The Lasting Supper: a Statement & Apology

8." Concerning the man accused of making sexist remarks or contacting women privately: There was a man who made inappropriate contacts and remarks that some felt were threatening. I quickly contacted him. When he was addressed about it, he immediately deleted any offending comments he could and made a public apology. We were in frequent communication on how to be a person who doesn't convey or exhibit sexist or threatening behavior or remarks, even accidentally. He wished to reestablish trust. But he could not learn how to not be sexist in his behavior so he was removed from TLS. We also had another person exhibiting stalking behavior who was removed after this was addressed. I learned a big lesson: TLS will not be a community where we can entertain a vision of restoring sexist men. Sexism will not be tolerated. TLS must feel "safe" for women from the start. Therefore, I will continue to intervene and speak to people about their behavior in order to keep members feeling protected enough to participate in the community discussions. As the founder and lead facilitator of TLS, I and my admins shall continue to endeavor to protect members from inappropriate comments, advances, or threats.

9." As someone with over 50 years' experience in the church institutions, and 30 years within the full-time ministry, I confess that I have inflicted spiritual abuse, and that I have been the recipient of spiritual abuse. I've made mistakes. But I want to learn. I have issues. But I believe in change. So, I am choosing to remain committed to the spiritual health, freedom and independence of people, and to do my part in creating, and helping to create, healthy on-line communities. As a cartoonist, artist, writer, coach, and online community facilitator, I plan to continue to write and cartoon about abuse, especially spiritual abuse, as well as survival and deconstruction. I plan to also continue being an advocate for victims and survivors of abuse, and a critic of the people, ideas, and systems that inflict it. I plan to continue being passionate about creating spaces for healthy community to happen and to be a good facilitator of them. TLS has over 400 members on our main site with about 200 active in our private Facebook group. We have our ups and downs, but we are learning together and happily continue to grow.

I regret this whole episode happened. Yes, some people did leave TLS. But the huge majority stayed. People were hurt. I was hurt. I hurt others. I didn't mean to. I wish I could do it all over again because I learned valuable lessons through this process so that I will handle conflict better in the future. However, I will not take the blame for the seriously abusive behavior of certain people who are no longer in TLS. Their treatment of me and other members was horrendous. They deserved to be removed and blocked. I'm sure you can read their stories elsewhere, but please keep my story and the stories of other who experienced their abuse in mind as you do. TLS is an amazing online community. Just ask the members.

Again, I'm sorry where I've failed." You have my heart-felt apologies.

TLS extends a welcoming hand and is committed to the same goals I am.

We learned. TLS is better.

(NOTE: I want this post and apology to just stand alone as my statement and so I have turned off comments. ALSO: To individuals... I beg you to please accept this letter as if written to you personally. If anyone wants to reach out to me to talk about this, email me.)

Sincerely; David Hayward

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