A 65-year-old Indiana church pastor told his congregation that he sinned by committing adultery about two decades ago, in a shocking confession that prompted a woman to step forward and reveal she was his victim at the age of just 16.
“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, Fox News reported.
“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,” he said.
The pastor asked the congregation to forgive him for the “deep wound” he said he caused— explaining that there was “no good reason” why it took him so long to come clean.
“If I could go back and redo it all I would. I can’t. All I can do is ask you to forgive me,” Lowe said from the podium.
“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 then announced that he was stepping down from the ministry – and received a round of applause from the congregation.
But things turned much more awkward moments later, when 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,” the woman, now in her 40s, told Lowe.
“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 while wearing a T-shirt and underwear when she was a teenager.
“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.”
When one congregant mentioned the age at which the woman said Lowe began his relationship with her, the pastor mumbled, “Sixteen years old, OK. It was wrong.”
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, according to Fox News.
“They can’t just bamboozle people and say, ‘I just committed adultery.’ It was far beyond adultery,” he added.
The surreal exchange between the pastor and the congregation was captured in a 14-minute video posted that morning on Facebook.
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.
The church also expressed its support for the former pastor and his family.
“As healing occurs in their hearts, their marriage and family, we are committed to demonstrating the same support, encouragement, counsel and forgiveness that has come to define the collective heart and ministry of this body,” it 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.
Meanwhile, the Kosciusko County prosecutor’s office is investigating the case, WANE-TV reported. So far, no charges have been filed against the former pastor.