Part of the reason why I personally believed the women who blew the whistle on Bill Hybels is because of the way he conducted himself privately with me when I was a volunteer and staff member at Willow Creek (1989-1997).
On the day Bill slipped his hand on me, I remember exactly what I was wearing: a loose-fitting royal blue shimmery, long-sleeved, formal dress that hung from my shoulders like drapes with a hem just below my knees, and black nylon hose, black high heels, and a shiny, silver bead necklace that added more light to my attire. My hair was twice as thick back then, cut in the same Jaclyn Smith, lioness-like, 1980’s style, and because of my heeled shoes, I stood two or three inches taller than Bill did.
Though my #MeToo Willow testimony is not as sexual, I am told by experts that it, indeed, is sexual.
I lament because if Bill had had any idea of how extremely committed I was to him and to the mission of Willow Creek, maybe he could have trusted that I had his best interests in mind when I made known before this incident how he had mistreated me the prior year. In those days, I prayed more for Bill than anyone but myself.
As for the broken board (the Willow Creek elder board has never been led, to my knowledge, by anyone who could stand up to Bill), my impression is that the members of it caved, as a matter of habit, to Bill’s high-choleric-charisma.
Behind-the-scenes: It is not new to any of us who worked at Willow Creek, at least as far as I know regarding the staff and elders who were there when I was, that Bill’s capacity to trust others was observably low or nil.
Even though I was shocked when I first read in the Chicago Tribune about the allegations cast against Bill, to me, it now makes sense to find out how isolated Bill Hybels’ existence truly was–and seemingly still is, given that he has never acknowledged his improprieties with me or with any of the other women that I know of.
In my theological opinion, there is nothing more dangerous than hiding oneself from one’s own self . A person can have a persona and hide behind it in shame just as much back-stage as on-stage. I will say more about this again when I reveal what happened to me at Simpson University.
Though in this blog, my Willow testimony may seem vague, that’s because I have not shared the details of it yet except to point out what I was wearing. My point here is to say that I do have a Willow story (which I deliberately have not yet shared yet in this blog), and that the problem of broken boards is something I have been hit by not only at Willow Creek, but also at Simpson University.