September 06, 2008

Time to spread my wings

I will spread my wings today. After months of complaining about what is going on at my parish, my husband and I have decided to try another parish near our home. Maybe we will change parishes, maybe not, but for the time being, I think we need to find another place to worship. This has been a decision that I have not taken lightly. After 18 years, it is difficult to think about changing, but the time has come to think about moving away from what is causing so much heartache and frustration.

I think the straw that broke the camels back was when our new pastor finally, after more than two weeks, responded to my e-mail about parish support for me as I take a class in Adult Faith Formation with a resounding "no," he is not interested in having this program in the parish. He knew that I was taking this course and that one of the requirements was to plan and implement a program or event in the parish and, once again, he has declined my offer to volunteer in the parish. It didn't surprise me, although that didn't make it hurt less.

For my husband, who has been as involved as a school advisory board president and parish council president, his frustration has been that people have been complaining to him about the new parish. Because he was on the parish merger transition team, they have come to him expressing their disappointment and looking to him to "fix" things. And he can't. Not that he doesn't want to, but the pastor does things his way with no regard for the people of the parish. To him, communication doesn't help to smooth out changes, but will only bring complaints. Maybe that is his experience with people from the other parish in the merger, but from experience in our former parish, we found that communication was necessary and made parishioners feel like they were part of the process. So he feels the need to get away from the pleas of our friends and be able to pray and worship with out that pressure.

What we found ironic was that the other night we received a call from one of the deacons in the parish who is concerned that he heard a "rumor" that we were not happy. He knew that we were active in the parish and were often looked at as leaders and he was wondering what was going on. I was able to convey our concerns and our experiences with the new pastor and I believe that he was truly shocked at what I told him. And when I told him that we were even contemplating a change in parishes, he was quick to ask us to reconsider. While I appreciated his concern, I would have thought that we would have heard from the pastor, but I am beginning to think that if you aren't "yes men" you don't fit into his plan.

I will continue to pray for the parish and hope that things change there. But I am a realist and don't see change happening until the new pastor is gone. And I doubt if this will happen any time soon.


abb said...

You WILL find the right church - may take a while, and it might be painful - but you two will find the right parish...may not be convenient, but when it fits, it fits!

My best friend, who lives in Kansas City, KS goes to a church in KC, MO - a good 25 miles from her home. But it's the church that is perfect for her and her family...that's what you need!

(Hope you survive the rains of Hanna!!!)

amy said...

Sounds like a very reasonable response to a difficult situatution. I hope it goes well!

EC Gefroh said...

Gosh, that will be hard to go to a different parish after so many years. Hope you find a welcoming one.

Mental P Mama said...

There is no way I would stay there with the new pastor. Can't the Board or Vestry members do something? That being said, I hope you liked the new church;)