Betrayed, the Clergy Killer’s DNA;When the Church Forsakes its Own Clergy.
A 90 minute movie on DVD, available at US Films.  Rev. Dr. G. Lloyd Rediger, D. Rel., Presbyterian Minister, pastoral counselor, author of  Clergy Killers. Dr. James Forbes, Sr. Minister Emeritus, Riverside Church,New York, is on the board which created this
    The pastor of a congregation is vulnerable to gossip, rumors, lies, and power seeking individuals.  If a member wants to get rid of a pastor, for whatever reason, it is difficult to stop him or her. When conflict grows out of control in a congregation, often behind the scenes, the solution is typically for the pastor to leave and another to come in, hoping and praying that the problem was in the pastor or the result of “a poor fit.”  It is easier to throw the pastor under the bus than it is to change a congregation (or make them angry, or lose their contributions to the larger church.) 
    The pastor who leaves may be emotionally, physically, spiritually and vocationally scarred. There is usually minimal advocacy and help available in the system of the church.  
    What is the answer to this injustice?  Hire a lawyer?  Join a union?  Governing bodies becoming more aware and gaining skills to deal with clergy killer congregations?
    The film details examples of clergy killer individuals and congregations. It also explores questions of motivation, sin, evil and paths to justice.  The film is long, 90 minutes, and is mostly “talking heads.”  Statistics noted are informative and surprising.
    Pastors under fire will gain comfort, support and knowledge from this movie. They are not alone.
    A congregation in the midst of this kind of struggle may benefit from seeing the problem from a Family Systems viewpoint, and the film may tune their eyes to be able to see insidious evil.
    A denomination’s committee charged with conflict management and care of clergy will encounter a call to action.
Personal note:  
    I’m glad to see this subject become a topic of the day. My first novel Like Sheep tells the story of Pastor Suzanne entering a congregation plagued by a member who threatens to destroy it.     
    My second book—out soon—is Like a Fox. Pastor Suzanne is cautioned against going to Covenant Church because they are a “clergy killers.” Three former pastors have left the ministry. She enters with caution, seeking to find the source of their problems, restore them and survive.                    


12/25/2014 11:12am

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05/27/2017 9:54am

This is actually an eye opening post since I have never thought what a pastor may feel when he or she got replaced. I only encountered having a pastor leave because his family decided to move to a different place. This made me feel sad that some went through terrible things alone. I hope that people will see this movie so that they will learn what a clergy feels. May this film teach everyone a lesson about injustice.

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Pastors under fire put the church on the defensive. I agree with some of your observations that leave the pastor being charged scarred and vulnerable to other potential attacks. What is important, I believe, is that the church goes together whatever crisis with an open mind and, together with its congregation, go through the issues with transparency as their guiding light.

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    Like Sheep

    Like a Fox

    Like a Fig Tree

    Author Information

    The Rev. Dr. Judy Mitchell Rich lives outside of Athens, Alabama, in the country where she enjoys the stream behind her house and the wooded area which houses wild turkeys, deer, and many birds.
    She is a graduate of Fairborn High School in Ohio; Muskingum College;  McCormick Seminary. If you're into letters after names, hers would be
    : B.A., M.A., M.Div. and D.Min.

    She is an ordained Presbyterian USA pastor and has served as an Associate Pastor, Interim Pastor and Solo Pastor
    for  churches in Michigan, Kansas and Ohio, and on the staff of the Presbytery of Northern Kansas.
    University Presbyterian, Rochester Hills,Michigan
    Kipp Presbyterian, Kipp, Kansas
    Gypsum United Methodist, Gypsum,Kansas
    Presbytery of Northern Kansas
    Westminster Presbyterian, Emporia, Kansas
    St. Andrews Presbyterian, Topeka, Kansas
    Westminster Presbyterian, Piqua, Ohio
    Honorably Retired 2008

    Favorite activities include writing, reading mysteries, Pilates classes,   playing with clay and laughing with her friends and two sons, four sisters, one brother and their families.

    She published Like Sheep in September of 2012 and the second in the series Like A Fox in March of 2014. Like a Fig Tree was published September, 2015.

    Easter, 2006. Westminster Presbyterian Church. Piqua, Ohio. Photo by Sue Dougherty.


    Book Study With Guide
    Christian Fiction
    Church Conflict
    Clergy Couples
    Clergy Killer Churches
    Clergy Unions
    Evil In Churches
    Religious Fiction