Timeline of the Collapse of the Geftakys Ministry
A year after the collapse of George Geftakys' ministry, we put together this summary of events after hearing the account of what transpired from brothers closely involved in both Fullerton and San Luis Obispo. Its purpose is to provide clarity and hopefully answer questions on how all this happened and why. Was it proper for the brothers in Fullerton to discipline George for failing to remove David from the work? Was George really guilty of sexual improprieties? Did the brothers in Fullerton do the right thing in excommunicating George?
Although only a summary, the timeline demonstrates:
- David Geftakys' abuse towards his wife, family, and brothers in San Luis Obispo was repeatedly reported to George and Betty over a period of some 20 years. (David is George Geftakys' oldest son.)
- On numerous occasions, the brothers recommended to George Geftakys that David be removed from the work in San Luis Obispo.
- The brothers struggled to get George Geftakys to own up to his responsibility in the demise of the Assembly in San Luis Obispo and to make amends with the people there. George instead side-stepped their entreaty and maneuvered around their disciplinary action.
- George's excommunication was necessary in order to protect God's people from further devastation and disillusionment.
- The brothers in the end realized they had given inappropriate deference over the years to George's authority in the work.
This timeline was written, of necessity, from within the Assembly frame of reference, because that is where the documentation was. The totalism of the Assembly can be viewed as a sort of biosphere, a self-contained system. The values, perspectives, considerations, motivations, and actions were organically unrelated to the real world in many ways. It's like Seahaven in the movie, The Truman Show, with George Geftakys, like Christof, running the show from behind the scenes. The timeline takes us back into the controlled environment of the Assembly.
Reported Incidents of David's Domestic Violence
Between 1977 and 1980 - Judy tells Brinda M. that David was beating her, hitting her on the chest, stomach, and back. In addition, David was very controlling of her time and finances and was smoking and drinking. Jim and Brinda advise Judy to tell George, which she reluctantly does. Brinda overhears George say to Judy in response: "If David did that, you must have deserved it!"
Between 1977 and 1980 - Brenda Houk and Ken Teater witness David sitting on Judy and hitting her. This occurred in St. Louis, Missouri. Brenda later told Betty of the incident.
Early 1980's - Sheryl Mather reports to Betty a separate incident of David's abuse to Judy in Altona, IL.
Early 1980's - Gay Walker (Mau) tells Betty of yet another incident in Fullerton. Gay sees the blood from her injuries.
Fall, 1986 - Dan Notti talks to David at Judy’s request in Ventura. David maintains that this was the first time he was ever physical with Judy. According to David, Judy had hit, scratched, and kicked him also. David made a commitment to not do it again. Dan told Judy of David's response and encouraged her to call him if it ever happened again. She never did.
1994 - The mother of one of the brothers in fellowship in San Luis Obispo who was living with David and Judy at the time hears Judy scream out as David fiercely beats her. She reports the incident to the Leading Brothers in SLO and is subsequently slandered by David and told to leave his home. The Leading Brothers quietly reprimand David for his abusive conduct.
May, 1996 - Bob Anderson becomes David's attorney when Rachel, his daughter, files for a restraining order against her own father for punching her in the head, permanently damaging her hearing. The order is executed without coming before a judge. Bob tells George and Betty about the outcome of the case.
Fall, 1996 - Dan Notti and Mark Miller (at Mark's instigation) meet with David in Ventura after hearing that David had assaulted his daughter Rachel. David admits to pushing Rachel around and slapping her. Dan and Mark impress on David the seriousness of what he did.
April, 1998 - Tim and Ginger go to George and Betty after Judy confides in Ginger about David's abuse the month before. George and Betty tell them that it was none of their business and to stay out of it.
Summer, 1998 - George asks Dan Notti to meet with David and Judy to help them with undefined "marital difficulties." After meeting with them 3 times over the space of 5-6 months it is apparent that nothing of substance is being accomplished. In a Worker’s contribution Dan informs George of this fact and strongly recommends they be removed from San Luis Obispo. The basis for recommendation is the deteriorating testimony David and Judy have in their personal lives and the increasing division with the Leading Brothers in San Luis Obispo. George does not pursue discussion about that recommendation in the meeting.
