Monday, November 20. 2006
Feel free to agree, disagree, challenge, or add to my comments.
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... Sadly for Dianne and so many people like her religion is "the opiate of the masses" – and therein lies our problem ...
#1 john morariu on 2006-11-20 15:29
Wishing something distasteful would go away is certainly a human reaction. I am confident we all wish this scandal would have never happened and that our leaders would have done the right things. They have not. Therefore, if wishing isn't enough to resolve the problems, then we would be negligent stewards of our Master's House not to stiffen our resolve and FIX what is broken, with God's help.
The perpetrators, I am sure, would also wish this site to go away... but perhaps for different reasons than Dianne's!
#2 Anon. on 2006-11-20 17:32
With great sadness, Dianne, some of us have "gotten on with it." I left the OCA.
#3 Gregory Grant on 2006-11-20 18:42
Dianne, this website helped many members of the OCA learn of the financial mess the OCA is facing. Slowly (yet surely), the OCA rank and file is making it known to our Bishops, Syosset Staff, Metropolitan Council and Diocesan Assemblies that this mess needs cleaning up.
The possibility that the largest diocese in the OCA may soon stop sending financial support to Syosset may bring forth changes that clean up the mess. Without this web site, such a stance might never have been considered.
I am grateful to Mark Stokoe for getting the site started. I am also grateful for the hard work others perform behind the scene to keep us informed on the issue.
Of course, praying for God's grace to resolve the issue is correct. We should all spend time at our icon corners in prayer over the issue.
#4 Samuel Osman on 2006-11-20 20:23
Dianne is simply copping out with prayer.
The hard work is objective criticism of a laundry list of OCA problems like no published balance sheets or cash statements, no successful audits, and an undesirable charity to contribute to, Bishops abusing their power, in fact, in direct violation of the 1st Commandment, Bishops also failing to repeal the discretionary account language, MC members elected for terms beyond term limits, borrowing with nothing to show for, blowing spend beyond belief, possibly stealing, possibly/likely payoffs, all still uncertain issues.
Mark, you have done a good job here and I'm grateful someone has enlightened us.
I have not always agreed with many extreme, overly conservative opinions expressed here. I also disagree with Dianne, who expressed that we basically need prayer, and not truth (implied).
I support your letter in this instance fully, unequivocally. The only way we have gotten to some truth is via this medium.
Until the people in positions of trust and power become more truthful, that is more honest and forthright than you and they especially stop being so vain and violating the 1st commandment; you must remain. That is a day I pray for.
#5 Daniel E. Fall on 2006-11-21 00:15
Is it known if the Alaskan mortgages are the only reason why the 2004-5 audits couldn't be completed? It's not always a good thing to try to guess motives but I can't help wondering a few things. Is this is why +Tikhon and +Nikolai were so ferociously against the audits to begin with? Many of us were wondering why the Metropolitan chose to start with those years, since they were outside of Dn. Wheeler's allegations. Does this suggest that the Metropolitan wanted to bring this issue forward? And does it mean that the allegations themselves really haven't begun to be addressed?
#6 Rachel Andreyev on 2006-11-21 06:49
Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!
This website (which you rarely visit) is on a crusade, yes, but a crusade to free us from a tangled web of deceit and denial that has led to all kinds of abuses of God's people by those empowered to nurture and protect. This website is not a crusade to fix anything; only the Truth Himself can do that, but first we must come to terms with the problem; we must recognize the sin in order for repentance to be effectual.
The Body must be freed from this tangled web in order to pray effectively, with tears and groanings in the Spirit for those of the Body (whoever they may be) who have sinned.
Deceit and denial for the purpose of keeping up the image by those in control has bound the Body and stunted the growth of the Church for too long.
Maybe if you take the time to visit the archives of this website which you rarely visit, you will finally start to get it.
#7 Karen Jermyn on 2006-11-21 08:02
I am so happy to be able to say that I support Mr. Fall's comments, unequivocally, since I have often taken issue with him in the past.
#8 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2006-11-21 08:06
I agree with you. I left oca a very long time ago. The so called leaders of oca do what they want and feel they do not have to answer to anyone. Well one day they will have to answer to a very high authority. And at that time excuses will not cut it. How can they celebrate a liturgy knowing full well what they have done??? They should be afraid to step into the altar.
