July 3, 2023
On Sunday July 2nd, the trustees of Vineyard Churches United Kingdom and Ireland (VCUKI) and the trustees of Causeway Coast Vineyard (CCV) issued a joint statement regarding an ongoing independent third-party investigation into the leadership of Causeway Coast Vineyard under Alan Scott from 1999-2017.
This statement was released alongside a presentation at the CCV Sunday morning service by John and Debby Wright, National Directors of VCUKI, as well as members of the CCV leadership team. We encourage you to review both the statement and the presentation.
While the investigation remains ongoing until July 31st, the interim report presented on July 2nd identified “themes and repeated patterns of behavior including examples of manipulation, inappropriate comments, narcissistic behavior, and certain occurrences of public shaming and spiritual abuse.”
We are grieved and angered by the findings of the interim report, but sadly, we are not surprised by them. These findings are consistent with many of the reports that we have been receiving about Alan Scott’s track record in leadership since his announcement of the disassociation of Vineyard Anaheim from Vineyard USA.
Since the disassociation of Vineyard Anaheim in February of 2022, Vineyard USA no longer has any formal leadership of or relationship to Alan Scott. However, as we have communicated in the past, our primary concern since we began to receive these reports has been for the pastoral care and protection of those who are describing themselves as victims of Alan’s abuse and misconduct. When these reporting victims gave us permission, we approached Alan and Kathryn Scott, as well as members of the Board of Dwelling Place Anaheim, and former members of the Board of Vineyard Anaheim, on multiple occasions to notify them about the things we were hearing. In each instance we were either rebuffed or ignored. When some of those victims chose to tell their stories to a journalist in a lengthy investigative article, Vineyard USA made a public statement on May 17, 2023 laying out our position, which is published in full below.
While we have sadly come to expect silence from Alan Scott on these matters, we have been profoundly shocked by the silence of the leaders in the wider body of Christ who have continued to lend their credibility to Alan Scott in the wake of these reports. As we have done privately, we also say publicly that it is essential for the current and former board of Dwelling Place Anaheim and others who have lent their credibility to Alan Scott to make every effort to call him to account, as well as to clarify for the wider church where they stand on these matters. The ongoing third-party investigation from VCUKI and CCV is just one more piece of clear evidence that their colleague in ministry – to whom they are actively or passively lending their credibility – is unrepentantly behaving in a manner that has had terrible consequences for so many. Ongoing silence perpetuates further harm for victims.
Our primary concern in all of this continues to be to care as best as possible for the alleged victims of Alan Scott’s abuse and misconduct. We are very grateful to the trustees of VCUKI and CCV for the work that they have done to create care, protection, transparency, and accountability for those reporting victims. We invite anyone with concerns relating to CCV or the UK engagement of the Scotts, along similar lines to the themes outlined or new concerns, to contact Trusted HR by 31st July 2023 on . Please utilize the confidential third party hotline that Vineyard USA has set up with Guidepost Solutions or email with any US concerns.
The stories that have been shared are heartbreaking and suggest a pattern of conduct over years that requires attention. These testimonials include allegations of spiritual abuse, manipulation, purposeful exaggeration, deception, humiliation, and the resulting trauma of physical sickness, the need for counseling, and deep impact on many individuals’ lives with Jesus and his church. Initial unsolicited allegations arose after reporting victims reviewed the board-to-board communication that was made available following the disassociation of Dwelling Place Anaheim from Vineyard USA. They indicated that the dismissive, over-spiritualized, and controlling language used in the correspondence was reflective of their experiences with the Scotts and their team. This led them to share their personal accounts of spiritual abuse and manipulation with Vineyard USA.
Some victims noted that attempts to have their concerns addressed within the local church context were met with resistance, an unwillingness to address concerns as they were raised, and deeply insufficient systems of accountability. Some even recall responses from key leaders that justified or defended misconduct in light of spiritual giftedness and positive results in church growth and evangelism.
On multiple occasions, Vineyard USA brought these allegations to the attention of the Scotts, as well as to current and former members of the board of Dwelling Place Anaheim, offering a variety of pathways that would provide care and confidentiality for reporting victims while bringing resolution to the claims of misconduct. Vineyard USA views the responses from the Scotts and their leadership team as insufficient, lacking a sense of urgency, lacking prioritization of care for reporting victims, and lacking proportionality to to the gravity of the claims.
