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17 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    (PEEKS HEAD THRU DOOR)…

    WOW. Quiet in here today.

  2. j2theperson says:

    I’m fairly disheartened right now. Outside of a couple years in my twenties, I have gone to church basically every week of my life. But, this Sunday I and my children will not be going–not due to illness or a family vacation but because there is a member of our church who basically is intent on seeing our church destroyed. My husband is the senior warden and he along with the junior warden has experienced months of harassing and abusive emails as well as threats of being held personally liable for the financial abuses this person seems to have completely made up in his own mind. Some restrictions on his interactions were put in place 3 ish months ago, and he seemed to be following them. But this last week, he’s completely broken those restrictions and I don’t trust that he won’t show up at the 10am service this Sunday or at the Vestry meeting afterwards and cause some kind of scene. I also don’t have any faith that the leadership of the church would handle it appropriately if he did. Our pastor is so noodle-spined. At least some of the Vestry members take this seriously and want to kick him out but not all of them come every week or have experienced the same sort of abuse that the wardens have and so don’t necessarily fully understand what is going on. It’s just shocking to me how hard it is for people to make decisions even in the face of what I see as overwhelming evidence if this person’s bad faith and ill intentions.

    And, like I said, our pastor has a noodle for a spine. He basically believes in universal salvation (https://m.facebook.com/notes/all-saints-episcopal-church/the-third-sunda-after-pentecost-proper-5b-sunday-june-10-2018-fr-jim-harrison/10156437554949140/) and thinks “love” will solve every problem in the world. Except his understanding of love is deeply flawed and basically just progressive claptrap. He’d rather sit by passively and let the wardens of his church be abused and the viability of his entire church and the well being of his congregation be threatened than stand up and tell a seemingly highly troubled person with, as far as we can tell, a track record of causing discord in organizations he is a part of to go pound sand. It’s insane.

    The vestry will be discussing this on Sunday so there’s some small chance some positive actions will be taken but the entire situation has been handled terribly. And, like I said, I can’t bring my children on the chance that this guy will show up.

    I loved this church and really thought I’d grow old here, but everything is just nuts and I feel like I’m in crazyville. Our new pastor is all about “inclusiveness” and seems to think that embracing gay marriage and other progressive inclusive whatever is going to save the church from dwindling attendence–despite the fact that it’s actually probably speeding up the decrease in members. And, meanwhile, he has no problem allowing a very uninclusive non-accepting person run roughshod over committed and involved members. It’s ridiculous.

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    J2 – powerful message you have in expressing your concerns. I have more years in church leadership from the organizational level (church board / council) than I care to admit. Someone needs to direct Pastor Noodle that his love needs to be directed at his flock in the form of protection and not be overridden by “love” for the one troublesome member. He doesn’t sound like he is into excommunication very much, but this is what it is for, protection of all parties.

    Now to his sermon. His opening prayer is the direction the Episcopal church is moving and it looks like the are working on formalizing it into their book of common prayer. The sermon itself? Classic universalism couched in a very passive aggressive manner. All people have the Holy Spirit??? Hogwash I say!
    Classic ELCA stuff – why is your church so far behind.
    Tell your husband to stand strong – perhaps he needs a good tar and feather recipe? 🙂

  4. j2theperson says:

    We’re working on it, mld. And my husband isn’t standing alone. If we felt like we were the only people who had these concerns we’d have left already. It’s only because we have some hope that things can change that we’re sticking around–and also because my husband takes his responsibility as senior warden very seriously and we feel like he should see out his term if at all possible. The pastor has been talked too multiple times. We’ll see how the meeting goes on Sunday.

  5. j2theperson says:

    It’s funny you should mention excommunication. My husband has brought that up as an option. The Episcopal church already has a fairly open communion but out pastor (unsurprisingly) would like to make it completely open so it’s a hard sell. I would settle for a certified letter telling him that he is no longer welcome on our property at any time for any reason and directing him to cease all communication with church members.

  6. j2theperson says:

    It’s so annoying–our pastor was not our first choice by a long shot. The candidate who was chosen and accepted our offer got cold feet and reminded his acceptance. After more than a year of searching we felt like we couldn’t go without a pastor any longer. But we clearly made the wrong decision and there are definitely some of us who are regretting that decision now.

  7. Michael says:

    j2,

    As a rookie Anglican (and soon to be ordained Anglican) I find this to be awful both for you and the church.

