Tress, Kiddo and I were on our way to church yesterday morning when we realised it was going to be a school holiday program rehashed in church that morning. “Going bananas” was on the whole of last week and as a culmination of that program, the whole congregation was going to be presented with (perhaps) highlights of what went on.
When I said that was the program, Tress asked if Kiddo wanted to go and visit Bridge church. We were there a few times before landing at St Alfred’s and Kiddo had never been there. I had said to Jason before, that there is no need for Kiddo to visit. He had attempted to get us to visit again as he has been going there.
K said St Alf’s was our church now so we should go regardless of the program. She was right of course and so we ended up there. It was a great call. I rediscovered the value of children’s ministry and saw how a well-planned and well-executed children’s program can be one of the best thing a local church can do to bring God’s Kingdom to the local community. On the way back, I thought about being settled into this church and also about how I might be involved again. Or not.
In as much as LifeGate is well and truly behind me now, the fallout still affects me. I am still fearful to be involved. I might no longer feel restrained in terms of participating in the activities of a regular service meeting – I now join in the singing whole heartedly, actively engage in listening to the sermons to seek out appropriate personal responses, and actively seeking to engage with other fellow believers and seeking to be part of congregational life. I remain however, shy of stepping out to serve, to be part of church life outside of that Sunday morning activities. There’s fear of being exposed and the hurt that may result.
Maybe it is still too early. Maybe I need to just continue in the present mode for a while yet and see what happens. Church-speak may term this letting God lead in His time, I guess. Me I just want to sit it out to avoid being hurt again.
I don’t understand how a pastor can hurt someone without seeking – persistently so – to heal that wound. And before that wound could heal properly, that pastor, this time together with his team of “leaders” proceed to hurt another, who was a board member and erstwhile de facto pastor. They plotted behind his back for months, to get rid of him. One of them – David Chiang – euphemised and said they discussed his removal. Laughable because I would have thought any “discussion” would have involved all parties affected. Yet Jason was excluded. How do you discuss his removal, without him being involved in the discussion? Simple – you plot. No, not a discussion. A plot. A nefarious plot.
That the moral decadence of this act is lost on this pastor and his team continues to astound. At one point one of them – David Chiang again – sought to somehow, twist things around to lay the blame of the hurt on me. I don’t know where the logic lies but somehow, the turpitude of the act was alleviated by the act of Ian Teh, yours truly. That I sent an email to many people, asking them to ask their “leaders” why they plotted to get rid of Jason, was somehow a wrong more grave than their plotting for months to get rid of him. I had sent message to each of those leaders and also collectively, urging and warning them not to do that reprehensible thing to Jason. When they did not respond, I sent it to the wider audience. David accused me of using my own standards in judging the appropriate response time the leaders should have been given before I could justifiably send it to the wider audience.
Really? I sent the email on a Friday evening. The “act” – that of sending an AGM notice setting out their plot to get rid of Jason – was sent on Sunday. Two days later. So what standard did he – the very wise David Chiang – have in mind for an appropriate response time? The AGM notice that gives notice to all that the plot to remove Jason is officially under way, was what I was hoping would be avoided.
That is the sort of hurt people like that pastor and his team – not least David Chiang – in their collective “wisdom” can inflict on the flock? Lead them? Shudders. How does one forget things like that in a hurry? How does one shake out and remove the fallout of such actions on the part of a pastor and his team?
St Alfred’s may be our church now but the fallout of the deeds of that pastor and his team continue to prevent me from being what I think would bring me joy and peace.