The following is an anonymous open letter from a former Grace Baptist Church pastor's daughter, who was a member of Grace Baptist Church and a student at Grace Baptist Christian School.
My story with Grace Baptist Church begins in August of 2005 when my family packed up and moved to Gaylord, Michigan. I was not thrilled with this move at first, but it got easier as time went on. My father was hired on as the Bus Ministry Pastor and later took on the radio station, and many other various ministries within the church. My mother became one of the church pianist and various other rolls. She also taught in the Christian school. I was used to being a preachers kid who always had a light on me and everyone watched my every move. It was easy going at first, and then my parents went back to normal after we all got comfortable with the new church and the people in the church.
My parents were loved by all and very well respected. Which meant I couldn't talk about what was going on behind closed doors. To put it politely, my father had a temper like non-other. My mother was very vocal outside of the house, but when my father would get mad she would just stand there and watch him and wouldn't stop him or even have an opinion. I would walk into church with bruises all over my body and would try to cover them up with clothes or just lie about what actually happened. It would happen almost every night and you just expected it after a while. You pushed through the pain that was going on at home and then walk into church and pray it would somehow just go away. And don't worry, it never just went away. I would try to talk about it to people and it was just crazy to them that a pastor at church would do this to his children and especially when we was a Children's pastor. The abuse would go further than just hitting, I would have keys, shoes, or whatever he could find thrown at me. Pushed against the wall because I wouldn't do something right, or just because he came home in a bad mood. My dad would try to do the same to my mother. I remember, for instance, my father was so mad he was hitting my mother and I tried to get in the middle and I told my father to hit me instead of my mom. He just pushed me out of the way and kept yelling. It was a normal occurrence in our house. And then we would all walk out to the car and go to church. My sister and I would sit in the choir and my dad on the platform and my mother at the piano. We had to uphold the reputation of a good Christain family. Then it becomes the emotional abuse. We were taught to love one another and treat others the way we wanted to be treated...... yeah okay. I tried to talk to the youth pastor, Derek Hagland about the abuse at home and why I had all these bruises and he just laughed it off and said I should try to do better and pray about it. So from then on, I swore I would never tell another person about it. If not even another pastor in the church would do something about it I guess no one would. When being yelled at at home I would hear about all the problems of other people in the church. I heard so many stories of other people and how bad they have it, he said I should be happy I'm not in their shoes. I thought it odd my parents would tell me such personal information about people but i did my best not to share those stories with other people.
My senior year of high school, my boyfriend and I got in trouble because they found out we were having sex. Mind you it was consensual. But when my mother found out she went straight to my dad. It then got through the whole school and I was pulled out of class immediately. I was kicked out of school because I was sinning in the eyes of God. I was home for maybe another week before I got fed up of being yelled and screamed at. And I am not exaggerating when I say screamed at. My dad would sit so close to my face and scream at me so loud and so hard his spit would hit my face with every word he said. You know the saying "fear of God...." yeah he was the definition of that phrase. He would threaten to stock my boyfriend and shoot him through his window, he would tell me in explicit detail of how he was going to do it and cover it up. My dad tried to scare me into going to a girls home and getting up in front of the church and apologizing for my sin. Oh and don't forget, this is a man of God and a pastor. I later ran away from home, but this is why I will NEVER step foot back into a church. You are taught none thing on Sunday morning, but when you get home its a whole different story. Pastor Jenkins knew of what my dad would do and he sat there and just watched it as if it was nothing.
Former Student and church member of Grace Baptist church and school