“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


Friday, May 23, 2008

Andy Giannis: "New Rules" Are Hurting Our Church and Community


As the General Assembly last Monday was drawing to a close, I realized that there are a great number of others who share the same concerns that I have about the problems our community has faced during the past few years.

During the course of the assembly, the Board members reminded us once again that the pendulum has swung from what it was 15 years ago and that the game must be played with the “new set of rules”. Our treasurer, Mr. Phill Floor, gave us the bad financial news and in his reasoning for the decline in stewardship, he said, the result was due to bad economic times. The issue of apathy and discontent from the people in this community was sort of swept under the carpet.

Those in attendance had different views. The message they had to both Clergy and the Parish Council was explicitly and strongly expressed in more than one way. Financially, regardless of good or bad economic times, it has been the laity that has sustained the existence of our Church. We have been the lifeline since day one. Not paying our stewardship obligations could be disastrous for both the Church and community as a whole. Although I do not recommend it, this may be the only alternative we are left with in order to get our point across.

The “new rules” have been taking us down the wrong path. The new rules have produced negative results. It’s been 46 years since I joined this community and never before have I seen the turmoil, discontent, anger and division that we have seen in the past few years. It is time for CHANGE. Clergy needs us as much as we need them. For the common good we have to work together and treat each other as equals; otherwise we both lose. Those with inflated egos must understand that staying the course will result in worse consequences for our communities across this country. It is time for our Church leaders to change their mindset and come to grips with reality.

In the past we, the laity, have had an important role in the affairs and decision-making process of our Church. Unfortunately, that role has been downgraded and reduced to that of a second fiddler. Our voices no longer have any effect; our views are irrelevant; and that, for the most part, has been the root of our current problems. Change is badly needed. Secondly, the Church hierarchy needs to clean its own house. Pedophiles, adulterers and hypocrites should be stopped from having access to the altars and pulpits of our churches. Pedophiles should be locked behind bars and not be allowed to preach to us any more. Our leaders should take full and personal responsibility for having protected these hideous criminals over the years, at the expense of our children.

Our community has gone through a lot and it is time for that to come to an end. The people of this community have spoken more than once and it’s time for the mere few to stop talking and start listening!


Andy Giannis

No comments: