Elder Lorne James speaks Sunday at Eternal Church

Pastor Don Logan of Eternal Church will step aside until at least September following news that he is a registered sex offender, the Fort Mill church announced Sunday.

During services Sunday morning, Discipleship Pastor Jacob Collins and Elder Lorne James explained the pastor’s sex crime, the decision to hire him and the church’s failure to plan if his past was ever revealed.

They also announced that Pastor Don would enter a “time of rest,” saying it was needed for both the publicity of his criminal past as well as his previous cancer diagnosis and treatment. Through at least Sept. 1, the teaching pastor “will not be preaching, shepherding staff or having administrative responsibilities,” Collins said.

Pastor Don did not preach Sunday. Collins read this statement from Pastor Don and his wife Heather: “We are taking time to heal and seek emotional restoration and peace while we discern if we can bear the cost of continued ministry for me, my family and the church.”

Pastor Don Logan preaches June 30 at Eternal Church in Fort Mill

The discipleship pastor and elder both expressed the church’s reaffirmation that Pastor Don is accepted as their teaching pastor. They indicated their hope he would remain for many years ahead at the growing nondenominational church on O’Henry Road.

The news of the pastor’s past has been mentioned in recent months on non-local websites, Collins said, but was revealed locally on Tuesday by the Fort Mill Sun. The story told about a local couple who were attending Eternal until they learned about Pastor Don’s history and left.

In church Sunday, Collins directly addressed and clarified details of the sex crime. He said Pastor Don pled guilty 27 years ago in Indiana to a felony for an instance of sexual misconduct with a minor, a 14-year-old girl. He was 29 years old at the time of the crime. Don was sentenced to three years and served 18 months before being released on parole.

“During his time in prison, Pastor Don had a profound encounter with Jesus, repented and was transformed,” Collins said.

Don was required to be listed for a set number of years on an Indiana registry for sex offenders, which period of time elapsed years ago.

But the pastor in April registered in South Carolina after learning that he was legally required to. After 10 years at Eternal, the church only addressed the crime in recent meetings with the congregation.

Discipleship Pastor Jacob Collins speaks Sunday.

“This information has triggered past wounds of abuse and eroded trust in church leadership,” Collins said.

Collins said the church is faced with many questions among the congregation. Was trust broken? Can trust be restored? Is Pastor Don qualified to continue preaching? Are the elders qualified to continue to lead?

He said he could not answer them all Sunday.

During his talk to the congregation, Elder Lorne James said that Pastor Don came to the church a decade ago and proactively told them about his conviction. But church leaders didn’t share his conviction with the rest of the voting members.

James asked members for forgiveness for failing to see the revelation coming.

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“We should have seen it coming. I am sorry that we did not. We should have been ready to make sure that if at some point if it does come up in the media, that it wasn’t such a surprise,” he said. “This inaction has been exploited by us not being proactive. It’s allowed Satan to have a foothold here. And I want that to end, and I want that to end now,” James said. “I repent that we failed in this oversight. I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry. I am not going to let it continue.”

Still, he said the church believes in redemption and forgiveness. James said the church has seen “tons” of good fruit from Pastor Don’s teaching.

“I have a hard time with these societal Scarlet letters that people put on (them.) It breaks my heart that the laws in this state are such that Don had go and register with the State of South Carolina. I hate it. I don’t like what it was done to his family, I don’t like the way it has hurt my brother and sister, and to see it used against them,” he said. “This has always been fully adjudicated in the legal system, it was in public record. It was Don’s story to share. …

“It should have been a beautiful story of redemption to be told (and it) gets turned into something that is to be ashamed of.”

Reaction has been mixed among those close to the church or pastor with varied comments on our website and social media.

Sally Lulu York said she worked with Don in the mission field a while back.

“You won’t find a better man,” she wrote on Facebook. “Does he have a past? He does. So what is needed now? Understanding, grace, love…exactly what we Christians are to have for everyone.”

Dawn Harrington said her family had been attending Eternal and were considering joining. She said Pastor Don is not a person who was unaware of God, went to jail and then became a Christian.

