Keeping secrets

(I’ve received a number of notes over the last few years from those of you going through this same thing.  I would like to share the stories of others going through the fall of a pastor.  I will remove the names, dates and locations to protect their privacy, but their stories from the pews are so important that I wanted to share them with you.   -Mike)

Thank you for writing your blog.  At the moment, I am the confidante of our pastor’s wife in a very small church (under 60 most Sundays.)  We’ve been through a difficult loss of a beloved pastor (new appointment) which made many leave our church and now our current pastor is having an affair.  I am the only one at church who knows at this time about this situation and have been praying with and for the pastor’s wife.   He has asked her to leave the parsonage, but she has determined to stay as long as she can.  While there is no physical abuse, the situation is becoming unbearable as he leaves her and the children, as he lies, as he walks blinded to what he is doing to his family.  At this point they believe their boys don’t know, but the 12 year old is perceptive and knows things aren’t right.

I am so burdened for this family, for this dear wife who is so wounded (and has never been anything but an exemplary pastor’s wife, supporting him through seminary and small churches, working hard in the churches they served, etc.)   She is looking for a full-time job and housing so she can leave, because staying is becoming too hard and in the meantime, they tell their children nothing and outside of their very immediate family, and our district superintendent (who only knows he wants out of the marriage, not about the affair) I am the only other one who knows about this.  I have not even told my own husband what is going on except that he knows I meet with the pastor’s wife because she is having “issues.”  I do believe he has his suspicions though!

I am not exactly sure why I am writing, except that this is pretty anonymous and I need to share this burden.  I do not think our church  has any real procedure for church discipline; I am pretty sure the pastor fully expects to continue preaching and receiving his salary until an appointment to a new church, which is what typically is the procedure in a divorce situation.  I have appreciated reading your blog, seeing what you’ve “done right” and gleaning much wisdom from your experience.

Thank you so much for the wise counsel offered in those blog posts… I am preparing for the earthquake, even while I struggle Sunday after Sunday to sit and hear him preach and act as if all is right with the world… Jesus has been faithfully instructing me in how to deal, and even when I feel at a loss, I know He will continue to lead.

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