Shauna Niequist is a popular Christian author who has written a lengthy Instagram post apologizing for remaining silent after allegations were raised about her father’s behavior.
Niequist’s dad is Pastor Bill Hybels, who founded the Chicago-area megachurch Willow Creek Community Church. According to Religion News, he stepped down after sexual misconduct allegations involving women affiliated with the church.
In a lengthy Instagram post on February 22, 2021, Niequist wrote,
For too long, I’ve been trying to find the words to write about my dad & our church. While along the way I’ve written here about how painful different aspects of it have been, I haven’t spoken plainly about the situation, & I’m sorry.
Niequist’s website explains, “Shauna Niequist is the New York Times best-selling author of Cold Tangerines, Bittersweet, Bread & Wine, Savor, and Present Over Perfect. She is married to Aaron, and they live in New York City with their sons, Henry & Mac. Shauna is a bookworm, a beachbum, and a passionate gatherer of people, especially around the table.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Niequist Says She Remains ‘in a Relationship With my Dad,’ But She Says She Stayed Silent too Long
In the post, Niequist explained,
“Wise people encouraged me to take some time to grieve & listen & recover. They were right–silence was necessary for me initially, but I extended that silence too long.”
However, she now believes that silence was misunderstood, writing, “I now understand that my silence communicated to many that I defend my father’s actions and his ongoing silence. I don’t. I grieve both of those things. I now understand that my silence allowed many people to assume that I don’t care about the people he hurt. That’s not true, & that’s something I regret so deeply. I’m so sorry.”
She is still in touch with her father.
“I remain in relationship with my dad,” she wrote. “I love him, & I always will. I can’t apologize for his choices, but I do apologize for mine. I can’t make amends for his actions, but today I’m taking the first step in making amends to the people I’ve wounded by my silence.”
Niequist Wrote That She Felt ‘Wounded’
In the post, Niequist detailed her trauma.
“That season shook me to the core, & I shut down. While I fought to regain my footing, a group of people took their anger toward my dad out on me in very public ways, & the pain of that pushed me further into retreat. I’m not proud of that,” she wrote.
“In this area of my life, I’ve been living according to my fear, not my values. I carry so much regret, & I apologize. I know it might not make sense that someone who writes for a living, literally, could find herself so unable to say what needed to be said. But that’s the truth. I was wounded, & I waited too long.”
She added: “I apologize for my silence & for all that it communicated. I’m so sorry. I continue to grieve alongside every person who’s grieving.”
Niequist’s Dad Was Accused of Accusations Ranging from Suggestive Comments to an Unwanted Kiss
According to the Chicago Tribune, Niequist’s dad was accused of “engaging in inappropriate behavior with women in his congregation — including employees — allegedly spanning decades.” However, inquiries cleared him, the newspaper reported.
The Tribune reported that the allegations included “suggestive comments, extended hugs, an unwanted kiss and invitations to hotel rooms” and an allegation of a consensual affair that was later denied by the woman.
Hybels adamantly denied the allegations to the newspaper. “I have a wife and kids and grandkids,” he told The Tribune. “My family has had enough and they want the record clear. And they feel strongly supportive of me saying what I have to say to protect my family and clear my family’s name as well.”
According to The Christian Post, an Independent Advisory Group later found the allegations “credible.”
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