|Pastor Tim runs the Reed Street Church. He's married to Alice and has a daughter, Claire Louise. His last name is not known. Tim is a social activist and leads the church in running a food pantry to help the poorest in Washington, D.C. Contrary to her parents' wishes, Paige joins the Church's youth group and Tim becomes a big part of her family's life.|
|In March 1982, the Jennings attend a church service in which Philip glowers at Tim during the sermon. Afterwards, they meet Tim and Alice. Later at night, Philip goes to the church and threatens Tim, telling him to stay away from Paige. Tim stands up to him and says he can't turn Paige away. ("Martial Eagle") Paige travels with the church to participate in an anti-nuclear protest. She talks about her parents with Tim on the bus ride there. ("Operation Chronicle") During the protest at an air force base, Tim chains himself to a chain link fence and is arrested. ("Echo")
|In November 1982, Elizabeth starts to attend church events with Paige including folding pamphlets which Tim oversees. ("EST Men") In December 1982, Paige invites Tim and his wife Alice to her birthday dinner and tells Philip and Elizabeth that she's getting baptized. ("Dimebag") In January 1983, Tim baptizes Paige. ("Born Again")
|In February 1983, Tim visits Dupont Circle Travel and has Philip book the church's mission trip to Kenya. ("Stingers") After Paige learns her parents are spies, she plans to spend the night at Pastor Tim's without her parent's permission. They retrieve her from Tim's, causing a lot of awkwardness and making Paige feel like a prisoner. ("I Am Abassin Zadran") On March 8, 1983, Paige tells Pastor Tim that her parents are liars and trying to turn her into one. She then says they're Russian spies and he can't tell anyone. ("March 8, 1983")
|On March 9, 1983, Paige sees Pastor Tim, feeling terrible about betraying her parents. He proposes they meet with him which horrifies her. She demands he not tell anyone and he encourages her to ask them more about what they do and then figure out what to do next. ("Glanders") Having bugged Tim's office, Philip and Elizabeth learn that Paige told Tim their secret. They plan to kill Tim and make it look accidental. Paige confesses to telling Tim which makes the Jennings back off planning to kill him. ("Pastor Tim (Episode)") Philip and Elizabeth meet with Pastor Tim and try to convince him that they aren't spies, but are "peace workers." Pastor Tim tells them his responsibility to a parishioner's secrets ends where his duty to the greater good begins.
|The Jennings point out that if he tells what he knows, it'll destroy Paige and their family. Tim suggests that they meet again in a few days and the Jennings find out that Tim told his wife, Alice. Paige meets with Pastor Tim where she expresses her disappointment in him telling Alice. He relates that he needs to know whether her parents hurt people in their work but Paige breaks off the conversation and leaves. ("Experimental Prototype City of Tomorrow") The Jennings bring a man posing as a Salvadoran priest, Father Rivas, to meet with Tim and Alice. Knowing Tim isn't happy with the US government's position in El Salvador, Rivas relates that information the Jennings provided him saved him and his congregation from a death squad. Vouching emphatically for the Jennings, a positive impression is made on Tim and Alice. ("Clark's Place")
|In November 1983, Paige plays mini-golf with Pastor Tim and a very pregnant Alice. ("The Magic of David Copperfield V: The Statue of Liberty Disappears") Paige and Philip go to the send-off meeting for the church's Ethiopia mission trip. While Paige talks to Alice, Tim tells Philip that Paige seems sad and burdened. He suggests they all sit down when he returns from Ethiopia. ("The Day After") Tim goes missing on the trip causing Alice to accuse the Jennings of being responsible. Threatening to expose them if Tim doesn't turn up, she apologizes to Paige when Tim is found safe. ("Munchkins")
|Tim comes to the Jennings' house and apologizes for Alice's threat. Elizabeth seeks council from Tim several times, not revealing it is over a spy operation. Tim and Alice have dinner at the Jennings and meet Stan Beeman, who doesn't like Tim. Elizabeth later explains that Stan moved in after they'd live in Fall's Church for years. ("Dinner for Seven") In January 1984, Alice gives birth to Claire Louise and Paige visits them in the hospital. ("Persona Non Grata")
|In March 1984, Paige babysits for Pastor Tim and Alice. He gives her a Karl Marx book to read, saying it may help her understand her mother better. Paige snoops through their house and finds Pastor Tim's diary. ("What's the Matter with Kansas?") Paige meets with Pastor Tim to work out a time to babysit his daughter Claire Louise. Paige relates that things are better with her parents and that there are bigger problems in the world than her own. Tim speaks of Jesus' sacrifice being an example and Paige reveals she's not praying regularly. ("The Committee on Human Rights")
|The Jennings propose to Paige that the KGB arrange a job offer for Tim far away. Paige helps Pastor Tim prepare boxes for the food pantry. He compliments her on her growth and says she'll do well in life. Paige struggles with the contrast between Tim's words and what he wrote in his diary about her. Paige takes pictures of Tim's diary entries about her family which she has Philip and Elizabeth read. Tim indicates the Jennings are monsters and Paige will never recover from what they've done to her. ("Darkroom") After Paige agrees to her parent's proposal, Tim accepts a job with the World Council of Churches in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Paige thanks him for everything he's done for her. ("The World Council of Churches") Paige works at the food pantry and says goodbye to Tim and Alice. ("The Soviet Division")
|In December 1987, Tim receives a phone call from Stan, who has grown suspicious of the Jennings. However, Pastor Tim does not betray Paige's confidence or reveal the Jennings' true identities. ("Jennings, Elizabeth")
Okay, so I’m not super religious and therefore have zero frame of reference for what is and isn’t considered “normal” behavior towards one’s flock, but Pastor Tim’s relationship with Paige seems wildly inappropriate to me. Grooming vibes aside, is it normal for a pastor to be that involved in a kid’s life (to the point that she’s spending—or attempting to spend—the night at their house)? I get that a church or presbytery (if that’s the correct term) are a safe haven and all that, but the whole thing just seems incredibly over the line to me. Am I misunderstanding something?
Yeah same I guess, especially with the parallels with Kimmy.
In the end, it never was anything but a wholesome(?) relationship.
Through a contemporary lens, we now know the potential for abuse to occur in a situation like that and in film/TV, any inclusions are purposeful, so I do think that the plot is designed to make us feel uneasy.
You see that's the thing. While watching the show and the relationship between Paige and Pastor Tim, I had to fight my own cynicism in thinking that something was a little off. I was sure that he would make a pass at her or something, and it would be cause to resolve the conflict in some way, but I was wrong.
All credit to the writers, who no doubt used that perceived tension to develop his arc.
One poignant aspect of the Paige/Pastor Tim relationship is that the 1980s setting was before the shocking priest sexual abuse stories started coming out. The idea of a pastor having a deeper, trusting relationship with a teenager was not loaded down with fears of hidden "grooming" or sexual attraction. I was not very religious as a teenager, so I had no experience with it, but some of my friends had very close relationships to their pastor and told them things they didn't share with many other people. Boy Scout Leaders Were Trusted Too.
And I agree -- the writers did well not to taint that friendship with any of that stuff. The Pastor Tim character was a composite character representing the religious Left of the 1980s -- clergymen who were protesting nuclear weapons and our Central America policy.