WINGS Note: This note was issued after a workers meeting was held at Hunter ND on Friday May 19th with visiting Lyle Schober. No saints were involved and that appears to be specifically justified by the quoted scripture instead of choosing transparency. The attachments mentioned below were not provided.
From: Perry Pearson [email redacted]
Date: Sat, May 20, 2023 at 8:36 PM
Subject: Yesterday’s gathering, Hermosa preps, summer privileges
To: Perry Pearson [email redacted]
Cc: Paul Haakenson [email redacted]
Our dear friends in the Dakotas,
The Dakota workers gathered yesterday for an encouraging workers meeting in the morning. An informal meeting followed with open discussion relating to present topics of CSA/SA, reporting these crimes, further education, and guidelines for convicted offenders were addressed. A letter regarding these matters is forthcoming that the sisters & brothers on our staff are composing. We recognize they have travel today and have meeting responsibilities tomorrow.
We are attaching the Hermosa prep dates with the convention helpers we are expecting. Teenagers have spent time at Hermosa preps in years past. This year, we ask that parents/guardians accompany their minor children coming for work days or a day during the week. If they spend the night on the grounds during preps, please notify the prep crew & plan to remain with them.
We have also attached the upcoming summer privileges for the Dakota staff.
Some in recent times have asked what workers meetings are. Workers’ meetings are very much like a Sunday morning fellowship meeting, where we seek to edify, exhort, and comfort one another. John 13-16 seems a fitting passage as Jesus spent the last night of His young life with His apostles pouring out to them. Later the apostles wrote of this meeting. A workers meeting of Paul, Peter & James happened in Jerusalem – later Paul wrote of that in Galatians 1. Later we read of the apostles assembling in Jerusalem to understand the matter of the Jewish law being imposed upon the Gentiles – this one was about doctrine. They evidently spoke one by one. Those that it would have affected the most – the Gentile saints, amazingly, were not invited. This was detailed and the letter was delivered to the Gentiles, causing one of the instances in the New Testament of great joy.
In reflecting on things we heard yesterday morning, the word purity stands out. The church is worthy of a pure ministry, and is crying out for it. Words that stand out from yesterday: consolation, comfort, bowels & mercies, reconciled, commitment, take heed, be still, peace, a sweet smelling savor, walk in love, Eph 5:9 is the light we’ve been called into, gold, white raiment, and eye salve. These are all so pure. The church is worthy of these virtues. We heard of Ps 46 twice, though not this verse: There is a river, whose streams make glad the city of God – obviously flowing contrary to nature, as the river that proceeded from the Throne of God, and flowed, dividing into little streams to each believer – and above all, it was pure water that gave eternal life. The church is worthy of this.
With appreciation for each,
Your brothers, Paul & Perry
For Mr. Pearson or any other human on this earth to equate themselves with the Apostles or Paul is beyond belief. The Apostles and Paul were chosen by Jesus and all were martyred, except for John, who was exiled to a remote island to die. At least one USA overseer who was in court for CSA related matters would not even admit to being a minister. Doubt he would be willing to be martyred for his beliefs.
Unfortunately these workers are not seriously trying to put in place strict guidelines. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will guide you , but if all these Workers want to do is throw around scripture to make it fit their agenda the problems will continue . Do they not trust the Holy Spirit to send others with wisdom in these CSA / SA to help draft guidelines?
What a joke. Now is the time for humility, not acting like a group of elites that can’t be bothered to mix with or respect the input of their inferiors. Definitely not the time to be comparing yourselves to Bible figures when it appears that a huge number of workers have been involved in hypocrisy to a degree that most of us common folk would not compromise our morals, be it active abuse or cover up. He says we want a pure ministry? That ridiculous ideal is what created this mess, we’re all human. All I’m asking is get rid of the sick godless filth that are destroying the innocent and beautiful. I want an HONEST ministry, a humble ministry, a hard working ministry, and I’ll live with your honest mistakes. I won’t be holding my breath though. It seems like most of the corrective action is taken only when backs are up against the wall and there’s no hiding place left.
Very, very true a lot of us are feeling like that.
People are appalled, ashamed and angry. Dangerous times ahead. A lot more to be revealed yet.