“He used his position to take sexual advantage of a minor. This should permanently disqualify him from having access to children or anyone vulnerable,” Harrington said. “Yes the Bible and God calls us to forgive and not judge. So let him attend church and find a career where he can’t use his position to take advantage of someone again. They hid this from the voting members when he was hired, they minimized it today in the message to the church and they are not even considering the victim in all of this.”

Shannon Shassberger said those questioning Pastor Don are questioning God and not accepting His mercy and grace. She offered a prayer for Pastor Don.

“Father, I lift Paster Don Logan and his family to you. Please continue to give them the strength to be steadfast while being slandered by people who call themselves brothers and sisters in Christ,” Shassberger wrote on Facebook. “Lord, please forgive these people for belittling the price You paid to purify us from all sin.”

Greg "Ricky Bobby" Rickabaugh has lived in the Fort Mill and York County community since 2006. He has covered the area while a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and a freelance writer for The Fort Mill...

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18 Comments

  1. Thank you for reporting on this. You are performing an important service for the Fort Mill community and well beyond.

  2. I have been following this sad saga following mention of it in the Wartburg Watch. . Having watched yesterday’s service via Eternal’s YouTube channel, I was shocked and dismayed by the response of the session. The “repentance” articulated was for their lack of a plan to handle the revelation that they had hired a child sex offender as their pastor when the true offenses were ignored. First is their hiring Logan in the first place, knowing of his previous sex offense conviction. What were they thinking? Second was their failure to check on South Carolina law which requires people with sex offender status in any jurisdiction to register in South Carolina upon moving into the state. Ignorance of the law in this case is unforgivable. Logan has spent nine years here in South Carolina breaking the law. Third is their unconscionable decision to withhold Logan’s status as a registered sex offender from the church membership. What hubris and arrogance they have displayed. In the name of the “grace” they preach and teach, they have totally ignored Paul’s list of requirements for pastoral ministry. 1 Tim 3:7 says this: “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.” The session at Eternal Church bears the responsibility for this mess, and the repentance they articulated yesterday never touched on their true offenses.

    1. I can’t think of anyone I know that has a more impeccable reputation than Pastor Don has had since giving his heart and life to Jesus. The point you are missing is that he has become a new creation because of Christ. Many many lives have been transformed because of his teaching and because off his heart for the REDEPTIVE POWER OF CHRIST. I think it would be a great loss if Pastor Don were to be compelled to step down. I would miss his thought provoking teaching terribly. I would miss the reminders at the end of his messages, that always points to the Love and Grace and Beauty of Jesus

      1. you must know some pretty horrible people if you think being a convicted child rapist is a “impeccable reputation”. He HIDE the fact he was child rapists and so did your leadership. Can you remind me when Christ said to HIDE your sins. He was real clear about honesty and confession being paramount. I’ll pray that your family has not been harmed by you worshiping a child rapist.

      2. Deborah – Logan was close to 30 years old at the time of the offense, having already been in Bible college for 4 years and serving in the ministry. Are you intimating that he was not saved at the time of his offense? Secondly, South Carolina requires people with a sex offense conviction in their past to register in our state. Do you think both he and the session of Eternal was ignorant of the South Carolina law at the time he was called to be pastor? Is ignorance of the law an excuse for breaking South Carolina law for approximately 8 years following his move to SC? One would think that a group of elders who were involved in his call would have taken the time to find out what the law about sex offenders was in SC. Gross negligence at a minimum.

      3. Deborah – Perhaps your session has had a change of heart. Pastor Don has been deleted from the staff page of your website, and the Facebook page for Eternal Church is gone.

    2. I agree wholeheartedly! He does not meet the strict guidelines for being a pastor as laid out in scripture. I have direct experience with this topic as I was molested 50 years ago by a church deacon. I have suffered greatly in my life due to this but have been able to forgive him. However, he is disqualified from church leadership!

