Author and “simple church” advocate Felicity Dale over at House2House Ministries is personally charming, and I generally agree with her views regarding simple church and gender equality within the Body of Christ.
But my own experience with her over the last year has been very troubling – especially when it comes to the contradiction between her public positions and private actions.
Felicity Dale is part of the self-appointed accountability team of Frank Viola, who is an author, an itinerant church leader and one of her fellow so-called “apostolic workers”. He also has a troubled history of sexual predation against young women and teenagers.
After Frank Viola rebuffed all efforts to communicate directly with him by those with detailed knowledge of the facts, some of us contacted Felicity Dale last year in an effort to resolve our growing concerns about Frank Viola’s history of abuse.
She also was given a lengthy private statement on behalf of one of Frank Viola’s multiple teenage victims, with details about how he abused that young woman and others.
That victim’s statement fully confirmed the separate warnings issued against Frank Viola by his former church. Among other things, his past church established through multiple witnesses and documents his pattern of predation and abuse – including his long-running exploitation of a teenager in that church who was half his age and a former high school student of his.
This new written statement, however, involved an additional teenage victim.
Rather than show compassion and concern for women abused within her so-called “apostolic worker” network over at House2House Ministries, however, Felicity Dale instead betrayed that victim’s trust and confidentiality.
Recognizing the threat which that new victim’s statement posed to her mutual promotion network of so-called fellow “apostles”, and the risk of additional statements surfacing from other victims if the issue went public, she immediately started participating in a vicious campaign to protect Frank Viola by intimidating and silencing his victims and those who stood with them. See Bart Breen and Frank Viola – Lies, Sex Abuse and Cover Up.
She never, however, disputed or even tried to address the facts regarding Mr. Viola’s history of abuse, but rather tried to trash – behind the scenes – those who might warn others about him. See Jon Zens and Frank Viola – A Public Response.
I have copies of various private emails from Felicity Dale over the last year where she does this, which were forwarded to me by the recipients after they were offended by her efforts to attack those who were trying to deal with her buddy Frank Viola’s confirmed history of sexual predation against young women and teenagers.
She also has repeatedly lent her name to public web sites that falsely smear anyone who dares stand with the victims. (A Google search on “Bart Breen and Felicity Dale” is a real eye opener!)
While this was going on, Frank Viola was repeatedly rewarding Felicity Dale by plugging her books and ministry, and even her husband’s business, on his web site and elsewhere.
Felicity Dale also was concurrently working on her book about equality for women in the church, which she eventually published as The Black Swan Effect – with Frank Viola as a contributor!
Don’t be deceived by books, blogs and misleading biographies from those who make their living telling others how to be the church, but are not living it and have never succeeded at reproducing their grand agendas in sustainable, healthy fellowships. Such hypocrisy does great harm to the Body of Christ.
After personally witnessing her behind-the-scenes actions over the last year, it is hard for me to avoid the conclusion that Felicity Dale is more interested in using the issue of gender equality to promote her desire to be some co-equal, so-called “apostle” within her cultish branch of the “simple church” community, than in actually promoting the welfare of everyday women in the Body of Christ.
Unfortunately, rather than deal with the facts and honestly interact with me and others who have tried to raise these concerns with her, she responded by “excommunicating” us.
Seriously, Felicity Dale, who do you and your self-anointed “apostolic” buddies think you are?
There is no excuse for such hypocrisy in the pursuit of one’s own agenda, power and influence.
Churches and others must increasingly demand that those who want to influence God’s people do so with integrity – and that their private actions and public pronouncements line up.
~ Jim Wright
This is a lot to digest, since it is the first I have heard of any of these people’s actions. I fully appreciate that you have your own time and energy spent on the matter, which sounds deeply disturbing, if not criminal. So far, it does paint a pattern for Viola that is hard to refute. There are two sides to every story, though, and I didn’t find much of that here.
For the Record: I strongly support challenging and rebuking and bringing to justice those who actually exploit and molest those who are underage. But here I read of teens and those “half his age”. So what if he’s 40 and was interested in younger women. And if by “teenagers” they were 18 or 19, then legally he didn’t do anything wrong that way. You failed to specifically mention their ages, so I think you were possibly guilty of libel, if not slander, here. I am making this particular point only to defend him where he did no wrong. In terms of his cheating on his wife, then yes, absolutely that was wrong, but did she do anything at all to hurt or harm him? Again, two sides to the story.
“Felicity Dale also was concurrently working on her book about equality for women in the church, which she eventually published as The Black Swan Effect – with Frank Viola as a contributor!
Don’t be deceived by books, blogs and misleading biographies from those who make their living telling others how to be the church, but are not living it and have never succeeded at reproducing their grand agendas in sustainable, healthy fellowships. Such hypocrisy does great harm to the Body of Christ”
I don’t see it the same way as you do here. Troubled Believers can still make healthy contributions to the Body of Christ. Maybe it really is the working of Grace inside them that leads to their attempting to edify the Church. Your comments seem more like the kind of Black/White thinking that do not contribute to understanding the greater complexities of problems and individuals. If Dale and Viola are truly greedy and could care less for the Church, then yes, I would find it offensive. Otherwise, are you possibly jealous of any of the reapings of their work and writings?
I appreciate hearing warning signs and do find an eerie commonality in what I read of Ms. Dale and how there will always be those who will defend the guilty at all costs, but maybe she has some genuine good points to make? I think those better at seeking truth and justice will go the extra mile for “innocent until proven guilty”, which will require self-control and not bearing false witness.
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It looks like the Devil will be the winner here. He knows who to target and how to target them to reduce the power of their message for Christ. Adding to the sin of gross immorality Satan adds denial from the perp and rallying other believers to support him. Jesus has a solution for this. It will go through his fire. The sooner the perp and his cover up folks repent, the more glory will go to Christ. We may have to wait and see what the head of the church will do.
Thank you for your courage and perseverance in pursuing grace and truth.
Did you have any comment about her choice for title of her book? Does The Black Swan with Natalie Portman ring any bells?
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Thank you for your thoughts as they give another point of view. Proverbs 18:17 (NAS) The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him. The fact is, that all of us are sinners by our first nature and if not for the blood of Jesus, shed some 2000 plus years ago, we would not be here today.
Which one of us has not transgressed and yet, forgiveness and the chance for forgiveness is for all More than that, the Lord still reigns and He has a burning desire as the days are short, to reach and convert the hearts and lives of as many as will turn. He wants us with Him in glory and the enemy does not. That is the long and short of it.
That said, it does seem that the Lord, for a time, seemed to close the doors for many of us in the movement that led us outside the walls. And it does seem that He is beginning to start, at least in this country, His movement again. He will again use imperfect sinners that have turned their hearts and lives over to Him and He will again take “uneducated and untrained men” who are recognized as being with Him.
He is still Lord, His church is still all the believers who He has given His seal and His passionate love is still reaching down and stirring hearts.