September, 1999 - Mike and Cheryl Zach live in David and Judy's home for a month at Mark Miller's suggestion. In 2003 Judy writes about this episode, its terrible repercussions for her, and the complete absence of intervention and follow-through. They witness David’s instability and they attempt to mediate between Judy and Betty. They recommend to George that David be accountable to someone in the Work, and urge him as a father to talk to David. They do not suggest that David and Judy be removed from San Luis Obispo.
Judy Leaves David
February, 2000 - Brent and Suzanne T. officially leave the Geftakys ministry.
Summer, 2000 - Dan Notti and Mark Miller meet with David and Judy in Ventura after Mark hears that Judy is threatening to leave David. They appear to be reconciled, standing together on a number of issues that they had with the interference of George and Betty in the marriage, as well as accusations about events in George’s past. Judy states that David has not been physical with her in the previous few years. In Dan and Mark's perception, she does not indicate any fear of being with him. Judy is encouraged to call if David’s behavior becomes unstable. All the accusations and issues raised by David and Judy are discussed in a meeting with George and Betty. George and Betty vehemently dispute David’s accusation of George being disciplined in a Brethren Assembly for immorality. Again the recommendation is made to bring them home.
Dan and Mark meet with David in Fullerton along with Wes Cohen and some brothers in leadership in SLO (without Kirk C.). Several restrictions are put on David’s behavior and the extent of his leadership in the Assembly. He is removed from leading the Workers Meeting and admonished to cooperate with the brethren there.
September, 2000 - Judy leaves David.
September 17, 2000 - Heide J., a close friend of Judy, sends an e-mail to the leadership in SLO saying she could no longer be involved with the gathering because they had been "covering up wife abuse" for years. Heide also submits her account of the abuse to the website, Cult Education Institute. The same night she sends the e-mail she receives a phone call from one of the leaders in SLO asking her how she could write such "lies".
October 1, 2000 - Mark Miller meets with David to discuss with him a number of accusations that he hears about David: that he was threatening and abusing Judy before she left him, that he is drinking, smoking, and into pornography, and that he is misusing money given him. David denies all these accusations.
October 21, 2000 - Dan Notti visits SLO and meets with David. David again brings up George's past infidelity to Betty. David claims that Charles Solomon counseled him to leave fellowship and join another group, which Charles Solomon denies ever saying.
Correspondence To George and David
October 31, 2000 - Mark and Dan write to George in Holland and tell him that Judy has left David for safety reasons and that David had physically threatened Kirk C. and blamed him for Judy's leaving. Mark and Dan recommend to George that David not partake in the Lord's Supper, be given a leave of absence from the Work, return to Fullerton, live with and be accountable to a responsible brother, work on supporting Judy by returning various vehicles registered in her name, and seek help in dealing with some assets he had. George agrees to several things, but not to David leaving the SLO area.
November, 2000 - Mark and Dan meet with David again to address the past accusations as well as new ones that had arisen. David again denies everything and gets very angry and threatens Mark and Dan.
November 20, 2000 - After this, Mark and Dan write to David that he is to take a leave of absence from the Work and that the Work will no longer support him financially. He is to get counsel regarding his marriage and find a second opinion about his "steroid" therapy, which was apparently more detrimental than helpful.
Dan delivers the letter to David and talks with him about his involvement in the Work and his support. He is encouraged to find full time employment and reduce his monthly overhead. He is also encouraged to seek reconciliation with Judy. Dan repeatedly addresses his being under Assembly discipline.
December 18, 2000 - Kirk C. writes a personal letter to David and tells him that he continues to lie about his abuse of Judy and that he drove Judy away by creating a domineering environment in his home. He tells David that he will no longer be a coward to his bullying and calls David to repentance.
February, 2001 - George passes through SLO and rebukes Kirk for being "harsh" and "critical" of David.
David's Counseling With Dr. Charles Solomon
March, 2001 - Dan meets with David in SLO and encourages him to see Chuck Solomon for counseling.
