6/22/2008                                                                                       View Comments

Restoration, renewal, and big bucks

By webmdave

For those who remember the scandal a few years ago surrounding Tom Tewell, the pastor of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, and who also remember the nearly worshipful devotion in so many of the comments posted here, and who have developed a decided cynicism toward all things Christian, the following information will come as no surprise.
Salary and Benefits
Salary - $145,000
Housing Allowance - $50,000
Benefits including Pension, Medical and Continuing Education - $80,775
Total - $275,775

The Presbyterian Church has created a job for him, one that pays him over a quarter of a million dollars a year. What is this job? He is the executive director over a new pilot program aimed at "renewing Presbyterian ministers."

Executive Director of The Pilot Project on Renewing Presbyterian Pastors

MISSION STATEMENT

Believing that Leadership is the key to the future of the Church of Jesus Christ and that a congregation cannot go farther spiritually than the Pastor has gone, the Pilot Project, sponsored by the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, the Presbytery of Flint River, and an Atlanta Foundation, seeks to provide practical resources to Presbyterian Pastors in struggling and challenging congregations. We believe that numerical growth is rooted in spiritual growth and that Pastors cannot give away what they are not in the process of experiencing. The 3 year Pilot Project will seek to renew the spiritual lives of clergy in order to create a culture of spiritual growth in congregations who are experiencing declining membership, financial instability and loss of hope. Clergy in challenging congregations often focus on survival rather than focusing on “ equipping the saints for the work of ministry.” (Ephesians 4:12). The Pilot Project in Pastoral Renewal provides these pastors some spiritual direction and coaching, as well as practical resources to enrich their own lives and the lives of their congregations. The Pilot Project in Pastoral Renewal will employ an experienced Pastor as the Executive Director who will be able to “walk alongside” clergy in a time of struggle, encourage them in their leadership and offer practical suggestions to help their congregations to grow spiritually and numerically.

JOB DESCRIPTION

The Executive Director of the Pilot Project will be responsible for:

1. Meeting with the Executive and Associate Presbyters of the Greater Atlanta and the Flint River Presbyteries, as well as the appropriate committees, to identify a specific number of clergy who will be included in the pilot program. A process will be developed, in conjunction with the leaders in each Presbytery, to determine how to invite Clergy into the Pilot Program in future years. The first year, our plan is to begin with 10 Clergy- 9 from Greater Atlanta and one from Flint River. 7 of the clergy from Greater Atlanta will be from congregations identified by the Presbytery as primed for growth. A Clergy couple from Greater Atlanta Presbytery who are Pastors of an Emerging Church in the Atlantic Station area will also be included, as will the Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Albany, Georgia, in the Flint River Presbytery. It is hoped that approximately 5 additional Clergy will be added to the pilot each year. Presbytery of Greater Atlanta
February 23, 2008.

2. Coordinating a regular Gathering of Clergy in the program for mutual support, prayer, devotional reading and study.

3. Preparing and identifying Small Group Study Materials and Devotional Guides for Clergy in the Pilot to use with their congregations.

4. Providing Regular Individual Coaching Sessions for each Pastor in the Pilot Program to help him or her to develop creative ideas for ministry and hone their pastoral, preaching and leadership skills.

5. Coordinating an Annual Renewal Retreat for Clergy in each of the two Presbyteries, led by experienced clergy, who would be willing to share not only their expertise, but their struggles and failures as well. The Clergy in the Pilot Program would attend the retreat at a minimal cost to themselves or their congregations and would have an opportunity to learn from and get to know some of America’s most creative clergy leaders.

6. Consulting with the clergy in the Pilot Program about such topics as:
A. Leadership – Developing the Leaders around you
B. Creating a Culture of Creativity in a Congregation
C. Best Practices in Ministry
D. Healthy Habits for a Pastor
E. Finding Creative ways to increase Worship Attendance
F. Developing a Vision for the next 5 years in your church
G. Attracting the next Generation into the Church
H. Surviving as a Pastor when you want to Quit!

7. Teaching an occasional Continuing Education Seminar at Columbia Theological Seminary, if invited, on Models of Church Growth ( Spiritual and Numerical) for Clergy and lay leaders.

8. May from time to time take on other assignments at the direction of the CF Foundation staff examples include: Assisting and advising on the Chaplaincy Program in East Lake and involvement in churches assisting with the replication of the East Lake model around the country.

