Evergreen Church co-founder resigns over inappropriate sex chats with woman

Mark Darling resigned earlier this summer.
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The Evergreen Church on Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis.

The Evergreen Church on Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis.

A pastor who co-founded a Twin Cities church resigned after it was found he had inappropriate conversations with a then 19-year-old woman about sex.

Mark Darling quit the Evergreen Church, a nondenominational Christian church with locations in south Minneapolis, Bloomington, Lakeville and New Hope, this past June after an investigation in a historic allegation of inappropriate behavior.

The results of the investigation were released last month, with the church finding he had engaged in inappropriate conduct.

The conversations were alleged to have taken place before 2001, which goes against the Evergreen Church code of conduct that states pastors must not meet alone with female congregants in a private setting.

"Credible female witnesses came forward in the investigation and testified Mark Darling met with them alone, prior to 2001," the church statement said.

"Beyond the investigation, there have been additional women and current attenders who have claimed to have met with Mark in an intentionally private setting."

One of the women, who at 19 at the time, said that Darling had specifically spoken with her about sexual matters.

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His actions were not determined to be serious enough for his position at the church to be terminated, with the church offering a pathway back to ministry and a chance to appeal the Board of Trustees' decision.

 Darling instead decided to tender his resignation. He was the lead pastor of "The Rock," one of Evergreen's two south Minneapolis churches, located on Chicago Avenue South.

"We regret his decision, but we accept it," the board said, noting that a severance package has been offered to him.

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