stack the deck? ‘Members’ pay? St. John’s, Aptos
November 21, 2016
What’s in the national news? Power.
Winners and losers.
The reality of power. Will the powerful have their own way? What agenda will be followed?
And there’s similiar news at St. John’s Episcopal church in Aptos, CA.
Power. Winners and losers. Will the powerful have their own way? What agenda will be followed?
Read below and you decide.
To discuss and accept revisions to the church Bylaws and nominations for the board, the church Vestry held a meeting Nov. 22, 2016 at 6:45.
Very short ‘notice’ of the November Vestry meeting: An email was sent the afternoon of 11/22 which stated that a Vestry meeting was happening at 6:45 pm that day. No prior notice of the Nov. Vestry meeting put on the church website or in the 11/20/2016 church bulletin.
At the beginning of the meeting C. Jackson asked that two handouts be given and discussed. One is a Letter from a member which states that she regularly sees the monies given weekly by an applicant for Vestry. The other is a Statement by C. Jackson detailing reasons why an applicant meets criteria for nomination ‘from the floor’.
Both handouts were passed out to all of the Vestry members present at the beginning of the meeting. [The Treasurer came later — and did not hear what C. Jackson said nor did she receive the two handouts.]
Early on in the meeting the Vestry discussed the criteria persons who self-nominate must meet to run for election to the corporate board of the Parish.
The current Bylaws rules state that any contributing member who gets X number of persons to support them can stand for elections from the floor.
The existing Bylaws are ambiguous. They do not define a ‘Member’ as someone who has donated money via a specified manner , i.e., via a Pledge or putting in the collection basket an envelope containing money with one’s name on it.
C. Jackson was given the opportunity to speak and stated that overall communications need to improve. In the past, there have been allegations of possible spiritual abuse and not taking care of staff and volunteers. No discussion of these allegations or how they were being addressed had been discussed at the last 2 Vestry meetings stated Jackson.
One way to improve communication during church meetings was suggested by Jackson: Simple changes in communication: Use a format of
“I feel [ ] when [ | ] happens” reduces finger pointing and encourages individuals to take responsibility for their feelings.
Notice and Agendas: C. Jackson noted that providing better Notice of meetings, and providing Agendas ahead of time will improve communication.
C. Jackson asked: Does this church want to tell the world that you gotta pay money via a Pledge to be considered a Member and ‘be one of us’?
Stacking the deck: Controlling who can stand for election is one way to ‘stack the deck’. At the national level many people are aware that the Democrat National Party ‘stacked the deck’ in favor of Hilary. The system is rigged claimed Bernie Sanders.
Will the current Vestry successfully stack the deck — shape in advance — the church elections on Dec. 4, 2016? Who can stand for election and who cannot is one way to ‘stack the deck’.
Did you know? Under the new, revised Bylaws to be a ‘member’ you must take communion 3 times …. Who will count the wafers eaten?
Of course proof of Communion will be on the honor system. What about proof of giving/ donating also on the honor system?
See pg. 20 of the Dec. 20, 2016 church bulletin: No Notice is in the bulletin concerning upcoming Vestry meeting in two days. The next Vestry meeting is listed as Dec. 14, 2016.
To summarize: Very short notice was given to the congregation that who is a church “Member” becomes …. You have to Pay to Pray as a ‘Member’ of the Corporation.
If the Vestry makes these changes then — after the fact — the church gives itself a Good Housekeeping stamp of approval for current nominations and proposed changes to the Bylaws.
National politics: Remember how Donna Brazile during one of the debates fed questions ahead of time to Hilary? Donna later got fired.
During the election cycle, the Democrat operatives –called journalists — shaped what the general public got in the way of news. Similarly, their are ‘church operatives’ which shape the “news” that the church attendees get.
