An investigation into complaints made against Thanet’s Global Generation Church leaders Mike and Stella Andrea has now been completed with a total of 36 individuals contacted the independent investigator raising concerns about some of their experiences of Glo.
The couple have both stepped down from their roles within the church with Mike resigning on February 22 and Stella leaving on March 16.
The independent investigation was carried out by employment law and HR specialists Loch Associates.
At the end of last year allegations of misconduct, coercion and abuse of power were made public by a woman who was a member of the church between the ages of 12 and 24, She says she was suicidal by the time she quit.
Her allegations consist of claims of coercion, unethical employment practices, gaining control with ‘love bombing’ through gifts and trips, verbal aggression, inappropriate comments and an alleged ‘exorcism’ incident.
The church also received allegations from other former members.
The claims related to church team leader Mike Andrea and wife Stella. Global Generation Church and organisation 24-7 Prayer, where Mr Andrea was CEO, suspended the couple while the investigation took place.
‘Hurt and in pain’
A statement issued by Glo Gen this evening says: “After a rigorous investigative process Loch Associates Group have now submitted their findings to the Trustees of Glo and 24-7 Prayer. Whilst Loch’s report has been shared with both charities, each organisation has independently decided on its own course of action based on the report conclusions.
“This statement seeks to acknowledge, reflect on and explain the way forward for Glo following the findings outlined in the investigation. We have sought to be as transparent as we can be having regard to our legal obligations around confidentiality given the nature and sensitivity of the information.
“This means that we are unable to share the report publicly, although we are able to say that a total of 36 individuals contacted the independent investigator raising concerns about some of their experiences of Glo which had left them hurt and in pain.
“The most serious concerns raised potential breaches of criminal law. The police and Local Authority Safeguarding Officer did investigate those concerns but found no evidence of criminality.
“However, having received Loch’s report, the trustees believe that the evidence shows that Mike’s conduct and behaviour did fall significantly below the standard expected of a Christian leader.
“Mike has now resigned and left Glo’s employment on 22 February. Stella has also decided to step down and left Glo’s employment on 16 March.
“We thank all who participated in the investigation – for their willingness to do so – recognising people’s bravery in coming forward as this will have by no means been easy. We are grateful that through their sharing we have reached a place where Glo has the opportunity to run toward good and healthy change.
“We as the trustees and elders of the church are desperately and deeply sorry that people have been hurt through their experiences of Glo. Our desire and motivation has always been to love and support our church and wider community following the example that Jesus set us.”
Following the initial investigation, a further report has been commissioned for the investigator to expand on their recommendations for areas of improvement in relation Glo’s employment, working practices and culture.
A comprehensive review of Glo’s policies and procedures is carried out which clearly set out Glo’s position on bullying, harassment and discrimination and ensure that clear processes are in place for raising concerns, protecting confidential information, and safeguarding vulnerable adults and young people.
A review of Glo’s employment contracts and arrangements is carried out along with its HR procedures including clarity around requesting annual leave and line management.
Within the new management structure, a training programme should be put in place to support managers in dealing with staff management issues and providing support with health issues, giving feedback, keeping appropriate records, and managing formal processes in line with Glo policies.
Training on diversity and inclusion for all staff should be given at regular intervals to provide clarity on discrimination issues and Glo’s legal obligations in relation to its staff and service users.
Glo Gen expect to be able to publish this further report within the next fortnight.
The trustees and elders of Glo have decided to appoint a working party to develop an improvement plan setting out the actions that the Church will take to implement the report’s recommendations. The working party will consult with a number of key stakeholders including staff, the congregation and those who participated in the investigation, to ensure the development of a robust, considerate and comprehensive plan.
The working party will be established and have its first meeting by 10 April following the publication of the second report. The party will then decide how it wishes to carry out its consultation with a view to completing this and submitting a report to the Trustees by the 12 June.