statement continued.
Although the church’s leadership had tried “really hard to find a way forward”, they concluded this decision was “best for everyone”.
The announcement comes as the investigation is due to be published in full on 5th November. Both CCV and Vineyard Churches UK and Ireland church's annual accounts already show they have allocated £15,000 to cover the cost of the review and "counselling to those impacted".
The statement concluded: “We have treasured the leadership of Neil & Janet. They will be deeply missed, and we are thankful for their leadership of our church community for the last six and half years. It has not been easy leading through transition, all the challenges of Covid and lockdown, and the cost-of-living crisis. They set out a bold 100-year vision and it has been great to see that take shape.”
“We thank them for their commitment and pray God’s blessing for what comes next.”