Skip navigation and go to main content

Statement to the Congregation

Statement to the Congregation

June 28, 2024

Update to the Gateway Congregation from the Board of Elders

Thank you for your grace, prayers, and support for all members of our Gateway Church family in recent days. The Gateway Board of Elders is committed to leading with integrity and humility as we navigate this difficult season together.

As we previously informed you, Gateway Church has appointed the outside law firm Haynes and Boone to conduct an independent and comprehensive inquiry related to the recent events. As Haynes and Boone begins their work, they have recommended that any Gateway Church Elder with a potential conflict of interest take a temporary leave of absence from the Board of Elders. This includes any Elder with a relational conflict and those Elders who were on the Board from 2005–2007. Haynes and Boone made this recommendation consistent with best practices for inquiries of this nature. A leave of absence in no way whatsoever assumes or implies that any Elder had any knowledge of the true facts related to this situation.

Three of our current Elders are impacted by the law firm’s recommendation. These three Elders did not serve on the Gateway Church staff in 2005, only on the Board of Elders during the time period of 2005–2007, but they are wholly committed to doing what is best for Gateway Church. These Elders desire to go above and beyond to help ensure that everything possible is done to conduct the inquiry impartially and consistent with best practices. For this reason, these Elders have volunteered to take temporary leaves of absence from the Board. These three Elders—Kevin Grove, Steve Dulin, and Gayland Lawshe—are men of integrity who have served Gateway Church with distinction, and each of these three Elders has clearly stated that they had no knowledge of the true facts of this situation.

In addition, Haynes and Boone has recommended that Pastor James Morris also take a temporary leave of absence from the Gateway Board of Elders. Pastor James Morris is Gateway’s newest Elder and was not an Elder between 2005–2007. Pastor James Morris is a man of integrity, and he has clearly stated that he had no knowledge of the true facts of this situation. However, because Pastor James Morris is related to Robert Morris, Haynes and Boone has recommended that Pastor James also take a temporary leave of absence from the Board of Elders and Pastor James has volunteered to do so to demonstrate his commitment to a truly independent and unbiased inquiry.

We are grateful to these four Elders for their leadership, their service on the Board, and for their commitment to honoring God and doing what is best for Gateway Church. During this temporary leave of absence, these four Elders will continue their important work as valued staff members at Gateway Church.

The Elders are praying for you and asking God to be with each of you in this season. We know that God is still on His throne. He continues to be our firm foundation, and we are standing firmly on that foundation now and in the days and weeks to come. We know that He loves and cares for every one of you. We are praying for you as you continue looking to God as your Source of hope and strength.

June 21, 2024

Dear Gateway Church family,

The Board of Elders wants to reach out to you personally to address the recent events in our church and to provide you with an update.

This is an unthinkable and painful time in our church. Our church congregation is hurt and shaken, and we know that you have many important questions. We want to answer as many of your questions as we can at this point, and we ask that you continue to extend us grace as we navigate through the most challenging time in Gateway’s history.

The details that have recently come to light are deeply disturbing. We continue to pray that God will bring peace, comfort, and healing to everyone who has been affected. We know you are grieving just as we are. We know that so many of you have been impacted and affected. We are here for you, we are praying for you, and we love you.

The Board of Elders has taken a series of steps that we want to update you on.

First, the Board of Elders called a special meeting and accepted the resignation of our senior pastor Robert Morris this past week. Gateway Church is committed to protecting people—first and foremost children and the most vulnerable. Abuse simply cannot be tolerated. We believe that God created every man and woman equally in His image, and that every single person should be treated with respect and honor. God has called us to be known by our love for one another.

Second, the Board of Elders has retained the law firm Haynes and Boone, LLP to conduct a thorough and independent inquiry so that the facts can be understood. Even though this abuse occurred many years before Gateway was established, the Elders are committed to finding the truth and holding people accountable. Regrettably, prior to Friday, June 14, the current Elders did not have all the facts. The Board of Elders is deeply committed to walking in integrity and finding the truth. Having this inquiry done by an independent and unbiased outside law firm is best practice. This review has begun, and the Board of Elders pledges its full cooperation.

We are truly heartbroken by what has come to light over the past few days, and we again express our deep sympathy to the victim and her family. We understand many are hurting, and we are so very sorry. It is our heartfelt prayer that, in time, healing for all those affected can occur. We also know that the past few days have been extremely difficult for many of you and that there is deep hurt and pain being experienced. We know processing and healing are going to take time. Through it all, please know that we deeply love the Gateway congregation, and our desire is to grieve with you and walk through this season with you.

We are grateful for how God has used Gateway to minister to so many people over the decades. Countless people have seen marriages restored, hearts healed, and discipleship occur. We are humbled by what God has done through our church members and staff. While we are deeply saddened by this situation, we are committed to help bring healing and restoration to everyone affected. We have a long legacy of providing ministry and hope for so many. It is our prayer and belief that this legacy will continue in even greater ways in the days to come. Our heart remains the same: to see people saved, healed, set free, discipled, equipped, empowered, and serving. We remain steadfast with this mission and vision, set our eyes on Jesus, and walk forward in faithfulness

The Elders have asked Joakim Lundqvist to preach this weekend at Gateway. Pastor Joakim is a respected global leader, and he will be preaching to our church family and offering us an important message for this unthinkable time. In the next few weeks, we will have other guest leaders minister to our congregation. We are grateful to the global faith community which has shown us so much support during this painful time.

Please be praying for those affected, including Cindy Clemishire, her family, the Morris family, Gateway members, staff, and others. Pray that God will heal the brokenhearted, as He promises to do in Psalm 147:3. Be comforted by God’s promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Keep loving God and His people. Remember that God brings beauty from ashes. He loves Gateway Church and He will get us through. He is the God of redemption and restoration.

We know God is on His throne—even when it seems all around us is shaking. He is our firm foundation, and we are standing firmly on that foundation in the days and weeks to come. We know that He loves and cares for every one of you, and we as Elders love and care for you as well. Our hope in the Lord remains steadfast, and we encourage you to continue looking to Him as the Source of hope and strength.

May God bless and comfort our church family during this time.

Gateway Church Board of Elders