Thanks for your comment. I took will take an honest ministry over a pure one, which isn’t a reality, lacks empathy and fosters a belief that appearing right outwardly some how translates to being right inwardly.
I especially agree with the final paragraph of your statement. With 250+ reports looming from the hotline, many backs should be against the wall…
Oh yes! God’s children ARE crying out for a pure ministry! Mtgs that exclude the friends are a part of the problem…secrecy agian. Back in Jesus day they met sometimes with just the apostles…BUT…there weren’t a good share of apostles going into homes and commiting CSA/SA like we’re seeing among us at this time. And when overseers and other workers have been told of those terrible crimes, they’ve to often just looked the other way as if they were a small thing. Because of the state of affairs at this time I believe we need total transparency and changes made so that trust in the ministry can be restored.
This letter is tone deaf & preachy. Dealing with CSA is not a spiritual undertaking & it requires an open door not a closed one.
Leadership and going forward.
The days has come of the beginning of light being shown on appalling Leadership decisions. Worldwide repulsion over victims experiences and Workers evil continued behavior is being shown. Scripture everywhere condemns the way justice has been done, or should I say no justice.
My thoughts are below for critique and constructive discussion.
Paul in Acts, lays it out clearly as below.
Acts 6:2-6 NLT
 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, “We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program.  And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility.  Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.”  Everyone liked this idea, and they chose the following: Stephen (a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit), Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas of Antioch (an earlier convert to the Jewish faith).  These seven were presented to the apostles, who prayed for them as they laid their hands on them.
All through the world. Elders need to step up and take their place of responsibility. I’m not adverse to Gods laborers or Workers in the area being involved in issues. My father use to say 3 heads are better than one, collective wisdom.
This then allows workers (labourers) to turn their vision to seeking the honest broken and needy hearts. They need to take public transport, park their cars in the city and walk the highways and byways, showing kindness and a listening ear. Talking to strangers. Not sitting in homes drinking tea and eating cup cakes. Concerning themselves with seeking out lost souls, not sitting back waiting for the friends to bring them.
There needs to be accountability over offerings from hard working friends. All the Apostles gave their gifting to Judas, that didn’t end well. However, transparency and communication is the key. Going out in faith is maybe difficult with the level of support available, but there must be viable alternatives.
Overseers – there can be no longer one Overseer. 3 senior Workers would be ideal. Records must be kept of reasoning and determination’s With the level of communication available through modern technology. Zoom and FaceTime etc can be used to discuss state or Country wide issues. Workers in their field should not have to seek the permission of an overseer. There is plenty of wise heads among the friends.
2 closing thoughts.
There is always going to be Judas’s around. 1 in 12 maybe. Someone is going to betray the trust put in them. If things are done in fairness, transparency and collectively there is a-lot less to be concerned about. Mistakes are made, hindsight brings great wisdom. An honest apology goes along way.
You might note I didn’t use the word “Shepherd”. A Worker wrote to me recently saying that there was Worker’s and Labourers in the Bible and only one true Shepherd- Christ.
Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
If Jesus is the chief shepherd and the good shepherd, then his ministers will also be doing the duties of a shepherd in like manner to Jesus. He sent them to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Spiritually, that’s a very great undertaking not unlike a shepherd. There wouldn’t be time to spend at preps laboring for the things that perish when so many souls are facing great tribulations, ignored, dismissed and neglected. Do any workers read what Jesus taught with enough honesty to understand that some things Jesus taught isn’t what they’re doing?
I remember when that scripture was very real to me because that was me! I feel sorry for the elite group. Safe but shallow. The approval of the multitude and our peers will put you to a cozy sleep. It feels so warm and snuggly!
I have not found one place after Jesus came in the New Testament, where the apostles being sent out or called anything other than workers or laborers, or sheep in the midst of wolves. (BE there for wise as serpents and harmless as doves)
I don’t think it’s biblical for workers to be called shepherds. Jesus said I am the shepherd. THE Shepherd, not one of the shepherds. They are not called under-shepherds either. They were sent out to labor.
Calling themselves Shepherds creates a hierarchy which separates them from the people they are labouring amongst. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in respecting the workers who earn that respect. but they are meant to work among us, not above us.
