Dear Church Family,

Do you ever have a time when things are confusing, answers are hard to find, and circumstances way different than you assumed? We are at just such a crossroads right now. Let us share why with you.

This week, our Senior Pastor Fred Herron was placed on an indefinite leave of absence due to his inability to perform his job duties. Fred is suffering from various health issues, including addiction and dependence problems, the extent of these issues has only come to light, even to his wife, Janet, in the last seven to ten days.

This past weekend with the help of friends, his wife Janet, and the church's Board of Directors, Fred entered a treatment facility away from Kansas City to begin his recovery. During the initial recovery and treatment stages, Fred also confessed moral failure to his wife, Janet.

Fred Herron has personally led many of us to Christ. Many of us are friends of Fred's and love him dearly. This situation changes none of that. We cannot understand this situation except to say that Fred is human. Like all of us, Fred needs the grace of Jesus for healing and forgiveness.

All of us have benefited from Fred's teaching of the gospel. His love for Christ is obvious and abundant. Fred's love for our church, those who serve here and those who have attended is extraordinary. He blessed our church by putting a group of strong men and women that love Jesus in leadership and support roles. These leaders have been developed and trained for their roles and will continue to lead the church during this time. The pastors and staff will continue to have the day-to-day responsibilities of making things happen here at the Vineyard as they always have.

Executive pastors Roger Sodsod, Tony Wilks, and Roger Wilson will jointly assume the church's leadership position with direction and oversight from the Board of Directors. In addition, the leadership of the National Association of Vineyard Churches is providing counsel to the Board of Directors as is a team from PastorServe, an organization which comes alongside churches and church leaders in situations like this. Vineyard Church, and all its leaders, has, and will always be about loving and serving Jesus Christ and bringing more people to Him.

We will never have all the answers to our questions on why things like this happen. God knew there'd be times like this as He tells us through Paul in Romans:

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

There is hope, always hope, in Jesus, no matter the situation. That's as true now as when Paul wrote that letter to the Romans Jesus is indeed our Lord and He loves us way more than we'll ever know. Let us examine our own hearts and lives and let Jesus heal us all through His living presence. Support and pray for Janet and Fred as they navigate this unforeseen journey. Support our pastors, support each other and support our church family through your continued faithful prayers, serving, reaching and giving. Let this be an opportunity to make our church healthier and draw us closer to Jesus. We believe the best is yet to come.

Biblical, spiritual and emotional support, and prayer will be provided to staff and church members to help process this news and developments. Remember, we are a community that always extends grace to anyone who comes, regardless of position. We as a board are committed to Fred’s healing, his wellbeing, and to see him someday walk in freedom with our Lord. We will continue to uphold, pray for, and support Fred as he first overcomes dependency and then,restores a right relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ, and then restores right relationship with others.

Also, we will care for and protect Janet, Fred’s wife, as she goes through an extremely difficult time. The extended Herron and Favazza families are in our prayers and should be in yours. We love them, and will always, as a church, extend our open arms of grace, mercy, and compassion to them.

Let's pray.

"Father, thank you for your love for us and the blessing that is the Vineyard church. We hear your word in this place and look to reflect your light of love through the prisms of our lives for all to see. We love you and trust our lives to you. Wrap your arms around Pastor Fred, Janet, their families and friends. They are all confused and hurting from this all too human failure. Heal their wounds, show them your redemptive power. Wrap your arms around all these people Lord, those who serve and those served in your church. Let us grieve, let us learn and let us reflect your love by being steadfast in our faith to you and our Vineyard church family.

Thank you for your endless love. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen "

The Vineyard Church Board of Directors