After Review, St. John’s Episcopal Church Continues Relationship with Childers Construction

After Review, St. John’s Episcopal Church Continues Relationship with Childers Construction

St. John Episcopal Church, who hired Childers Construction as the lead contractor for the almost-completed “For All the Saints” capital campaign renovations, sent out a letter on July 30 addressing the recent controversy related to Sam Childers.

Rev. David C. Killeen wrote that after hearing about the controversy, St. John’s assembled a group of church leaders, African American members, clergy and staff and met to discuss what action they would take. According to Rev. Killeen, the group prayed and quickly reached consensus, concluding that Mr. Childers’ actions with regards to the Bob Marley costume was inappropriate and accepted Mr. Childers’ apology.

Rev. Killeen added, “We see no evidence that this was a part of a pattern of behavior, nor have we encountered anything like it in our dealings with Childers Construction…..Childers Construction has been an exemplary partner for nearly three years during this renovations project.”

Rev. Killeen stated that Childers Construction will complete the project.

Florida State University, in a letter from President John Thrasher, severed ties with Childers Construction due to the incident by cancelling the company’s Continuing Services Agreement with FSU. Thrasher stated that FSU will honor contracts currently in place.


The Rev. David C. Killeen Letter

Dear Friends in Christ,

You may be aware of this recent story in the Tallahassee Democrat about Sam Childers of Childers Construction.

You may also know this situation touches St. John’s Episcopal Church in multiple ways. One of the most prominent of those is that Childers Construction has been the lead contractor for our almost-completed “For All the Saints” capital campaign renovations. 

Initially, that would appear to make this issue complicated for St. John’s. That is, until we remember the foundations of our faith and of this church.
We vow to love and serve Christ and our neighbors in Tallahassee and around the world. One way we do that is by renouncing racism in all of its forms. Blackface is clearly inappropriate, even if part of a Halloween costume created with innocent intent.

Another way we fulfill our mission is through one of our stated five core values — compassion. Mr. Childers has acknowledged his mistake and sincerely asked for forgiveness. We see no evidence that this was a part of a pattern of behavior, nor have we encountered anything like it in our dealings with Childers Construction. Our own Christian values demand we accept this apology.

We also have a long-standing commitment to social justice at St. John’s. 
Earlier this year, St. John’s followed Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Episcopal Church’s lead to enlist all Episcopalians in the work of deepening conversation about race. Last week we announced the co-chairs of our “Becoming Beloved Community” discernment committee that will guide our church in a six-month examination about racism and racial healing. Those dedicated parishioners, Marcy Muldrow Sanders and Jim Messer, are already hard at work forming their committee and making plans for the conversations they will lead about our faith, values and how St. John’s can be part of the solution.

When this issue with Sam Childers arose, St. John’s assembled a group — of church leaders, African American members, clergy and staff — and met to discuss what action we would take. The group opened with prayer and quickly reached consensus: We find Mr. Childers’ actions with regards to the costume inappropriate and we accept his request for forgiveness.

Childers Construction has been an exemplary partner for nearly three years during this renovations project. St. John’s will see this relationship to its conclusion. At the same time our physical church is fully refreshed, we will be diving deep into the vital issue of racial awareness and social justice, refreshing our perspective on inclusivity and compassion. And we will do it all prayerfully and reverently, guided by our core values and the Holy Spirit.

Please feel free to reach out to me or another member of our St. John’s clergy if we can provide further pastoral assistance.
Faithfully,  Fr. Dave

The Rev. David C. Killeen

28 Responses to "After Review, St. John’s Episcopal Church Continues Relationship with Childers Construction"

  1. I do not believe Childers had anything to apologize for as he was dressed as a music artist he admired! So go St John’s!

  2. 20\20 and Hope,
    Thanks for your remarks. I can’t really take someone with the name Jomama seriously. Lol
    And for the record I am not a loser, but consider myself a real winner. I no longer live in a city with so much hate, division, and liberal policies. We watched in the over 20 years this city fall apart year by year.
    Thankfully we retired to a community where everyone is welcoming, kind, supportive of the police, God, and proud of our country and flag. The respect and support of the veterans here is heartwarming. It’s like living in Mayberry,peaceful and safe.
    I have found that the people that have never been out of their country (or city for that matter)have no idea how blessed and free we are.
    And because I do live in a free country I can say ,write and do what I want with my money and support.

