Reader: “I am shocked and saddened by the revelations of Gil Jones presented”

"The Prodigal Pastor," Alan Prendergast, August 22

Let Us Prey

I can just about bet there are many more women who have had "sleepovers" with this pastor who are not talking. I'm sure some are still trying to protect him and therefore enable him. I don't care what these women's motives are; at the end of the day, that pastor knows better, as he is in a position of power and authority. There are boundaries in these types of relationships. Teachers shouldn't have sleepovers with students. Counselors shouldn't have sleepovers with clients. Pastors shouldn't have sleepovers with parishioners. Period. It's a violation by a person of trust.

Parishioners may not know that, but pastors sure as hell should.

Connie Torres

Denver

Not defending his actions whatsoever, but sometimes people forget that pastors are human, too.

Blayne McMillen

Posted at westword.com

Can you say intercession? Sure you can. Dear Jesus: Sorry for all the flaky leadership! Bless Westword for exposing this crap!

Rob Marshall

Denver

As I read the Gil Jones story with conflicting emotions, I was relieved to know that Denver-area Christians have been officially warned in print. However, those emotions turned to horror when I read the specific details of the destruction one man inflicted. This is painful and tragic. I attended Pathways years ago, confronted similar issues with Gil, voiced my concern in a letter to the Elder Board, and yet nothing happened. After this level of attention and reading the upsetting comments in the online article, reliving drama and pointing fingers isn't what former members and local Christians need to do now. This shouldn't become about shaming a "bad pastor." As Christians, we must place our faith in God and move forward. I am optimistic that one day the redemption of a broken man, the healing protection of the flock, and the reputation of the church in Denver will all be restored.

Kenny Miles

Denver

There's a name for people like Gil Jones, who freely engage in this kind of romantic behavior with those they are charged with serving: We quite correctly call them "sexual predators." They prey on the vulnerabilities of those in their charge. The black T-shirts, hoodies and faded jeans may be a clever dodge of the usual accoutrements of professionalism, but anyone paid as handsomely as Mr. Jones for many years now can't be excused for ignorance of the ethical boundaries of his sensitive craft. Those in professions that hold forth to treat the body and minister to the soul are taught that their very office creates a vast power and status difference between themselves and their charges. They hold in trust the privileged communication and access with those who usually come to them in a vulnerable state, seeking their help and guidance.

The article documents well how those who cross this line do great harm to others and to their institutions in the process. The female "seekers" who come to Jones's church hoping for a new start and inspired spiritual care deserve to trust in the integrity and purest motives of the minister.

Yes, there's grace for our failures, but part of that package is a change in heart and will, in terms of leaving behind the wrong behavior. Jones needs to stay 100 miles away from a leadership role in any church until he has taken off a year or more to deal with his own messy midlife crisis and regained the spiritual footing — and standing — to do more than just wallow in his own filth in front of these hungry, spiritual seekers. In more enlightened circles, this "edgy style" could even be judged as laziness and negligence in preparing one's own heart for this most difficult and vital task: that of rendering God's message as well as presenting a humble, forgiven and restored personal model to those seeking something better for their lives.

Ron Ausmus

Denver

I just wanted to thank you for writing this article. Thank you for having the courage to put into words what, unfortunately, many of us in Denver already knew. I am a former Pathways member. I don't know what the aftermath will be; I doubt he will stop. But thank you for giving a voice to so many that couldn't.

Angela Jackson

Cambodia

Alan Prendergast's well-written and sobering story on Gil Jones's predatory schemes in the Denver Front Range is shockingly revealing, and will hopefully prevent the victimization of additional unsuspecting women. The title "Pastor" is synonymous with the profession and title of "Shepherd" in Christian thought. In the New Testament, Jesus alluded to himself as a shepherd who would protect and even lay down his life for his sheep (people). A pastor's duty is to care, nurture and protect people, as a shepherd would protect his sheep.

What Mr. Prendergast has methodically exposed is a predator using the position of pastor to prey on women to meet his selfish emotional and sexual desires. As a member of Pathways Church, I protested to church staff that Gil's preaching was moving away from the tenets of the Christian faith. The response I received was, "But look how many people are attending! God must be a part of this!" I left Pathways dismayed, with my final words to the Pathways staff being, "If he does not change, this church will crash." Less than six months later, it did.

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