While leading a faith community is both a spiritual gift and great honor, it is also a great responsibility. Priests, ministers, rabbis, imams, or other leaders are assumed to have strong and permanent faith, but sometimes faith can be lost. What happens if a leader realizes one day that he no longer possess the faith that he espouses?
Media Coverage of Non-Believing Clergy Chronological Listing
We’ve heard a lot of stories on this programme over the years. Very few have been as memorable as the one told by a man whose real name we can’t use and whose real voice you’ve never heard. Adam is an evangelical pastor who doesn’t believe in God. The last time we spoke to him, he felt he was in an impossible position.
Adam is now part of The Clergy Project, an online support group for active and former clergy who no longer believe in God. He was recently awarded the group’s first Employment Transition Assistance Grant. Adam called us on a pay phone somewhere in the southern United States.
Houston – Sunday mornings at Houston Oasis may have the look and feel of a church, but there’s no cross, Bible, hymnal or stained glass depictions of Jesus. There’s also nary a trace of doctrine, dogma or theology.
But the 80 or so attendees at this new weekly gathering for nonbelievers come for many of the same reasons that others pack churches in this heavily Christian corner of the Bible Belt — a sense of community and an uplifting message that will help them tackle the challenges of the coming week, and, maybe, the rest of their lives.
In this month’s podcast, Todd Stiefel’s co-host is Margaret Downey. Together they interview three representatives of the Clergy Project, acting Executive Director Catherine Dunphy, Jerry Dewitt and Teresa MacBain.
Listen as Catherine, Teresa and Jerry tell their very personal stories to Todd and Margaret, revealing the joys and hardships of making the transition from a religious believer preaching from behind the pulpit to a nonbelieving secular citizen making a new path for themselves.
This Easter, Teresa MacBain will mark an anniversary that’s uncommon for an ordained minister — her first year as an atheist.
Last March, MacBain, now 45, stood at a podium before hundreds of people in a Maryland hotel ballroom at the national convention of American Atheists and told them that, after a lifetime as a Christian and 15 years as a pulpit pastor, she had lost her faith.
Every Sunday, “Adam” says things to his parishioners he no longer believes. The evangelical pastor lost his faith a few years ago but is still in the pulpit, unable to devise an exit strategy from the profession he’s devoted his life to for 25 years.
“I’m trying to find the best way out that causes the least amount of harm,” he told me by phone.
The Ireland edition of ‘The Sunday Times’ – Joe Armstrong talks to the priests who feel trapped in their ministries – because they dare not tell their flocks they have become atheists.
“Adam,” a founding member of the Clergy Project, closeted atheist and an active Pastor, is the first recipient of the Employment Transition Assistance Grant. In his own words, Adam details the challenges he faces and the hope that this new program is giving him, as he works to leave the pulpit behind.
New $100,000 Employment Transition Program Launched to Help Atheist and Agnostic Clergy Find Secular Jobs Washington DC—The Clergy Project is proud to announce the addition of the Employment Transitional Assistance Grant, thanks to a generous grant from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.
Host Jamila Bey spoke with Todd Steifel and Clergy Project graduate Teresa MacBain to discuss how the project is working for those who no longer work for their former faith tradition.
The Clergy Project is proud to announce the addition of the Employment Transitional Assistance Grant, thanks to a generous grant from the Stiefel
Do you know what your minister believes? You might not. Jerry DeWitt is the author of the upcoming, Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor’s Journey from Belief to Atheism. He is the executive director of Recovering From Religion, and “the first graduate” of The Clergy Project.
Houston Oasis President Gary Williams shares the story of his journey to freethought, and some background on the founding of Houston Oasis. Houston Oasis is a community grounded in reason, celebrating the human experience. Mike Aus, who introduces Gary, is a graduate of The Clergy Project.
‘The Voice of Russia’ Radio – SPAR Host Jamila Bey spoke with Dr. Annalise Fonza, Teresa MacBain and Jeff Satterwhite about their experiences in and outside of the clergy.
The members of the Clergy Project extended their heartfelt congratulations to Jerry DeWitt, who has received the first Freedom from Religion Foundation, Clergy Project Hardship Grant. Jerry detailed his struggles after leaving religion in the recent New York Times Article “From Bible Belt Pastor to Atheist Leader”.
Joe Armstrong was one of those earnest young men, intoxicated by the charismatic renewal movement, who decided in the year that Pope John Paul came to Ireland that he wanted to be a priest.
Catherine Dunphy former Chaplain and Board Secretary has been appointed by the Board of Directors to the role of acting Executive Director of the Clergy Project. Catherine has been a member of the Clergy Project since its inception in March 2011.
What happens when a clergy person — a minister, a priest, a rabbi, an imam — realizes he doesn’t believe in God? And what happens when he says it out loud? What happens when they find each other; when they support each other in coping with their crises, when they help each other with resources and job counseling and other practical assistance? What happens when they encourage each other to come out? Could this affect more than just these clergy people and their followers? Could it change how society as a whole thinks and feels about religion?
I am an ordained, fundamentalist evangelical Christian minister — and an atheist. It might seem counterintuitive to read such a sentence, but a surprising number of ministers are rejecting religious belief.
More than 200 church leaders across the country now say they no longer believe in God, including a Houston-area pastor who was one of the first to publicly announce his decision. Mike Aus, who was pastor at Theophilus church in Katy, made that announcement during an appearance on a Sunday morning show on MSNBC.