Tuesday, January 06, 2009

You'd think they'd know better

It took over a year, but I'm finally finding out what gossip and slander patterns are in this small congregation. Of course, it would have to be aimed at me... (sigh)
Apparently, my mind reading skills were off right around Christmas and I did not receive the telepathic communications from a member that she needed to be contacted or visited every single day during her (not-so-serious) illness. Her symptoms were not serious (mostly fatigue in a woman who was usually quite active, and loss of appetite); she never had to go into the hospital; I did make contact by phone a couple of time and knew that my deacons were on top of things, and since I'm sounding defensive anyway, I'll add that it WAS right before Christmas. I tried as hard as I could to make myself available with as little effort as a phone call. Was I right or wrong? Don't care, can't change it.
What I care about is that about a week later I hear she's bitching to anyone with ears (except me!) about how I didn't meet her needs, didn't do this or that or the other. (Aside: though I didn't know it at the time, I was supposed to speak to her before church last Sunday. Well, normally, before worship, I'm so focused on preparing that I don't really talk to anyone. Again, mind reading not so good these days. This caused a whole new round of slander. I actually intentionally sought her after the service, but she and her family apparently were so mad about the other perceived slights that they left early to avoid me.) The person who approached me about the situation was very kind about it all and let me know that, apparently, this whole family has a history with the church of what she called, "Entitlement syndrome." Wish I'd known that BEFORE all this went down...
What's worse, she's an active elder on my session. We have a pastor/parish relations committee under the communications team for EXACTLY this sort of situation, which, as an elder, she should have known and utilized. Not to mention that, as a Christian, she should know that talking about someone rather than to them is NEVER the right thing to do. Have I mentioned how much I hate, loathe, abhor gossip (and especially when it's about me)? Yeah, well...
Good news is that when I heard about it third hand, I did go to the p/p relations comm. and the chair is going to sit with us as mediator to help us work this out.
If I've ever needed prayers, it's tomorrow around 10 am. That's when we'll be sitting down to work this out. Trust is diminished, pastoral thoughts are tough to come by, and of course, feelings are hurt. Let's hope my inner sixth grader stays home.


Sarah S-D said...

i read this just before 10 central time. for cripes sake... ggod for you for dealing with this through proper channels, for modeling adult behavior. i trust the Holy Spirit kept the sixth grader at bay, but i TOTALLY know what you mean. you are in my prayers. let us know how things went.

Teri said...


Why do the crazies always come out right at Christmas time? I had one too, who was apparently the only person in the entire congregation who didn't know that I was on vacation and the office was closed between Christmas and New Year's, and so when something came up (not an emergency, by any stretch of the imagination) that involved one of her pet projects, and when I didn't answer her email IMMEDIATELY, accused me of being an irresponsible slacker who didn't care about this DISASTER that should have been prevented by me being more careful (never mind that it a) wasn't a disaster and b) could have been prevented by the session (of which she's a member!) doing its job 6 weeks ago). When I asked to talk with her (since we have no PPR committee) she said that since I was on vacation it didn't matter what she'd said, but if I hadn't been on vacation then she would stand by what she'd said because it's what she would have thought. Right...apologizing is apparently pathologically impossible in this case. Awesome.

Puts you right in the holiday spirit, doesn't it?

(and now I'll stop hijacking your blog for my own story and just commiserate with yours...sorry friend)