Thursday, June 12, 2003

CECIL WOOTEN'S LETTER TO LA LEADERSHIP reveal a side of the power struggles among the LA church leadership.

Cecil Wooten responds to the LA Leadership’s response to Marty Wooten’s letter.

Marty Wooten had written an open letter to the LA leadership regarding his wrongful termination in Sept 2002 by Marty Fuqua, which Fuqua alleged was due to family issues. The truth was Marty Wooten's daughter, Catherine, was shamed and labeled by Fuqua and others because of an emotional breakdown after she was raped. Fuqua used this as an excuse to terminate Wooten, because he felt Wooten was trying to take him over.

I highly recommend you read Marty’s letter before and/or after this reading this.

Such events, happening around the same time as Kip McKean’s resignation, cause me to believe there is probably a larger story operating behind all this. But as for now, here is a brief synopsis by ICOC Blogspot.

The People

Cecil Wooten -- Chief Administrator; father of Marty Wooten
Peacemakers -- A group chosen to arbitrate the Wootens' dispute with Northern Federation after his termination; they wrote the LA letter.
Marty & Chris Fuqua – WSLs who fired Wooten (Don’t confuse the two Marty’s)
Marty & Cathy Wooten – Were fired. Held THREE positions: WSLs/Elders/Teacher; Cathy is the mother of Catherine.
Tom McCurry – WSL?
John Mannell – WSL?
Maria Fuqua -- young daughter of Marty Fuqua
Catherine Wooten -- young daughter of Marty Wooten
Reese Neyland – WSL/Elder, who was known for unrepentant sins of chewing tobacco and viewing porn, yet was never asked to step down.
David Graham -- A former major LA leader, now considered a "fallaway"
Mike Leatherwood – Major leader who formed CR and is a practicing psychotherapist, now considered a "fallaway"

Cecil Wooten's Main Points:
Cecil writes about how Fuqua and other LA leaders manipulated and lied to create the circumstances to "legitimately" fire Wooten.

1. The LA leadership response to Marty Wooten's letter was deeply disturbing to Cecil, and calls into question the integrity and honesty of the LA leadership. He has witnessed a consistent pattern of leaders protecting leaders, and been yelled at in meetings when he “put his foot down” concerning policy and expenditures, as Chief Administrator. Further, Catherine Wooten went public with her rape to help people understand the graceless treatment she received; to help others and herself to find the courage to stand up for what is right. She has more integrity and courage than any of the LA leadership.

2. The LA letter states, “we are shocked and appalled by the Wooten letter.” There is nothing in the Wooten letter that had not been previously presented to the Peacemakers, Fuquas and Neylands.

3. LA response states: "No evidence that Marty Fuqua was to fire Wooten, or use Catherine Wooten for that purpose; Tom McCurry said he does not believe that Marty Fuqua was trying to get the Wootens fired, and was trying to find a way to keep them in the ministry." HOWEVER, Tom he did know Fuqua had decided to remove Marty Wooten in April 2002. Tom did not know in advance that the GSL removal was to actually occur in May 2002... Cecil believes that Tom is loyal to Marty Fuqua and is reluctant to put him in a bad light.

Audiotape of Tom telling Marty and Cathy the events that led to Wooten’s termination:
1. Wooten’s efforts to help leader relationships was perceived as ‘trying to take over’ -- something Fuqua said.
2. When Catherine’s rape came out, Fuqua felt that Marty Wooten was out to get him.
3. Catherine had challenged Maria Fuqua (Fuqua’s daughter) about not being a free thinker…. when that got back to Marty and Chris, they felt Maria was being pulled away. It added to a smoldering fire.
4. Since Wooten’s an elder, a struggling daughter conveniently disqualifies Wooten.
5. That was when the Fuquas decided to withdraw from Marty Wooten

Marty and Cathy had never heard these thoughts and feelings from Marty and Chris Fuqua directly. Like Saul, Fuqua’s resentment and unfounded fears led to his ill treatment of Catherine and the Wootens. After the Maria Fuqua and Catherine Wooten conversation, Fuqua informed Marty Wooten he was permanently removed from his position as GSL.

A Feb 2003 announcement to the Bible Talk Leaders states the Wootens’ disqualification from the three roles as being “very serious spiritual issues.” Fuqua denied that Catherine was any part of the issue. Audiotapes contradict this statement; further, if Catherine wasn’t an “issue,” there was no biblical basis for Marty Wooten’s disqualification as an elder.

4. The Peacemakers state that Marty Wooten “was resistant to step down from the position voluntarily” as an elder. In June 2002, Marty Wooten offered to step down from the eldership in a Northern Federation discipleship group, after being removed from his GSL position in May 2002. Fuqua did not want this because Marty Wooten would still be in the role of teacher in the LA church and still have a position of influence, ie. a “threat” to Fuqua. Without prior discussion, Marty Wooten was informed in Sept 2002 he was “unanimously” disqualified for the three roles of elder, teacher, and GSL.

5. The issue of a threatened lawsuit: Did an attorney call, write a letter, or contact anyone in the church about a lawsuit? Harvey Woodford, legal counsel for the Northern Federation, advised Marty and Cathy to speak to an attorney to review the severance papers before signing them; which they did. Marty Wooten told Fuqua, John Mannel and Tom McCurry he believed laws had been broken, but was torn about how to pursue a biblical course of action to resolve Fuqua’s treatment of Catherine and their termination. Was Marty Wooten’s mere openness considered threat of a lawsuit?

6. "The Wooten letter contained slanderous statements about Reese Neyland and his character.” A statement is slanderous only if the statement is false. No untrue statement has been made about Reese. Reese’s addiction issues and the term “sexual behavior” are corroborated by Graham and Leatherwood. John Mannel said their testimony is no longer credible because they are “fallaways.” Cecil disagrees that a person’s ability to tell the truth is associated with membership in the ICOC.

7. The May 28th response states that Marty and Cathy have refused to comply with their request for a written statement of apology. Marty and Cathy are willing to publicly state the sins they committed which contributed to such a serious relationship breakdown. However, they did not agree to write a statement to the church about resolution taking place because neither repentance nor resolution has taken place concerning the following issues. Their refusal to submit was viewed as a “lack of humility” and as a result even their love for the brothers and sisters in the church was questioned.

At the same time, Marty and Chris Fuqua have been guilty of gossip, slander, conflict avoiding, which led to dishonesty in their relationships. In fact, this is not the first time that Marty and Chris Fuqua had strong feelings about people, weren’t honest about it, and sinned against them. The abuse of authority, favoritism, and the double standard must stop. Reese has refused to comment on his sins and has still made no statement of apology for repeatedly lying. Cecil does not believe that he has repented and is not resolved. And most seriously, the current eldership of the Los Angeles church and the Peacemakers, know about Reese’s hypocrisy and are unwilling to acknowledge his sin. It is ironic that these same sins have already been publicly acknowledged and confessed by the leadership of the LA church.

8. 1 Corinthians 6:4-5 All Christians, not just leaders, have the ability to discern the truth in settling disputes. Cecil believes that every member is able to judge and discern for himself what the truth is in this matter.

9. Cecil and his wife Helen have decided to no longer attend the Central Region services.

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