Author Topic: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions  (Read 4856 times)

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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #45 on: September 22, 2015, 04:26:09 PM »
I'm not a huge fan of just forking over 10% to your parish as a rule. The Jews were instructed to do it because the social welfare programs of the nation went through the temple. If I am going to give a full 10% to my parish, they had better be doing lots of stuff besides putting up new icons and building additions. Certainly the parish needs to be funded and giving should not be neglected, but I don't think it is any less honorable if you are also giving to OCMC, IOCC, or even non-Orthodox charities who are meeting social needs.

For sure! I disagree with just one part of your post: where you expect certain things as a result of your full tithing. My idea of stewardship is that I am responsible for my part and the Parish Council, the rector and the bishop are responsible for the spending of it. That said, I would be more at home in a parish that tithes to the diocese; makes regular donations to charitable causes in the community, state, nation and world; and support various specifically Orthodox causes (seminaries, missions, etc.). Thus, I would never agree that we should give just enough to fund the church; we should give enough to satisfy ourselves that we are good stewards.
Perhaps. I've not seen mismanagement in my parish, so it is more of a hypothetical at this point in time, but when I was non-denominational, large chunks of money went to the latest sound systems, new guitars, and other silliness. I suppose my tendency to take a critical eye in giving comes from those experiences.

Well I can only speak for what my parish does...but we all get a copy of the line by line budget to review and then vote 'aye' to.  There is very little room for someone to take the rent money (or whatever other category) and go spend it on something not approved by the Parish council.

All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline Maria

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2015, 05:05:14 PM »
I'm not a huge fan of just forking over 10% to your parish as a rule. The Jews were instructed to do it because the social welfare programs of the nation went through the temple. If I am going to give a full 10% to my parish, they had better be doing lots of stuff besides putting up new icons and building additions. Certainly the parish needs to be funded and giving should not be neglected, but I don't think it is any less honorable if you are also giving to OCMC, IOCC, or even non-Orthodox charities who are meeting social needs.

For sure! I disagree with just one part of your post: where you expect certain things as a result of your full tithing. My idea of stewardship is that I am responsible for my part and the Parish Council, the rector and the bishop are responsible for the spending of it. That said, I would be more at home in a parish that tithes to the diocese; makes regular donations to charitable causes in the community, state, nation and world; and support various specifically Orthodox causes (seminaries, missions, etc.). Thus, I would never agree that we should give just enough to fund the church; we should give enough to satisfy ourselves that we are good stewards.
Perhaps. I've not seen mismanagement in my parish, so it is more of a hypothetical at this point in time, but when I was non-denominational, large chunks of money went to the latest sound systems, new guitars, and other silliness. I suppose my tendency to take a critical eye in giving comes from those experiences.

Well I can only speak for what my parish does...but we all get a copy of the line by line budget to review and then vote 'aye' to.  There is very little room for someone to take the rent money (or whatever other category) and go spend it on something not approved by the Parish council.

From actual experience in an OCA parish, whenever a parishioner gave money with the suggestion that it be donated for a new vacuum cleaner, the parish council vetoed that idea saying that a person can bring their home vacuum cleaner to clean the church rugs. This point was repeatedly mentioned in the biannual assembly meetings. It became a very sore point.

However, if a parishioner who never pledged to the parish were to purchase and donate a new vacuum cleaner to the church, they would accept it. In fact, this is how the older and malfunctioning vacuum cleaner was obtained.

Big ticket items were almost never purchased by the parish council, they were outright gifts by people who almost never gave regular contributions. In fact, most of the huge donations were given after the person was six feet under, if the children did not contest the Last Will and Testament.

When the parish roof started to leak, nobody wanted to donate to fix the roof. Instead, it took several years of collections to fund that expense. However, when a patron wanted a new icon, that was donated immediately.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 05:12:55 PM by Maria »
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline Elisha

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #47 on: September 22, 2015, 05:57:09 PM »
I'm not a huge fan of just forking over 10% to your parish as a rule. The Jews were instructed to do it because the social welfare programs of the nation went through the temple. If I am going to give a full 10% to my parish, they had better be doing lots of stuff besides putting up new icons and building additions. Certainly the parish needs to be funded and giving should not be neglected, but I don't think it is any less honorable if you are also giving to OCMC, IOCC, or even non-Orthodox charities who are meeting social needs.

