“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


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wolves in Shepherds' Clothing

Well, well, well ...
Our SELECTED Parish Council sent out an e-mail today with the following notice:
The Parish Council would like to announce that His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah will allow a departure from our current By-Laws, with a relaxation of the criteria for voting eligibility at the upcoming Special Parish Assembly.
Really? How generous! We should be grateful? Truth is, the Metropolitan is not "allowing" anything remotely resembling a "departure". Under the current UPRs, which were rammed down the throats of the  Greek Orthodox parishes of this country by self-serving hierarchs and clerics, along with unthinking, short-sighted, handpicked lay "leaders", we already have this right - one of the few we still do have!
We will therefore follow the precedence set for past assemblies in that those who have pledged or paid stewardship for this calendar year will be eligible to vote.  Stewards must be current on their pledge on or before the day of the meeting and must have fulfilled their obligation from the prior year.
Hmm. Again, we already have this "right". However, the Parish Council CONVENIENTLY forgets that last year, from October onward, they provided the community with illegal blue/yellow stewardship forms that many, rightly, refused to sign. Then, they set the arbitrary deadline of March 31st, 2011, and ONLY afterward provided alternative stewardship forms, which did NOT reflect the current legal name of this community. Further, unlike those in their absurd blue/yellow game, these single forms were NOT mailed to the membership. It is not the fault of members that, once again, this incompetent parish council - nearly all of whom were in office during the period of dismal governance as reported by the recent Audit Committee - cannot even manage to follow the very rules and regulations that they, and our tyrannical clerics, insist we abide by. It is absurd to demand that we ought to have pledged to a form by a certain deadline, when that proper form was never provided BY THAT DEADLINE! But then, absurdity is this hierarchy's, these priests', and this parish council's hallmark.
We have not held real elections in YEARS. We have not had the requisite TWO general assemblies per year. Has anyone seen a budget lately? These aren't violations of the oft-cited, much-vaunted UPRs?
This 11th-hour about-face needs to be properly communicated (not everyone has e-mail or is on the e-mail list) - in writing and in TIMELY fashion - to the parishioners, the same way as was the incorrect interpretation beforehand. This would allow parishioners who believed they would not be allowed to participate time to change any alternative plans, get their stewardship forms in and come prepared to discuss the issues outlined. (Oops, WRONG! The way the Metropolitan worded his agenda and his thoughts on these items, pretty much forbids discussion - just an up-or-down vote, thank you, and not that your vote will count, mind you.)

He wants to ensure that we KNOW that we really are sheep (just like the selected parish council) and that he is our all-powerful shepherd.
We ought to further add that he, as our shepherd, along with his proistamenoi, his weak, culled parish council and 57 people with a narrow agenda, have taken this once vibrant and dynamic community and turned it into a spiritual and economic wasteland, pitting parishioners against each other, and ensuring hard feelings over lifetimes. Some shepherds!
His Eminence also directed that following approval of the amended Articles and By-Laws, an election will be held for the seven Council positions whose term expired at the end of 2010. This election will be held on Sunday, July 10th and upon acceptance by His Eminence Metropolitan Isaiah, these seven members together with the existing Council members will continue to fulfill the normal yearly cycle.  Candidates for the Parish Council must meet the established Archdiocese criteria for such service including attending a seminar prior to the elections.  Applications for these positions will be accepted at both Churches until July 1st.  The seminar will be scheduled the week prior to the election.
Whatever. We still have eight persons who have either not had to stand for election, having been appointed to fill vacancies, or those who had at one time been elected and who have by now stayed past terms (and their welcome!). Their recent appointments were made in the belief that they would form the core of the Parish-Council-of-Prophet-Elias-only.

If we are to have elections, ALL spots ought to be open. After the shenanigans, deceits, fantasies and outright incompetence endured by the majority in this community, this would just seem to be common decency and fairness. (Obviously, these subjects are not covered in the parish council candidate seminar, nor apparently is ethics, humility or competent governance.)
We look forward to seeing as many parishioners as possible attend this meeting.
Right, and we're all looking forward to buying beachfront property at the Great Salt Lake.


Steve Gamvroulas said...

I enjoy watching this group of nincompoops continue to spin around in circles.

It must be difficult not having a moral compass.

Bill Rekouniotis said...

Vote early, vote often. Richard J. Daley would be proud. Oh, by the way his subordinates were arrested.

- Barbara Billinis Colessides said...

You're wasting your breath, Bill, by giving too much credit to a bunch of people who have drunk too much Kool-Aid. The geniuses on the Parish Council, especially the officers, don't KNOW who Daley was; the ones old enough to have learned of him, have forgotten the object lesson surrounding his behavior. We all suffer due to this massive tolerance of mendacity, greed, incompetence and ignorance - all in the name of what passes for religion. A pity - for us, for them and for our posterity. We, sadly, are part of an ineffectual and lost generation. We have been given everything by our less literate, less "sophisticated" parents and grandparents. What they lacked in these areas they more than made up for by simple common sense, an unwavering commitment to try always do what was right, and a fierce pride in their faith and heritage. For all our learning (supposedly) for all our accomplishments, we can't touch them. We're in the process of squandering and losing a precious legacy.

Bill Rekouniotis said...

Amen Barbara. Amen.