Pilot Program Time Table

This 3 year Pilot Program will begin with the hiring of an Executive Director who will begin in April of 2008. The Pilot will be measured annually against evaluative criteria that will be established by the each Presbytery and the CF Foundation to determine the success of the pilot. The Pilot will conclude at the end of June of
2011 and a determination will be made, at that time, whether the Pilot will become a Permanent Renewal Ministry of the Greater Atlanta Presbytery and the Presbytery of Flint River.

Salary and Benefits
Salary - $145,000
Housing Allowance - $50,000
Benefits including Pension, Medical and Continuing Education - $80,775
Total - $275,775


To read the publicly released report from the Atlanta Presbytery, click here. The quotation above comes from page 29 in the report which appears on page 10 in the .pdf file.

Is this job really worth a quarter million a year? Is this why Christians want to give money to their churches?

What is wrong with this picture? Or is anything wrong with it all?

What do you think?

37 comments:

David said...

That much money could be better spent.

George Houston said...

Here is the doc where the PCUSA censures Tewell. For those of you defending him, he admitted the adultery.


http://www.fapc.org/whoweare/resource/pjcrulingontewellcensure.pdf

The link can be found on:

http://www.nycpresbytery.org/index.php?section=16&subsection=0&teritarysection=0

truthseeker said...

Appalling, but not particularly surprising. The amount of money that churches throw around is sickening to me now. They mostly "consume it on their own lusts", which is the lust of deluding themselves that they are the 'CHOSEN' few, and god loves only them. "Let's build a huge building so we can meet together to pat each other on the back and reassure ourselves that we are truly awesome!" I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry...

George Houston said...

Believing that Leadership is the key to the future of the Church of Jesus Christ and that a congregation cannot go farther spiritually than the Pastor has gone...

Where to begin with what's wrong with this is the opening sentence. The first scary thing is minor but telling. It is the capitalization of 'Leadership' as a proper noun.

The second is the fact that they took it as a given that the pastor will be 'ahead' of the flock ("a congregation cannot go farther spiritually than the Pastor"). Keep in mind, the Leader in question has admitted to cheating on his wife w/ a married member of the congregation. In the PCUSA's collective mind, if you're not a Leader, you are by definition spiritually inferior to that.

Danny Tuason said...

I guess he needs that money to buy the stairway to heaven.

Danny Tuason

The AntiChristian said...

What can one say? Some people like to abuse, some people like to be abused. Stupidity is its own reward. Cliches, I know, but this whole situation is just so cliche.

Aspentroll said...

There is a similarity between Tom Tewell and Ted Haggard.
Both very charismatic, both let the wrong head do their thinking and they both come out smelling like a rose because of the brainwashed people who knew them well.
Well, if if heaven is a real place I would not like to share a cloud with Ted, Tom,Jerry, Adolf, and all the Popes just because gawd or jebus like to forgive anyone who "changes" their minds at the last minute.

notabarbie said...

webmdave-I find this whole thing disgusting...Pastor renewal? I guess what with all the war, starvation and abuse going on around the world, that the best place for the church to put it's money is "Pastor renewal." Brilliant!

Danny- thanks for adding some humor...hilarious!

Steven Bently said...

How much money was supposedly poor ole Jebus worth? He was dragged down the streets (add violins here~~~~~~) and spit on with nothing but rags hanging off his body and was spit on and cursed and teased and flogged and scoffed at ~~~~ he wasn't on salary.

What happened to "Store ye treasures up in heaven where thieves cannot steal?" "It's easier for a rich man to enter through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

Oh I forgot, Tewewll ask Jebus for forgiveness and all things are forgiven, he slate is wiped clean.

So a Christian can commit any crime or wrong doing and get immediate forgiveness anytime from poor ole jc.

Christianity = national forgiveness club.

A Christian can do no wrong, how can they, when they have their instant forgiver waiting on the sidelines just waiting to forgive them for any crime or wrong doing 24/7?

Steven Bently said...

P.S. I also forgot to mention that "once saved", you no longer have to abide with the Biblical teachings or commandments of Jebus, that's why 10% keeps you in good standing with the church and Jebus.

nychurchgoer said...

"Posters agree not to use this "blog to post any material which is knowingly false and/or defamatory, inaccurate..." is one of the site "rules" I just read. Hence, the censure does not use the word adutery about Tom Tewell. http://www.fapc.org/whoweare/resource/pjcrulingontewellcensure.pdf

No, never, not at all.

The censure does not use the word adultery to describe any activity by any member of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, including, but not limited to, the former senior pastor.

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

nychurchgoer said...