#9 John Macenka on 2006-11-21 08:07
I agree with all of your responses to the
Diane/A Sinner at Large letter. Failure to respond from those who have a given responsibility to do so is no reason for any readers or participants on this website to retreat to any corner. “Pray without Ceasing”,
1 Thes. 5:17.
I encourage you Mark to press forward with the dialogue you have opened. The discussions, the website are all needed to improve the church community working and praying together. Isolationism and people being marginalized have contributed to the "in the corner" problems we have now.
Your work with the OCANEWS.org website... (has contributed) to the building of up of church community action though the openness of internet communication to assist in dialogue and
rehabilitative strategic planning.
#10 Matushka Carol on 2006-11-21 08:31
Gregory & John & those who left the OCA,
We must not forget the big picture here. This is not M.H.'s church nor is it the M.C's church, the OCA is Christ's church. So whom have you really left? And the bigger question is if you REALLY have left then why are you both still checking and posting on this site? You both need to come back and be stewards of Christ, not abandoing His church.
#11 Anonymous on 2006-11-21 11:53
I support you and the wedsite. What oca needs is more people like you seeking truth.
I left oca a long time ago and never regret my decision.
If the entire truth comes out about everything the people will find it hard to believe. Yet it is true.
I just dont get it. The money they gave was their money and they have a right to know how it is being used.
I hope you continue to press for the truth in all instances.
In the end they will have to answer for all they did and they are fooling themselves if they think they will get away with it all.
Please keep up the good work and may God bless you.
#12 John Macenka on 2006-11-21 13:43
#13 Inga Leonova on 2006-11-21 14:20
Pray, yes. But ya gotta get out there and work at this, too, ya know? I was very surprised someone would find objectionable a crusade to fix what is broken. That's what fixing is for! The notion of going back to one's prayer corner implies one left it. But, one can simultaneously pray and work to fix that which is broken; in fact, the work itself is a form of prayer ... if it done to glorify God, nes c'est pas?
Diane, you don't seem to think this site glorifies God. Why? It's not taken an ad hominem attack stance; its not permitted foul language, nor blasphemy; its invited reasoned dissent; its presented the words and reported on the actions of people of good will yet of varying opinion regarding how to address something which, if not addressed, will most certainly lead to the de facto, if not de jure, collapse of the OCA; it has decried the abuse of trust and the pilferage of alms, and has disclosed the willful blindness, if not intentional malfeasance, of stewards. And in all this, it seems to have done so in no more rigid a manner, in fact one could say a great deal less, than that in which the Apostles, and even Christ, did when admonishing others to cease what is wrong and do what is good.
Christ made rather a spectacle of Himself and of the moneychangers when he fixed the mess in the Temple, quite literally putting the fear of God in them; yet, God was glorified. Others have on occasion taken a similar tone as you, going a step further, even: pointing out XC's “compassion” and “love” must characterize our approach … as though compassion and love mean merely being kind or, worse, "nice" or even "soft and fuzzy" (not that I've seen those terms used expressly, I have not). We should note, however, that the softness of Jesus was expressed to those who already were exhibiting humility; yet in what tone and manner did he address those who were obstinate or willfully obtuse? Quite harshly, often.(And yes, that worries me personally, too.)
Perhaps you are embarrassed; if so, you are not alone. But shedding light on that which is shameful is not what dishonors God; it is the underlying shameful act itself (whether or not is goes noticed by us). Having the guts to show it for what it is, for shining a light on the murkiness of religious corruption, is honorable. Be glad you are embarrassed of the crimes (assuming you are) since that kinda shows you have a sense of integrity, rieeeght?
