The senior pastor at The Vineyard Church in Duluth, Minnesota, has resigned just weeks after his son, the online community and young adult pastor, was suspended over misconduct allegations.
According to The Christian Post, Senior Pastor Michael Gatlin announced that he would be stepping down from the role in an update on the church’s website. Gatlin’s son, Jackson Gatlin, had already been suspended for allegations of sexual misconduct that reportedly took place “several years ago.”
The church’s Special Committee said Gatlin and his wife, Brenda, may have known about the misconduct and taken no action.
“His resignation comes in the context of allegations of misconduct against one of our former pastoral assistants and Michael’s son, Jackson Gatlin,” the church said in an update online. “There are also allegations that Michael and Brenda Gatlin knew about this misconduct at the time and failed to act.”
The police are looking into the allegations, and the church is conducting a separate, independent investigation with the help of the company Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.
Gatlin had reportedly been asked to “cooperate fully” with law enforcement and the GRACE investigation, but Gatlin missed a deadline to provide a statement.
In a resignation letter, Gatlin wrote that he “could not” cooperate with GRACE.
In its own update, the church asserted that Gatlin is an “exceptional leader,” but “Michael is human just like us.”
“We all fall short,” the church said. “We need to be patient and wait for the fact-finding to be complete, yet the allegations against Michael are serious.”
Jackson Gatlin is accused of sexual misconduct. A woman named Myrissa Overfor claimed Jackson abused her.
“I am currently working with their investigators, and I think this may be a long battle for me and his other victims. Send us all positive thoughts and prayers if you believe in the upcoming months. I’m sure we all will need it. If you have been a victim of this predator, you’re not alone.”
Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Ben White
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.