The following statement was read out at Causeway Coast Vineyard on the morning of Sunday 29th October.
We have an important and difficult announcement to make.
You will be aware that in February 2023, together with Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland, we commissioned an independent review process addressing the concerns raised around Alan Scott’s leadership. The findings of this are to be published in full next week.
However, as the review has progressed, it has become clear that there are very different and deeply held views.
There is full support for the independent review, a view taken by the leadership of Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland, the Causeway Coast Vineyard trustees and its Senior Leadership Team. With this in mind we issued a joint public statement and apology in July. Within this apology and statement, we acknowledged that wrong and hurtful conduct has occurred at CCV, and apologised to all those who were hurt, harmed, mistreated or in any way negatively impacted by their time at Causeway Coast Vineyard.
Sadly, Neil and Janet have indicated that they no longer fully support the statement released on July 2nd or the ongoing independent review process. They have also indicated that they can no longer submit 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.
We know this resignation will be a shock to many of you. We all feel the heartbreak of this situation and the pain being felt in the room. There have been lengthy conversations between Neil, Janet, the SLT, Trustees and the national Vineyard leadership to try and find a way forward. The natural conclusion is that this decision is best for everyone, painful though it is, and so their resignation has been accepted.
So today, Sunday 29th October, is Neil and Janet’s last day as Senior Pastors of this church.
They have no subsequent plans but will take a few months to refresh and recharge.
We want to reassure everyone of our commitment to the independent review process to ensure we properly acknowledge past wrongdoing and ensure that we are a safe, healthy and thriving church community going forward. The review process has concluded, and the final report will be released next week. We hope that this will be an important step in moving forward as a community.
No doubt there will be questions about the review process and its implications. We are holding a church family meeting on Thursday 2nd November when we will share more information.
Our wonderful SLT and staff team will work collaboratively with the trustees and the Vineyard movement to lead our church community through the conclusion of the review and into a new season and all that God has for us. The trustees will be working with SLT and Vineyard to begin the search for new senior pastors.
There is much sadness in this moment as so much good has been done and so many lives have been changed. 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. Today we thank them for their commitment and pray God’s blessing for what comes next.