But don't stop there! Have the intestinal fortitude also to say "I belong to this Church, my trust was broken, my hierarchs shamed me, and I'm not gonna stand for it anymore! I'm gonna get in there and help fix this!" It is possible to admonish, to be angry, to express that anger, and to fix all without dishonoring God, and in fact in a way that honors God. I think this site has gone a long way toward that goal, in particular --- and think about this, Diane – in particular in light of the shockingly egregious nature of the crimes perpetrated against our Church and the needy whom it tried to help. What was done shocks the conscience! One might expect that given the desperately blackened nature of what was done and the human tendency for vengeance (which must be distinguished from an insistence for proper consequences), the outcry would be for a lynching, not an All American Council meeting. Instead, the cries are for responsibility, confession, transparency, humility and -- yes, I'll say it -- fixing the busted stuff.
So, yeah, you’re a sinner. Me, too. Join the club. I don’t live up to the Standard myself. Not at all. None does. But –– what then? –– are we to sit back and let the sinless do it. When pigs fly! There are no sinless to do the job. Or, looked at in a different light, the Sinless One is fixing the problem … through those sinners who are willing to jump into the mess with gloves on and start cleaning on His behalf. Look –– we don’t even need to knot a cord!
I guess I'm sayin' that I see this site and all its brought about as good (so far, anyway).
Can I gets me an "Amen" up in here?
#14 Anne A. Nemos on 2006-11-21 15:30
A continuing word to the laity. At the Midwest gathering, I gathered lay signatures to offer to the Metropolitan (as reported elsewhere on this site). I believe that the only way for our church community to be a faithful witness to our Lord Jesus Christ and his church is to be fully present in the church. This for me means to work for honesty, clarity, and growth in our mutual struggle against the passions which assail us.
Prayer is a path to repentance, faithfulness and growth. Prayer forms us into the body of Christ. The body is called into action defending the faith.
This conflict is not about the righteous against the unrighteous, nor people of prayer against people of action. we will not find answers in allowing the enemy to use our passions to divide us. Yes, we need to be people of prayer and to get on with deeper prayer, but yes, we need to be people of action so that our faith is preserved whole for a new generation of Orthodox Christians.
I would encourage the laity of every church to publicly affirm their desire for Truth to win out and for our church to prevail against the darkness in which secrets lie. It willbe when the we and the them come together in the Light that our church will find healing. It will happen through both prayer and action.
in Christ, Melissa McCutcheon
#15 Melissa McCutcheon on 2006-11-21 19:13
I believe your intentions all along have been to get the OCA to a better place. Your courage and committment is very admirable and necessary to the task! This will probably be a long process but this web site has been a great and needed catalyst to get the OCA where it needs to be.
Whoever may have been offended by any words on this accountability site, let them know that any mispoken or impulsive words pale in comparison to the sloppy and irresponsible acts of our leaders.
But all this can, and slowly seems to be in time, being turned around.
I hope we will hear about the PR investigation soon. I don't think I could be more shocked than I have been; how can we really hear anything that new; I just hope the PR investigation will give us even more determination and courage to get the OCA to higher ground.
We still need to have a 2007 AAC.
I doubt the OCA can dig out of its mess quickly but we must celebrate the efforts so far and give support and prayer to the continuing attempts.
This web site should probably continue indefinitely as a voice of check and balance to what the church is called to be, a witness to Christ rather than the fallen world.
#16 Patty Schellbach on 2006-11-21 19:19
You know, I promised myself that I wasn't going to come back here; it's too depressing. However, in a moment of weakness, I 'checked in' and found that I agree with the letter writer. For God's sake, Deacon Wheeler has been interviewed by the F.B.I.! Does anyone suggest that that august body could be browbeaten into submission by a bishop - or group of bishops - of the Orthodox Church?
You say that the scandal has been revealed but 'no thanks' to the Church's hierarchy. So what? It's been revealed, period. It can't be hidden anymore and it's up to those in the hierarchy to expose it. No one on this site can do that, only those 'in charge' of the OCA. Now, unless someone is suggesting that everyone in the OCA leadership is corrupt and not one good Christian hierarch exists in the Church, then it is to be supposed that the matter will eventually be disclosed. Does that mean that every rock will be overturned for our perusal and every 'sinner exposed' for our enjoyment? Probably not. But the point is, the matter will be settled and, as much as there are any 'guarantees' in life, probably its like will not occur again.
