Timeline: Bill Hybels and Willow Creek Church

 
Updated 4/10/2018 11:53 PM
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  • Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comPastor Bill Hybels makes the announcement he is stepping down as lead pastor of Willow Community Church effective immediately.

    Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comPastor Bill Hybels makes the announcement he is stepping down as lead pastor of Willow Community Church effective immediately.

Oct. 12, 1975: Bill Hybels and friends hold their first service in the rented Willow Creek Theatre in Palatine, from which it derived its name.

1977: Willow Creek purchases 155 acres in South Barrington.

1980: Construction begins on new Willow Creek there.

1981: Congregation meets in South Barrington for first time.

1992: Hybels establishes Willow Creek Association to help train and develop pastors and faith leaders.

1995: Hybels convenes first Global Leadership Summit.

1998: Trip to Sweden during which Hybels has been accused of misconduct.

1999: Trip to Spain during which Hybels has been accused by a one-time teaching pastor of misconduct.

2014: A woman jumps naked into the water near Hybels' boat; Hybels said last month he was furious about it and that she apologized for it.

April 2014: Elder board first learns of an allegation against Hybels involving a woman. Internal investigations begin. Over the next four years, the church also hires a law firm and an IT forensics firm to help investigate. No evidence of wrongdoing was found, it said, and the case was closed.

2015: Three former board members of the Willow Creek Association resign after they deemed the church elders' investigation to be inadequate.

October 2017: Hybels announces he will retire in October 2018.

March 22, 2018: The Chicago Tribune reports details of five women's allegations against Hybels of misconduct.

March 23: Hybels, in a gathering at Willow Creek and in a statement, denies the allegations and accuses former church leaders of fabricating claims to tarnish his reputation. Other church leaders back his story, detail their investigation.

April 10: Hybels announces he is ending all his Willow Creek roles immediately.

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