April 26, 2001 - Kirk C. writes a personal letter to George telling him that he resigned from leadership in March and that he believes that George and Betty are responsible for creating Judy's bitterness. He entreats George to take action regarding the problems with David in SLO because to date he has heard nothing helpful come from George.
May, 2001 - Charles Solomon in Tennessee counsels with David for a week. Mr. Solomon asks Dan to follow up with David on his return to “seal the deal”. Dan spends a couple of days talking to David about what he learned in the time of counsel. Also, at this time Dan and Mark together meet with David. David does not believe that there is anything of substance that needs to be addressed in his life. According to David, Mr. Solomon confirmed David's gift and ministry. In subsequent email communication, Mr. Solomon denies this was the case. David returns to SLO without any significant turning.
May 14, 2001 - Dan and Mark write a detailed letter to George after David's time with Charles Solomon. Dan relates how David was not taking responsibility for his abusive behavior towards his family and the brethren in SLO.
July 8, 2001 - Kirk C. writes another letter to George hoping for a response to his concerns from his last letter. He again asks George to get directly involved because his ignoring the situation to date had only served to compound the offense of David's sins. He gives him a tally of the number of people who have already left the SLO Assembly (47) because of his unfaithfulness in dealing with the situation. There was still no response from George.
July 12, 2001 - Brent T. has a long conversation with Danny Edwards entreating him and the leadership in Fullerton to correct the "blatant special treatment" that David has received so far.
July 20, 2001 - Hector P. writes a letter to Mark, Dan, and Tim Geftakys stating that the leadership (in particular George and Betty) has failed in their responsibility to protect Judy and have shown partiality towards David in all this. He calls it "clear nepotism".
Mark and Dan separately meet with Hector and Michelle to discuss these concerns. (Tim Geftakys was gone that summer and so did not see Hector's letter.) Mark also meets with Pepe and Nancy O. over the same concerns. Mark and Dan relate these concerns to Danny Edwards, as well as George and Betty. Both George and Betty deny any knowledge of physical abuse raised by Hector.
August 2, 2001 - Danny Edwards writes to George, Mark, and Dan expressing his concern that David continues to refuse "to admit any culpability regarding the conditions of the Assembly, his marriage or family." David needs to take responsibility for his behavior before the brothers in SLO can allow David to partake again in the Lord's supper and to bring ministry. And certainly before David can be restored into the work, there are a number of things that need to change in David's life. Danny recommends dealing with the situation locally, thinking that Dan and Mark’s involvement from a distance would only confuse the situation. Danny asks Kirk C. to write up a history of the SLO Assembly.
At the Workers' conference in August, 2001 there is a great deal of discussion between Mark, Dan and Mike Zach about Betty’s culpability in the situation by withholding information from George about David’s abusive behavior with Judy. Dan and Mark confront her with this. Her response is that she didn’t tell George because "he didn’t want to know." At this time Betty did not acknowledge the full extent of her knowledge of events in the past. Dan and Mark were also ignorant of the full extent of the abuse.
August 23, 2001 - Kirk C. states in a letter to Danny Edwards that George and the responsible Workers had abandoned the Assembly in San Luis Obispo to David’s abuse. The brethren in SLO trusted George and the Workers to hold David accountable, but instead violated the sacred trust given them. To make matters worse, there has never been any acknowledgment of wrongdoing. Instead all culpability has been swept under the rug.
September, 2001 - As months passed with no response from the brethren to his entreaties, Kirk leaves the SLO fellowship to meet with other believers.
December, 2001 - Danny Edwards raises the concern to Mark and Dan that George favored David and Judy and refused to remove them from the Work in SLO even though there were plenty of grounds for doing so.
2002 - Danny Edwards and the brethren in SLO are engaged with the issues in SLO without the involvement of Dan and Mark.
April, 2002 - Brent and Suzanne T. are excommunicated for publishing "half-truths" about the Geftakys assemblies on the Cul Education Institute website, and the Assembly in SLO is told to avoid (shun) them.
