Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Letter from the Elders

The elder board has posted a letter to BCC on the church website:
To Every Member of the BCC Family

We know how trying these last days have been for you. We also know you are confused and hurt. We are very sorry for that. You deserve full disclosure on the details that led to Dave's dismissal and we are delivering that.

The cottage meetings we mentioned on campus last weekend have occurred each night this week and we are committed to continuing with the meetings for long as there is a need. The meetings have been running three to three and a half hours and include both an explanation of the background and an opportunity for your questions. Childcare is available at Kids Place for toddlers through 12-year-olds. Please pray for clarity and wisdom, and call the church office to make arrangements to be there or sign up online. These meetings are occasionally painful but entirely necessary; in the end, we believe a number of hearts have been changed.

As you may have heard, some individuals have insinuated there may be a vote concerning Dave's reinstatement. Please understand clearly, there will be no vote. As church elders we are obligated and legally bound to protect the assets of the church, whether human, financial, or spiritual. Further, we are personally committed to protect the sanctity of our worship time at Hope Park.

The bylaws that govern BCC are designed not only protect the church and its members, they are also required for our status as a tax-exempt religious organization. Those bylaws are very clear that members do not have a vote on any matters. While this may be a common structure among churches, we recognize this leaves people feeling powerless. Please understand that though we did not set up this government, we have just cause for our actions, we have considerable legal counsel advising us along this path, and we will see this through. We are compelled by our living savior, Jesus Christ, to persevere knowing that "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

We are grateful for the many, many messages of encouragement. The growing support we are receiving affirms our resolve on this matter and lifts our hearts ... which have been heavy for some time. Please pray that EVERYONE will care enough about this matter to attend a cottage meeting - and attend thoughtfully. Pray that they will seek wisdom and to recognize truth. We are so proud of this church and we know that she is bigger than one man. To that end, please pray for Dave and Paula, as we know you are.

In His Grip,

The Elders

I should probably bullet point this letter for the hard of reading.

-- There will be no vote. You can scream and shout (put your hands up and shout! c'mon now! don't forget to say you will! don't forget to say yeahahahahah), and you can make T-shirts, and brew up your special brouhahas, but by intention and by design there will be no vote. If you have a problem with that, take it to Dr. Foster who created the by-laws, transitioned the governance from the congregation to the elders, and never wanted you to have a vote at any time before.

-- Go to a meeting! Seriously. You gotta go. On my knees begging you. Really. I am on my knees, reaching up over the little drawer that holds my keyboard and typing blind to beg you please please please sign up for a meeting. (Okay, I'm sitting comfortably, but still go.)

-- In times like these, the truth, as I said in an earlier post last night, is a "dangerous" thing.


At 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter to Tennessean from former elder Stve Ivey.

Dear Michaela Jackson:

I was saddened by the story you wrote on Bellevue Community Church
yesterday. My wife
and I were members there a very long time, we were the 20th and 21st member
to join after
that original 9 and we stayed there a long time until we moved to the
Brentwood area.

David Foster and his wife Paula are good people and did a great job to grow
that church,
however your story and the story that has been publicly told for many years
is not the true
story and this is a large part of the reason of this great downfall and

Dr. Foster began telling this current story of the church probably 10 years
ago as the
original 9 members had all left and the beginning became blurry and the
truth altered just
enough to be grey. In my opinion, that is where the beginning of the end

Mr. Albert Mitchell, a retired Metro School teacher, well loved Coach, and
Principle started
the church literally out of his own pocket. Bellevue Community Church was
started by Mr.
Mitchell and a local businessman Paul Degrafenreid who at the time were
members of Park Avenue Baptist Church.

These 2 started the church, then named as Christ Baptist Church, with 9
original members
and the first pastor was a retired Baptist preacher who came to help launch
this idea of a
more progressive style Baptist church to get people back to church that were
bored with the
old ways.

This group of people met for about 12 months and then ran across David
Foster from a
Baptist church in Kentucky. Dr. Foster and Paula at that time, had 3 small
children and
they accepted the call to become the second pastor of this small group of
people with a big

Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Degrafenreid (both hard working men not multi
entrepeneurs) literally carried this church on their shoulders financially
and supported the
Fosters until the church was able to do so.

As the church was about 2 to 3 years old, a new member came named Lynn
Keesecker and
he made the suggestion to change the name from Christ Baptist Church to it's
Bellevue Community Church. Lynn had moved here from California and had seen
successful church there with the community name and thought it would help
the church
better connect to Bellevue. Lynn Keesecker was right!

Once we decided to change the name of the church it turned a real corner,
along with
adding very contemporary music, it changed the image of the church and that
was the point
people started noticing and coming.

You can get A LOT more detail on the church from Albert Mitchell at
646 -7170. He is
retired now and still lives less than 2 miles from Bellevue Community
Unfortunately he left the church many years ago and thus the beginning of
this untrue story
that has lead to this unfortunate event this past Saturday night. He is
quite a gentlemen
and I think would gladly talk to you about the church as I think it is still
dear to him.

It is a great church with many good people and I hope they are able to keep
it on track and
find new leadership that will make that church a place where people can
continue to go for
spiritual guidance and hope.

Maybe an article by you can help be a catalyst to get that church back on
it's right path and
find it's original strong foundation so it can move forward.

Thanks for your time,

Steve Ivey
20 Music Square West, Suite 106
Nashville, TN 37203


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