Statement from Betty Schmidt
SHINING THE LIGHT ON THE TRUTH
April 10, 2018
I am posting the inaccuracies of how my account regarding the recent testimony
of Vonda Dyer has been mishandled by the Willow Creek Elders in two "Family
Meetings" held on March 23 and April 2, 2018. My post states the truth of my
knowledge of Vonda's personal account. It has been very disturbing to hear my
words from the meeting with the WC elders become twisted, added to and
extrapolated from. By speaking truth of what I acutally said, I hope to make the
record clear. The current Willow Creek elders have misquoted and
My name is Betty Schmidt. I served as an elder at Willow Creek for over 30
years. I was a part of the meeting in August of 2016 that is referenced in point 13
(thirteen) of the FAQ document entitled, Willow Creek Response to Local
Media. There are several untruths in that point of the FAQ alone, and they need
to be corrected. It is a matter of concern – particularly to the congregation of
Willow Creek – because it appears to involve an effort to discredit myself and
Vonda Dyer, and more importantly to cast doubt on serious misconduct that
could in turn leave others at risk. Five other witnesses to this exchange can
confirm that the statements in the Willow Creek FAQ do not accurately portray
what was said.
Here is the portion of point 13 of the FAQ, directly from the document:
"During the meeting, Betty Schmidt was asked if, over the course of her 30 years on the Elder Board, she had ever heard any allegations of this type brought against Bill. She replied "not an inkling." She then remembered that one time a woman came forward and claimed to have kissed Bill, but Betty couldn't recall the woman's name. When the current Elders asked Betty if the previous Elder Board had discussed this claim with Bill at the time, Betty said no, that the woman was embarrassed for her actions and had asked that the issue not be discussed with Bill. However, recently Betty brought a different version of the story to the Chicago Tribune. She identified the woman as Vonda Dyer, a former Willow Creek staff member."
In particular, five of the statements in point 13 of the Willow Creek FAQ are
1. I did not say I never had an inkling about whether allegations of
misconduct had ever been brought against Bill. It’s precisely because I
had such concerns (which went beyond an ‘inkling’) that I wanted to meet
with the elders in the first place.
2. I didn't ‘suddenly’ remember Vonda's story; that story was a primary reason
I asked to talk with the elders. I didn't say that I couldn't recall the woman's name.
I knew it was Vonda Dyer. It is not credible to think I could have forgotten.
3. I did not say that the woman (Vonda) "claimed to have kissed Bill." Vonda did
not initiate the kiss. Bill did. This is what Vonda told me. This is what I told the
4. I did not say that "the woman was embarrassed for her actions and had
asked that the issue not be discussed with Bill." I would never have said that
because I knew the truth. The reason I did not bring it to the elder board at the
time Vonda shared it with me is because she asked me not to, believing she had
handled it according to Matthew 18:15 by discussing it with Bill directly the
following morning. I agreed with her assessment and honored her request.
5. I did not change my story when interviewed by the Chicago Tribune.Vonda’s
story as printed in the Tribune is fully consistent with how I heard it almost 20
Women need to know that if they muster the courage to tell their stories,
church leadership will listen with compassion and fairness. That has not
happened here. Yet. I hope and pray it will.