Harvest Christian Academy Loses Another McCaulley

NewspeakTwo weeks ago, on the sixth of June, Bloodstained Ink published a story regarding the recent dismissal of Roy McCaulley, the former Bible teacher at Harvest Christian Academy.  Subsequent to our initial report, Harvest Bible Chapel released their official reaction to this article, reassuring their congregants that “Amy [McCaulley] serves with distinction” and that she would “continue in that role.”  Now, if early reports are to be believed, it would appear as if the McCaulleys will have the final say in this matter. 

On the 14th of June, Marc Abbatacola penned an open letter to the congregants of Harvest Bible Chapel, wherein he alleged that Roy McCaulley’s termination was not in reaction to his classroom discussion on the efficacy of church camp, but rather was related to “deep matters of the heart.”  What makes this assertion difficult to believe is the simple fact that HCA teachers are on year-to-year contracts that are only renewed at the church’s discretion.  McCaulley taught at the Academy for six years, and every spring, his contract had been renewed.  What’s more, McCaulley was also the individual largely responsible for shaping the bible curriculum of the high school,  Are we really to believe that a man with problematic “recurring patterns of behavior” was renewed year after year with authority to shape the bible curriculum and the hearts and minds of students at Harvest Christian Academy?  Either Harvest’s judgment is deeply flawed for allowing that kind of man to have that kind of authority, power and influence over young, impressionable minds, or Harvest’s story is a fabrication.

But even if you were predisposed to believe Harvest’s version of the events, why was McCaulley unceremoniously pulled from the classroom just one day after having the infamous discussion about church camps?  If his dismissal was “not a matter of a particular class session,” as Marc Abbatacola wishes to insist, then why pull Mr. McCaulley with only two weeks left to go in the school year?  Why disrupt the learning of students who are preparing for their final examinations?  What “deep matter of the heart” was suddenly so urgent as to require his immediate departure from the class?  The facts simply do not add up.

But the story is not finished.  Remember how Marc Abbatacola reassured everyone that Lower School Principle Amy McCaulley was going to “continue in her role?”  Well, if early reports are to be believed, Ms. McCaulley has officially tendered her resignation.  Why Amy McCaulley would do this after her husband had just openly pledged both his love and fidelity for Harvest and James MacDonald as well as asserting that he and Amy were treated lovingly and kindly during this process seems sharply incongruous with her decision to suddenly leave the school.

In our first post, we asked our readers to keep an eye on the relationship between Harvest Bible Chapel, Amy McCaulley and Mary Martin.  We now know that Amy McCaulley has moved on.  It will be interesting to see what happens with Mary Martin.

Abbatacola Letter (14 June 2013)

Abbatacola Letter
(Click to enlarge)

McCaulley Letter (14 June 2013)

McCaulley Letter
(Click to enlarge)

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9 Responses to Harvest Christian Academy Loses Another McCaulley

  1. John says:

    I refuse to believe you would report so slanted as to not also include the gracious letter mr. McCauley wrote along with the letter from the school mentioned above.

    Come on man, really?

    • Fred says:

      Hey John, so how long do you think it will be until Mary Martin resigns after Marc’s “kind and loving” treatment of Roy?

  2. John … Both the Abbatacola letter and the McCaulley letter are attached at the end of the article you just read. Moreover, in the article, we clearly reference both letters. So I’m not sure what else you would like me to include.

  3. freegracefull says:

    This is beyond ridiculous. Only someone with their head completely up their posterior or on the payroll would defend these actions. Out of control cult.

  4. John says:

    So then, the people involved on both sides have no say in our opinion, just what some people on the outside assess is what matters?

    • Former HBC Staff Member says:

      John,

      HBC has placed too many people under duress with respect to their jobs or recommendations for their new employer for me to believe that either Marc Abbatacola or Roy’s letter should be believed. Based upon the long standing HBC practice of the “Harvest Freeze Out” or the practice of hounding future potential employers, I believe Roy was facing the same shameful treatment for doing nothing more than asking questions. So, no. I don’t believe Roy’s letter was his idea, his words or reflecting his true heart

      • Melanie says:

        Sadly, I must absolutely agree with “Former HBC Staff Member” that this is true. When an employee is dismissed by Harvest, it is standard practice that they sign one of these false “sing the praises of HBC and JMAC” letters. If they don’t, they receive no severance package and HBC will make sure they find it difficult (if not impossible) to find a new job anywhere else. It is a very sad reality….but nonetheless, it is true.

