I am a pcusa minister. Like many mainline denominations we have our fair share of controversies. Currently our denomination is very active in the NCC and in an effort to divest from certain companies who are active in the Middle East. We also argue yearly over ordination of homosexuals, etc, etc, etc... Our higher governing body tends to lean a lot more to the left than the religious right that fills a good part of its pews. The pastor - especially the pastors of smaller churches - get caught in the crossfire.
I have just been nicked. Actually right now it feels like far more than just a flesh wound. Long story short is that I have stood firm that this church will continue to pay its dues to General Assembly. The governing body of our individual church has gone over and over what to do about GA and has come down on focusing on what this individual church can do in this community rather than focusing on what will ultimately divide us.
We have one powerful member who does not agree with this stance. He has just informed me that he and his wife and other members of his family are leaving our membership and want to be taken out of the directories and off the newsletter list.
I should be triumphant - yeah, he's gone. But I am not. I am so sad and hurt and pained. I am pained for this church, I am pained for his family and I am pained for our friendship.
He was on the committee that chose me to receive this Call. When he was downsizing his furniture business he had us come in and pick what we wanted so he is the reason why our house is furnished with reasonable looking furniture and not pieces of plywood set up between crates. I love him and his wife so much and now they are being ripped away from me because of stupid politics and money. He believes in the power of the purse and I refuse to let that power dictate our church.
There is more. I am worried for him because I think he is slipping into the grips of dementia. He and his wife are in their 80's and in the past few years you could see him slipping mentally. I think this pcusa thing is what he has chosen to cling to. So how do I communicate with his wife that she can turn to us when he is soon too far gone. We are the church of Christ and we will NOT turn our backs on them. How do I get this across when I am no longer welcome to visit or to call.
Ouch. This hurts. Ouch. This hurts. Ouch.... Lord hear my prayer.