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Chicago-area megachurch elders resign over groping scandal

August 9, 2018
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Willow Creek Community Church lead pastor Heather Larson speaks at the church, Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, in South Barrington, Ill. Larson said she is stepping down, and the entire Board of Elders will do so by the end of the year. Larson said the church needed new leadership in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against church founder Bill Hybels. (Steve Lundy/Daily Herald via AP)

SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. (AP) — The leadership of a massive Chicago-area evangelical church is stepping down and has apologized to women who accused the megachurch’s founder of sexual harassment.

The Board of Elders of the Willow Creek Community Church announced Wednesday they will all leave by year’s end.

In a statement on the church’s website, the elders apologized for being slow to take seriously all the women who came forward with accusations against church founder Bill Hybels.

Hybels, who resigned in April, has denied the groping allegations dating to the 1980s.

Lead pastor Heather Larson admits she made mistakes and that “trust has been broken by leadership.”

Willow Creek is hosting its 23rd annual Global Leadership Summit, starting Thursday, even though several speakers backed out and over 100 churches cancelled plans to broadcast the event.

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