From the earliest attempt to inform the Scotts and the leadership team of Dwelling Place Anaheim of the initial allegations, Vineyard USA has been told by the Dwelling Place board that, due to the disassociation of Vineyard Anaheim from the Association of Vineyard Churches, we have no role to play in this matter. It is our position that the disassociation of Vineyard Anaheim in March 2022 creates an obstacle to our structural and legal authority, but it does not undo our pastoral responsibility to those who may have been harmed as members of a Vineyard church by Vineyard pastors and leaders. In spite of Dwelling Place’s assertions that we have no role to play in this matter legally or structurally, we have consistently provided pastoral care and support for local victims who came forward to us.
In view of situations like this, as well as in an effort to create new healthy processes within Vineyard USA churches, Vineyard USA has engaged a globally-recognized independent third-party organization — Guidepost Solutions — to assess how Vineyard USA and our churches handle leadership misconduct, moral failings, restoration processes, and allegations of abuse and misconduct. This has included an immediate action of setting up a 24/7 confidential reporting mechanism through Guidepost Solutions, so that Vineyard USA church attenders and staff can report any concerns or allegations of misconduct via a new email address:
First, while Vineyard USA was also made aware of potential litigation earlier this year, Vineyard USA and Vineyard USA legal counsel is in NO WAY party to the lawsuit mentioned. The Scotts reference the Association of Vineyard Churches and Vineyard USA in their video and their dissociation from VUSA as the reference point for this lawsuit. We want to be clear that while we are not a part of this lawsuit, all the named plaintiffs of the lawsuit are former members of Anaheim Vineyard who are acting of their own accord.
Second, since the initial dissociation letter offered to Vineyard USA by the Scotts on February 24, 2022, Vineyard USA has been providing pastoral care and support to numerous individuals who have been deeply impacted by the situation at Dwelling Place Anaheim, formerly Anaheim Vineyard. Vineyard USA remains committed to care for those who were affected by the decisions made by Vineyard leaders while members of a Vineyard church associated at the time with Vineyard USA. Our commitment to every individual and all ongoing communication between Vineyard USA and Dwelling Place related to our care has been clearly and exclusively articulated as a “pastoral matter,” not a legal one.
As necessary, Vineyard USA will continue to update this page with relevant information. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to to contact Robb Morgan, Managing Director of Vineyard USA () or Nicole Dill, Communications Director for Vineyard USA with any media requests (.
Access is available via request and approval from Vineyard USA.
If you aren’t familiar with our Vineyard history, you may be wondering why this is such a difficult moment for our family of churches, and why we are putting so much effort into these communications.
Vineyard Anaheim is the mother church of the Vineyard movement. It was pastored by John Wimber, with whom many of us had personal relationships, and by whom all in the Vineyard have been profoundly influenced. Many of us have personal ties with the remaining members of the Wimber family, and have deep sympathy for their pain and outrage in regard to this decision. This church was built and paid for by the contributions of generations of Vineyard people, as well as by the donation to Vineyard Anaheim of the building that housed Vineyard Ministries International and Vineyard Music. It is a place of deep spiritual heritage for all of us who consider ourselves a part of the Vineyard movement.
There are thousands of people in the Vineyard movement, both locally in Anaheim and all over the world, expressing their conviction that the decision to suddenly remove Vineyard Anaheim out of our family of churches is an action of extreme betrayal. They are looking to us to help answer their questions, and help them make sense of the pain they are experiencing.
As we shared in earlier communication, we learned from Alan and Kathryn Scott about their intention to disassociate Vineyard Anaheim three weeks ago. Though we implored the Scotts and their board to slow down their decision so we could discuss it together before they made their announcement, they sent an email to their entire church less than 24 hours later. At that point the conversation had been made public. After sending their email out on Friday, the Vineyard Anaheim Board admitted that they had made a “mis-step” in the process of communicating this decision. Thus, the following Sunday Alan Scott told the church that they were taking a pause on disassociation, in order to “honor” Vineyard USA by having a conversation about this.
We immediately opened lines of communication between their Board and our team, in order to help process their announcement. We were sincerely hoping that this meant that Vineyard Anaheim was open to a different outcome, and that together we could find a way towards one. During this time, we offered several different possible ways forward to the Vineyard Anaheim board for their consideration, asking for their input about reasonable next steps for the future of the church.
