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Third Midland church leader being investigated for child sex crimes


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    MIDLAND, MIchigan (WNEM) — A third church leader with Mark Barclay Ministries and Living Word International Church in Midland has been suspended and removed from all church positions effective immediately after being accused of misconduct.

Josh Barclay, on behalf of Mark Barclay Ministries and the church, confirmed to WNEM-TV5 a second pastor is being investigated for sexual abuse.

In a statement, Barclay said the abuse allegations didn’t take place at the church nor was the church involved in any way.

“Living Word International Church is deeply saddened and concerned to address recent allegations of misconduct involving one of our ministers. We take these matters extremely seriously and are committed to transparency, accountability, and ensuring the safety and well-being of our congregation.”

Josh Barclay, Mark Barclay Ministries

Barclay said the church is cooperating fully with law enforcement in their investigation. The individual in question is suspended from all church duties, pending the outcome of the investigation.

This isn’t the first Living Word International Church member to be accused of misconduct. A WNEM-TV5 investigation this month revealed two other church leaders are accused of sexual misconduct.

On Jan. 4, 2024, in a plea agreement, church elder and volunteer Brandon Saylor, 44, pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child under 13. Six other charges were dropped. Midland County Sheriff Myron Greene confirmed to TV5 that Saylor knew his victims.

On Nov. 28, 2023, Rev. James Randolph, 57, was arrested and charged with several criminal sexual conduct felonies. TV5 learned from an interview with a longtime church member that Randolph is the son-in-law of the ministry’s head, Mark Barclay. He is expected to go to trial in Midland County Circuit Court.

The church, in a statement to TV5, acknowledged the situation.

“This is not the first time our church has faced such a situation and we acknowledge the pain and trauma this causes to those directly affected, as well as our entire community. We take this matter and the safety and well-being of everyone in the church very seriously.

An independent investigator recently reviewed our internal safety and protective practices, and the results were positive. We continue to follow our legal counsel’s advice to make certain we are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our congregation, especially our children, and are praying earnestly for guidance.

Our policy has always been to immediately report any misconduct to the appropriate authorities, which we consider good practice for all parents, churches and ministries.

Living Word International Church remains steadfast in our mission to serve and support our community with integrity, compassion, and the love of Christ. We ask for your prayers for all those affected by these troubling circumstances and for wisdom and discernment as we navigate this challenging time together.”

Josh Barclay, Mark Barclay Ministries WNEM-TV5 reached out to Michigan State Police and the Midland County Sheriff’s Office to see if an investigation was underway. Midland County Sheriff Myron Greene said his office wasn’t aware of any arrest warrants or investigations.

Michigan State Police said they won’t confirm or deny any active investigations until an arrest or charges are brought forth.

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