However, I am willing to wager that this 'solution' will not be good enough for so many on this site who wait with baited breath for each new 'disclosure' and hope to have this or that head held aloft (bereft of body, of course) to show that 'justice has been done'. Now, while that might be fine for the institutions of the World, it bodes ill for the Church.
Let us be honest here. Even if the 'guilty' are never punished or exposed or even *discovered*, so what? Does anyone think that GOD is unaware of what has happened and the He won't hold those reponsible accountable? Furthermore, are those on this site (and elsewhere) creating an atmosphere conducive to the confession and repentence of the 'guilty'? Are we all waiting lovingly and patiently as fellow sinners ready and, indeed, anxious to forgive the fallen when they come forward, confess their failings and/or misdeeds and ask our pardon and God's? I think the answer to that is too obvious to warrant further discussion.
Again, however distressing and hurtful this scandal has been for the Body of Christ, I believe that continuing the accusations, speculations and on the part of some, the obviously relish of the mess is doing far more damage than mismanagement or even corruption. All that this scandal concerns is the misuse money and the response of those in authority regarding that misuse. On the other hand, a continuing drum-beat of self-righteous judgmentalism eats away at the very foundations of the Church.
#17 Matushka Valerie Protopapas on 2006-11-22 09:22
A great big "amen" to you.
You have stated quite clearly what has been unrolling on this website and in our church for many months. People are willing, people are ready, and people want to help the Church and be co-workers of and with the Lord.
Some naive folks try to offer their input and that is good even if it is not obviously helpful. (What is it that the French say about naivete: the cousin of innocence, the sister of ignorance). We need the informed and the naive, the Marthas and the Marys, the Peters and the Pauls. In essence we need everyone to keep the ship afloat. And we certainly need this website to help focus our efforts. Oh yeah! the Lord works His way and His will will be done.
#18 Anonymous on 2006-11-22 10:49
I said I wouldn't get involved with the ongoing debate. Alas I've made myself a liar. I just wish to say I do perceive an attitude of self-righteous judgementalism. This can be overlook, given the deep hurt most have felt because of the betrayal of trust that is at the heart of this scandal. But, with all this lofty talk about finding the truth, and the self-congradulatory amens and such, I would just like to point out the judging someone else is in fact a far greater sin than stealing. Because when we judge we put ourselves in the place of God. Let's seek out the fact, but let's try also to tame our tounges and pens and be a bit more sober and circumspect. There are not two sides, nor should we let Satan divide us. But, perhaps also we should consider the example of this years election and simply affirm that we will no longer be complicite with corruption and mismanagement. The institution serves the Church, the Church does not serve the institution. May God help us through this, and may we take the opportunity to reflect on our on character, lest we be tempted and fall.
#19 Mark on 2006-11-22 13:26
MS Protopapas' post shows that a significant number of people still just do not get it. She says..."even if the guilty are never punished or exposed, so what?". By this incredibly naieve statement we can now suggest a way for the US government to save billions/trillions of dollars. Simply let God take care of all law breakers and eliminate all police, courts, jails, etc. Anything goes. No laws, no restrictions on human behaviour. God will take care of the transgressors. Then she ends her unedifying post with the statement .."All that this scandal concerns is the misuse money (sic) and the response of those in authority regarding that misuse. On the other hand, a continuing drum-beat of self-righteousness judmentalism eats away at the very foundations of the Church." What a pathetic statement. The persons who mismanaged the money,stole money intended for the poor and injured, lied over and over, etc.etc.etc. are not "eating away at the very foundations of the Church" but the ones who are complaining about it and demanding the thievery be stopped and the Church made right are eating away etc. etc. If this is all she has gleaned from the page after page of evidence published on this website, she has a serious problem in understanding English.
Ms Protopapas. Have you learned nothing from the disclosures during the last year?
#20 nicholas skovran on 2006-11-22 14:01
Dear Matushka Valerie:
While I can understand that you are upset by the continuing controversy in our Church--I have to state my disagreement with you and Dianne Storheim. I do believe that it it is largely the work of Mark Stokoe, OCAnews, and its many contributors that has encouraged our Hierarchy and Central administration to address the allegations of Protodeacon Eric Wheeler.
