Posted by: sailingmartha | March 24, 2011

Parish Council

Do you ever feel you’ve been thrown in the deep end, and you’re having to dogpaddle to stay afloat? I love my parish, I love my priest, and my priest’s family. But at times I have the feeling I’m in over my head.

I’m new to Orthodoxy; I’ve only been a convert for 3 years, and I’m even newer to this parish. My first little mission parish folded, and I came to this one less than 2 years ago. I’m still learning all the ins and outs, and discovering the history. I was asked several months ago to be on the parish council. I had some misgivings at the time, not because I didn’t feel competent, or want to serve, but sometimes ignorance is bliss, know what I mean? Being on parish council means getting involved in all the little behind-the-scenes squabbles. It’s also having to deal with other parishes and the diocese, and all the demands from the bishop. I’m starting to wish I had a listened to that inner voice and said no.

The people on the council are lovely, and devout Christians, and I know they have the best interests of the church at heart. But, some of them have very strong personalities, and they tend to be very vocal about voicing their opinions. I can deal with that, and I’m thankful that our priest is diplomatic in handling them, so that they don’t dominate the whole show. These same people are also very generous in giving of their time, money, and expertise, so I don’t want to offend them. I’m finding out, though, that one of these people has taken advantage of another of our parishioners, and not just once but several times. This other parishioner is one of the nicest, most giving, intelligent, and hard-working people you’d ever want to meet. It’s resulted in some shakeups on the council already, and some hurt feelings. And I’m ticked.

I am a pretty low-key person, and I dislike confrontation. However, I’m also extremely stubborn and spirited. You don’t want to mess with me when I’m ticked off. I’m hurting for this other parishioner and I feel like going on the warpath. Right now, I’m going to let our priest handle it. He’s fully aware of the situation, and I know he’s used to dealing with this particular person. I’ve been mostly quiet at meetings. I have my opinions and I share them, but I will usually let the others debate. I think it’s important for us to have consensus and not be argumentative or pushy. It’s just that I know I can turn argumentative and pushy when I feel I’m being bulldozed, or when someone is being run roughshod over. I don’t want to gossip behind people’s backs but I need to figure out how I’m going to deal with this person. If other people on the council are going to be bowing to him, then it’s going to be problematic. Stay tuned for the continuing saga, and pray for me.

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