Prairie Bible Institute Survivor Fund Project begs for more money – where did funds go and who gave them?

A group of PBI alumni who are working with Prairie Bible Institute are asking alumni for more money, without disclosing where their initial funds came from, where the funds went, or how the funds were spent:

Update from the Healing Team:

In our previous communication, we have stated the goals that we established when we first formed: 1) healing for survivors; 2) justice for perpetrators. Over the past weeks, we have been privileged to have a number of abuse survivors come to us for help in accomplishing one or both of these goals. It has been a great honor to be entrusted with their stories of tragedies and triumphs as we have connected with them through phone, Skype, email, and in some cases, in person in our homes. We have shared memories, hugs, and tears. A number of survivors are pursuing additional avenues of healing and we are in the process of helping them walk further in their journeys. Many other alumni have come forward to offer to be “listeners” as well, and we are truly grateful for the wonderful team of “wounded soldiers” that God is building. On Sunday night, the Prairie Bible Institute Open Group held a “PBI Music Night on FB,” where they posted music that was written and/or performed by Prairie alumni. If you missed it, we encourage you to go have a listen! One of the pieces expressed our heart beautifully: “All My Favorite People are Broken.” We all qualify. The healing team is merely a group of broken people who are involved in loving other broken people to a place of greater wholeness. You can hear the song here:

We want to thank many of you who are praying for us and for survivors; we all need your prayers!

We also want to make an appeal to any of you who wish to donate to the Survivor Fund. Some funds have been donated, but we have some immediate needs to help survivors continue with their journeys through professional counseling and other healing-related resources. Some survivors have chosen to travel to Prairie campus as part of their ongoing healing journey. If you feel compelled to help survivors in this way, please send your donation to Prairie Bible Institute and note that it’s for “The Survivor Fund.” You can donate online at Select “other fund” from the dropdown list of potential funds and type in “Alumni Healing Fund”. Receipts are provided for both Canadian and US donors.

We are so grateful for your support, encouraging emails, PMs, and prayers. Every team needs pray-ers, supporters, and doers. You are part of the team – thank you!

We invite you to contact us with any questions, encouragement, or feedback by emailing us at


Brenda Boytim Morrison, Mim Phibbs, Priscilla Virts Johnson, John Kepler, Jim Crites

The beginnings of The Survivor Fund Project

In November of last year, PBI President Mark Maxwell went public with information that allegations of abuse at PBI over it’s 90 year history had been turned over to the RCMP. Abuse survivors attempts to reach out to PBI had been halted as communication had broken down, and as media took notice of PBI, Maxwell told ChristianWeek:

So far, says Maxwell, three former students have approached the school with claims of abuse. But apparently none is prepared to go public, let alone take PBI to court.

As for the claims made on Facebook, Prairie has handed over 890 pages of allegations to the RCMP to investigate. “If there’s that much smoke, you’d think there must be a fire somewhere—and we couldn’t find it,” Maxwell says.

The article above was written December 7th. It appears that PBI had already laid out what it planned to do to address survivors concerns, including rejecting the survivors choice of a US group to investigate claims, make recommendations, solicit a report on the extent of various types of abuse which had occurred on campus and put campus policies in place. PBI had won the pr battle before the survivors knew what hit them. Let’s follow the money below the fold:

Prairie has refused, stating it prefers to cooperate fully and openly with police and even the media.

But nor has it rejected any third-party involvement. Maxwell says two “prominent” Canadian churches and a church in South Carolina, whose pastor is a Prairie alumnus, have all volunteered to act as mediators.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up going with a third party that looks like that,” he says. “We’re working our way through that right now.”

While PBI was granting media requests, alumni were talking behind the scenes about setting up what would become The Survivor Fund Project, recently renamed the Healing Team.

One of our ideas several months ago was that if funds could be made available to help needy survivors deal with counseling, going to the police, etc. it would be a worthy project. We made the suggestion to Mark Maxwell, and received his endorsement as per previous statements we have issued. As time went on we came to realize that our role as a small group of Prairie alumni could also be served in building relationships with hurting abuse survivors. We don’t want to see survivors having to walk their road alone. Some have friends and other networks to help, but there are some who are hurting and need a friend to walk with them, encourage them, pray for them, and to be there for them both in their good times and their bad times. This is what we felt God was leading us to do.
We do not represent Prairie, although we are known to Mark Maxwell.