  3. I have been following this sad saga following mention of it in the Wartburg Watch. . Having watched yesterday’s service via Eternal’s YouTube channel, I was shocked and dismayed by the response of the session. The “repentance” articulated was for their lack of a plan to handle the revelation that they had hired a child sex offender as their pastor when the true offenses were ignored. First is their hiring Logan in the first place, knowing of his previous sex offense conviction. What were they thinking? Second was their failure to check on South Carolina law which requires people with sex offender status in any jurisdiction to register in South Carolina upon moving into the state. Ignorance of the law in this case is unforgivable. Logan has spent nine years here in South Carolina breaking the law. Third is their unconscionable decision to withhold Logan’s status as a registered sex offender from the church membership. What hubris and arrogance they have displayed. In the name of the “grace” they preach and teach, they have totally ignored Paul’s list of requirements for pastoral ministry. 1 Tim 3:7 says this: “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.” What has the exposure of this truth done for Logan’s “good reputation” with those outside the church?

  4. I have been following this sad saga following mention of it in the Wartburg Watch. . Having watched yesterday’s service via Eternal’s YouTube channel, I was shocked and dismayed by the response of the session. The “repentance” articulated was for their lack of a plan to handle the revelation that they had hired a child sex offender as their pastor when the true offenses were ignored. First is their hiring Logan in the first place, knowing of his previous sex offense conviction. What were they thinking? Second was their failure to check on South Carolina law which requires people with sex offender status in any jurisdiction to register in South Carolina upon moving into the state. Ignorance of the law in this case is unforgivable. Logan has spent nine years here in South Carolina breaking the law. Third is their unconscionable decision to withhold Logan’s status as a registered sex offender from the church membership. What hubris and arrogance they have displayed. In the name of the “grace” they preach and teach, they have totally ignored Paul’s list of requirements for pastoral ministry. 1 Tim 3:7 says this: “And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into disgrace and the snare of the devil.”

  5. SCARLET LETTER – It’s interesting how Lorne James hijacked a term reserved for those abused BY clergy, not for clergy who abuse.

    How very condescending to those who truly carry the weight of the Scarlet Letter. Talk about satanic.

  6. I do not hear anything concerning the poor young victim? What about her life and the devastation to her family? The church leadership do not seem to care for the then child. Those who know or experienced clergy abuse understand that this affects you to your very core and it lasts a lifetime. Sadly, many do not admit or come forward at all. You can be 50 or 60 and still have scars. Sadly, the elders do not seem to understand this. All need to resign.

  7. would Shannon Shassberger or Sally Lulu York say not wanting him around children was attacking God if it was their grandchild who was raped by him? They very might if they are the kind of “ch!st!ans” who blame child when they are raped by adults, that see “satan” in the truth about him coming out but not Satan in the leadership of the church KNOWING he was a convicted pedophile and rapist and HIDING it for the very people he was entrusted with.

  8. It’s almost not worth becoming a pastor if they won’t allow you to have sex with children…

    1. This discussion needed some comic relief, so thank you. You’ve dated yourself, Biff. You were a really good player, although you passed away 4 years ago. You must be a Braves fan?

    1. Joe, What is false about it specifically? It quotes directly from the church service followed by comments made by people online?

  9. Please do not read this message as a review, but rather as a warning.
    If the current leadership at Eternal doesn’t change then do not attend this church. The leadership at Eternal Church hired a pastor (Don Logan) who they knew had touched a minor when he was 29. And after 10 years of Pastor Don Logan leading the church, the half truth came out that he touched a young girl. Even with this knowledge, they chose to keep him as the lead pastor; all in the name of “Grace and forgiveness.” But then a court document revealed that he did a lot more than just touch a 14-year-old. The document revealed far more than I can put in this message because it will be censored. What he did is truly perverted and evil. When the session realized this, they finally made the only right decision and fired him. However, they did not tell people about the court documents that they uncovered. They lied to the congregation and said that they had to let Don Logan ( former pastor ) go and he’s welcome back to the church anytime to attend. They made no mention of the court documents. So for the people who weren’t privy to the documents, there was major whiplash.

    The leadership/session would like to handle these things behind closed doors. (I know this because I have had multiple conversations with the elders.) This is wrong. The leaders are either intentionally or unintentionally manipulative, deceitful and liars. I truly believe that this is unintentional.
    They do not know what they are doing. This is why the elders need to step down.

    I do not write this with any anger or bitterness for any individual at this church.
    That might be hard to believe, but it’s the absolute truth.
    Which is what the church needs. Truth.
    I’ve been attending this church for over 10 years and I absolutely love the people there. And I will continue to love them, but from a different church.

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