GP Board announces resignations after receiving ‘abusive’ and ‘threatening’ messages
The Board of Directors at Green Pastures Church in Ballymena, have this afternoon (Tuesday 17 May) announced their resignation.
It is the latest announcement to rock the organisation within the last weeks, and comes after the Executive Team announced their resignations, followed by the resignation of lead pastor and former Wrightbus owner, Jeff Wright.
In an email sent to church members, the Board stated it has informed the Charity Commission of the development, which was decided after a number of ‘abusive’ and ‘threatening’ messages were allegedly sent to the directors.
In the email Board members specifically stressed that the messages “have not come from Mr Wright” and that any messages received by them “are the sole responsibility of the individuals who sent them”.
While Green Pastures has remained tight-lipped and refused to speak to media, Love Ballymena understands that Wright was suspended, pending investigation in early April, after staff members accused him of mistreatment.
The Board stated on 5 May, that it had “been facilitating a formal review into staff complaints of alleged behaviours by Pastor Jeff Wright which have purportedly had a detrimental and significant impact on the mental and spiritual well-being of those staff”.
It is understood that Mr Wright decided to return to his position before the investigative process was completed, prompting the resignation of eight Executive Team members. A few days later Wright announced his resignation at the end of a morning service on Sunday 1 May.
Following the pastor’s resignation, a group formed within the church - ‘Green Pastures Peoples’ Voices’ demanded ‘truth and transparency’ and called for the Board of Directors to resign.
The local house of worship was established in Ballymena in 2007 by Jeff Wright, as Green Pastures - The People’s Church. After the last turbulent weeks, marked by fractious internal contentions, the group have had their wishes fulfilled and the future of Green Pastures looks uncertain.
The full text of the email is below:
Dear Green Pastures Church family,
Over recent months, the Board of Green Pastures Church has been navigating a very challenging situation. Having acted in good faith throughout, the Board has prayerfully sought to ensure that Green Pastures Church can continue its ministry while operating with the principles of good governance.
Given the scale of the challenges and our legal responsibilities, we have kept the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland fully informed of the situation throughout as well as other relevant authorities.
In recent weeks, several Board members have received a number of unfortunate messages which have been abusive and at times threatening. This has been deeply disappointing. The Board stresses that these have not come from Mr Wright and that any messages received by them are the sole responsibility of the individuals who sent them.
Having reflected on our concern about the current situation, the Board has consulted with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and informed the commission of our intention to resign.
You remain in our prayers,