After Pastor Churches







Please Note: The owner of this site (Rev. Allan F. Wells-Goodwin) passed away on March 27, 2007.

APART is for pastors called or appointed to serve churches after previous clergy misconduct has occurred. Clergy in this position have been referred to as ?after-pastors.? Assistance, resources and training are available. For a more complete definition of an after-pastor church, see below.

APART is for those clergy/pastors serving after a previous clergy/pastor has resigned, been fired, or been removed because of misconduct. Misconduct can be of a sexual nature, harassment, a violation or abuse of power, financial mismanagement, or any breaking of the trust relationship. Unhealthy dynamics often persist in churches after clergy misconduct, for decades. The violation of trust by a previous pastor is often transferred to the incoming pastor, who then must work toward restoring the integrity of the pastoral office. This may not be accomplished by the clergy immediately following the misconduct, but that pastor becomes an important part of the healing process in after-pastor ministry. Because this is a very stressful and often painful task, APART offers special assistance to those serving in this complicated ministry.


A. Two day intensive course on after-pastor ministry. CEU credits awarded through Bangor (Maine) Theological Seminary. This course explores the common dynamics usually found in an after-pastor church: distrust of pastors, distrust of denomination, poor communications, sabotage of administrative decisions, and intensive, destructive conflicts. Participants will present case studies, both current and cold, and examine the differences. The role and benefits of response teams and listening sessions will be discussed. Clergy self-care will be discussed as an important aspect of after-pastor ministry. Cost: $100.00 per person. Limited to five to nine students per course.

B. After-pastor retreats for clergy and spouses, offering support, reflection, spiritual direction, and nurture in a mountainside setting, near a lake. Participants will prepare a case study and submit it prior to attending the retreat. At the retreat each person will, in confidential sessions, share how this experience has impacted them, their family, their sense of calling, professional performance, self-worth and general health. Ample free time for self-care and access to recreational surroundings is included in the retreat. Meals, bedding, and towels are included. Cost: $150.00 per person, financial assistance is available. Limited to four to seven participants per retreat.

C. Supportive consultations in person or on-line for pastors and clergy who are struggling with serving churches wounded by previous clergy misconduct.
Listening, guiding and supporting after-pastors is central to this ministry. Assistance is offered to enable after-pastors to work toward healing the church and restoring the trust in the pastoral office without further damage and division within the congregation. Costs will be negotiated on an individual basis.

D. Resources for more information.
Web site offering information about the dynamics of after-pastor churches, suggestions for assistance, spiritual resources, bibliography. Access: Includes links to contact Rev. Allan Wells-Goodwin and an after-pastor blog.

E. Contact Reverend Allan F. Wells-Goodwin. Retired, United Methodist Elder in Full Connection with the New England Annual Conference. Served after-pastor churches for thirty years in different states. Resume available on request.

Reverend Allan F. Wells-Goodwin
Copin? Haven
155 Mountain Road,
Denmark, ME 04022.
Phone 207-452-2596




After-pastor churches are defined as local churches in which previous clergy violated the trust between pastor and congregation, abused the position of authority and responsibility, or sexually abused, molested or harassed members of the congregation or community. Sometimes charges are filed with the denomination or local law enforcement. Usually the suspected clergy is suspended. The residual violation of trust and abuse of power have lasting effects which need to be addressed. Members of the church may feel disillusioned, angry or, in some cases, will not believe the allegations. Many resort to blaming the victim rather than coming to terms with the behavior of the pastor. Some churches have experienced multiple violations and are severely wounded, as are the folks attending them. After-pastor church symptoms may include distrust of the pastor and/or denomination, poor communications, sabotage of administration, and symbolic fights. The current clergy may become very frustrated and angry due to the destructive dynamics of what appears to be a very unproductive ministry. Assistance and resources are available to those set apart in this complex situation.



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