SPRING GENERAL ASSEMBLY
MONDAY, MAY 18
From time to time, questions arise concerning membership status in our parish. First and foremost we are "members" of the Church by virtue of the Mystery of Baptism and Chrismation. We remain "members" by our spiritual struggle, by our participation in the Holy Mysteries, and by our association with the local parish.
"Members in good standing" is an administrative distinction limited to determining those "members" of the Church (as described above) who are afforded an opportunity to vote regarding certain parish administrative matters. Such "voting membership" presupposes being a member of the Church sacramentally, and additionally involves having demonstrated a Stewardship involvement in the parish.
Since both membership by Baptism and Chrismation in the Church as well as "membership in good standing" according to financial stewardship are spiritual matters--insofar as both reflect one's responsibility to God--it is ultimately the proistamenos as the head of the parish and as spiritual father of the members of that parish who can make a definitive determination in this regard concerning the status of his members.
- The Messenger, May/June 2009
Let's see if we can discover certain patterns here:
- First, we have hierarchs dismissing and disbanding properly elected boards and/or board members for a variety of flimsy and self-serving reasons.
- Then we have hierarchs and proistamenoi, assisted by the stewards on the Parish Council, stifling open discussion and negating or ignoring votes from various general assemblies in this city. They have together relegated the laity to those "who are afforded an opportunity to vote regarding certain parish administrative matters." (emphasis added)
- These actions have been followed by several recent examples of having the proistamenoi in this community preclude stewards -- baptized, chrismated, and having served their Church faithfully for decades -- from even running for the parish council.
- And NOW, we have proistamenoi discussing "members" and what defines "membership". The concluding statement is that they (singly, or in tandem? since this is still, supposedly, one community) "as the head of the parish and as spiritual father of the members of that parish who can make a definitive determination in this regard concerning the status of his members." (emphasis added)
Is it terribly difficult to see where these actions and pronouncements are leading us?
- Barbara Billinis Colessides