Each person bringing a lawsuit against Tom, the church and the NYC Presbytery, in the couple, first the husband, in 2005, then the wife, in 2007, is no longer in court in NY state to be divorced, as the divorce action initiated in 2005 was ended WITHOUT a divorce April 2007 as can be seen by going to the New York State's court Web site.

You can read the court documents, which necessarily cite each side's allegations by spending the money to read them, or, in the case judge's decisions, going to the NY State Web site. There you will find that even the woman who is the plaintiff does not cite any evidence to give credence to the accusation.

And, is a job about church building.

Two-bitter said...

Yep, it is a generous package. But did it ever occur to you skeptical, discerning ex-Christians that it was in part an attempt to alleviate an injustice? I’ll have to assume that Tewell did accrue some heavy-duty legal expenses for a nonsense lawsuit that was settled for what lawyers consider a trifle.

That was good research, George, in finding the Presbtytery's censure statement, but the question here is whether the censure matches the “charge” delivered to Tewell or his own “guilty” plea. (Hint: it does not). Therein lies the injustice. So, the real ex-Christian story here is not about Tewell’s comeback, but the Presbyterian Church’s ability to govern itself.

Loki Neves said...

Thats awesome maybe with all that money he can get prostitutes instead of sleeping with other peoples wives!

The AntiChristian said...

Loki,
Yeah, maybe he can look up that really expensive male prostitute that Ted Haggard used to cavort with and buy drugs from. Ted was with him for a long time.

George Houston said...

Here is what the censure document says:

Whereas you, Thomas K. Tewell, have plead guilty to the offense of committing actions contrary to the obligations of ordained office of the Presbyterian Church (USA) by engaging in verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature with a married member of your congregation who was not your spouse....

webmdave said...

"The censure does not use the word adultery to describe any activity."

No, it doesn't use the word adultery. I guess married Presby ministers can have "conduct of a sexual nature" with individuals other than a spouse without it being labeled adultery.

HMM!

Now I can't help but wonder if there were any cigars involved. LINK

sconnor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sconnor said...

nychurchgoer,

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law, defines Adultry as:
Function: noun
voluntary sexual activity (as sexual intercourse) between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband; also : the crime of adultery

But if that definition doesn't work for you, maybe the Biblical definition might help.

Matthew, 5:27, You have heard the commandment that says, You must not commit adultery. But I say, anyone who even looks at a women with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

So, get the fuck out of here, with your inept and asinine delusions, you asshole.

--S.

Loki Neves said...

You might not want to bring all them learned dictionary books in to it. Some one might have to think for them selves.

webmdave said...

Dude, it is completely funded by one Philanthropist who believes that leadership training is a fundamental key to church health.

webmdave said...

But Tom is a terrific leader,speaker and motivator to follow the Word of the Lord

So, he's terrific at spreading unconfirmed/unproven religious dogma as "Truth". Wonderful; good for him.

webmdave said...

The PCUSA press (at least) seems to be picking up the story

http://www.layman.org/layman/news/2008-news/suspended-pastor-gets.htm

webmdave said...

The PCUSA press (at least) seems to be picking up the story

http://www.layman.org/layman/news/2008-news/suspended-pastor-gets.htm

webmdave said...

The Atlanta Presbytery no longer publishes its meeting notes online:

http://www.presbyteryofgreateratl.org/events/presbytery_meetings/meeting.htm

I wonder why they went quiet. It's almost like they have something to hide......

webmdave said...

Nice try, Steve, but the notice about not publishing minutes has been on the Atlanta Presbytery's home page for about six months. The important documents--the "handbook," etc. are all still there. You atheists/exChristians remain skeptical about all the wrong things.

webmdave said...

Hey, AtheistToothFairy,
I really do get your point, and agree with it. Anyone, pastor or otherwise, who claims 'special deals with gods' is pretty much full of shit. In the Presbyterian tradition, we don't fool ourselves that ordination gives us any special holier-than-thou status. (At least officially. Some people get a little carried away with themselves.) People do tend to project higher expectations onto pastors, though, (and again, some pastors onto themselves) so the fall from grace seems more precipitous. But we're all pretty much bozos on the same bus as anyone else, even atheist toothfairies, in whom the 'Holy Spirit' dwells as much as in the biggest steeple pastor.

Though I'm pretty sure you won't get my point.

Jill

webmdave said...