I do know that from the very beginning, it was Fr. Eric and Archbishop JOB's desire that these many issues would have been dealt with "behind the scenes", i.e. with discretion. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case.
I have no reason to believe that now, just because "the matter", has been disclosed, we can assume that we will never see the likes of what we are experiencing now ever again.
In fact, I recall some years ago, we learned that restricted funds of the OCA designated for annual appeals had been co-mingled with operating funds and were used to run the Church during one of its (many) financial crises. After this was disclosed, we were told--and there was a solemn promise by the Central Church Administration that this would never happen again! Well, here we are in an even worse situation--where because of a lack of regular annual audits as provided for by OCA Statutes, a corrupt situation could have continued unless and until someone's conscience would cause them to come forward.
I'll admit that I have met some members of the Church who are so angry about what has happened that no matter what is done, they will not be satisfied until there is a complete disclosure of every evil that has been committed. At the same time, I have spoken to many many priests, deacons, and lay people who have expressed a willingness to forgive those who have committed wrongs and crimes. Far from "self-righteous judgmentalism", what I have seen is a desire to discover the wounds caused by malfeasance--to clean and disinfect them and to bind them up, all in the hope that there might be genune healing and restoration of health in our beloved OCA.
You are correct that even if all of the evils and ills are never uncovered and disclosed--that the Lord Himself will judge those involved. May He be merciful to the perpetrators of those sins--as I hope He will be merciful to me for my sins! However, I do not accept the premise that simply by creating an atmosphere condusive to confession, that we can expect any guilty parties will easily come forward and disclose their sins. There is still too much of an incentive to deny the ongoing dysfunction that has characterized the manner in which the Church has functioned. There is still too much of an incentive to insist that NOW everything is OK, and from this point forward, everything will be different!! In my experience, those who commit wrongs similar to those being uncovered in our OCA do not easily admit responsibility--even if confronted with mountains of undeniable evidence. Their ability to overcome denial and to embrace repentance becomes possible only if those who have discovered the wrongdoing do not turn a blind eye to what has happened, hoping for the best.
The need for repentance, being likened to a medical emergency (Fr. John Dresko did this--but like many others, I disagree with his diagnosis that the patient is "the Church"--it is one of her wayward children) and can be a messy business. I believe that St. John Chrysostom has likened it to radical surgery.
Well, here we are: the patient is "on the table", has been opened up and the cancer has been revealed. It would be less than merciful to leave him there with the procedure left incomplete!
Having co-suffered all of the pain and discomfort to this point, let's insist that all surgical remedies be applied. There is the hope that with post-operative therapy, recovery will follow.
With all best wishes,
Fr. Alexander Kuchta
#21 Fr. Alexander Kuchta on 2006-11-22 14:16
What you have said is so self-evidently not true, that it really warrants no further response.
#22 Kenneth R. Tobin on 2006-11-22 14:19
Repentance, forgiveness, humility, and all those gifts of the Holy Spirit are not lost in this great crisis. They are still there, waiting to be ministered, if not already by some or many in some or great degree. What is lost is our money, and trust.
If we do not have trust, we do not have a well-functioning organization.
I can donate $100.00 tomorrow to the OCA to go to the Christmas Stocking Fund. But as of this date, my receipts that I have gotten for years apparently have been bogus.
The material aspect of putting money into the wrong funds, or to support another budget simply must stop. It is not where I designated my money to go.
#23 Patty Schellbach on 2006-11-22 16:22
We can go over this again, and again, and again, and again and find ourselves back where we started - which is pretty much what is happening.
Let's, however, ask a few questions if we're going to speak of 'misuse' of funds or whatever and laud Deacon Wheeler's efforts to 'bring the scandal to light'. The good Deacon was the Treasurer during at least some of what occurred or else he would hardly be in a position to say anything of import on the subject. That being the case, did Deacon Wheeler knowingly sign checks that were fraudulent or being deposited in the wrong account or otherwise being misdirected? If so, why did he sign them at least once he learned that the money was not going where it was supposed to go? If, however, he did not, who did or else, how did those checks get cashed, deposited or whatever happened to them? And if the Treasurer signed them, then others within the Chancery would assume that they were being properly handled. If they were not signed by the Treasurer (and unless one supposes that everyone in the Chancery and the Metropolitan Counsel and the Synod of Bishops was 'on the take'), then those who were not involved must nonetheless have become aware that something was going on that wasn't, as our Jewish friends would say, 'kosher'. It would seem therefore that just about everybody who held any position of authority in the national body of the OCA has got to be considered responsible for what happened to a greater or lesser degree. There can be no other answer and, frankly, it saves a whole lot of time just to consider them - clergy and lay - to bear part of the burden of the scandal.
