Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tom Tewell Lands on His Feet

Thanks to a sharp-eyed reader named George Houston (George, are you the George Houston I used to know at Georgetown?), news has come that Tom Tewell (see the scribal posts of 9/17/07 (9/17/2007 12:43:00 PM) and 10/3/07 (10/03/2007 09:58:00 AM) about his visit to Greenwich) has landed a new job after leaving Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in disgrace and being censured by the Presbytery of New York City. He is moving to the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta, but with terms and conditions attached. To quote the official Presbytery document:

Tom will enter the presbytery under censure by the Presbytery of New York City for personal indiscretions in his position of pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City.

In other words, Tewell is still on a short leash. But his move to Atlanta will be very worthwhile. Here is his compensation package:

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

His new job title is Executive Director of the Pilot Project on Renewing Presbyterian Pastors. In this capacity he 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."

Hmm...interesting job description. Given the chaos he left behind him at Fifth Avenue, Tewell's would not be the first name that springs to mind to serve in such a capacity. But since he is not permitted, under the terms of his censure, to serve in a parish ministry, perhaps the old-boy network of the Presbyterian Church found him this job instead. And a cushy one it is.

So there it is, dear reader: break the Ten Commandments and maybe you, too, will be offered a job worth $275,775. By a mainstream Protestant church, no less. Will wonders never cease?

Update:

George Houston has left a comment along with a very interesting link. Since hotlinks seem not to transfer into the comment section, your scribe is pasting George's comment in the body of the post:

I'm not that George Houston. Here's more info on his new job, tho:

http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2008/06/restoration-renewal-and-big-bucks.html

Apparently Tewell has admitted his adultery to the Presbytery of New York City. This was new news to your scribe, who was unaware of this confession. Oh, and let's not overlook the fact that adultery is now officially described as "personal indiscretions". Wow! Shall we rewrite the Bible, dear reader, so that the Seventh Commandment says, "Thou shalt not commit personal indiscretions"?

Also interesting is the statement that "The Presbyterian Church has created a job for him...." While your scribe suspected that might be the case, it's always disheartening to learn that suspicions like this are correct. O tempora, O mores!

14 Comments:

Blogger Barrie said...

So, he did break that pesky 7th commandment?

I just googled him (after reading yet another of your thought-provoking posts). Interesting guy. With some outside-the-box opinions (for a Presbyterian pastor).

June 21, 2008 12:00 PM  
Blogger Malicious Intent said...

This would be one of the many reasons I am not a big fan of organized religion. It's more about politics, money, blah blah blah...than spirituality.

I can do that all on my own. I also believe that I should live my life as an example and that my religion is serving others.

People are leaivng churches because they are not getting what they need and seeking out alternatives to fill that Godly gap they crave, especially in such stressful times. Putting someone like this guy in charge of getting folks excited about the church again seems kinda counterproductive.

I'll take the job! I bet I could get them motivated. My orignal background was Lutheran, but I bet I could pull it off!

Oh well, at least churches have not burned to the ground when I walk into them. (Ok, that only happned once and I am sure it was electrical!)

June 21, 2008 1:12 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, Barrie!

Yeah, that's what the media report. He came to Greenwich last year and preached in our church - yuk! See my posts of 9/17/07 and 10/3/07 for more details.

June 21, 2008 1:21 PM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Oh well, at least churches have not burned to the ground when I walk into them. (Ok, that only happned once and I am sure it was electrical!)

Yeah, right, M.I. We all know it was the electric force of your personality that shorted out the wiring and burned the place down. But at least it wasn't because of divine disapproval, since I am quite sure that you are on God's A-list!

(Hey, as you know, my father used to be the bishop of your state, so I know whereof I speak.) :)

June 21, 2008 1:25 PM  
Blogger Leigh Russell said...

Surprised to find you're an old cynic... sarcastic? moi?

June 23, 2008 6:46 AM  
Blogger nychurchgoer said...

Please. Do not post comments that allege things. Unless you find a quotation attributed to Tom. As you point out, he came to the Greenwich church September 2007. Does it seem credible to you that he would appear so close to NYC, where many people did show up who knew him, if what you quote would apply?

June 23, 2008 9:51 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Ah, Leigh, your transatlantic irony is always a joy to read! Surely the Church of England does not aid and abet its adulterous clergy in this way?

June 23, 2008 10:05 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

To mychurchgoer:

Space does not permit me an adequate reply here in the comment thread. Please see my latest post, "More Thoughts on Tom Tewell," in which you will find both your comment and my response.

June 23, 2008 11:09 AM  
Blogger nychurchgoer said...

Please see my latest post, "More Thoughts on Tom Tewell," in which you will find both your comment and my response.

June 23, 2008 11:09 AM


I looked but do not see it.

June 23, 2008 11:19 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

To Mychurchgoer:

Go to Google and type in the words "Greenwich Gossip" in the search box. You will find your comment listed as the first selection. Click on the blue link, and the whole post will appear.

June 23, 2008 12:05 PM  
Blogger Leigh Russell said...

Not sure why one of your visitors failed to "see" something... (a double meaning? from me? surely not!) It seemed perfectly clear to me.

New game, Bill - you're tagged! (If, like me, you have no idea what that means, check the instructions on my blog. I'm not sure what the point is, but have a vision of it catching on and taking over the blogsphere... Perhaps Kevin Costner will bring out a film: Tagworld - was he responsible for Waterworld or have I got the wrong megamoron, sorry, megastar?)

June 24, 2008 7:29 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Leigh, I've put a comment on your blog.

You didn't answer my query about what the C of E does to errant ministers of the Gospel. Put them in the stocks on the village green? Make them repair the slates on the church roof? Put them inside the bell tower during change-ringing? (Oh, wait, Dorothy Sayers already arote about that one.)

June 24, 2008 10:14 AM  
Blogger Rock said...

Just learned all this about Tom Tewell. The comparison to Ted Haggard reminded me of a book by Greg Ogden, "Transforming Discipleship". He posits we need 3 things, Truth, Intimacy and Accountability. The latter is the one sorely lacking for most of us. Without it "prone to wander Lord I feel it."
Cody Watson

July 07, 2008 11:16 AM  
Blogger Bill Clark said...

Hi, Cody!

Yeah, accountability is in short supply in our society these days. Washington, Wall Street, Main Street - you name it. No wonder the churches are starting to cave!

July 07, 2008 1:23 PM  

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