Thank you Laity!greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
I want to say thank you to the Laity in the A.M.E. Church. I wish I had been able to attend the Lay convention to thank each and everyone of you personally. I read posts from laity on this board and I receive them privately. You share your stories, of disrepect, being unable to use your gifts for the church. Gifts that we would have to pay thousands of dollars for, you want to give them freely to the church.
It has been said on this board that laity has the power to rid the church of those who abuse and harm laity. It is hard to rise up when you are pinned down. We as clergy HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER WITH LAITY. And that means speaking to clergy that are acting inappropiately, and reporting them ourselves. We as clergy must do a spiritual examination of our own leadership style and ask am I empowering my congregation or am I content to be a ruler over the people. There is only one ruler and that is Jesus Christ.
Those that sit on the board of examiners, let us thoroughly examine the "call" of those who seek to be ordained. Is there call scriptural or is it just to have prestige.
Laity do not give up, we may feel like the nation of Israel in the land of Pharoah, but remember God will part the waters and set you free. Get groups in your church together for a bible study at a restraunt at least once a month. If you have gifts that you can't use in the local church. Remember we are a connectional church. Contact a general or connectional officer in an area that interests you, if you are an accountant, contact Dr. Harris, ask how you can help with "storehouse our stewardship campaign" if you love youth, why not work with Loretta Hill of the Debutante Master commission.
Help our churches in Africa, write the pastors in africa, put on fundraiser for a church in africa. collect clothes from friends and send them to our churches in africa. You can always go through our national WMS for help and advice. Is there someone in your church that needs help. You do not have to wait on the pastor. Pray and pray, God has promised he will remove the wicked. He stands on his word.
Thank you Laity, you are awesome, and to my my clergy brothers and sisters let us advocate for laity and where we see sin committed by clergy on laity, if we are silent, God will judge us by the same standards as those who committed the abuse. Laity thank you! You have made this church great.
-- Anonymous, August 06, 2003
Rev Rogers, Thank you.
In last Sunday's Sunday School lesson, Obadiah talked about those of us who will be punished for thinking that they were beyond GOd's wrath and the indignation that they allow or bring upon God's servants. Some of our clergy unfortunately believe they and they alone know it all, can do it all, and take away avenues that the Laity can use in serving God.
However, this is only done with the help of some of the Laity as well. If you have a Steward Board that is sees nothing wrong with a Pastor removing persons from Boards who disagree with the Pastor, or when the Pastor disbands choirs, so those who have the ministry in song but disagree with some of the management style of the Pastor, have no outlet to use their ministry. Stewards see nothing wrong whent the Pastor writes letters to long standing memebrs of the church that they can no longer serve on the Usher Board, or participate in the Lay Organization or other organziations of the church, WMS etc, because they now give $50.00 per month and not $100.00 per month and call the Pastor on the discrepencies in the financial reports when given.
It is Trustees who allowed the Pastor to seek out a buyer for the church Pasonage, and endorsing the sell of the parsonage, without thought of how this will affect the church. It was the trustees who could not tell us what the cost of renovations would be since the pastor stated that the Pasonage needed extensive work to it. Not one Trustee could tell us the last time any one of them had been over to the Pastor and taken inventory or stock of the premises. Not one Trustee could justify why a lare 3 bedroom/2baths was no longer adequate to meet the needs of a Pastor, wife and 16 year old son. Not one trustee could tell us how $4,500.00 was spent on grounds and buildings and which grounds and buildings the work was done.
It is laity who are officers of the church and have no clue as to how the church runs. I would venture to say that 99.9% of the officers of my church do not even have a Discipline and even know what Annual Conference and Episcopal District or even what Presiding Elder's District we are apart of. The few of us members left at our local church who have a clue (about six of us) have tried to meet for three years now and reorganize the Lay Organization, and the Pastor has stated that we are not an offical organization because he has not held any elections and when we ask to meet, he does not allow it.
So you see, it is not all the clergy's fault, maybe a large part of it is, but not all of it. I heard once from a Pastor whom I respect not only as a Clergy but as a person state, " For one thing the Pastor does, there are at lease two lay persons who know about it. Also, there is only one Pastor and many Lay persons. We do have the power to make a difference, if we chose to exercise that power."
Another saying I heard not so long ago was, "The people should not be used to build the Church, but the Church should be used to build the people". I pray that we as GOd's children (Clergy and Laity) as the church start to build the people.
And finally, let me say, that there are many congregations in this great Zion are doing God's work and Kingdom building. Also my local church was not always like it is now and my faith in placed in God and not man, the AME church or any other denomination. I support my local church as I am a tither in my church and actively support any function on the local, conference and district level.
God Bless you
-- Anonymous, August 07, 2003