This letter illustrates one thing loud & clear…. There are two societies In the truth…. The elite society and the underling society…. The elites can be all up in the underlings affairs and lives and hand out advice, counsel and punishment (and eagerly take our hand outs) ‘but the underlings dare not be a part of the elites inner workings.
Trust has been broken by nearly all
involved. If you ever hope to have any of the underlings give you respect again you need to let us that underlings be a part of your “royal events” so we can aid in keeping you honest and truthful!
This is completely tone deaf. Perry was the same worker who preached from the platform to women about how they should dress because they were sexually tempting brother workers! We have 4 convicted CSAs that have all served time in prison living in Wisconsin. The workers have not sent out an email to the friends in the state informing them of these offenders that attend meeting. Many parents with children have no clue who these men are and the threat they are to their children. Most overseers sent a message out about Dean Bruer but fail to acknowledge the issues in their own states.
You are all so right, Perry is part of an elite family here in WI. They are hard at work to make sure they control everything, they even feel they have control over the other elders in our area, kind of like an elite elder. If the family has any issues with getting their way they bring Perry into it to establish their control.
It’s common knowledge in cental WI area that an elder commited CSA multiple times years ago, this has been brought to the workers attention with no results. Some of the workers who knew about this issue are the ones attending worker meetings and talking about training. All the training in the world won’t fix this mess unless all the ugly comes out into the light.
That will never happen with elite, worker only meetings that we can only assume are more like damage control for them than they are about the victims. Some of the most soft spoken, kind sounding people are doing the most unspeakable things or covering for the unspeakable. Look at the fruit.
One thing that seems to be missing is true humility, the workers are acting like bringing the underlings into the conversation is humility for them, that’s telling to me.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, we are not elite.
Really sad that there even is such a thing as elite or exclusivity within the church. My family have experienced this as well and it awful, ugly and does not create or support unity of spirit. The workers are supposed to be servants with Jesus giving the perfect example of washing the feet of his disciples. Jesus walked, talked, and ate with the ppl and he was the Son of God. For elders and workers to be puffed up is dangerous as only God is the judge and he decides who are saved (on the right hand) and who are not (on the left hand).
I agree there is hope of a transformation taking place.
There is only one true Shepherd – CHRIST.
No where are the disciples called shepherds. Labourers, Workers and God Servants. A lot of them have lost the servant part of their place. To comfortable with all that are provided for them.
Paul appointed respected men and all were in agreement. He could then spend more time searching for broken hearts. Respected people could work together in unity to serve the needs of the vulnerable and needy in the church. The advantage the have – they live knowing them year after year.
Good Christian men and women need to stand up, unite and say enough.
I sure wish I knew who this elder was. Another very concerned parent from WI.
Who is overseeing the overseers who have been culpable in shoving things under the rug; not reporting known CSA/SA; moving predators from one field or state without notifying parents; shaming victims; group punishing; not informing parents; allowing predators to attend mtgs with children, etc. I could go on and on. Overseers who have done these things should be “stepping out” of the work and positions of responsibility and trust.
Overseers who have broken the law should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, period. Complicity enables and co-signs the perpetrators to continue their nefarious behaviors. I am outraged with the depth and breadth of the cover-ups of these incestuous, predatory, and assualive behaviors.
I would like to add a few things just for some perspective so that we don’t get distracted from the main issues to the point that we tear down some things that actually work.
1. Paul and Perry suddenly ended up in this situation of responsibility because of their overseer Leroy Sanford’s sudden departure. It’s not really fair to be roasting them for being a bad letter writer when in fact if you read carefully they are really trying to explain why they did what they did. And – they are working as a team, a pair of overseers. That’s commendable, especially when they are seemingly very new at oversight. They are trying to be responsive and transparent. They deserve credit for that even if it’s subpar.
2. The worker meetings are just like regular fellowship meetings. They include everyone from the youngest to the oldest, male & female, and all participate. They are a very special time when the workers can encourage each other to be faithful and to love and to keep going, focused on Jesus and God’s word. It’s healthy and it works. Especially right now, the workers are feeling scared, guilty for just being a worker, betrayed by those who took advantage of their position, unsure of how to go forward. Workers need together time as a group to process what is happening and to encourage each other in the struggle. This is something that works, it’s positive and it’s safe. Why break it?
