(CMR) An Indiana congregation was left stunned Sunday when its 65-year-old church pastor told them he committed adultery about two decades ago.
It was even more shocking that the woman with whom he had the affair told the congregants she was only 16-year-old and that the affair lasted for nine years.
“I committed adultery. It was nearly 20 years ago,” Pastor John Lowe II said at the end of services at New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw.
The confession was captured on camera.
“To say it plainly, I didn't make a mistake; I didn't have an issue, I didn't have an affair, I didn't make a misjudgment – I sinned. I need to say that, and you deserve to hear it,” the pastor said.
He said he had been asked why he waited for so long to confess, but “there is no good answer,”
“To my wife and family, who I deeply hurt, I have confessed my sin, and they have graciously forgiven me and expressed their love to me,” he added.
He asked congregants to stay faithful and to remain in prayer.
“To those of you who are wounded by this fresh hurt, I repent for the adultery and my silence. Please forgive me,” he stated.
He then announced that he was stepping down from the ministry and received a round of applause from the congregation.
Moments after his confession, a woman stepped forward to the microphone along with a man who identified himself as her husband.
“For 27 years, I lived in a prison. It was not 20 years … I was just 16 when you took my virginity on your office floor. Do you remember that? I know you do. And I have plenty of other stories that I can bring to your remembrance,” the woman, now in her 40s, said.
“I lived in a prison of lies and pain. Lying to protect the Lowe family. I thought I was a horrible person having suicidal thoughts, not realizing what had truly been done to me,” she said.
“The church deserves to know the truth. This church has been built on lies, but no more. The lies need to stop,” she said.
The woman said her older brother recently confronted her about witnessing her lying in bed with their pastor.
“You did things to my teenage body that had never and should have never been done,” she said. “If you can't admit to the truth, you have to answer to God. You are not the victim here. People knew but were too afraid to come forward.
“I was a prisoner, and you kept me in your prison. I'm a prisoner no longer,” the woman added before turning to Lowe's adult son and saying, “Your dad is not the victim here – a partial truth is not true.”
The woman's husband then confronted Lowe directly.
“It's not just adultery. It's another level when it's a teenager, and I will not let this man talk about my wife like that. It happened for nine years…. People have to be held accountable,” he said.
In a statement, New Life Christian Church and World Outreach said that “this long-held secret first came to light when a woman in the church came forward and disclosed the relationship to various people within the church.
“When confronted by others in church leadership concerning that report, Pastor Lowe confessed privately that the adultery did, in fact, occur,” it said, adding that the relationship between Lowe and the woman continued until she was in her 20s.
“In the wake of what has now been revealed, we are hurting and broken for a woman who has lovingly attended and served in the church for many years, as well as for her husband and family,” the church continued.
“It is our deepest prayer and commitment to love, support, encourage and help her through a process of healing in any way in which we are able,” it said.
“New Life is likewise devoted to ministering to and with all of our members through this difficult season, that we might not only survive this, but experience together abundant grace, unity healing – all for the glory of God, and the preservation of His church,” the statement said.
“As of Monday, May 23, 2022, Pastor John B. Lowe II tendered his resignation with New Life Christian Church and World Outreach,” the church also announced.