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