    • Luis says:

      Josh,

      There are deeper educational concerns here that outsiders and the Christian community have the right to discuss and that HCA, if they are to recruit more students and sustain a legitimate school, must address.

      Rather than decrying the voices of outsiders, strong organizations care about how outsiders see them and hope to learn from others.

      That being said, let’s look at the educational concerns.

      McCaulley admits in his letter that there have been times where he has let his opinions or disagreements be voiced in the classroom in an inappropriate way. These (as well as the administration’s letter) both suggest that the type of opinion that got him fired would be questions like “can church camp environments produce emotional experiences that are not authentic signs of spiritual transformation?” Regardless of what happens after firing someone for these types of questions, HCA has lost serious credibility by not addressing whether they would allow a teacher to pursue this type of conversation in the classroom.

      1-This is exactly the type of question that Christian high school students should be asking and discussing. If HCA doesn’t think it is appropriate to ask this sort of question or to have their teachers who are willing to love and serve the church even after being embarrassingly fired just before the end of the school year, then what type of educational institution are they running?

      2-A school is not a church, though the school may be part of the church. Parents are paying for a product. It is the HCA’s prerogative whom they hire and fire, but if they are unwilling to have their faculty explore legitimate topics with students, they are doing a disservice to their constituents.

      3-I will admit that it is unprofessional as a teacher to blatantly speak against your employer/administration; however, there is a whole generation leaving the church because they do not see authenticity and deep thought. Statistics suggest that most of these students will have spiritual highs at camps and in youth group and in a decade be away from the Christian faith. It is spiritual and academic malpractice to stifle these conversations.

      I am glad that McCaulley had the boldness to address these issues. I am saddened that he kissed the ring of Pastor James after being unceremoniously fired rather than standing up for his student’s education.

  5. Carol says:

    This whole situation hit a painful nerve at Harvest because the truth is HBC has a real problem with fostering an atmosphere of unbiblical group pressure in regards to their people.

    I happen to know of a young adult event that occurred in 2012, in relation to the Elgin campus. What happen during the event was described to me matter-of-factly, just a recounting of the activities. Yet it sounded so much like cult brain-washing techniques that I was totally alarmed.

    It involved a trip to Florida, and participation in what I believe is the Patmos Reality Discipleship program (somehow affiliated or connected to the Calvary Chapel group of churches). I feel sure that I’m recalling the right organization that HBC Elgin partnered with, but it’s been one year since I heard this info, and if it’s not the right organization, I would like to be corrected in this matter.

    Here was what I heard described/ (cult technique): the group traveled far across country (separation from family/community), they were put all together in a milieu of intense group dynamics (no privacy/relentless subjection to certain ideas), everyone had to stay up very late (sleep deprivation), and I think they even had to eat third world type food with the idea that they needed to train for harsh “missionary” conditions (food deprivation).

    But the most dreadful thing I heard described was the conditioning through forced exercise and peer pressure related to “Memory Verses”. Everyone, regardless of physical condition or ability, was expected to run/jog for a long distance, and at certain check points, each person had to recite specific bible verses perfectly, OR the whole group would be forced to run/jog further (or repeat the course). When I asked more about this, it was unclear if this activity was entirely optional, i.e. people could freely decline to participate without consequences (being scorned, embarrassed etc.). It sounded like everyone was desperately trying to do it. The cult technique of peer pressure and physical exhaustion is evident here.

    Forcing people to memorize Bible verses under the threat and fear that their failure will result in duress for their companions….what a concept. Do you think this kind of conditioning results in a false sense of spiritual superiority or accomplishment? You bet it does.

    Someone may say that all young people are fit, can easily memorize and this is just a game, no big deal. I beg to differ. This is classic cult conditioning, and I think it’s terrible that Harvest is sending its young people on trips like this.

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