With that out of the way, we can then allow responsible, trained, law enforcement bodies like the F.B.I. to make a determination as to whether anything illegal happened - and if it rose to the level of a felony - and, if so, who is/are responsible for breaking the law. I don't know of anyone on this site or even in the Church who is properly trained to make that determination. If such investigations are going on (and as Deacon Wheeler has spoken with the F.B.I., I would assume that such is the case), then it behooves us to 'be still and await the results'. Anything else that we do is at once useless and harmful. As the F.B.I. is unlikely to be swayed by even a bevy of hierarchs, we do not have to concern ourselves with a 'coverup'. And, as that agency is unconcerned with the consequences to the Church resulting from their investigation, we do not have to concern ourselves with them 'looking the other way' in order to avoid stepping on anyone's toes.
Finally, let's put this in perspective, shall we? In the past, the Church has had bishops who were iconoclasts, bishops who were heretics, bishops who were communists, bishops who were cowards in the face of persecution and bishops who were immoral. Somehow, I don't think this present 'crisis' quite reaches these levels. Incompetent? Probably. Out of touch? Possibly. Anxious to avoid scandal? Assuredly. But none of these 'sins' rises to that which we have seen in the Church's past - and the Church has assuredly survived. But we have become so 'wrapped around the axle' with this matter that people boast that they have left the OCA. And gone *where*? I might ask. To the Synod? Is that where perfection resides! Who knew? To the Greeks? Those same folks who supported Michael Dukakas simply because he was a Greek and to the point at which the Greek Archdiocese lost its tax exempt status for a period of times? That certainly was a 'step up', I'm sure! At least Metropolitan Herman has stood up and been counted in the matter of the murder of tens of millions of innocent children while the Greek bishops have embraced and even made Archons of politicians like Dukakas, Olympia Snow and Paul Sarbanes who support a 'woman's right to choose' to murder her child.
Perhaps it's time to step away from this matter and see where God's will brings it - that is, if those posting here are able to believe that He is in fact, involved and/or able to bring it to a proper conclusion! Or do people believe that He is as impotent in this matter as (supposedly) was Deacon Wheeler despite holding the position of Treasurer during at least part of this period of 'scandal'?
I'm willing to let God act as He will surely do whether I (and others) are willing or not. He has a habit of doing just that.
#24 Matuska Valerie Protopapas on 2006-11-22 16:28
Is it misuse of money or lack of money ? I believe jealous people created alot of lies and nothing will change unless the The Met. wants it too.
"Is it known if the Alaskan mortgages are the only reason why the 2004-5 audits couldn't be completed?"
No, it's not the only reason, nor is it the likely reason, but it could be a reason. See my final answer below.
"Is this is why +Tikhon and +Nikolai were so ferociously against the audits to begin with?"
Sure looks like it.
"Many of us were wondering why the Metropolitan chose to start with those years, since they were outside of Dn. Wheeler's allegations. Does this suggest that the Metropolitan wanted to bring this issue forward?"
As I recall, the audit was to cover 2001-2005, at least as far as as appeals donations. In my opinion the Alaska issue has nothing to do with the period selected for audit.
"And does it mean that the allegations themselves really haven't begun to be addressed?
One of the most serious allegations, that of the missing ADM grant money, has yet to be mentioned as to whether it is even being investigated by the PR law firm.
Part of the audit process is to verify proper ownership of assets. The issue of who exactly owns the various Alaskan properties is so muddied, that yes, it could very well be an audit stopper, if Syosset shows those properties on its books. But, in my opinion, based on the information that the accounting records in Syosset are in such dissarrray, that is the likely reason for no audit opinion.
