13 December 2010

Something I absolutely HATE

about our current polity at St. Paul's is that I lose wonderful elders each year, when they have filled out their two terms.  Tonight was our last meeting with Gary and Doug, both of whom have been invaluable to me as pastor of St. Paul's parish.  The good thing is that I can still rely on them for their counsel; the bad thing is that we won't have that face to face meeting each month to receive it.  Still, I welcome our "new" (returning) elder Bill and brand spanking new elder, Scott.  Glad to have them on board, and pray the Lord's richest blessings upon their time of service to St. Paul's (and I'll be grousing when they have to leave the board too - be warned).  And yes, Scott fits into Marc's old alb - Deo gratias!


Anonymous said...

Our Parish Constitution allows for
Elders to serve a 3 year term and
they may serve 2 terms which amounts
to 6 years. 6 years is enough for
one man to do a good job. These
positions need term limits otherwise
they become a life-time career. We
have all heard of the proverbial
parish treasurer who served 25 or 30
years and thought the money in the
checkbook was his private domain..
Just like the federal government
needs term limits on US Senators
and US Representative, the church
needs limits on its council positions.

Past Elder said...

Yay, elders!!

Didn't have to worry about albs though where and when I was an elder because we didn't have any of the damn things. Elders wore suit and tie for public functions, like helping with Communion.

That was WELS. In my first LCMS parish they didn't even use the term "elder"; it was Ministry Action Team. In my second (and current) LCMS parish they call them elders and they wear bloody albs.

Closest I ever came to wearing one was its shorter derivative, the surplice; RC altar boys always wore a cassock and surplice before the Revolution. Surplice literally means "over the fur" (superpellicium), the fur being garments worn to protect against the cold in unheated churches in olden times -- that's why they're loose and bulky to this day.

For elder visits we wore ninja garments and crashed through the window so you couldn't see us coming and pretend you weren't home.

OK just clowning around on the last one there.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

We have teh same system "down under" in the LCA. I'm sure there are good reasons for it, but you're right, William, it is a pain.

PE, is there a particular symbolism behind the "bloody albs" in your congregation? I've always been taught that albs should be as white as possible. ;0)

Rev. Allen Bergstrazer said...

Dear brother William, I feel your pain. Many's the time I've asked if we could have 'emeritus' status for elders, though that might sound redundant.

Anonymous said...

Term limits for church offices and
board members allow a congregation
to not get in a rut with people who
are prone to become yes-men. It is
a breath of fresh air when new people
are welcomed onto boards and councils
in the parish. Most pastors need to
be careful that their 20 years of
experience is not one year repeated
20 times. This is less likely to
happen with term limits for the laity.

Jim Huffman said...

Term limits are wonderful. What is likely taken into account are small congregations where a nominating committee is grateful to get anyone they can -- including a long-term incumbent.

Past Elder said...

I think of it more as rotation than term limits. Those experienced elders were new once too. It's not about the elder personally.

Ah Pastor Henderson, I suspect thou art jacking with me! But actually yes there is a certain symbolism, in the sense of standing for my general distaste for period costumes, aka vestments, coupled with my preference for English English in the written language, compunded by having had an Aussie roomie in grad school so such expressions do creep in to my spoken use of English, and topped by a spritz of a nod to my ancestors and long lost relation in Suffolk back in Mother England.

Pr Mark Henderson said...

That explains it, PE - I just knew there had to be an Aussie connection there somewhere. I've never heard an American use that expression otherwise.

I looked up "jacking" but remain unenlightened. If you mean was I "pulling your leg" (i.e. having some sport with you in a good natured way)...yes!

Past Elder said...

You know what Pastor? That Aussie roomie ended up marrying a Lutheran girl of Norwegian descent from Minnesota!

I was best man at the wedding. You should know the Queen was toasted, and the groom added a toast to the President. There were six Aussies came over, and you should also know that at the reception the seven total Aussies and myself made more noise than an entire churchful of those Norske Lutherans.

They went back to Aussieralia, where they reported it difficult to find a Lutheran church, but eventually they did. He was from Hobart but they settled in Melbourne. I would absolutely crap my pants if that church was ruddy Schuetzie's.

My present for being best man was a bleeding didgeridoo, presently sitting about five feet from me, ready should I suddenly and profoundly need to go on walkabout.

Larry Luder said...

Joy and peace be with you and your parish family on your jonery back to Eden.

Timothy C. Schenks said...

One of our members is an "elder emeritus" at his former congregation, although he never agreed to be an elder here. Not sure what "elder emeritus" means.

I liked Pr. Rossow's suggestion* to make elders a life appointment until they decide to quit, but then don't let them fill another position while an elder.

*Either on Issues, Etc. or the Bethany LC constitution. I can't remember which.