May 21, 2002 - Kirk C. writes a letter to Mark Miller reminding him that he wrote a letter to Mark back in 1994 (8 years ago). In the 1994 letter Kirk expresses his concern about having to submit to David's leadership.
September, 2002 - David Geftakys is reinstated to the Lord's Supper and allowed to teach and preach. The first message he gives is, "When Your Friends Desert You: The Meaning of God's Love".
October 28, 2002 - Kirk C. and Brent T. attempt to set up a meeting of the Leading Brothers in SLO with a local Christian pastor. The Brother's response to them was, "We don’t think we need to have others come in and tell us what you think our sins are."
October 31, 2002 - In keeping with Matthew 18 to "tell the church", Kirk C. hand delivers a letter to everyone meeting at the Sand's Hotel in SLO that George and the responsible Workers have failed to protect God's people from David's abuse and entreats them to "bring to light the hidden things of darkness."
November 1, 2002 - Brent T. launches the GeftakysAssembly.com website and bulletin board for the following reasons: a) the refusal of the SLO leadership to open dialogue with Kirk and Brent about the issues, b) people are being told to avoid those who are speaking out, and c) people are uninformed and need to hear the truth. Rachel and Judy Geftakys' story is published on the website, as well as Rachel's restraining order against David. Kirk's complete writings are instrumental in telling the truth. Brent writes an article about The Wicked Sons of Eli.
Around this time Danny makes a secret visit to Brent at his office.Brent writes up the difference between his view of what is really going on, and Danny Edwards' view. Danny apologizes for not following up on Brent's concerns and admitted wrongdoing in the way Brent was excommunicated.
November 9, 2002 - Danny Edwards writes George to tell him about Kirk C.'s public letter and expresses the need for David to publicly acknowledge and repent of his sin.
December, 2002 - There is consensus that George needs to be confronted about the accusations that are raised on the website, including incidents of abusive behavior that were unknown until now.
December 10, 2002 - John Malone Sr.'s article, Leaving the Lodge, was posted on the website, and generated heated discussion on the Assembly bulletin board. Brent later removed it on January 18, 2003, along with other articles, at the request of the SLO leadership.
December 13, 2002 - Dan, Mark, Danny, Jeff Lehmkuhl and Roberto Sanchez meet with George to discuss these issues. George denies knowledge of the events and repeatedly maintains that he did nothing wrong. It is pointed out to him repeatedly that it is not what he did not know, but what he knew, that was at issue. What he did know should have moved him to act to remove David and Judy from a place of responsibility in SLO. While continuing to minimize his culpability in what transpired in SLO he shares a prepared statement that he is going to give to the Workers the following day.
December 14, 2002 (Saturday) - George shares his statement with the Workers, deflecting all responsibility for what took place and blaming others. Many Workers are dissatisfied with his statement and responses in the discussion that follows.
There is discussion among the elders and some Leading Brothers in Fullerton about George’s statement and it is decided to meet with him again.
The following week, Danny Edwards, Tim Geftakys, Mark Miller and Dan Notti meet with George to entreat him about owning his responsibility for what happened in SLO and repenting of it. He is willing, after considerable discussion, to agree that he was guilty of a "sin of omission". It is decided that a statement should be made to the saints gathered for the All Night of Prayer in Fullerton (Friday, December 20). He also agrees to make a statement of apology to the saints in SLO the following day (Saturday, December 21). There is also to be a statement made to a general Workers' Meeting scheduled to take place during the Winter Seminar. Brethren feel that some progress has been made and agree to this.
During the next few days there is concern about the statement that will be made at the prayer meeting; and the elders from Fullerton meet with George to get him to write out his statement. He refuses for "legal" reasons, but agrees to certain language and points that should be made.
December 20, 2002 (Friday) - George makes his statement at the prayer meeting and refuses to acknowledge the extent of his culpability or to confess his sin and repent. Many of the saints and all of the leadership are greatly disappointed with his statement. The consensus is that there is no real repentance in George’s life.
December 21, 2002 (Saturday) - George's trip to SLO is also received with skepticism.There are discussions with George involving several brethren regarding the effectiveness and sincerity of his repentance. Most entreaties fall on deaf ears. The elders and others discuss George’s spiritual condition and whether or not there should be a seminar with him speaking.
