|Traeder, Taylor D Schofield, WI
St Matthew Lutheran School Grades 6-8, Athletic Director,|
When I accepted the Executive Assistant position at a contemporary WELS church, there were many things I expected, but sexual harassment was not one of them. In addition to the harassment, I witnessed my supervisor and "spiritual leader" demean other women (including members of the church), drink on the job, plagiarize sermons and act in the very manner you would not expect from a "called servant of The Lord".
I almost immediately observed the pastor's casualness, lack of boundaries, and what I perceived as downright laziness at times. His standards and expectations for my position as the assistant seemed to exceed his own standards as the pastor.
Shortly after starting my position, I received a text message sometime after midnight from my supervisor telling me I should have sex with my husband. We never requested counseling or advice in this realm so his inappropriateness was rather strange at best to us. We strived to take words and actions in the best possible way. I was subjected to many routine "lapses in judgement" by my spiritual leader. Including an incident of him showing me a video that depicted nude male genitals while alone in his office.Is there ever a correct context for a supervisor to show anything like this to his married employee? (I will discuss this more at another time).
As he pushed the boundaries and inappropriateness, my conscience began to nag at me. Through even the darkest days, I allowed myself to believe that these behaviors were normal. Yet I began to feel torn between my loyalty to the church and the moral issues at hand.
I spent many nights awake and hovered over my bible in tears. There was something very wrong about what was going on at that church. I've seen it all first hand and, yet, felt obligated to keep it all a secret. It was the kind of secret that absolutely tormented me, but I thought I was doing the right thing at the time (just another lie we are led to believe as victims).
After months of utter frustration the hostile work environment began to take a toll on me and my husband. I prayerfully considered if perhaps this was an unhealthy situation for me to be in. So I gave my notice and was told to tell members of the congregation that I "wasn't a good fit" when I left my position. It was unbearable to work with a man that continued to ignore, scream, belittle, degrade and humiliate me. I left this job feeling worthless and far less confident than when I started (which was previously at a Fortune 100 company).
I suffered in silence while working at that church. I fell into a deep darkness from all that I experienced and witnessed there and its leadership. Shortly after I left the position my depression began to spiral. We maintained membership at this "relevant" church because of the relationships that we had formed with other Christians and did not want to neglect our spiritual life. The final straw was when an assault rifle was used as a sermon prop.
We decided it was best to seek the counsel of a trusted pastor since the leadership at this church either outright condoned or failed to supervise its employees and their behavior. We were convicted to resolve all this in a Christ centered way. Our hope was to see positive changes and healing for all.
|How many times does a synod president attend a|
congregational meeting to cut a deal with the district president?
Mark Schroeder did, and Ski got another call.
My husband and I have continued to fight an endless battle for justice in the synod and to see that this doesn't happen to someone else. We've patiently been in contact with top synod leaders. We've encountered roadblocks, never ending circles and have witnessed inconsistencies throughout the disciplinary processes within the synod. By the Grace of God, we've encountered wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ to share in our burden. Unfortunately, we've also encountered timid leaders and those hesitant to publicly speak for the truth. People seem to selectively choose which commandments and passages to throw at you while ignoring others.
The journey has been incredibly lonely and frustrating since we were asked to remain silent and be patient. We are exhausted and completely astonished that after everything was brought into the light this man continues to be a pastor and counsel members. We will continue to persevere with others until positive changes are made in this synod so that all victims of abuse are protected rather than the perpetrators.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (Romans 5:3 ESV)
|Jeff Schone went from being an awful pastor|
to being an awful administrative bully at Martin Luther College:
zero tolerance for confessional students, who are driven out.