  3. St John’s is to be commended to just set up a group discussion. Apparently something Thrasher wouldn’t bother with. He could have taken the time to drill down, get the facts, listen to Childers and provided a learning opportunity to everyone. St John’s certainly displayed true Christian character and extended forgiveness while also condemning what was done.

  4. We no longer live in Tallahassee, but will no longer support FSU. We took the car tags off, we are stopping all monetary support and my husband’s FSU T-shirts are now rags in the garage. We had children that graduated from there also, when it wasn’t such a , “Woke University” .
    FSU deserves so much better leadership then the knee jerk reaction they have done with the Childers situation. I wonder if TK would of sought better guidance as the the pastor of St John’s did.
    My hope is that Childers gets more contracts then they can handle.

  5. Seriously? It’s ok for person-of-color Lin-Manuel Miranda to play Alexander Hamilton who is not a person-of-color but wrong Sam Childers who is not a-person-of-color to play Bob Marley who is a person-of-color. The level of stupidity in this is epic.

  6. If you do a little digging, you will see that after John Thrasher jumped from Speaker of the House of Representatives to lobbying with Southern Strategy Group, his lists of clients included Ajax Construction. Hmmmm!

  7. Just curios to know……… WHO went looking for Dirt on Childers and WHY? WHO will Benefit the most now that Childers is no longer doing Construction at FSU? That Photo was not taken recently, it was taken in 2015, FIVE YEARS AGO. No one would have known about or cared about that Photo if it were not brought out into the Spotlight. So I will ask again, WHO went looking for Dirt on Childers and WHY?

  8. The leaders serve different constituents. The church’s leadership felt it was fine to proceed.

    The university’s constituents would’ve cried fowl. Thrasher did the right thing by following what his constituents wanted. He doesn’t care what you think. Nor should he. You’re not his constituents.

    1. And therein lies the problem.

      Perhaps Thrasher should consider putting a hire being ahead of his constituents when making a decision.

    2. A group of 50 angry students and one misguided former student are hardly constituents – his constituents are the people who give and support the University these people sadly do not – nice try –

  9. Thrasher’s desire to demonstrate his “wokeness” over leadership is a sad commentary on FSU. While this virus of cancel culture is hip with the left and the younger generation (who have nothing at stake), it has real ramifications for many hard-working, tax-paying citizens. Lives are now ruined.

    Thank you Rev. Killeen for standing for standing up to the mob. Like Jonathan Issac, you demonstrated courage when others cowarded to a knee.

  10. I commend the good Reverend for not caving to the ignorance of the misguided cancel culture mob. However, I remain a bit confused as to which “race” Childers has been accused of offending, when he dressed up for Halloween as an iconic reggae singer who was born in British Jamaica? I note that the Reverend’s “group” did not even include a British Jamaican.

    We are wading dangerously deep into that waters of foolishness, whereby individuals and groups are deeming themselves worthy of, and granting themselves the authority to, be offended “on behalf” of another… even those who are no longer with us. We simply cannot apply todays’ societal evolutions to yesteryears’ societal norms… it is a fools errand that will surely bring about tomorrows’ war. We are living the beginnings of that reality today.

    Democrats have, and continue to, work diligently to alter the historic reality that the Democrat Party is, and has always been, the Party of racism. From the Civil War, to founding the KKK, to he origin of abortion (see Margaret Sanger), to opposing the Civil Rights movement and desegregation…and so on… The guiding principle of the Democrat Party is built entirely on envy, hate, and racism.

    But here’s the reality, and there’s no getting around it… We are all “people of color”… only shades of individualism differentiates us. And it is only by embracing and respecting that individualism, and ignoring the political and media exploitation of it, that we can move forward for the betterment of our Nation and World.

    May God continue to bless and protect us all.

    1. I am also disappointed in Thrasher’s decision. An apology and forgiveness is a two-way street and would go much further than Thrasher’s political based decision to overreact.

      God bless the Episcopalians!

    2. I had a buddy who loves Jimi Hendrix and dressed up like him in the 80’s! I guess it’s time to blackmail him for all his Grouper and Snapper GPS numbers!!

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