“Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them,

and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

But it shall not be so among you:

but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;

And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,

but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV)

The word the Athenians used for their Assembly was Ekklesia, the same word used in the New Testament for Church
(and it is the greatest philological irony in all of Western history that this word,
which connoted equal participation in all deliberation by all members,
came to designate a kind of self-perpetuating, self-protective Spartan gerousia -
which would have seemed patent nonsense to Greek-speaking Christians of New Testament times,
who believed themselves to be equal members of their Assembly.)

- Thomas Cahill, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Matthew Hedberg Offers His Thoughts in a Letter to the Parish Council

Esteemed Parish Council Members,

Since I was not given an opportunity to speak last night I would like to relay my thoughts and comments on last night’s meeting.

First, I am concerned about the manner in which you have chosen to pursue the authoring of the 600-word statements that will accompany the survey. The notion that you will be able to aptly inform and educate the undecided parishioners of this community as to the gravity and intricacies of this multi-faceted issue with a statement of 600 words or less is to me, ludicrous. Furthermore, in my attempts to educate myself about the desires of those who wish to split I have observed a significant variance in justifications. Mr. Joe Varanakis and Mr. Chris Gamvroulas are a prime example of this. I believe that the reasons for splitting expressed to me by Mr. Gamvroulas in verbal, and to a lesser extent written, communication differ in multiple respects from several of the reasons for splitting that were proposed in the ‘separatist manifesto’ (viewable here) that, as far as I am aware, has been endorsed by Mr. Varanakis. Whilst, I do not doubt the writing capabilities of Mr. Kalodimos it is clear that this issue can be argued from many different angles. Therefore, in the interest of creating a fair and ‘bullet-point’ informative statement I suggest that the respective authors convene and decide specifically upon which issues will be addressed in the statements. It is my belief that if you publish (with the survey) two statements that ultimately discuss entirely separate issues it will lead to confusion amongst the Parishioners and infringe upon the validity of the survey results.

Secondly, in regards to the confidentiality statements. My interpretation of the events that transpired during the discussion last night is that no change in the policy is to occur. I also inferred from the statements made such as “Nobody had a gun pointed at their head when they signed.” that it is not mandatory for Parish Council members to sign the current document. I feel that until it is a mandatory requirement for everyone to sign, that it is wrong to exclude any member of the council from any discussion and/or access to information. If HIPAA compliance is indeed the reason for this document then I would suggest that you act upon Mr. Tsagaris’ suggestion that a more appropriate document be obtained and signed. One that contains an appropriate amount of legal specificity as opposed to the current statement (viewable here) which does, in fact, leave the door wide open for heavy-handed disciplinary actions for any number of undefined violations.

Finally, in the same vein, I wish to voice my displeasure about the pattern of treatment given to Mr. Tsagaris by the council that I have observed in the several meetings I have attended. I respect that he is always allowed to speak. However, I have noticed that, almost without exception, every time he asks a question or makes a comment at least one Parish Council member present, voting and non-voting alike, mumble under their breath and make gestures or use body language that to me suggests an immediate personal disregard of anything he has to say. I have even seen him literally spoken over and, for lack of a better term, shouted down on repeated occasion. This type decorum is unbefitting for any member of our Parish Council. Not every member is guilty of this and it is not my intention to start pointing fingers; I understand that things can get heated when debating conflicting opinions. All statements that I have heard Mr. Tsagaris make have been fair and balanced, and I have never observed him to show any form of disregard for a statement made by another Councilman. I would remind you all that he is one of the most well educated men sitting at that table and his opinions and questions should be considered and respected regardless of his accent and his aptitude to quickly and fluently comprehend and respond to complex statements made in what is not his native language. He is actively thinking about and engaging the issues presented to him, an approach that I would think should be encouraged of all Council members. I as a parishioner would much rather have a representative that talks every issue to death than one who just sits quietly and passes the buck, making snap decisions on pertinent items.

Thank you for your continued efforts to serve this community and for taking the time to review my comments.


Matthew Hedberg

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