#26 Michael Strelka, CPA on 2006-11-24 08:36
Matushka Valerie feels that the present crisis does not reach to the level of those in the past. I disagree. In the recent OCANews interview with Deacon Eric Wheeler he reiterated that the secretive approach to the finances of the church was rooted in certain problems, and that among them was inappropriate personal behavior. In fact, one page of Deacon Eric's "Call to Accountability," which addressed this issue, has not, and apparently will not, be made public by the deacon. "Inappropriate personal behavior" is clearly a euphemism for immorality.
Moreover, the problems of the past were not overcome without the active concern of the community of the Faithful. For example, the Iconoclasts were overcome because the Faithful knew that this was wrong, weren't afraid to say so, and kept saying so until right belief prevailed.
Melanie Jula Sakoda
Is there any update of when we will know about the PR investigation?
(Editor's note: It is expected that some kind of report will be given on the 12th of December at the joint meeting of the Synod with the Council. However, no official confirmation of that has been forthcoming. )
#28 Patty Schellbach on 2006-11-24 20:21
Dianne has a good point...In football there are penalties for piling on and it would seem that there is some of that going on. The comments being posted are usually repeats of the same subjects, with a few heightened adjectives thrown in. (Incidentally there have been personal attacks and poor choices of words such as stealing, thief, thug etc. contrary to at least one writer’s statement.)
I may be wrong but my understanding of these problems to date is that the Metropolitan has stated that there are problems; has invited an investigation to reveal them; has stated that steps are being taken to correct them; most of the Holy Synod seems to be in agreement with him; the Synod is to meet with the Metropolitan Council to, I believe, go over the problems and review solutions; there has been no evidence of theft or stealing by anyone to date; we do know based on the loan application that money from some funds was apparently used in other areas, which I would imagine stemmed from Church deficits. (I would add that such a practice is something to be avoided, but I would say that it has been done in parishes and in our own home budgeting in emergencies. Obviously, it needs to be avoided in the future at least without announcements of intentions to donors and plans to replace any funds ued for different purposes.)
Calling names, revisiting past differences some may have with those now involved, pronouncing judgments, would seem to be doing little to advance our witnessing for Christ, our mission in this world.
If a few persons are basing some of their judgments on past dealings with some of the persons involved—which has nothing to do with the current issues-- that certainly does not help the current situation. If persons are seeking to redress past disagreements they have had with Church hierarchy, etc. that too is not helpful to the current situation.
I fortunately have had positive experiences with most if not all the persons whose names have been mentioned, regardless of “sides” or their opinions on this subject. And while we can find some things to criticize in ourselves and each of us, we can find so much more to praise and to rejoice in beginning with the fact that we are each made in the image and likeness of God—let that be our focus. My sisters and brothers we share the same humanity, we are all sadly sinners, we all make mistakes, and we all can be forgiven by God if we forego the impulse to judge, condemn, demonize.
Finally, if posting on the internet was needed to call attention to any problems, all can agree whether they agree or disagree with the approach taken on this site (and there is room for criticism without personal attacks), that attention is being paid to this problem.
We are and remain the Church. Our priority as the Church is to worship God, to praise Him, to give thanks to Him. It is He upon Whom we are dependent, each one of us, for forgiveness of our sins, our mistakes, our errors, and we all share in those, and it is He Whom we need to emulate in loving, forgiving and caring.
May we find unity and Oneness in our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; may we know the joy of being His followers as His Nativity and Incarnation approaches.
#29 Archpriest William DuBovik on 2006-11-25 10:30
Amen, and Amen!
Constant reiteration of past wrongs, assumed wrongs, possible wrongs or any other kind of wrongs is not only useless and serves no purpose, but, in fact, it negatively impacts the issue. It may well be as one poster noted, that many people in the Church are waiting to grant forgiveness and bestow Christian love upon the wrongdoers (if there are any such people in the understanding of that word), but I would suggest that those kindly souls don't do much posting on the internet. Given the tenor of most of what is posted, I for one (were I involved in this matter) would be most wary of coming forth in hopes of being forgiven.