December 25, 2002 (Christmas Day, Wednesday) - George writes in a letter to the Assemblies that on January 11, 2003 (Saturday) he was going to "sit in conference" with "prominent brethren" to "discuss the future direction of the work". George's instructions given to the individual who typed this letter was to date the letter "December 23, 2002" and e-mail it immediately to the Assemblies in an attempt to get his letter out ahead of any decision the brothers might be making that very day about allowing George to conduct the upcoming seminar.
Attempts to Discipline George
December 25, 2002 (Christmas Day, Wednesday) - Mark Miller, Danny Edwards and Rod Zach meet to prepare a list of action items to address George’s behavior and lack of repentance. Mark Miller calls many brethren in the Assemblies for their input as to whether the winter seminar should proceed and what action items to address with George. The majority of the brethren that Mark called decide to allow the seminar to take place.
December 28, 2002 (Saturday) - In the Workers' meeting, held during the weekend of the seminar, George again takes no responsibility for his sin. Instead he lashes out against those who conducted a "secret meeting" during the week. During the discussion that follows, several brethren repent in tears over their involvement in events in SLO. This seems to validate George’s perception of his own innocence in the matter. Keith Walker and Dan Notti refocus the issue on George's sin and make strong statements about his culpability for the demise of the Assembly in SLO. George does not take those exhortations seriously and deflects the conversation to other issues. There is tremendous confusion after the meeting among the Workers as to what really is the main issue.
After the seminar the elders and Leading Brothers in Fullerton decide that a letter of discipline should be written and presented to George. He agrees to meet with the elders and Leading Brothers in Fullerton on Saturday morning, January 4th.
January 3, 2003 (Friday) - George writes to the Assemblies that he is planning a journey to China early in the new year. In the letter he tells his hearers to "not succumb to the suggestions of the enemy: mistrust, suspicion, discouragement, anger" which, he says, are "the ways of the destroyer (diabolos)."
Danny Edwards writes to George and makes it clear that allowing David to preach again in San Luis Obispo Assembly without prior public apology and repentance from David has precipitated the charge that George has shown favoritism towards David. Furthermore, George's response to the entreaties from his brethren has been "surprising and disheartening."
January 4, 2003 (Saturday) - On the morning of the meeting, the elders and Leading Brothers in Fullerton discover that George has secretly invited brothers from other Assemblies (Scott Testa, Kurt B., Jim McAllister, Tim McCarthy, Sterling Bennett, and Jack Hansen) to join the meeting. These brethren knew that their inclusion in the meeting was hidden from the brothers in Fullerton. George states all the brothers wanted to be there; Kurt B. disagrees.
George insists on taking control of the meeting and is allowed to do so. He immediately reads a letter of resignation [see also photocopy] as an elder in Fullerton (written the day before on January 3), preempting the letter of rebuke and discipline that the brothers wanted to read to George. The brothers' letter of rebuke is finally read and after much discussion, including unsolicited statements of support for George by those visiting brethren, George agrees to the conditions of his discipline. The conditions include: writing a letter of repentance, not giving ministry in Fullerton, returning all Assembly monies in his house, and doing everything possible to seek reconciliation with Judy and his grandchildren.
"Serious Breach of a Sacred Trust"
January 6, 2003 (Monday) - Elders and Leading Brothers write to George asking him to write a letter of repentance regarding his failure to deal with David. In addition, George is to seek reconciliation with those he had stumbled, apologize to Judy and Rachel, and write to the Workers explaining why he was not receptive to their entreaty.
At that time, Dan and Pam resign from the Work, stating in their letter to George that they are leaving because George is unwilling to own his sin in not disciplining his son.
Verne Carty, formerly of the Chicago Assembly, wrote an open letter to George, "What have you done with your charge?" that Brent published on the website.