For sure! I disagree with just one part of your post: where you expect certain things as a result of your full tithing. My idea of stewardship is that I am responsible for my part and the Parish Council, the rector and the bishop are responsible for the spending of it. That said, I would be more at home in a parish that tithes to the diocese; makes regular donations to charitable causes in the community, state, nation and world; and support various specifically Orthodox causes (seminaries, missions, etc.). Thus, I would never agree that we should give just enough to fund the church; we should give enough to satisfy ourselves that we are good stewards.
Perhaps. I've not seen mismanagement in my parish, so it is more of a hypothetical at this point in time, but when I was non-denominational, large chunks of money went to the latest sound systems, new guitars, and other silliness. I suppose my tendency to take a critical eye in giving comes from those experiences.

Well I can only speak for what my parish does...but we all get a copy of the line by line budget to review and then vote 'aye' to.  There is very little room for someone to take the rent money (or whatever other category) and go spend it on something not approved by the Parish council.

From actual experience in an OCA parish, whenever a parishioner gave money with the suggestion that it be donated for a new vacuum cleaner, the parish council vetoed that idea saying that a person can bring their home vacuum cleaner to clean the church rugs. This point was repeatedly mentioned in the biannual assembly meetings. It became a very sore point.

However, if a parishioner who never pledged to the parish were to purchase and donate a new vacuum cleaner to the church, they would accept it. In fact, this is how the older and malfunctioning vacuum cleaner was obtained.

Big ticket items were almost never purchased by the parish council, they were outright gifts by people who almost never gave regular contributions. In fact, most of the huge donations were given after the person was six feet under, if the children did not contest the Last Will and Testament.

When the parish roof started to leak, nobody wanted to donate to fix the roof. Instead, it took several years of collections to fund that expense. However, when a patron wanted a new icon, that was donated immediately.

Maria, these are all well and nice, but completely anecdotal.  They don't speak of having a budget and paying regular expenses from it, which is the vast majority of the "monies" that flow through most parishes.  I've been on the parish council incl the budget committee, still am involved as I reconcile the bank statements and prepare the monthly financial reports (matter of fact, will do it for August tonight), and my parish has plenty of cases of what you mention above.

Offline Maria

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #48 on: September 22, 2015, 06:07:02 PM »
I'm not a huge fan of just forking over 10% to your parish as a rule. The Jews were instructed to do it because the social welfare programs of the nation went through the temple. If I am going to give a full 10% to my parish, they had better be doing lots of stuff besides putting up new icons and building additions. Certainly the parish needs to be funded and giving should not be neglected, but I don't think it is any less honorable if you are also giving to OCMC, IOCC, or even non-Orthodox charities who are meeting social needs.

For sure! I disagree with just one part of your post: where you expect certain things as a result of your full tithing. My idea of stewardship is that I am responsible for my part and the Parish Council, the rector and the bishop are responsible for the spending of it. That said, I would be more at home in a parish that tithes to the diocese; makes regular donations to charitable causes in the community, state, nation and world; and support various specifically Orthodox causes (seminaries, missions, etc.). Thus, I would never agree that we should give just enough to fund the church; we should give enough to satisfy ourselves that we are good stewards.
Perhaps. I've not seen mismanagement in my parish, so it is more of a hypothetical at this point in time, but when I was non-denominational, large chunks of money went to the latest sound systems, new guitars, and other silliness. I suppose my tendency to take a critical eye in giving comes from those experiences.

Well I can only speak for what my parish does...but we all get a copy of the line by line budget to review and then vote 'aye' to.  There is very little room for someone to take the rent money (or whatever other category) and go spend it on something not approved by the Parish council.

From actual experience in an OCA parish, whenever a parishioner gave money with the suggestion that it be donated for a new vacuum cleaner, the parish council vetoed that idea saying that a person can bring their home vacuum cleaner to clean the church rugs. This point was repeatedly mentioned in the biannual assembly meetings. It became a very sore point.

However, if a parishioner who never pledged to the parish were to purchase and donate a new vacuum cleaner to the church, they would accept it. In fact, this is how the older and malfunctioning vacuum cleaner was obtained.

Big ticket items were almost never purchased by the parish council, they were outright gifts by people who almost never gave regular contributions. In fact, most of the huge donations were given after the person was six feet under, if the children did not contest the Last Will and Testament.

When the parish roof started to leak, nobody wanted to donate to fix the roof. Instead, it took several years of collections to fund that expense. However, when a patron wanted a new icon, that was donated immediately.