The Survivor Fund Project Members may not represent PBI, but under the regulations of the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency), PBI is responsible for this team. PBI accepts and manages the donations, hands out donor tax receipts, and disperses expense funds to team members. This type of flow through or conduit arrangement is not illegal.  This arrangement is ethically dubious, but more later. Back to the late November, early December behind the scenes planning.

One current member of The Survivor Team Project was part of that conversation, as was the South Carolina church pastor mentioned by PBI President Mark Maxwell in an above quote. By December 16th PBI alumni received a newsletter from Maxwell outlining the 3 steps PBI was choosing to take. Though not publcly named The Survivor Fund Project, PBI had the framework of a team in place.

1) Alumni: We have a truly amazing group of Alumni around the world. Many of them have offered to help in any way possible. A dozen of them have committed a great deal of time to working with those alumni who have stories of pain and injury. This group cares about Prairie as well as the need for the injured to find healing. Their efforts may include raising funds to help cover some of:
• the costs of travel if someone would like to come back, either to share with us or the third-party group; and
• the costs related to reconciliation and healing.
Subject to legal constraints, Prairie will allow these funds to pass through the school so that donors can benefit from a tax deductible receipt. Those who would like to share their stories of pain and injury are invited to contact this team at

I think it is important to reiterate that flow through or conduit funding is not illegal.   In that announcement and the subsequent board pr repeat in March; Calgary Centre Street Church was named as the independent 3rd party.
The Survivor Fund Project alumni went public a couple of weeks later on January 11th.

Fred Whaples

One PBI alumnist has been the source of  disruption as abuse survivors and PBI struggled to communicate and break the stalemate of previous months. Whether Fred Whaples, pastor of The Village Church in South Carolina intended to cause abuse survivors harm is irrelevant.  PBI became aware of a letter of intent to sue a group of survivors meeting on FB. This threat was serious enough to ask Mark Maxwell if PBI had a statement. Maxwell responded, “Perhaps I’m missing something, but this has nothing to do with Prairie, so PBI has no statement to make.” 
Whaples continued to be a disruptive force online, and complaints are now being investigated by Concord SC Police. Calls to PBI to send a clear message have been ignored.

I believe the PBI President. The intent to sue letter had nothing to do with PBI. Whaples has been honest about the fact he has been in contact with PBI President Mark Maxwell.
Whaples and other disruptive and upset alumni romped freely to the initial benefit of PBI. Eventually Whaples behavior had to have become a liability not only for fellow alumni, but for PBI.  PBI remains silent.

My question to PBI is this. Did the any or all of the five thousand dollars Fred Whaples and The Village Church raised to help PBI abuse survivors fund the start up of The Survivor Fund Project?

2)   Is the 5 thousand dollars from The Village Church for survivors now the funding for The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team?  
3) When did PBI receive The Village Church survivor money (5 thousand)?  
4) Is the Village Church survivor monies ($5000) Whaples named, the main funder for The Survivor Fund Project/Healing Team?  
5) What input did Mr. Whaples have into allocation of these funds?  
6) Does Mr. Whaples still have input?  If he doesn’t, when did his input stop?  
7)  Have Advent Funds and Survivor Funds been subsequently blended or kept separately? John Kepler:

These questions can all be lumped together.  Fred Whaples, through his church, solicited funds from Prairie alumni for an Advent donation to Prairie.  I believe it was sent to Prairie around Christmas time.  I am not aware that there were any strings attached as to how it should be used, so presumably it went into Prairie’s general fund, though I am not privy to that information.

There was some talk on Facebook about The Village Church (Fred’s church) having another fund to assist abuse survivors, which was funded by his church.  If there is indeed such a fund, then it is up to Fred and his church whether to make this information public.  I am not aware of such a fund being sent to Prairie, so if it exists, it is apparently under the control of The Village Church.