    That’s also the worst argument I’ve ever heard for hypothetical universalism…I guess it’s not hypothetical to that priest…

    The Anglican split I belong to has already decided against same sex marriage…we’ll split (again) over womens ordination.

    One of the things I’m spending a lot of time thinking about is how to keep these issues out of a new church plant and just present a normal, traditional, Anglican church for people to worship in.

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    j2,

    I will speak from experience and not in the abstract. The relationship between a Rector and the Senior Warden is to be one of mutual regard and respect. They are partners in ministry. Unless, however, there is a presentiment against the Rector (forwarded to the Bishop) it is generally understood that the Senior Warden is the junior partner in the relationship. I know that this is not what you want to hear, but it is accepted practice. Your husband is, after all, the Rector’s Senior Warden.

    All that being said, there is also a common understanding that there is a sense of mutual obligation between the Senior Warden and the Rector. That is, “they have each other’s back”. This does not seem to be the case in your circumstance. In the first instance, pray. Secondly, meet privately with the Rector and express your concerns – for your husband, your family and the parish. In the last resort, consider writing to your diocesan bishop setting our your concerns (your husband may do this as well). Mark the letter “personal and confidential”. The bishop will be bound to deal with the contents of the letter as they would deal with confession. They may also have an Archdeacon or other person on staff who deals with such matters.

    This may not solve the problem, but it will let you know if, indeed, the problem can be solved. If it cannot be solved, you may have some other decisions which you will have to make.

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    j2

    This is a good document which might help…
    http://www.ecfvp.org/files/uploads/Warden.pdf

  10. j2theperson says:

    My husband has tried to be supportive and helpful. The rector, even in less troubled times, never wanted to meet or discuss anything. He seemed to just want to do things on his own. There have been private meetings about the guy and about the universalism. There has also been a private meeting with the bishop. We’re trying to do things right. It’s crazy to me that both the wardens have been freaking out for months but their concerns haven’t been taken seriously by the rector. It seems to me that you really ought to take things more seriously when both your wardens are trying to convince you that there are some big problems that need to be looked at. We’re looking at the demise of a 150 year old church, but our pastor doesn’t seem to recognize that as what is happening even though he has been warned multiple times by multiple people.

  11. j2theperson says:

    Thanks for the article Duane. It’s interesting.

  12. Em says:

    Sitting here musing at the coincidence bringing Michael, Dr. Duane and j2 together here… greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world?
    A rector who is not a pastor, does not bow to what the traditions drawn from what the Bible teach… The man is robbing God – praying here that the pretender receives a wake up or a boot out. 🙏
    Lord strengthen j2 and her hubby to go thru this storm, Lord save their church… please Lord?

  13. CM says:

    For something completely different…

    Once the 2 stores in Alaska close next week, the _one_ remaining Blockbuster Video store will be in Bend, Oregon.

    http://www.wweek.com/arts/movies/2018/07/12/the-blockbuster-in-bend-oregon-will-soon-be-the-only-blockbuster-left-in-the-country/

    If anyone needs to return an overdue rental, this is where you need to send it.

  14. Em says:

    Nobody posts in summertime? … then….
    Here’s a rabbit trail….
    Last night i was awakened by the sound of a large truck engine… a steady, rhythmic puksing rhmmm rhmmm rhmmm…? who’d drive a truck into the yard in the middle of the night? It was the wind! ! ! Blowing very hard, a steady pulsing cadence! Anybody ever hear a wind blow like that? I never have….
    Strange signs and wonders? Guess it couldn’t have been an Episcopalian wind 😉

  15. Xenia says:

    I’m sometimes awakened by a rhythmic pounding which turns out to be the ocean. I can only hear it when there’s strong wave action. The ocean’s a mile away.

  16. Em says:

    That would be nice to live that close to the ocean, Xenia…. Lots of morning fog?

    I’ve lived in some windy places, but ive never heard it pulsate like it did last night. Heavy steady summer winds here this year …. our weather patterns are changing, no doubt….
    Anything that disrupts the normal weather patterns seems to unsettle folks, We look for cause – God or man? I am not ready to take a stand in any camp. They’ve discovered something like a hundred active volcanoes under the south pole…. A Swedish expedition, i think… yet we know auto exhaust, given the right atmosphere makes the air toxic….
    Irregardless, it will ultimately go according to God’ s plan…. and nature taking its course can certainly remind us that we are not in charge….
    Thanking God that the fire that broke out yesterday aft., by the grace of our God, wasn’t spread by the wind. I’m too old for angst. 😳

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