In the end, as I've noted before, if what is happening here can be considered the 'cure' of what ails the Church, it may well be a matter of the 'cure' being worse than the 'disease'.
#30 Anonymous on 2006-11-27 06:35
'Inappropriate...behavior' which means.... etc. etc. Does it? Is that what was said? Is that what was meant? Then why not say so and stop all the, ah 'euphemisms'. The good Deacon, as Treasurer, was in a position to bring all of this to light *at the time it occurred*. When he did not receive any support or assistance from those within the Church in whom he confided, he should have made known that he was going to make the entire matter public if nothing was done. Did he do so? Indeed, had he not been removed as Treasurer the question must be asked, *would he have done so*?
Inappropriate behavior does not translate immediately into immorality and still less into criminality and that is what is important. Immoral acts are not punished unless there is a law against them (prostitution, child pornography etc.). Of course, the Church has different standards and 'immorality' is certainly not condoned. But, let us remember, neither has 'immorality' been proven in this case. Stupidity? Laxness? Incompetence? I'm willing to bet there will be a 'smidgeon' - and more than a 'smidgeon' of each when the dust clears. But it is unwise and certainly unChristian to determine that someone or someones have acted immorally on the basis of the phrase 'inappropriate behavior'. Heck, talking in the movie theater while the film is running can be considered 'inappropriate behavior'!
#31 Anonymous on 2006-11-27 06:45
"You have just stated "we can all be forgiven if we forego the impulse to judge, condemn, demonize..." By this you have subtly implied that you yourself will not be forgiven; for have you not just judged, condemned and demonized those who to whom you impute the motives of redressing past disagreements etc.?
How can you possibly know anyone's motives?
Only God comprehends what is in the heart.
Judging one another will not stop in praise and worship which becomes a form of denial so that we do not have to face up, but only when we look in one another's eyes and repent not only for ourselves but for each other's words and actions.
Truth will not be stopped, diverted or denied.
#32 Name witheld on 2006-11-27 08:11
I am very thankful for this web site as it has introduced me to so many wonderful Orthodox people while making us aware of responsibilities we have as lay people avoided for many years. It is possible both to avoid demonizing the hierarchy and also to hold them to standards of accountability clearly stated by Christ in the Gospels. This is what all of us are called to do for and with each other. It is also quite possible to celebrate being the Body of Christ in our parishes, and to feel deep distress about the attitudes/actions of our hierarchs. We are being called to a new level of accountability by the Lord Himself, in order to be who we are called to be in this country: His witnesses and those called to spread the Good News of the Gospel. All of us, The Metropolitan, the Synod, the Metropolitan Council, the priests, deacons, and the lay people (who are also called to the priesthood of all believers) need to prepare ourselves by repentance, reform, reconciliation and renewal. No one is exempted from this task and no one is above it. If we aren't up for the task, who could blame the Lord for leaving us for those who are?
#33 Alice Carter on 2006-11-28 10:30
Dear Name Withheld:
I have not judged, demonized or condemned. I have made some observations and offered some possible reasons for the reactions of some to this crisis. I can recognize names and their past actions in the Church. And even while doing this I did not condemn them, I did not call them names, I did not place myself in the place of God in judging them, etc. Obviously we all make observations, evaluations and assessments, but they are different then the judgment of which God speaks. Go back to any message on the internet and find where I have demonized or condemned. I have spoken what is in my mind and heart and have said repeatedly that I have respect for persons who are being criticized as well as those leading the criticism.
I remain astonished as I read some of the comments that I have not experienced the Church in ways that contributors seem to suggest they have. I have known the Church to be a haven from a world in turmoil. I have seen her and experienced her as that Bride of Christ, loving me with all my sins and weaknesses. I have been supported in many ways by Hierarchs and by some wonderful persons at Syosett who cared about me for which I will always be thankful.
Finally, no doubt in my life I have probably fallen short of not judging others. For this I ask God's mercy and forgiveness as I do for all of my sins. And if I have given any credence to judging others on this website, I too ask the forgiveness of those I have impacted and depend again on the forgiveness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In Christ's love,
#34 Archpriest William DuBovik on 2006-11-29 09:36
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