The Jacksonville church informed Hancock, 49, this month it will make her “sexually immoral relationship” with her boyfriend public at that service.
Hancock, who is divorced, said she left the church in October because members confronted her over it. On Wednesday, she also sent the church a letter officially resigning - hoping to stop the action so her children, who attend services there, would not have to face her embarrassment.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, on Jan., 4, their mother will be publicly humiliated.’ This will really devastate my children,” Hancock said.
The church’s pastor, the Rev. T. Scott Christmas, said the discipline process outlined in his Dec. 8 letter will continue.
“We explain this process of loving accountability when they become members, and we are doing nothing more than following the practices of what biblical churches have done through history,” Christmas said. “It is a mission of restoration and it is done in a spirit of love and grace.”
I am all for church discipline but, at least as this article describes it, I think this might have been handled differently. When this woman’s relationship became known to the leadership was she put immediately on the “discipline” track or was there an attempt to come alongside and help? (Gal 6:1-5) Did someone in leadership “confront” her or try to reason with/council her? It sounds like, and admittedly this article is probably biased in some way against the congregation, the Matthew 18 process began too early and too formally. If she is truly unrepentant, it would have had to begin at some point, but I wonder if all the options were exercised before concluding that she is unrepentant? Also, since she is voluntarily leaving, why would the process of discipline continue? She seems to be effectively excommunicating herself. If the pastor is concerned that she might simply move on to another congregation, he could simply inform her next pastor of the circumstances and the steps taken to date.
But I could be wrong.