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Green Pastures board investigate possible GDPR breach after members seek a voice in email

An internal investigation has been launched by the Board of Directors at the embattled Green Pastures Church, in response to a recent message sent to the church members email list from within the ministry by the Executive Team.

A group within the church - ‘Green Pastures People’s Voices’ - also communicated by email with members this week, seeking for their voices to be heard and calling for changes at the top.

The local house of worship was established in Ballymena in 2007 by Jeff Wright, as Green Pastures - The People’s Church.

However, the last turbulent weeks have seen the founding pastor resign after being suspended, as well as a number of executive team resignations, and fractious internal contentions.

Now a number of members have sought to have a voice to address the storm that has been unleashed around them.

In a statement emailed to church members and seen by Love Ballymena, Green Pastures People’s Voices has demanded ‘truth and transparency’.

“We are a group of Green Pastures Church members’ that have come together in recent days due to concerns regarding disturbing events within the church we love.

“We have all read many statements, heard many voices from various directions.

“We now believe it is time for the church membership itself to have a voice and write this from a place of love and commitment to the future wellbeing and vision of our Church - remembering that in whatever we say or do, we must apply wisdom and this wisdom comes from God.

“It is therefore our intent to give you, the planted members in our fellowship an opportunity to address the matters we now face. Your voice needs to be heard and spoken for those who cannot speak for themselves. We require and deserve truth and transparency at all levels.”

The group outlined its purpose to ‘re-establish unity and stability to our great fellowship,’ saying in order to do that the existing Board of Directors must be replaced with a new board ‘that will act with integrity, in accordance with the church vision, conforms to biblical principles, values and listens to the planted members of the church.’

Following legal advice, Green Pastures People’s Voices proceeded to send a letter backed by 77 signatories from church members, to the board on Thursday 5 May seeking a meeting under the Companies Act 2006. The group asked for a ‘open question and answer session affording members the chance to ask questions regarding recent events, to air their concerns and to have those questions answered as fully and openly as possible.’

However, according to the group, the board promptly replied refusing the request for the EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting), stating that under the legal Act, they were not considered members.

In response recent emails being sent to church members, the board informed the congregation that it received ‘multiple concerns from church members’ over the ‘unsolicited email’.

The message from the board continued:

“We have immediately begun an investigation to ascertain whether a GDPR breach has occurred which may have resulted in your email address being accessed by an unauthorised individual or group.

“Further, the board is also obliged to disclose this suspected breach to the relevant authorities.”

The message concluded: “The Board is deeply aware of the challenges of the current season but has no choice but to respond to these new circumstances. Thank you for your understanding and patience.”

Meanwhile, in the wake of the shocking events that included allegations of the mistreatment of staff by former pastor Jeff Wright, an investigation by the Northern Ireland Charities Commission continues.

The Commission confirmed the move on Wednesday (4 May) stating:

“The Commission is continuing to work with the charity and can confirm that a concern about the charity, Green Pastures, The People’s Church (NIC101855), has been opened.

“No further comment will be provided while the investigation is ongoing.”


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