The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


When pastors divorce

A congregation may feel betrayal, sadness, anger or guilt

The end of a marriage can be sorrowful and distressing, a private time with details revealed to only the most trusted friends. But when pastors divorce, not only does previously undisclosed information suddenly become very public, but feelings of betrayal, sadness, anger and even guilt can deeply hurt a congregation.

faae captionParishioners may feel caught between two sides, abandoned by their spiritual leader, or sometimes even powerless as the consequences of a church affair play out to a devastating conclusion.

When Joyce Hendrickson visited her childhood church in North Dakota the first time after her divorce, she didn’t know what to expect. This was the church where she and her husband had been nurtured from their youth, married and supported through the lean years of seminary. Her husband had been ordained there and it’s where they were launched into the ministry he subsequently left.

The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.

text size:

this page: email | print

February issue


Embracing diversity