A Message from the Highlands Community Church Governing Elders | August 25, 2021

Highlands Family, 

We have some important information related to the GRACE investigation and Highlands’ responses to the two known abuse victims.


First, we wanted to share that Highlands and our insurance provider have reached a mutually agreeable settlement with one of the two known victims. While we are grateful to have reached this agreement, we know that the victim and many others around them continue to experience tremendous heartache and pain. Please join us in our continued prayers for healing and restoration for all those who suffer as a result of the abuse that occurred.

Secondly, we recently were advised that the independent investigation being conducted by GRACE has been paused for two reasons:

    1) GRACE has become aware of an administrative issue related to their license to conduct investigations in in Washington State. GRACE is actively working with the appropriate legal teams to understand and bring resolution to this issue.
    2) The other known victim has filed ​a civil suit and has named Highlands and Derek Nelson as defendants. While we are saddened by this development, we will continue to work pro-actively with all parties involved to reach a resolution. Our hearts’ desire is that truth will prevail, that justice will be served, and that each victim will receive the care and support they need to continue in their recovery. GRACE’s policy is to pause any investigation until any outstanding suits are resolved. We are working with GRACE and the lawyer for the other victim to explore possible options to keep the investigation moving forward while the suit proceeds.


We urge everyone in the Highlands family to pray for the two known abuse victims, other victims of sexual misconduct in our community, as well as others hurt through the sin in our church community. Our desire throughout this process is to love and care for the two known victims. We long for the Lord to bring healing to His church and for light to be shown through the GRACE investigation.

Who can I contact if I am a victim, or if I have relevant information to share?

While the investigation is currently paused, we continue to urge anyone who is a victim of sexual misconduct or who has relevant information to contact GRACE. Lee Ann James with GRACE is leading the investigation and can be reached directly by email at Please be assured that any contact you have with GRACE will remain completely confidential.

We will let you know when we become aware of any changes to the investigation status.

In Christ,
Highlands Community Church Governing Elders