Sunday, November 16, 2008

My heart hurts.
Today our church voted to dissolve the relationship with both of its pastors.
And it was ugly.
Ugly.
Our senior pastor has been at Little Chapel for 3 years and our associate has been here for a year. I don't even know how to begin to describe the problem. The bottom line is that the pastors did not get along, and the congregation began to split. There was this group of people who didn't like this one and this group of people who didn't like this one, and this other group that loved this one and another group who loved that one, and then most of the people were content with what they had. The discord grew enough that it fell under the notice of our Presbytery.
The Presbytery sent a Commission of Inquiry made up of four members to investigate the situation. After a thorough investigation, they recommended to our session that the bond was broken and both pastors should resign. After discussion, our session voted to accept and act on the recommendation. The congregational meeting was set to vote on accepting the pastors' resignation. Our session also decided to have a public forum to discuss what was happening. (I am all for keeping people informed, but it seemed ripe for disaster) During the course of the public forum, it became clear that there was a significant group in the church that wanted to retain one pastor over another. Unfortunate. During the congregational meeting a motion was made to divide the vote,(instead of voting to accept both resignations-voting individually on the pastors) There was arguing and crying, and a whole lot of people in pain. The final result was accepting both of the resignations.
There is a group in our church that wants to demonize the Presbytery for being involved. (going as far to suggest the session was under duress when they voted to accept the recommendation) I find this so unreasonable because the Presbytery is trying to help us. They are trying to help us navigate waters that seem impassable. We might not be able to come back together after this current division, but I know that Presbytery is trying to act as an agent of reconciliation.
I want to be an agent of that reconciliation too. I fear that we are too divided into "sides" to hear each other anymore. I really believe that we are actually all on the same side. I think we are on the side of Christ and of the church, we are all just so muddled that we can't see each other anymore. I hope this fog will clear. I hope we will reach out to each other through the fog.
I hope the Little Chapel can find it's heart.