January 9, 2003 (Thursday) - Elders and Leading Brothers read a letter to the Fullerton Assembly disciplining George for not decisively removing David from the Work. They call it a "serious breach of a sacred trust with God's people." The letter explains that George had agreed that afternoon to write a letter of repentance to Fullerton, to not preach in Fullerton until the issues were resolved, to be reconciled to Judy, his grandchildren, and those he stumbled. They affirm their love to George. They state they are going to continue to care for George and Betty's personal needs. Lastly, they apologize to the Assembly for not taking action sooner.
January 11, 2003 (Saturday) - George convenes a meeting of "select brethren" to decide the future of the Work. Present were Mike Zach, Roger Grant, Mark Miller, Rudy Dodirico, Tim Geftakys, Jim McAllister, Tim McCarthy, and Scott Testa. Although Danny Edwards was a full-time worker at SLO, George did not invite him to the meeting. George's behavior in the meeting on Saturday confirms Roger Grant's decision to resign from the Work and he does so in a letter to George and personal phone call.
During the week of January 12th, the Fullerton brethren calls the Assembly to a special week of prayer and repentance because of the present distress. Each night the elders and Leading Brothers apologize to individuals and ask forgiveness for not acting more quickly.
January 13, 2003 (Monday) - Dan Notti resigns as leading brother in Fullerton. In his letter of resignation he explains that he recommended to George back in July, 1998 to remove David and Judy from the Work in San Luis Obispo. Dan also writes a letter to SLO to apologize for not taking action sooner.
In the early part of the same week many brethren meet with George to encourage him to fulfill his commitments in light of discipline. In those meetings he states his determination not to write a letter of repentance.
January 14, 2003 (Tuesday) - George writes a letter [see also photocopy] to Mark Miller stating that he and Betty are stepping down from "the place of all responsibility" and seeking fellowship in another Assembly.
January 15, 2003 (Wednesday Evening) - A sister, "Kristin", reveals to a brother in a private conversation the details of George's sexual harrassment. It began in the Fall of 1999 and progressed to overt sexual assault in early 2000. George told her that God meant for them to be together and said that she would someday become his next wife. After a year of enduring his sexual abuse in the belief that submission was her proper role, she was so uncomfortable and under such conviction of sin she insisted he stop.
January 16, 2003 (Thursday Morning) - Although it had been a confidential disclosure, the brother is so disturbed by George's behavior with the sister that at 6:00 am he phones Mark Miller for counsel as to what to do. Mark tells him to proceed on the basis of Matthew 18:15ff by first talking to George. When the brother confronts George, George plays down the issue and tries to get the brother to back down. He tells the brother, "If this comes out now, it will bring down a world-wide ministry," and asks the brother if he wanted to be responsible for that. After an hour of intense discussion, the brother insists that George call Mark Miller that very morning. George does call Mark, but Mark is out meeting with a couple. The brother then urges George to call Timothy, George's son, but George refuses. When Mark gets back home, he returns the call, but George and Betty had already left the house to fly to San Francisco. This is now about 8:00 in the morning.
Going to San Francisco was in clear defiance to the wishes of the brethren in Fullerton. They wanted George to go to San Luis Obispo to make amends with those he had offended. Instead, George goes to San Francisco. During the day, Mark Miller and Tim Geftakys repeatedly attempt to reach George, but are frustrated by Scott Testa who knows George's whereabouts but refuses to divulge it.
Also on Thursday the sister meets with the elders in Fullerton to recount what George had done to her. (Later she meets with the Leading Brothers from both Fullerton and Placentia, Dan Notti excepted.) She describes how George penned love letters to her veiled as poetry and seminar manuscripts about Christ and His relationship to His bride. There were many sexually explicit telephone calls and many secret rendezvous in which George sexually abused her over the course of a year.
January 17, 2003 (Friday) - Mark Miller learns from a second sister that George had sexually harrassed her for several years. George mentioned to her as well that he would marry her if he could. This sister has also been severely traumatized by George's sexual excursions with her.
That evening (Friday) a letter of excommunication is drafted that was to be read to George if he should call Mark Miller.
January 18, 2003 (Saturday) - From an even more distant past the brothers learn from a third sister how she became the object of George's sexual harrassment in the early years of the Work in Fullerton.
