Pay to pray? Yes as ‘member’ St. John’s Episcopal church

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         club-might-purplePay to pray?  Yes.

Want to be a ‘member’?  

Just as night clubs charge a cover  charge to get in …..  to be a  ‘member of  the corporation’  of  St. John’s Episcopal church Aptos,  CA you must   pay identifiable money   ( e.g., checks, automatic deposit) used to  keep  the doors open, lights on and the staff  paid.  

That’s  what will  happen in two days  — if the Bylaws are changed as planned by St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Aptos, CA.  

What will you have to do to be  a ‘member’ after the Bylaws change?   Besides paying identifiable money into  the general fund that keeps the lights on and staff paid, you have to show up and take  communion (i.e.,the wine and bread)   3 times a year.

‘Contributions’ such as fixing the broken pipe or holding Evening Prayer don’t count toward  ‘church membership’.  Just money — only identifiable money — not cash counts to show you are a ‘member’.   

 Are you poor?  What if you have no money.  Ah, you are out of luck. Come in — but you can’t be ‘one of us’.  

Oh dear.  What if Joseph came by and offered services as a carpenter and wondered if there was a place to sleep for his pregnant wife?  That Joseph, wife and baby  cannot be  ‘members’  of this episcopal church  based on  his carpentry contributions.  That’s because only identifiable money for the upkeep and management of the building counts towards ‘membership’.

You can read below the exact wording of the proposed Bylaw changes.  

How did this happen?    Per review of the January – November  2016 Vestry Minutes,   the proposed Bylaw changes were initiated by interim priest Merritt G.    Merritt  told the Vestry (church board of directors)  that the Bylaws must be updated,  he then got a committee together and … 

in a couple days  (11/22/16) — the Vestry will vote to make the Bylaw changes recommended by interim priest  Merritt and two committee members.  

After the Bylaws have been changed, at St. John’s you are one or the other — either a ‘member’ or ‘not a member’.

Right now — before changing the Bylaws — how does the church currently figure out who is ‘a member’?

One Vestry member said that the church directory is the best list of families that are members of the parish.

Below is the exact  wording for the proposed changes to the Bylaws for St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church.

“Members of the Parish are those persons who, in addition to maintaining regular attendance at worship services and participation in Parish life, are at least 16 years old and who are registered on the Parish Register as a baptized Commnuicant of the Parish (i.e., have received Holy Communion in this Parish at least three times during the preceding year);  and are regular contributors to the undesignated general fund of Parish for the preceding six months.”

Monterey Bay Forum:   Today, one Vestry person (who has served  on the Vestry  several  times) said that they had never read the Bylaws. This person promised to read the Bylaws   –for the first time  — before the Tuesday meeting.    Per examination today, there was no information in the weekly bulletin today saying that the Bylaws would be updated at the next meeting to be held in two days.  So — no notice has been given to the congregation?

So — how much ‘transparency’ is going on here?

Why not wait until there is a new Rector and  at that time make changes to the Bylaws?

written by C. Jackson

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