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Asked and answered

The dread question has been asked.  In fact, two dread questions.

After service on Sunday, my minister stopped by my table during coffee hour and asked if I would be interested in preaching after she retires in September while we hunt for a new minister.  I didn’t hesitate.  “No,” I said, “I’m honoured you would ask, but no.”  “OK,” she said, “but if you change your mind, take it up with the interim moderator.”  That went a LOT easier than I expected.  Such a relief to get it all cleared up.

Then she also mentioned that in August, she will be welcoming new members, and would I be interested in officially joining the church?  This was a little trickier.  I thanked her for letting me know.  “But no?” she said.  “But no,” I replied.  “All right,” she said, “I just wanted to give you the opportunity to vote on the new minister.”

Why, oh why, after 18 years (give or take) of faithful attendance and involvement in the church I love, do I continue to resist full membership?  Short answer?  I like it on the fringe, (the lunatic fringe some would say!)  The Presbyterian Church considers me “an adherent” as opposed to “a member.”  Sounds a little like a burr on a sock, doesn’t it?  I cannot vote on the acceptance of a new minister, or on the election of elders.  (I can only ratify or not ratify the decision of the congregation.)  Neither can I run for eldership or a seat on the Board of Managers.  I’m not supposed to vote on motions at the annual General Meeting (but I always do, and once even acted as secretary!)  And strange as it may sound, I don’t find these restrictions in the least limiting.  I have no desire to join the Session or the Board, and I’m more than content to let the congregation decide major issues.  And in spite of my “unofficial” status, I play a full role in the liturgy, singing in the choir and even preaching during the summers.  (There’s a saying that they will let anyone preach in the Presbyterian Church.  I’m the proof of that!)

I enjoy being a little on the outside.  I was an official Catholic for 33 years, until the Church failed to recognize my marriage, or my equality to men.  After much soul-searching, I had to admit that there was no future for me there, and I left.  That whole experience has made me skittish of titles or labels, at least in the religious arena, and so I’ve pitched my tent on the borderline between lapsed Catholic and adhering Presbyterian.  I’m comfortable here; it’s freeing and fun, and where I find my blessedness.  Never say never of course, but I can’t see changing that any time soon.



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  1. Chris Bennett
    Posted July 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Penny, I find it interesting that you say you cannot run for a seat on the Board of Managers. At our church the majority of people on the Board of Managers are adherents! Chris

    • Penny-Anne
      Posted July 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Well now. Isn’t that interesting! I may need to double-check this. I know adherents can’t be on Session, and I may have just assumed that went for Board of Managers as well. Thanks for the heads-up!

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