TREMONT, Maine — The pastor at a local church has resigned his post in the midst of what the bishop of the diocese calls “a difficult time” for the parish.
Bishop Julian Dobbs of CANA East, one of four missionary dioceses in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, said Thursday that he has accepted the resignation of the Rev. Wayne Buchanan as pastor of Tremont Congregational Church.
The church, home of St. Brendan’s Anglican Parish, is located on Route 102 in the village of Bass Harbor.
Dobbs declined to comment on why Buchanan has resigned, but he did say that police have been looking into a situation that preceded Buchanan’s departure. He did not provide any additional details.
“It is not something that is appropriate at this time,” Dobbs said in declining to comment on the reasons for Buchanan’s resignation.
Attempts Thursday to contact law enforcement officials familiar with the situation were unsuccessful.
On Thursday, Buchanan was listed on the faculty at Grace Evangelical College & Seminary in Bangor, where he taught biblical languages for several years, but according to seminary officials that information was outdated. The Rev. W. Lyman Phillips, chancellor at the school, said Friday that Buchanan resigned in early January without explanation and is no longer affiliated with the seminary.
Attempts to contact Buchanan on Thursday also were unsuccessful.
Dobbs said that his office has been in communication with lay leaders and other officials at the church and that he has appointed the Rev. Clayton Gilley, the associate pastor there, as interim pastor. He said the process of finding and appointing a new pastor at the church could take as long as a year.
Dobbs added that he plans to travel to Tremont this weekend to lead the church’s regular weekly service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 14.
“We are in very close communication with the leaders of Tremont Congregational Church,” Dobbs said. “I’m very much looking forward to being with them.”
Gilley said that the church has a congregation of about 100 people, of whom about 60 are regular attendees at services this time of year.
He said the congregation is concerned for Buchanan, but that they are “handling the situation well.” He said Buchanan had been pastor at the church for more than 18 years when he announced his resignation about a month ago.
Gilley also declined to comment on why Buchanan resigned, directing questions on the matter to Dobbs.
“No one want to make guesses at this stage,” Gilley said.