Pastor accused of abuse no longer Tenn. candidate

"Effective immediately, we have dissolved our pastor search committee and ended our relationship with all candidates....We will take a short break from our pastor's search as we pray together while continuing to pursue God's plan for our church. We will also look for an interim pastor who will provide leadership and direction in the days ahead." - BPNews

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Bert Perry's picture

This is a good move by the church, and much appreciated--they are in effect saying that not only were there problems with their specific candidate, but also with the process as a whole.  

That said, the current status of how these things are done still appears to be that "doing about the right thing" appears to generally happen after the victims go public.  In other words, it appears to require pressure from the press and social media before people will admit there's a problem they must deal with.  If indeed the ladies presented a good deal of the evidence presented here, these responses by the church to Megan and to JoAnna  are pretty reprehensible.  

I'm not saying that the churches needed to accept their stories verbatim with no investigation, but when you've got pretty clear evidence your candidate was carrying on with three women at once, one of whom he took to Vegas, maybe it's time to say "time out, we need to reassess what we're doing and see what's going on, and if there's something in our process which is attracting and selecting unqualified candidates."

I think they're doing that now, but again; why do they need to go public?  We might suggest that the church is being confronted per Matthew 18, and they're getting to that last stage.  It's sobering.

(and my apologies for previously posting without completing my thoughts/sentence)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

Allegations against the Rev. Wes Feltner have shaken the congregation at his south metro megachurch, resulting in his taking a leave.

 

The Rev. Wes Feltner, now 41, is being accused of simultaneously dating the congregants in 2002 when he was a youth pastor in southern Indiana. The accusations have been deemed credible by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, where Feltner taught and has been suspended, and came to light after he applied for a position this fall at a church in Clarksville, Tenn. In an e-mail to the Star Tribune, Feltner said he had permission from their parents to date both women but that he deeply regretted the hurt he caused. He said that he’s offered to speak to the women multiple times, including with a mediator, which he said was how the Bible says such accusations should be addressed. He said that he and his family are facing “a withering barrage of online attacks,” some of them threatening. ... Feltner, who would have been 23 or 24 at the time of the alleged incidents, has said that some of the accusations were true while others were not, and that his accusers have “organized to destroy my reputation and my career.” ... Things culminated for both women at a winter church retreat, when the wife of another youth pastor asked each of them if they were dating anyone. Both confided that they were dating Feltner. Weeks later, they wrote, he got engaged to his longtime girlfriend and then married her. The women said that former youth group members contacted Berean Baptist Church officials when Feltner was hired as lead pastor in 2014, but that they don’t know whether church officials ever investigated. In Minnesota, though not in Indiana, a clergy member who has sex with someone they are counseling is guilty of criminal sexual conduct, regardless of the other person’s age. Consent is not a defense under Minnesota statutes.

Dave White's picture

Re: "his accusers have 'organized to destroy my reputation and my career.'”

Fact: He destroyed his own career. The Vegas photos!

He thought: "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"

Well ... that came back to bite him in his butt!

Bert Perry's picture

...for Feltner is that he's accusing the women of conspiring to destroy his career.  As many political pundits have noted for decades--I remember at least past the Clinton administration--it's generally the cover-up that gets you more than the original crime.  

That is doubly the case when we consider his defense; the notion that "some of this isn't true".  Process that in light of the fact that the ladies have more or less applied "the full Denhollander" to him--a mountain of evidence that is impossible to ignore--so if he's lying or bluffing about it, he risks them stepping out with evidence that, no, it actually was true.

Again, it's the cover-up that gets you.  One thing in his defense is that we do not yet, to my knowledge, have others stepping forward with their stories.  So it is plausible that this is truly "just" a "rebound gone malignant".  That said, some churches have some explaining to do if indeed the accusers contacted them previously.  I would at least hope that the search committees I've been a part of would have taken such claims seriously.  I know we took very seriously one applicant's youthful history with the church, as well as another applicant's credit record.  

It doesn't need to be a deal killer, but it does need to be something where the applicant says "this is my sin or mistake, and this is what I did to make sure it wasn't repeated."  I don't see that out of Wes Feltner at this point.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

Never heard of this guy.  Who is he.  Can't be that significant.  Oh yeah now I remember.  
 

Actually a very sad situation.  Hopefully this dude will come to repentance and pursue another career and rebuild his life.   A good second career might be a chaplain for a health organization to comfort people in hospice care.   
 

Additionally Trump's favorite avenue of communicating Twitter was used by the gals very effectively in this matter.  They even lined up support from members in both churches.  Bravo for them.  
 

Like I said before.  Beware Pastors and Church Leaders if you have skeletons in your closets.  These gals and some guys are going to pull them out and walk them around for all to see.  Each time these matters come up it inspires other victims to come forward  and many contact advocates like Rachel Dehollander Beth Moore or their associates.