Many of those attending last week’s national conference of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) were left feeling unsure and broken. The conference, somewhat ironically titled “Rooted”, observed speakers referencing recent allegations of odious behavior surrounding CCDA president Noel Castellanos.
According to Christianity Today, Castellanos’ departure was finally announced by the CCDA’s board in a “...sincere effort to keep the focus on this tremendous milestone as well as honor the life and commitment of our founder, Dr. John Perkins.”
As the leader of the Christian justice ministry for over a decade, Castellanos has spent the last two years attempting to reconcile with former coworkers: “While my resignation was offered in part due to our inability to resolve the conflict with former staff, it was also a decision that I have been contemplating for the last year to allow me to pursue other passions and opportunities.”
Numerous women explained that the work environment was “abusive”, detailing their experiences on a website known as 3 Rs Revisited, #RememberRepentReconcile.
The former CCDA employees stated that the “CCDA community has not always been aware of the toxic environment staff endure,” before naming the alleged issues at play, including “unpredictable emotional explosions, mismanagement of finances, manipulation and intimidation of staff, urging staff to do unethical things, and Noel being found unfit for large portions of his role, and continued support from CCDA’s board of directors.”
The women making these allegations maintain that these issues did not just begin, but have been going on for more than a dozen years. They also claim that the ministry did not respond to their allegations or conduct sufficient investigations into them.
The ministry’s statement of repentance notes that it will continue to acknowledge past missteps, and to strive to build a better work environment for its staff going forward: “There have been times when our leaders have failed in the stewardship of their power and this has led to painful experiences for some in our family. We grieve that this is also a part of our history and would like to extend an apology to those for whom pain has resulted.”
CCDA stated that they it will continue the reconciliation process with Castellanos: “For over two years the board has been diligently working to address personnel and organizational issues. A future communication will outline the steps we have taken thus far and the work that we have yet to do,” said CCDA board chair Macedo-Nolan. “Our board will continue to create accountability systems and structures that ensures CCDA moves towards becoming a healthier organization.”
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