“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, November 27, 2007

"Love One Another": from a Priest's Essay

Moderator's Note: the following is an excerpt taken from an essay "Effective Leadership Relationship Between Priest and Parish Council Members for the 21st Century" by Father Paul Palesty

On the eve of our Lord's betrayal and crucifixion, He gathered the twelve in the upper room where He celebrated the Passover, instituted the Holy Eucharist, washed their feet, and gave them a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you...' Then He added, '...by this shall men know that you are my followers...' The relationship between pastor and Parish Council should manifest such love. Nothing less should be true of those who minister together. It is a wise and true leader who gives priority to the nurture of a loving, caring, supportive relationship between himself and those with whom he serves. This takes time ‑ much time ‑ but the priest cannot afford to do less.

This relationship must begin in the official council meeting. There the priest demonstrates whether he is a dictator, or a friend and servant, whether he thinks of himself as a member of a team of disciples or the head of an organization that is supposed to run according to his plans. He must understand that he is a servant to the servants of Jesus Christ, who is Head and Lord of the Church. The Parish Council represents the people whose needs the priest and parish council are committed to meet because of the Great Commission. It is a team ministry in which the Head of the Church guides and directs not only the priest, but every member of the official Parish Council. The priest should listen much more than he talks, and should avoid manipulative practices designed to influence decision, trusting the Spirit of God to guide the body in the will of God. Never should the pastor intimidate the Parish Council nor communicate the idea that they must decide as he wishes. Together they should seek the mind of Christ, which is more likely to be expressed through a consensus than through a simple majority.

This does not mean that the priest should not have ideas about which way things should go. As a matter of fact, he is responsible for giving leadership to the board. But if he uses threats, intimidation, or ultimatums in the Parish Council meetings, he is not exercising authentic leadership.


Nick Colessides said...

This passage should be reuired reading - over and over again- for ALL clergy.

This should be put in print form and send it to both priests and to the Metropolitan.

They can all use some humility.

Arrogance helps no-one.

Nick J. Colessides

Steve Gamvroulas said...

What a stark difference between the letter that Mr. Kaloudis finds so worthwhile and this one. Sadly, there are few clergy these days who could be trusted to name their own parish councils. Sounds to me like Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis needs some humility and to read this also.