Aimee Byrd

Inside the word. Outside the box.

If you’ve been following my case with the OPC, I am posting the response of the Presbytery of the Southeast (PSE) to this sustained complaint from July’s General Assembly meeting:

That the Presbytery of the Southeast acknowledge its error in allowing Mr. Spangler to use reviling language in his trial, damaging the good names of Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller, record this in its minutes, communicate this to Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller, and offer to both, in writing and in person, if possible, whatever expression of regret it deems appropriate.

Here is what the PSE deemed appropriate. It was sent to me in an email by the clerk of the presbytery, saying “Dear Aimee, please find attached.”

Mrs. Aimee Byrd 

sent via email attachment  

Dear Mrs. Byrd, 

October 19, 2021 

Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We hope this finds you well and prospering in the Lord. 

As you are surely aware, the Eighty-seventh General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church  heard a complaint from a member of our presbytery regarding the trial of the Rev. Michael Spangler.  This trial related directly to you as one of the charges against him was for “publicly reviling and  detracting from the good names of Mrs. Aimee Byrd and Mrs. Rachel Miller.” You are also surely aware  that he was found guilty of this charge and admonished by our presbytery. 

The complaint averred that in the course of the trial Rev. Spangler was allowed to reiterate his defaming  language (and to add to it) therefore further reviling and detracting from your good name. The General  Assembly sustained this complaint and appointed the following amends: “That the Presbytery of the  Southeast acknowledge its error in allowing Mr. Spangler to use reviling language in his trial, damaging  the good names of Aimee Byrd and Rachel Miller, record this in its minutes, communicate this to Aimee  Byrd and Rachel Miller, and offer to both, in writing and in person, if possible, whatever expression of  regret it deems appropriate.” 

We can assure you that our intent in Rev. Spangler’s trial was never to damage your good name or  reputation. It was, after all, the presbytery that brought the charge against him and then found him  guilty. In seeking to preserve the rights of the accused to defend his actions during trial we allowed the  defendant a latitude of speech that, in the judgment of the General Assembly, was too broad. While  some objections on these lines were made in the course of the trial, it did not seem to the majority of the  presbytery that Rev. Spangler’s language was beyond the pale. We now have, by virtue of this sustained  complaint, a clearer standard on how to consider our past proceeding and how to conduct any such  future case if we are ever required to do so. We pray that we will not. We regret the distress our conduct  of this trial has brought you. 

If we may be of further service to you or if you would like to meet with representatives of the presbytery,  please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Respectfully yours, 

Ken Montgomery 

Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of the Southeast 

Office of the Stated Clerk  

Christ Orthodox Presbyterian Church 

And as it turns out, the presbytery decided not to even send Rachel Miller a letter. Something about Michael Spangler’s comments being more about me than her.

Message received, loud and clear.

18 thoughts on “How the Presbytery of the Southeast Responded to GA

  1. Valerie Hobbs says:

    Ken Montgomery, you should have resigned as clerk before putting your name to such a document. You and your presbytery have dishonoured your office and our Lord by your cowardice, arrogance and cruelty. I think of the many jokes about rape, the mocking of gay people, the racism, the absolute circus of hate both inside and outside of Genevan Commons and this is what you say in the end. You emphasize that the majority of you thought nothing of the disgusting words that came out of your pastor’s mouth at one of your formal meeting.. You did nothing wrong. You won’t apologise. You regret a woman’s distress but not causing it. You have vague future plans which you hope you will never have to carry out but have no repentance for past sins. Where are the fruits of the Spirit? I see nothing but dry bones.

    Like

    1. Graham Dugas says:

      You sound like a woman scorned.

      Like

      1. scottie says:

        Graham, you sound like someone lacking awareness, incapable of seeing the bigger picture.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Valerie Hobbs says:

        Nah man. I’m a woman loved and fully dignified by the death and resurrection of my Saviour.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. janetlynnem says:

    I am appalled that the presbytery, presumably made up of godly leaders, has no humility or sight of sin or even awareness of how their decision would affect a precious sister in Christ, made in the image of God, for whom Christ died. It’s shocking and disgusting. Women should stay in their place and accept abuse, I guess. Horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Cynthia W. says:

    “it did not seem to the majority of the presbytery that Rev. Spangler’s language was beyond the pale”

    When people tell you what they really think, believe them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. but then it goes on to say they learned from the complaint that they were wrong and wont do it again.

      Like

  4. Bev Sterk says:

    So sorry… The resistance to repentance by leadership is unbelievable… It seems a systemic authoritarian arrogance has infiltrated leadership in so many ways… the very opposite of God’s principles in scripture… Painful process as the Lord is exposing these systemic toxic attitudes and behaviors…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John Mahaffy says:

    Before writing its letter, the Presbytery of the Southeast might have benefited from reading and studying the “The Seven A’s of a Biblical Confession,” which strike me as basic biblical principles:
    Address everyone involved (All those whom you affected)
    Avoid if, but, and maybe (Do not try to excuse your wrongs)
    Admit specifically (Both attitudes and actions)
    Acknowledge the hurt (Express sorrow for hurting someone)
    Accept the consequences (Such as making restitution)
    Alter your behavior (Change your attitudes and actions)
    Ask for forgiveness
    (https://rw360.org/seven-as-of-a-biblical-confession/)
    The letter makes clear that the presbytery has no idea of the harm it has inflicted on Aimee Byrd. And its non-response to Rachel Miller indicates the same. The General Assembly saw the situation much more clearly than did the Presbytery of the Southeast, but the presbytery seems to have difficulty in hearing. The letter is not a paradigm of how to respond to fellow believers whom you have wounded and allowed to be abused.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. Your words are greatly appreciated…by me and I am sure by many others. So much pain…where are the kind shepherds of the Lord Jesus. Praising God for you.

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      1. The above was in response to John Mahaffy comment.

        Like

    2. John Mahaffy says:

      I should add that I am thankful that there are voices in the Presbytery of the Southeast that speak against the kinds of action (and failure to act) referenced in the post above. The PSE as a body would be wise to listen to them, rather than marginalizing them. FWIW

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Meredith says:

    “We regret the distress our conduct of this trial has brought you.” Standard non-apology “apology.” Weak. I would expect much better of godly (?) men.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. rhymoraz says:

    i havent been following this closely but doesn’t the statement literally “acknowledge its error”

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    1. Valerie Hobbs says:

      “we allowed the defendant a latitude of speech that, in the judgment of the General Assembly, was too broad. While some objections on these lines were made in the course of the trial, it did not seem to the majority of the presbytery that Rev. Spangler’s language was beyond the pale.”

      IOW: The Assembly thought we gave too much latitude, but the majority of us didn’t. The Assembly has told us we made an error, but the majority of us don’t acknowledge that error.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One of the worst lines in the communication. It would have been better for them to have written nothing.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Bill says:

    “The truth about forgiveness
    Is that the first responsibility is laid on the one who sinned
    To make a true confession,
    Without excuses”
    from “Tearing Down This Wall of Silence”, by Dale Ingraham with Rebecca Davis, JKP, 2017, p 135.

    Like

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