No, PBI admin can disclose receipt of this donation for The Survivor Fund Project if PBI wants to.

Is Fred Whaples a member of The Survivor Fund Project? John Kepler:

Fred Whaples is not a member of this  Healing Team, and never has been a member of this group.Period.Please do not try to psycho-analyze or read anything further into this statement.  While we are concerned about all that is happening with both “sides” in this matter, we are simply not Fred.  

Okay, no psycho-analyzing or reading anything further into this to the not-Freds.
Lets move on. Where did Freds money go?  Given the havoc Whaples hath wrought, isn’t any team member concerned that the money the Team is using for survivors  may have a sorry, unsafe and unhealthy origin and history?

It took a fair amount of public pressure to get the PBI Survivor Fund Project members to identify themselves. They chose to do so mid-January. Were the team members not-Fred? John Kepler:

1)   Was Fred Whaples involved in setting up the team and it’s mandate?

No.  While we were slowly evolving from being just friends to becoming a team offering ourselves to help abuse survivors, some of us discussed the concept with others outside of our group, and evidently someone spoke with Fred about it.  This may have helped to spark his desire for financially helping the cause, and even to state that he was on board with this cause, but he has never been a member of this Healing Team.

I doubt anyone will ever know Whaples influence and early involvement, or the money trail.

Disclosure of The Survivor Fund Project Funding

As far as I know, nobody on the Healing Team will be made aware of who any donors are. For us to be given such information could be a violation of Canadian law. – John Kepler

This is an interesting statement, and I commend the Team for their carefulness with Canadian law. I checked with a charity law expert on donor disclosure.

1) PBI is free to disclose donors and amounts.   If you look at PBI financial statements to Canada Revenue Agency, PBI goes above cap requirement in disclosing  donors and amounts.

There is no law that states PBI has to disclose donors.

2) PBI is obligated to honour the request of donors who do not wish to let their name be made public.

Team members, survivors and the public are not prohibited by law to knowing where the donors and amounts have come from.

PBI can chose to disclose this information any time they want to. PBI can chose to state why they feel it is not in their best interests to disclose any time they want to.

PBI has gone public at every opportunity to state the willingness of the board and administration to be honest, open and transparent in it’s dealings with abuse survivors.  Yet, the paid friends of The Survivor Fund Project, who are now asking for donations from alumni, do not know where their money came from. I believe John Kepler, every question I have asked the Survivor Fund Project has been answered. As far as I can tell, I am getting honest responses from the Project team.
However, I think the Team is deluded if they think they are running their Project or that the Project  is autonomous. PBI is in control. PBI issues tax receipts and yet asks the Team to beg for money without telling the team what money was received.  PBI issues expense money to the paid friends.  PBI wants survivors on campus and is using the team to get them there. My ongoing unease has less to do with belief about the Teams honesty than the wisdom of this Project for the benefit of survivors.
Why can’t the Survivor Fund Project team disclose their expense spending and financial needs?

A final comment to survivors only

The Survivor Team Project, the lack of disclosure of funding, the use of the Team to raise funds to pay their expenses,  and the use of unqualified Team members to facilitate healing remains ethically troubling on several levels.  As I noted above, The Survivor Fund Project team have been gracious in answering what have been insistent and persistent questions. But, team members keep repeating they are just trying to ‘help’ survivors.  Even if every Team member completely believes this is what God told them to do, it is clear the Team is not fully informed. The road to hell remains paved with good intentions. The Team, as sincere and as compassionate as they may be, are working in PBI’s hidden interests.  From the first public statement, it is clear that part of the role of The Survivor Fund Project was mediation.
The unspoken implication of this Project is that you as a survivor are socially inept. isolated, not healed and that you need the Project paid friends. PBI desires that the alumni of this Project to get survivors on campus for a face to face. That goal is not a secret.  While PBI has an ethical obligation to fund legitimate needs of survivors, any survivor choosing to use the Team relinquishes  power and control (again!) the second you either chose to confront your abuser, tell their story to admin, take a healing tour or do whatever you believe you are supposed to do  by going to PBI under the watch of a Team member.  PBI is in control, the Team is being used, and ask yourself this:  are you being potentially deflected?

