Evansville minister says he's being forced out - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Evansville minister says he's being forced out

Robinson, left. Schwambach, right. (Source: Facebook) Robinson, left. Schwambach, right. (Source: Facebook)

14 NEWS UPDATE: In response to our coverage of this story Bethal Church sent us the following statement:

Bethel Church would like to thank everyone who attended the congregational meeting last night and those who watched online. We would also like to thank the many churches in Evansville and around the country who have contacted us to express their prayerful support during this difficult time. We now begin the process of bringing healing and restoring hope to the body of believers here at Bethel. We are committed to moving forward and reaching out with Christ's love to our community and around the world. 

PREVIOUSLY REPORTED: A long-time Evansville minister says he's being forced out of an east side church.

Rev. Steven Schwambach writes on social media that Bethel Church's lead pastor demanded he leave the pastoral staff. 

Church officials say a meeting they held on Wednesday night was a private meeting for the congregation. They asked for cameras to be left outside, but 14 News was allowed inside the meeting to listen.

It was a very emotional meeting with a lot of tears and a lot of prayer.

Rev. Schwambach, who served as the senior pastor for 31 years was at the meeting. It was Wednesday morning that he announced on Facebook that he was asked to leave the staff by the current lead pastor, Keith Robinson. He took over that role from Schwambach last December.

Schwambach wrote that church leaders offered him a one-year severance package, but only if he agreed to read a prepared statement.

Schwambach called that statement 'misleading' and said he refused to read it, ending his service at the church.
 
At the meeting, Robinson did not give details as to why Schwambach was asked to step down, other than there were some differences about the future direction of the church.

Robinson did say the decision was made by him, the elders, and the trustees. He says beyond that, he has no other comment.

14 News is told Schwambach said he plans to start another church.

Copyright 2013 WFIE. All rights reserved.

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