Good grief, I've never heard so much condemnation! Let he (or she) without sin cast the first stone! This guy admitted his sin, accepted his censure, followed all its requirements (including years of banishment from the pulpit, individual therapy, an oversight committee, and public contrition before the entire Presbytery of Greater Atlanta) and is only now restored to full status as a Minister of Word and Sacrement. His own wife forgave him, for heaven's sake; can't you? Meanwhile, I confess it pissed me off royally that he was sent down here with such a high compensation package to 'counsel' us small church pastors. But guess what? He's really helping! My colleagues and I are seriously appreciating his attention, advice and genuine investment in our struggles. Took me awhile to trust the guy - I'm no fool - but now I do.
The Rev. Jill Oglesby Evans, Pastor
Emory Presbyerian Church

webmdave said...

Yeah... It's hard to 'sin' against some 'god' for which there is no evidence. Therefore, I am sinless :) May I cast a stone now? Actually, I just wanted to point out the illogic of coming on an EX-Christian site and parroting biblical nonsense at us. You seem like a nice lady with good intentions, but we here at Ex-C (and anyone anywhere, really) are free to judge anyone and everyone as we see fit. It's harsh, but it's our site.
(Sorry, that sounds really bitchy, even to me! It's hard to convey emotion on the internet :)

-Emily

webmdave said...

Yeah... It's hard to 'sin' against some 'god' for which there is no evidence. Therefore, I am sinless :) May I cast a stone now? Actually, I just wanted to point out the illogic of coming on an EX-Christian site and parroting biblical nonsense at us. You seem like a nice lady with good intentions, but we here at Ex-C (and anyone anywhere, really) are free to judge anyone and everyone as we see fit. It's harsh, but it's our site.
(Sorry, that sounds really bitchy, even to me! It's hard to convey emotion on the internet :)

-Emily

webmdave said...

Rev. Jill,

Funny how those whom this special "Holy Spirit" dwell inside of, tend to commit sins/crimes just the same as those of us who don't claim to harbor this "Holy Spirit" spooky thingy.

Maybe it's just me, but I would sooner forgive someone who claimed to have no special deals with any gods, then I would one who swears they were under the influence of some holier-than-thou god-spirit.

ATF (Who just knows the Rev. here, will not get my point)

webmdave said...

Jill,

Maybe you are right, perhaps we should cast fewer stones. It would be useful to have an example set.
Too often we are visited by people whose qualifications, job description, environment and belief set approaches your own and who seem to believe that those qualities are sufficient to justify laying about us with the sort of unprovoked verbal brickbats that are usually reserved for those who might have molested their daughters.

For too many xians, atheists (or perceived atheists as not all here are atheists) are fair game for abuse and false accusations. It really does appear that some of your fellow-travellers believe that we all eat babies alive, burn churches and rob graves.

To the best of my knowledge, none of these things happen, but I ask you, please, to try to understand the schadenfreude and downright glee that we sometimes allow ourselves when one of the faithful, especially the bible-preaching, example-setters falls prey to a more prosaic peccadillo than those of which we are routinely accused.

Peace,

David

webmdave said...

Rev. Evans,

I have read your post, and am quite interested in hearing your point of view, since you are looked upon as a community leader and pillar in society.

If you have time, can you tell me the standard you use to make value judgments?

The reason I humbly ask… is your enlightenment on casting the first stone… I was taught as a young Christian, that humanity is not without sin by its very nature…

If this is true, then humanity would seem forever unworthy or unjustified in casting a stone… if this is the case; whence come justice to maintain a civil society? The bible seems to indicate that such matters are to only be settled by a religious counsel.

If that is true… then it seems more accurate to suggest that “society” may not cast the first stone… that a believer is privileged to be given religious immunity from public scrutiny.

So, if it is the religious community and you as a leader whom will ensure proper conduct, of what may appear to be predatory actions… “what” is the standard by which you make value judgments?

webmdave said...

I am so happy to see that Tom Tewell has this nice job and he'll do a great job. I've known him since Houston and have been wondering what's happened to him. He's an AMAZING preacher.

webmdave said...

I am so happy to see that Tom Tewell has this nice job and he'll do a great job. I've known him since Houston and have been wondering what's happened to him. He's an AMAZING preacher.

webmdave said...

Apparently he has a wide range of other, more horizontal skills, also.

webmdave said...

Reverend Jill Oglesby Evans,

Your "non-communication" speaks volumes of your ability to be a good steward for society... no surprise here... I really had little hope you'd respond - typical of religion and "its" so-called leadership from a position of morality...

As always; a lot said, but of little substance.