How much of other relationships in this dynamic is quid pro quo? Is there a better way to financially assist survivors who need funds? Is there a better model or way for you as a survivor to make this trip if you chose to?
Motives are muddy and mixed. Be as wise as a serpent – your job is to act in your best interests. You owe PBI and The Survivor Fund Project Team nothing.

This question is not optional.

Do you as a survivor stepping on campus have adequate representation?

PBI intent is unspoken but clear – PBI doesn’t want lawsuits. That goal makes sense from a business standpoint, and administration running a charity can’t be faulted for doing their job protecting the school for the future.

PBI has paid out in the past, and one of the jobs of administration is to see that nothing is paid out in the future.  The less publicly known about abuses,  the easier it is for PBI. That’s not being harsh, that is people doing what they are paid to do.  Handing well meaning Survivor Fund Project members a mandate and money to befriend abuse survivors and get you on campus for a face to face is in the best interests of PBI.

There is a genuine spiritual component involved. PBI teaches Ken Sandes Peacemaking model for churches in conflict.  Sande teaches ‘reconciliation.’ Let’s be clear. This reconciliation model is set up to work between peers in church, not between the administration of an institution and people it has served who have been abused.

Stepping on campus with a Team member does not make you an equal, as much as you may long to be or need to be.  The power dynamics are not in favour of the survivor. The Sande model is seriously flawed for this kind of interaction. It doesn’t matter that administrators, Team members and survivors may want ‘healing’; someone is getting paid to take you there, woo you, and assess you as a threat. Already the dynamics are on tilt. All the good intentions and pure hearts cannot change that reality.

If I say to any abuse survivor who chooses to allow a Team member to take them to PBI that the visit is a bad idea, I stand to become as manipulative as the Sande model.

How do you know this visit with a Project member is really your  choice? What questions do you need to ask yourself, run past  a professional therapist, lawyer and significant others? What questions are you prepared to ask PBI?  How much control do you really have over what occurs on PBI property during your visit and what is done with the information you disclose?

How free are you to leave without condemnation if spiritual and emotional pressure is put on you or God forbid, you are flooded?

If you are  choosing to go to PBI with a Survivor Fund Project Team member, do you need to ask yourself and your significant others about the impact of your visit on other survivors  and outcomes for PBI?

Is there a better way to accomplish your goals without the ethical dilemmas placed in your way?

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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162 Responses to Prairie Bible Institute Survivor Fund Project begs for more money – where did funds go and who gave them?

  1. Wanda, I don’t want to make any assumptions so I am asking. Am I “the one” you speak of – “the one” you are not sorry you offended?

    If so, how very different you and I see each other. I have nothing but compassion for you and have tried many times to find common ground with you, seemingly to no avail. I wish it didn’t have to be this way and I continue to extend my hand of friendship your way. Whether you like me or not, we are both survivors…

  2. Roger Armbruster says:

    I am nobody to speak for anybody else, but I do feel a compassion in my heart for the various ones who have shared over the past 150 comments. I think that somehow, and in someway, if we really got to know each other at a deeper level, we might find that we all really want the same thing, but are going about it in different ways.

    I personally thank Patricia, Diana, Wanda, Ben and Linda, all of whom have spoken understanding and kind words to me at some point right here at this particular thread. I am grateful, but certainly not always deserving, because there are times when I do speak up before I know your hearts fully. If any of you have felt misunderstood or misjudged by me, please forgive me. I do not want to add to anybody’s pain.

    Linda, I agree that you and Wanda do have a lot in common as survivors, and so you both speak with greater authority than I do because of the things that you have been through. What we see here is that nobody speaks for ALL of the survivors, and as fellow-survivors, you have both chosen different methodologies as to how to deal with that. And so you both have attracted some of those survivors who agree with each approach.

    To be realistic, we may have to accept that we cannot be as close as we like, because of these honest differences. We will have to give each other space. Nobody can force a relationship upon anybody else, and it is really up to each individual as to how far they feel safe in going without violating their own conscience, and their own convictions.