Maria, these are all well and nice, but completely anecdotal.  They don't speak of having a budget and paying regular expenses from it, which is the vast majority of the "monies" that flow through most parishes.  I've been on the parish council incl the budget committee, still am involved as I reconcile the bank statements and prepare the monthly financial reports (matter of fact, will do it for August tonight), and my parish has plenty of cases of what you mention above.

It is anecdotal issues that can and do divide the church.

For example, I ordered incense for the church using my own money for an entire year with the blessing of the priest who begged me for the incense every time he ran short of it. When it came to the attention of the parish council, they were livid. They told me that all parish expenses were to be paid from the budget, including incense which they would purchase at the cheapest venue. 

As I was a new member at that time, I did not know all the draconian rules established by the laity in the parish council, so this became a serious issue. This is why the parish priest asked me to purchase it in the first place. He wanted pleasant smelling incense that would burn without leaving an acrid odor.  My parish priest resigned shortly thereafter.
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #49 on: September 22, 2015, 06:12:13 PM »


And of -course- they needed you to save the day.


*rolls eyes*


Did your priest leave those ungrateful wretches to join the Old Calendarists?
All opinions expressed by myself are quite tragically my own, and not those of any other poster or wall hangings.

Offline Maria

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #50 on: September 22, 2015, 06:18:22 PM »
These anecdotal issues became so bad that someone wrote to the Bishop, who wrote a public letter to the parish and quoted from that very letter. We never knew who wrote that letter, but thankfully someone had the courage to notify the Bishop. When the pastor resigned about half the parish left, including us. In fact, one woman was excommunicated for an entire year because she had caused so much dissension.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 06:19:35 PM by Maria »
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline Maria

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #51 on: September 22, 2015, 06:25:32 PM »
In Old Calendarist jurisdictions, parish councils do not usually exist, except in perhaps the larger parishes.

The parish priest, who works for his own salary, donates his funds for wine, incense, and flour for the altar bread. He appoints a warden, who is usually the largest donor for the parish, and things tend to go very smoothly.
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #52 on: September 22, 2015, 06:41:43 PM »
God bless!

Offline Maria

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #53 on: September 22, 2015, 06:44:16 PM »


The Bishop saved the parish although he was the last one informed, and by that time, many had already left the parish.
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #54 on: September 22, 2015, 06:45:12 PM »
It is just too bad that people went into schism over it.
God bless!

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #55 on: September 24, 2015, 06:16:54 PM »
These anecdotal issues became so bad that someone wrote to the Bishop, who wrote a public letter to the parish and quoted from that very letter. We never knew who wrote that letter, but thankfully someone had the courage to notify the Bishop. When the pastor resigned about half the parish left, including us. In fact, one woman was excommunicated for an entire year because she had caused so much dissension.

Don't pick on Maria here, as such anecdotes are more common than they should be across Orthodox jurisdictional lines, in parishes of cradle or convert majorities, old churches, new churches , parishes with dues systems, tithing systems or stewardship programs. I don't know about Protestant parishes and if such is common there. But it is not unheard of for sure among us Orthodox.

Offline Maria

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Re: Unbelievably vast difference between jurisdictions
« Reply #56 on: September 24, 2015, 07:14:02 PM »
These anecdotal issues became so bad that someone wrote to the Bishop, who wrote a public letter to the parish and quoted from that very letter. We never knew who wrote that letter, but thankfully someone had the courage to notify the Bishop. When the pastor resigned about half the parish left, including us. In fact, one woman was excommunicated for an entire year because she had caused so much dissension.

Don't pick on Maria here, as such anecdotes are more common than they should be across Orthodox jurisdictional lines, in parishes of cradle or convert majorities, old churches, new churches , parishes with dues systems, tithing systems or stewardship programs. I don't know about Protestant parishes and if such is common there. But it is not unheard of for sure among us Orthodox.

+1

From what my mom and other relatives say, it is also very common to have these problems within Protestantism. Within Roman Catholicism, however, with the greater number of parishes that they have, upset people just float from one parish to another, and nobody seems to notice.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 07:15:57 PM by Maria »
The memory of God should be treasured in our hearts like the precious pearl mentioned in the Holy Gospel. Our life's goal should be to nurture and contemplate God always within, and never let it depart, for this steadfastness will drive demons away from us. - Paraphrased from St. Philotheus of Sinai
Writings from the Philokalia: On Prayer of the Heart,
Translated from the Russian by E. Kadloubovksy and G.E.H. Palmer, Faber and Faber, London, Boston, 1992 printing.