Early in 2013, Fred Agase, apparently requested to rotate off the elder board at Harvest Bible Chapel. We should be clear that it is church policy that elders serve for three year terms; and that the system is designed in such a way that on any given year, small numbers of elders rotate off even as others rotate on. In Agase’s case, it might have appeared that this is exactly what happened. But when he resigned on 1 January 2013, HBC had already requested that he serve two more years as an elder. So clearly, reality runs contrary to the public appearance.
For many years, Fred Agase and his family were a well-integrated part of Harvest Bible Chapel. So, if Fred Agase simply cycled off the elder board for personal reasons, one would expect that he and his family would still be worshiping at the church every weekend. Instead, according to our sources, Mr. Agase is now worshiping at another local church that is independent of the Harvest Bible Fellowship.
Moreover, according to our sources, when Mr. Agase elected to finish out his term on the elder board, he made the request with a growing internal sense of frustration related to James MacDonald and the issues raised by The Elephant’s Debt.
When The Elephant’s Debt reached out to Mr. Agase earlier this morning, he confirmed the basic facts of our account, and added the following:
At no time during my service on the elder board did I raise these concerns with my fellow elders. So this will come as a surprise to them.
Like many other former elders before him, Mr. Agase reportedly attempted to remain in the church as a regular congregant, until such time that he could no longer worship there in good conscience. According to our sources, Mr. Agase and his wife last attended Harvest Bible Chapel on Easter 2013, when MacDonald began a troubling and divisive series on money.
What is important to note, once again, is that Harvest Bible Chapel continues to claim that the elder board is unified. But this claim of unity, which is used as a rhetorical point to counter the issues raised by The Elephant’s Debt, is a false claim. At present, at least four of the men who signed HBC’s October 2012 Elder Update (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5) have resigned from the elder board, raising the question as to how many other former elders and staff members have left quietly, but not in unity.