    For myself, I share with Linda the conviction that there were some dark aspects in our Prairie past (which, by the way, I believe is true of every history and every background), and with Wanda, I share the conviction that not everything is dark in Prairie’s past, and we would like Prairie’s past to be told in a way that does not paint Prairie as totally black. We need to separate the worthless from the precious. At least, that is my view.

    So, to whatever extent is possible, I would like to be friends with both of you, but having a relationship does not mean that we will agree on everything. Linda, even though you and I have not crossed paths much over the years, I do have wonderful memories of you that go all the way back to 1966, and I do apologize yet one more time, with all of my heart, and all of my soul, and all of my mind, that, because of my ignorance, I did not stand up for you at a time in your life when you needed somebody to talk to. The fact that you do not hold that against me means more to me than words can say.

    And Wanda, you will never know how much I appreciate your input into this process, and for your courage to speak up, and to tell your story in a way that is giving hope to many. In spite of my imperfections and shortcomings, I do love and appreciate each one of you, and will totally respect each of you as you pursue your healing journeys, even if we never do come to an agreement on methodology.

    We all agree that the survivors need to find their voice, and when that voice is heard, not all will agree as to methodology. May we each find grace to bless one another in the process.

    I see that Bene Diction is continuing to “blog on” now, but I personally feel that while we are not going to resolve this on Internet, that we have taken some terrritory on this particular thread, and some of us feel closer to one another than we did before. For that, I am grateful.

  3. The Lord Ben Chung says:

    Let me pronounce a blessing on Brother Armbruster:

    While we do not agree on everything, but there is genuine humanity for those who suffered. While not everyone will be able to resolve their history of pain and betrayal, but I see a day coming, where the sunlight will pierce through the lies, deceits and the acts of cruelty. Perhaps the enablers and abusers should take note, if your claim that god is well and alive, I hope you take note. Because he is a flame and great ball of fire. As for my sister Wanda, and Patricia and Linda, I hope and pray a day will come, so we can resolve the ongoing conflicts and find peace in our lives. As for Brother Armrbuster, your theology is indeed interesting, coming from a fundamentalist background I no longer subscribe to many of these, but your efforts are worthwhile and should perhaps continue. It is the people with integrity that will demand and hold the school accountable. I hope this will help the cause. As for Brother Mark, my curse remains on him until he comes tot he table.

    Next few hours, this Lord will go out and plant garlic. It is sucha beautiful day out, hate to sit here looking at the LCD screen. peace to all.

  4. Roger Armbruster says:

    Happy gardening, Ben! I wish that I could do the same, except that it is raining where I live. With both sunshine and rain, do we notice, that when the sun shines, it shines on EVERYONE, and when the rain falls, it falls upon EVERYONE. This is what our heavenly Father is like, and is the basis for what Jesus taught about in the sermon on the Mount, when He instructed us to be kind to all, knowing that we have a Father who will bring everything to resolution and justice. We are not very good when we try to be God ourselves, because we do not know the hearts fully like God does.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour, and hate your enemy.’ But i say unto you, love your enemies, BLESS THOSE who curse you, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven, for He makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matthew 5;43-46).

    Every government and every kingdom has a constitution. The above is a part of the constitution of the Kingdom of heaven, which is very different from the kingdoms of this world. However, there comes a day of reckoning for everybody, and that is decided by God, not us.

    It is not the wrath of God, but it is the goodness, the kindness, the forbearance, the longsuffering of God that leads men to repentance. Forgiveness gets us off the hook, not the one who has wronged us or cursed us. There is still a time, a place, a line, which, when crossed, will bring each one the due recompense of their deeds. If we don’t believe in that, we don’t do a very good job at trying to create justice ourselves. I don’t see anywhere where humans do a very good job at playing “God.” Without God, we are either too lenient or too harsh, and our judgments are usually based on not knowing all of the facts fully.