3. There are also staff meetings in which many different things are discussed. These are also super productive and the privacy is also beneficial. Because they include every single worker, and all are allowed to speak up on any given topic. This is safe. And also practical. There is nothing bad or questionable that come of these, unless you don’t like the topic chosen for the Bible study. And I think they only happen once or twice a year.
4. The problems happen, I think, when things are not taken care of in groups at all – one-on-one meetings, phone calls, emails, texts, or worse yet, all alone – no communicating, no companion. Monitoring everyone’s communication will not help – there are always ways around that for those that are not honest. Asking for more transparency, more monitoring, can actually backfire, because then it gives a greater appearance of doing the right thing. It’s in fact a protection for those who are seeking to do things that are inappropriate in even their own eyes.
5. I really love the way Paul handled scrutiny in writing to the Corinthian church, and he describes what they have a right to expect of the ministry. To me, this seems super important.
6. My conclusion – the least interruption to the working of the ministry and the church, and yet providing good safety and accountability, would be for the workers (or someone designated) to write periodic emails/texts/hard copy letters to their friends stating what the friends have a right to expect of the workers, what are some CSA/SA red flags, and who to contact when concerned – CPS/police+designated contact within the church for illegal actions (of anyone), and designated contacts for legal but inappropriate actions (of workers, such as porn, etc). How the designated contacts are determined – maybe the workers could call a meeting for all of the friends and that could be determined by all. These are just my ideas, but I can see that educating “potential” victims and perps might be the best way to minimize possibilities of CSA/SA, so that even the most vulnerable are empowered, and so that those who would abuse their place understand the consequences and hopefully think twice before giving in to hurtful temptations. Educating and empowering all workers, especially the new ones, to spot red flags and report is likewise vital.
7. Things that are not specifically spelled out by doctrine/law (i.e., lazy workers) – ugh, but this detracts from the serious issues at hand.
Very well said. I agree.
your first paragraph is a very important consideration.
If teenagers aren’t safe on convention grounds or anywhere else unless they’re supervised by their parents, then obviously the problems haven’t been corrected!!! Putting the responsibility on parents is just an attempt to shift the blame to the parents if abuse happens. My parents were sleeping in the next room when a male worker placed himself against me when I was a teenage male! Are parents supposed to stand guard over their children 24/7?? Quoting scripture and sermonizing in these letters is more for easing the writer’s’ conscience rather than helping the friends. I’m still trying to be a professing friend.
You are right and I think the solution is we all need to stop going to convention. Its not scriptural and if we want to brag about meeting in homes, convention buildings kinda blow that out of the water. But mostly because it just isn’t safe for anyone anymore! As a parent, I am NOT willing to take that risk with my children! Are you?!
In the ministry safe course it teaches that under 18 peer on peer sexual abuse is also a significant problem. Most abusers become abusers as children under 18, then as adults seeks out environments that gives them access to kids. That is why we find so many in churches/youth sports/boy scouts, etc.
Unsupervised kids is a liability for any church, from adults and other kids.
I agree with “anonymous”, the recent letter we received about upcoming conventions put the blame back on the parents to “keep their children safe”. The average child gets on a school bus, goes to school, maybe plays afterschool sports and gets back on a school bus later in the day. On the average day, many besides the parents are taking responsibility for their safety and well-being. School bus drivers and teachers are mandatory reporters as are members of the clergy. The ones that organize and facilitate conventions are the ones that need to do due diligence to make sure that the grounds are safe for children. What is happening is that they are knowingly allowing child molesters on the grounds and expecting the parents to be able to out-smart the child molester!!
Most abuse is children on children apparently – so yes, parents are responsible.
The same with the parent who posted on Facebook that she allowed a grown man into a hot tub with her 13 year old child.
What type of stupidity is some of this?
Some of you are just trying to have a shot at the 2x2s rather than preventing abuse.
Could you please tell me where the research and/or statistics are found regarding “most abuse is children on children”?