Concurrently, we tried to work out an on-the-record, in-person meeting between representatives from Vineyard USA and Vineyard Anaheim to discuss them in more depth. Ultimately, this is something that they would not agree to. At every point we wanted things to be transparent and on the record, due to the public nature of the conversation, they sought to walk it back into a private conversation behind closed doors. At every point we sought clarity, they offered obscurity. In the end, the Vineyard Anaheim board refused to sit down with us for an “on-the-record” conversation, on the grounds that such a conversation would not be “relational” or “honoring” but could only be “structural and legal.” We disagree wholeheartedly. We do not believe that there is a dichotomy between relationality and accountability in church life, any more than there is in a marriage or a family. We believe that, given the way that this conversation was made public by Vineyard Anaheim’s initial announcement of their disassociation, it was necessary to have the conversation in a manner that ensured transparency and accountability.
In light of this news, we would like to share with you some of the points that we found most pertinent in our processing of this situation. Here is a link to some FAQs we have put together. For all those who desire to review this situation more closely, we have created a backend site containing all of the written communication between our board and Vineyard Anaheim’s board. If you would like to request access to this password-protected site, please email Robb Morgan, Managing Director of Vineyard USA, at . He will be happy to assist you.
Finally, while we are beyond grieved to have been informed of Vineyard Anaheim’s decision to end this process, we recognize the Scotts, their Board, and this church as our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are praying that God will give them favor for the sake of their city and the Kingdom. We have loved the fruit that we have seen from Vineyard Anaheim and the way that God moves through the ministry of the Scotts. The encouraging stories coming from Anaheim are akin to the stories we hear from all around the Vineyard – stories of healing, of compassionate service of and with the poor, of salvations and baptisms, of passionate worship, and of transformed communities. May we celebrate the work of God among them as we celebrate those stories as well.
In the midst of this sorrowful moment, we remain incredibly excited about the future for the Vineyard in our nation and around the world. May you know Jesus even more deeply and experience the power and presence of His Kingdom today and in the days to come.
Grateful to lead with you,
National Director, Vineyard USA
I am encouraged to report that we are in ongoing and active conversation with the board of Vineyard Anaheim. We look forward to continuing this consequential conversation. As we are able to provide more updates, we will do so as clearly and quickly as possible.
I also want to say very clearly that while there are many opinions currently circulating about the content and implications of what is happening with Vineyard Anaheim, no one is speaking on behalf of Vineyard USA besides members of the National Team.
In times when information is low and emotion is high, we all have opportunities to choose what we put in the gap in our understanding. I would encourage you to fill that spot with trust in those of us charged to lead in this moment.
Please continue to pray for us, as well as the Vineyard Anaheim board, as we pursue peace and clarity.
National Director, Vineyard USA
We were made aware of their board’s decision to dissociate from the Vineyard, effective immediately, by the Scotts at a dinner meeting on Thursday evening, February 24th. This was the first time I had had any conversation with anyone from Vineyard Anaheim about this. I received it less than 24 hours before they sent out public communication to their church announcing the decision on February 25th. Prior to my meeting with them on Thursday night, I was not included in any conversation, process, or discernment about their choice. This was my first time meeting with them since becoming National Director on January 1st. Furthermore, none of the National Team of Vineyard USA was invited into this process with them either. We started our dinner meeting by inviting the Scotts into more leadership in Vineyard USA, as we have been so encouraged by all the good things we’ve seen happening at Vineyard Anaheim, so you can imagine how shocking their announcement of disassociation was. Over the past two days, I have been in communication with many of our founding fathers and mothers of our movement, who have also expressed their shock and confusion at this decision.
Vineyard Anaheim was one of the founding churches of our movement. For some of you, this is where you first experienced the power and presence of God’s Spirit and stepped into Kingdom ministry personally. Even for those who have not been there physically, the history of Vineyard Anaheim has had an impact on every Vineyard church. The values and practices that founded this church are still the values and practices that we are deeply committed to during this new season for our movement. And God is with us as a movement. Every single day I hear new stories of the ways that God’s Kingdom is breaking through in power in our churches all over the country. This is our legacy that we continue to steward as a movement. For all of these concerns and questions, we recognize that Alan and Kathryn and their team are our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as family members in the Vineyard – which makes the suddenness of this all the more painful.
We exist as a movement so that people will come to know Jesus and experience the power and presence of His Kingdom. We will continue to seek His empowerment in every space that we are in – personally, in our churches each week, and as we gather across our regions later this year. Our National Team is committed to starting and supporting local churches like yours. We will continue to call each other to deeper commitment as brothers and sisters in Christ, and as part of this family called the Vineyard. We are incredibly excited about the future for the Vineyard in our nation and around the world.
I pray that each of your churches will experience the power and presence of the living God this weekend. And I’m praying for each of you that you will experience that Presence every day in your own lives. Come, Holy Spirit.
National Director, Vineyard USA