Shauna Niequist Biography, Wiki
Shauna Niequist is a popular Christian writer, an author who has written a lengthy Instagram post apologizing for remaining silent after allegations were raised about her father’s behavior.
Niequist’s dad is Pastor Bill Hybels, who founded the Chicago-area megachurch Willow Creek Community Church. According to Religion News, he stepped down after sexual misconduct allegations involving women affiliated with the church.
Shauna Niequist’s age is unclear.
Husband & Children
Later that year, Niequist announced she, her husband Aaron Niequist, a former worship leader at Willow Creek, and their children were moving from the Chicago area to New York City. The New York Times bestselling author and her husband enrolled at The General Theological Seminary, an Episcopal school in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.
Apologizes For Silence Over Dad
Popular Christian author Shauna Niequist has apologized for her silence following the allegations against her father, Bill Hybels, the founding pastor of suburban Chicago megachurch Willow Creek Community Church.
Niequist spoke out about the allegations for the first time in a long Instagram caption posted Monday (Feb. 22) accompanying a simple image with the words “An apology.”
“I apologize for my silence & for all that is communicated. I’m so sorry. I continue to grieve alongside every person who’s grieving,” she wrote.
Hybels retired early from Willow Creek in 2018 after he was accused by several women, who worked for or attended the church, of sexual misconduct stretching back more than 20 years. He has denied the allegations.
His successors stepped down as well, along with the church’s entire elder board. All admitted they had mishandled the allegations against Hybels that had been emerging for years, initially backing their former pastor and calling the women’s claims lies.
Niequist said she has been “trying to find the words to write about my dad & our church,” noting she has posted before about how painful different aspects of the past few years have been. She apologized for not speaking more plainly.
She had been encouraged to take time to “grieve & listen & recover,” she wrote. She needed it, she said — but she also acknowledged in her post she extended that silence too long.
“I now understand that my silence communicated to many that I defend my father’s actions and his ongoing silence. I don’t. I grieve both of those things,” she wrote.
“I now understand that my silence allowed many people to assume that I don’t care about the people he hurt. That’s not true, & that’s something I regret so deeply. I’m so sorry.”
Niequist said she still loves and has a relationship with her father. She cannot apologize or make amends for him, she wrote, but she hopes her post will be a first step toward apologizing to and making amends with people hurt by her own silence.
In recent weeks, the Niequists had received public criticism for not speaking out.
Late last month some Twitter users questioned why Aaron Niequist was leading worship online for the Episcopal Church’s Forma conference, given his connection to Hybels.
“Please help me understand the public responsibility I have for my father-in-law’s sin,” Aaron Niequist responded.
Christian writer D.L. Mayfield tweeted back to him, “If you have benefited from publicly being tied to someone who is powerful (like your father-in-law) and they abuse that power in terrible ways, you have a duty to publicly address it.”
Mayfield later named the Niequists in a separate Twitter thread on why she believes people connected to abusers needed to address and denounce that abuse. Mayfield ended up deleting the thread, which had garnered significant attention, both positive and negative.
A number of Christian authors and speakers expressed support for Niequist Monday in the comments on her post, some sharing they did not believe she owed anybody an apology for another person’s actions.
“I love you. You didn’t ask for this or cause it. You were deeply hurt too, and that gets to count. You get to reel and grieve and process trauma too. You have my unending love and support,” said Jen Hatmaker, who spoke alongside Niequist on the 2016 Belong Tour, a women’s ministry conference.
But, Niequist said in her post, the public pushback was part of the reason she has been silent: “While I fought to regain my footing, a group of people took their anger toward my dad out on me in very public ways,” which she says drove her further into retreat. “I’m not proud of that.”
“In this area of my life, I’ve been living according to my fear, not my values. I carry so much regret, & I apologize,” she wrote.
“I know it might not make sense that someone who writes for a living, literally, could find herself so unable to say what needed to be said. But that’s the truth. I was wounded, & I waited too long.”
Relationship With my Dad
In the post, Niequist explained,
“Wise people encouraged me to take some time to grieve & listen & recover. They were right–silence was necessary for me initially, but I extended that silence too long.”
However, she now believes that silence was misunderstood, writing, “I now understand that my silence communicated to many that I defend my father’s actions and his ongoing silence. I don’t. I grieve both of those things. I now understand that my silence allowed many people to assume that I don’t care about the people he hurt. That’s not true, & that’s something I regret so deeply. I’m so sorry.”
She is still in touch with her father.
“I remain in a relationship with my dad,” she wrote. “I love him, & I always will. I can’t apologize for his choices, but I do apologize for mine. I can’t make amends for his actions, but today I’m taking the first step in making amends to the people I’ve wounded by my silence.”
Niequist Wrote That She Felt ‘Wounded’
In the post, Niequist detailed her trauma.
“That season shook me to the core, & I shut down. While I fought to regain my footing, a group of people took their anger toward my dad out on me in very public ways, & the pain of that pushed me further into retreat. I’m not proud of that,” she wrote.
“In this area of my life, I’ve been living according to my fear, not my values. I carry so much regret, & I apologize. I know it might not make sense that someone who writes for a living, literally, could find herself so unable to say what needed to be said. But that’s the truth. I was wounded, & I waited too long.”
She added: “I apologize for my silence & for all that is communicated. I’m so sorry. I continue to grieve alongside every person who’s grieving.”
Niequist’s Dad Was Accused of Accusations
According to the Chicago Tribune, Niequist’s dad was accused of “engaging in inappropriate behavior with women in his congregation — including employees — allegedly spanning decades.” However, inquiries cleared him, the newspaper reported.
The Tribune reported that the allegations included “suggestive comments, extended hugs, an unwanted kiss and invitations to hotel rooms” and an allegation of a consensual affair that was later denied by the woman.
Hybels adamantly denied the allegations to the newspaper. “I have a wife and kids and grandkids,” he told The Tribune. “My family has had enough and they want the record clear. And they feel strongly supportive of me saying what I have to say to protect my family and clear my family’s name as well.”
According to The Christian Post, an Independent Advisory Group later found the allegations “credible.”
An investigation by an independent group of Christian leaders advising the church later found those allegations to be credible. Among them: Women said Hybels had invited them to hotel rooms or made suggestive comments about their appearances. In one case, Hybels allegedly kissed a co-worker against her wishes. In another, he allegedly engaged in oral sex with his former assistant.
“That season shook me to the core, & I shut down,” Niequist wrote in her apology post.