    “There is a time, we know not when,
    A place, we know not where,
    That marks the destiny of men
    For glory or despair.
    There is a line by us unseen,
    That crosses every path;
    The hidden boundary between
    God’s patience and his wrath.

    The conscience may be still at ease,
    The spirit lithe and gay;
    That which pleases still may please,
    And care be thrust away.
    But on that forehead God has set,
    Indelibly a mark
    Unseen by men, for men as yet
    Are blind and in the dark.

    Oh, where is this mysterious line
    By which each path is crossed?
    Beyond which God himself hath sworn
    That he who goes is lost?
    How far may we go on in sin?
    How long will God forbear?
    Where does hope end, and where begin
    The confines of despair?

    The answer from the skies is sent,
    ‘Ye that from God depart,
    While it is called today, repent,
    And harden not your heart!’”
    (J. A. Alexander)

  5. Diana Stooshnov says:

    Roger, I appreciate the fact that you care whether or not I tell my story in a public forum. You see, I am very confident of who I am, where I have been, and where I am going. I know exactly when circumstances in my life, gave me the opportunity to go down a different path and I have learned to love people without preaching to them, without trying to get them to see my way of thinking. I have learned to deeply care about people without taking sides, talking down, talking behind their backs. My life is an open book, I have nothing to hide….I don’t even have a problem with you knowing my story. My beliefs are my own, because regardless of what the church people might say, God loves me. Truth is what keeps me strong, keeps my head up and a real passion and compassion for our children. Talking on this blog, may or may not save another child, but it might and it certainly keeps the story out in the forefront. The more people know there are people out here who truly do understand and can relate to their pain, and can help them find their voice….then I have gone another step in fulfilling my purpose.

  6. Diana, your last comment could have been written by me. I have reached the point in my healing journey that I really don’t care who knows my story. It is a story of incest, survival and healing beyond being a victim and a survivor. I am now moving into what some call the thriver stage where life is pretty good the majority of the time. Issues still come up occasionally and I still find pockets of resistance and areas that I need to work on but incest isn’t on my mind all of the time even though some who read my blog or my Facebook page may think it is.

    I visit blogs like this one and many others to offer hope for healing and support for those who are still hurting. I also, like you, continue to talk about my issues to keep the topic of incest and child abuse out of the closet for everyone to see so that the secrecy and silence can be stopped so that more children don’t continue to be hurt by abusers. Incest, rape, childhood sexual abuse has to come out of the closet to be stopped. Silence allows the hurt to continue. Thank you Diana and everyone else here who is sharing their stories and helping other survivors.

  7. Roger Armbruster says:

    Diana, I could not agree more, and the extent to which you simply live the life without “preaching” at people, or changing them to your way of thinking, I want to be more like you. I sense you have a very genuine, personal faith which I can only admire.

    I really think that with the Millennial generation that rising, there is a growing recognition that what Jesus really means, and what the institutional church has represented, are two very different things. And so while there is and will be a continuing diminishing confidence in the church as an institution, there will be a growing appreciation for what it really means to know Jesus in the way that you have so clearly articulated. I bless you, and am very grateful for this brief exchange.

    I have mentioned previously that while parts of my relationship with my own father were very painful, I did inherit some good and precious memories that I want to keep building upon whatever is positive in my roots. On my father’s wall, there is an old Irish blessing that I seek to pass on to my children, and it is my prayer for you as well.

    May the road rise up to meet you.
    May the wind always be at your back.
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    and rains fall soft upon your fields.
    And until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

  8. Roger Armbruster says:

    Patricia, what I just wrote to Diana could have been expressed for you as well. God bless!

  9. Sadie says:

    thanks for your response, Patricia. I’ll bookmark your blog as I’m sure I’ll find many more wise posts!

  10. Hank Hamm says:

    Diana Stooshnov and Patricia Singleton, thank you, I am hopeful that your courageous posts may encourage other
    survivors whose voices have until now remained unheard, so that they too may find the support and resources to assist them in their respective journeys.

  11. Hank, you are very welcome.

  12. Pingback: Calgary Centre Street Church, withdraws partnership with Prairie Bible Institute | Bene Diction Blogs On

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