And in the weeks that followed several other women came forward to say that he had sexually harrassed them. They all made it clear that they were extremely uncomfortable with his behavior. In all cases, George was the initiator and aggressor. None of these sisters knew about George's behavior with the other sisters. Each sister thought she was the only one receiving sexual advances from George.
On the evening of Saturday, January 18th, the elders and Leading Brothers from Fullerton and Placentia meet to discuss George's excommunication. From the perspective of the brothers, here were charges of sexual assault not from one, not two, but three different witnesses. After observing George's deception surrounding the issues with David Geftakys and his subversion of all their attempts to discipline him, they were determined to stop George from harming God's people even further.
About 8:00 pm that evening, Mark receives a phone call from George. George asks Mark what he wanted. Mark tells George that he knew very well what he wanted to talk about. George then calls the sisters liars. Mark asks George to immediately return to Fullerton, but George refuses and insists on coming back at the end of the week. At that point the conversation ends.
A little later, George calls back Mark and tells him that Betty had something to say to him. Betty tells Mark that the sister involved told her that "what she did with George" was not immoral. When George got back on the line, Mark asked him if Scott Testa had ever told him earlier that he wanted to talk to him. George denies Scott told him. Then Mark asks to speak to Scott. Scott tells Mark that he did tell George to call him. Mark asks to speak to George again and confronts George for lying to him. Again the conversation ends.
Both these conversations were conducted in the presence of the elders and Leading Brothers in attendance.
As the brothers discussed excommunication, Mark Miller tells the other elders that he is going to step down because people's confidence in him as an example had been shaken. He told them that if they wanted to they could do the same.
January 19, 2003 (Sunday) - At the end of the worship service in Fullerton, the brothers read the letter of excommunication. The letter explains that George did not write a letter of repentance regarding his son, David, and did not intend to write such a letter. George also sexually harrassed and assaulted several sisters over a period of many years. George was not to be welcomed at the Lord's Supper in any of the assemblies and George and Betty would no longer be financially supported. At that time all the elders and Leading Brothers in Fullerton step down.
That afternoon the letter of excommunication is sent out to all the assemblies. Soon after Roger Grant personally informs Samuel in Africa about George's excommunication.
January 24, 2003 (Friday) - George returns from San Francisco and calls Mark. Mark tells him that he must meet with all the elders and Leading Brothers from Fullerton and Placentia. George resists and asks to meet only with the elders in Fullerton (Mark, Tim, and Rod). When Mark presents George's request to the Leading Brothers in Fullerton, they insist that George meet with all the Leading Brothers from both assemblies.
January 25, 2003 (Saturday) - Mark informs George of the decision of the brothers. George again refused to meet with all of the brothers together. This was the last conversation Mark had with George.
February 5, 2003 (Wednesday) - A week and a half later, George wrote a letter [see also photocopy] to Mark Miller claiming that he "attempted" to fulfill all "previously agreed upon conditions" and that he had been "pre-judged by excommunication...without accusers and witnesses". Note that GG does not even mention the sexual impropriety. In April, 2008, Flora, formerly of the Ottawa Assembly, wrote a very instructive piece that sheds light on the subsequent claims that GG's excommunication had not been "handled properly" and was therefore invalid.
Early on in this history, individuals each knew of a single, specific incident of David abusing Judy. Those who confronted David about the incident heard David respond by maintaining that nothing like it had happened before and that he was deeply repentant about his behavior. Those who confronted David believed they helped David face his sin and repent. In almost every case the individuals involved reported their encounter with David to Betty or George or both of them. Betty and George kept those incidents from others who got involved with David and therefore they did not know that a pattern of abuse was occurring. This greatly inhibited dealing with the issue. The brethren in San Luis Obispo and in Fullerton spoke to George about David’s inappropriate behavior several times, but George refused to remove David from leadership, even though it was strongly recommended.
The brethren in Fullerton acknowledge that there was an inappropriate deference given to the authority of George Geftakys in the Work which allowed issues to continue unchecked for many years. For this the brethren are deeply sorry and have acknowledged their sin and expressed their repentance on numerous occasions both publicly and privately.