‘Don’t publicize this stuff’ a few people said to C. Jackson. ‘It makes the church look bad’ they said. Oh? My response: Then read and re-read the Book of Acts. The apostle Paul had a lot to say about the early Saint/ Sinners and their antics: including dishonesty, laziness and mis-guided actions.
So — who will be the winners and losers at St. John’s Episcopal church in Aptos, CA?
**** The Vestry decides at the Tuesday, Nov. 22 meeting at 6:45 pm (in the Cafe) whether to change the rules — or stay with the existing rules. Come if you are able. What do you think? Here’s the names to contact:
Billl Kell – Senior Warden (appointed by Merritt)
Andy Pudan – Junior Warden (elected by Vestry)
Jane Dawson – Adult Education
Diane Scofield – Outreach
Suzanne Krakover-Nickel – Stewardship
Jon Showalter – Building & Grounds
Vicky Wilson – Hospitality
Andrea Seitz – Newcomers
Debra Spencer – Worship
Anne Baker – Treasurer
Eileen Fernald – Finance
Peter Goodman – Children & Youth
Nancy Shephard – Clerk
Back to basics: Who is a ‘member’ of an Episcopalian church?
To become an Episcopalian — what does a person have to do? The following is from Forward Movement which is a general resource for Episcopalians.
“How Can I become a Member of the Episcopal Church? How can you become a member? First of all, we would love to have you join Grace and Holy Trinity Church! Please contact the Rev. Bo Millner or Carolyn Chilton and they will be happy to help you.
“Here is some general information about membership in the Church. Baptism makes us members of the Church. And, we can then live into the meaning of our baptism within specific congregations and Christian denominations. The five sections below will spell this out more fully.
1. “Most importantly, the sacrament of Holy Baptism, makes you a member of the Universal Christian Church. The Episcopal Church recognizes as Christian all persons who have been baptized with water and in the name of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).
2. “If you were baptized into the Universal Church in an Episcopal congregation then, in addition to becoming a member of the Universal Church, you were enrolled as a member of that particular congregation and also became an “Episcopalian.” You are member at the church where you were baptized until death or until you transfer to another congregation. So, if you were baptized at Grace and Holy Trinity Church, you are a baptized member here. If you have asked that the record of your baptism be transferred here, then you are a member here as well.
3. “If you were baptized with water and in the name of the Trinity in another Christian communion or denomination, you can become a member of Grace and Holy Trinity Church by asking that your letter of baptism be transferred so that you can be enrolled on the books of this parish. This makes you a baptized member of the Episcopal Church in general and a member of Grace and Holy Trinity Church specifically.
4. “All baptized members are encouraged to receive the sacrament of confirmation, either when they reach maturity or in connection with baptism if they are baptized as adults. In confirmation ‘we express a mature commitment to Christ and receive strength from the Holy Spirit through prayer and the laying on of hands by a bishop.’ After confirmation, a person is a confirmed member.
5. “If you were baptized and confirmed in another church you may be received (rather than reconfirmed) by a bishop of The Episcopal Church. This makes you a confirmed member of The Episcopal Church.
Adult (16 years of age and older), confirmed, communicants in good standing (you have been faithful in attending corporate worship and in praying, working, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God) may vote for Vestry (the ruling body of the congregation), run for the Vestry and represent the congregation in the diocese.
“We hope this answers some of your questions. And we encourage you to be in touch. You are most welcome at Grace and Holy Trinity Church! (Much of the information above was taken from the Forward Movement brochure on “Membership in the Episcopal Church”. Forward Movement is an official, non-profit agency of The Episcopal Church and is sustained through sales of tracts and through tax-free contributions. They can be reached at 300 West Fourth Street, Cinicinnati, OH 45202-2666, 800-543-1813; www.forwardmovement.org)
written by Cameron Jackson, Ph.D., J.D. DrCameronJackson@gmail.com
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Pay to pray? Yes as ‘member’ St. John’s Episcopal church
November 21, 2016
Pay 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 DrCameronJackson@gmail.com