I John 5:16a says: "If anyone sees his brother commit a sin that does not lead to death, he should pray and God will give him life." To pray that God would give repentance (and therefore life) to George is a difficult thing to do. Especially, after learning how he abandoned his daughter-in-law, his grand children, and great-grandson, allowed entire Assemblies to fall by the way side, and what he did to many unsuspecting and innocent women who sincerely believed it was incumbent upon them to submit to the "Lord's servant".
Our hearts go out to God's people everywhere who have been devastated by these events and especially to the women who have had to bear the pain of sexual abuse from a self-proclaimed "man of God" whose conscience is evidently seared.
Our prayer is that God will bring something good out of this, that those who have been so devastated by George over the years will find comfort in the one and only Good Shepherd who truly cares and protects His own by laying down his life for them, bringing them into a safe place, and perfectly justifying and acquitting them before God forever.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
Comments from Readers
April 22, 2004: I have read part of the recent article, "Collapse of the Geftakys Ministry". Months ago, I mentioned to some friends here in Arcata, CA, that I hoped somebody would take the time to write about what had happened. A research project was clearly needed. I’m grateful that you have done this work, and I want to thank you.
I hope more writing comes out of our experiences. While the Lord could have used our labor in countless ways, I know that policies of restriction, which we all practiced and allowed to be performed upon us, limited what could have been. If we each had decided to preach about the things we individually saw in the scripture, without being bent regularly to the stayed principles of “the house of God,” or “God’s eternal purpose in Christ Jesus,” many great truths of the scripture could have been enlarged.
When my wife and I stepped away from the work in Arcata, even as changes were taking place, I decided never again to allow a man to tell me what God did or didn’t want. Moses said, “Would that all did prophesy.” I hope that we all spend more time thinking about Him, and much less about the will of men.
April 20, 2004: I appreciate the work you have done in providing this well documented account. If in any way you have understated your case, I believe it is simply because of your sincere desire to be fair, accurate, and provide clear supporting documentation that is evident and available to the reader.
I also appreciate your "just the facts" timeline that does not alienate your reader with inflammatory prose that often scares ungrounded seekers back into the "safe haven" of the Assembly structure. While additions and adjustments could be debated, I think what you have clearly shows the dysfunctional nature of the group and many a midnight internet surfer will profit from reviewing what you have put together.
I was especially struck by George's last letter. How often, when people were leaving, George would hit hard and alienate with the full force of the brethren. I remember how you (and I and others) tried to explain our position through discussion and letter only to have our words trivialized without an ounce of valid consideration. Finally, George got a taste of his own medicine. Finally, due to his own discrediting, people stopped taking his words seriously.
Again, I appreciate your work and I trust the Lord will lead many who struggle with their Assembly involvement to review this history.
This is also posted on the Bulletin Board.
April 17, 2004: Now that there is a balanced, more accurate description of what happened in the Assembly, the leaders are going to have to explain to people why they asked us to pray for Judy's repentance, when all along they knew what was going on, even if in part. They got their viewpoint across in their story, which doesn't make them look too good. However, things look a lot different from the lowly saint side of the street.
They are going to need to be available for apologies to individuals. Yes, it was hard for them to hold George accountable....but they had no trouble lording it over their underlings. You and I both know this is true, and it is something they need to admit, for their own good, not to mention how much it will help people who are really hurting and angry.
I don't need them to say it to me, because I already know who and what they are. I pity them, rather than feel anger. However, when I see the permanent damage done to others, I feel very strongly that a little humility, from Dan, Mark and Rod would be far more helpful than if they again defend themselves against "bitter" people. Had they been open and honest when it really mattered, then a "distorted" view of events would not have been published.
July 2, 2004: Regarding the timeline of the Assembly collapse, the thing that's revealed in the accounts of Kirk C. and Rachel G. is the obstructionism practiced by the Assembly leaders they confronted. This contradicts the picture painted of the Assembly leaders as being basically nice guys who had a tough time standing up to the big bully George. It also shows that the Assembly leaders had much more than enough information than they needed to take drastic action against George if they wanted to, and that they had this information much earlier than they say they did.