Previously said, “In my next post I will reveal a human story which will show how the *sinful behaviour which has brought the bus to the state it is in has directly impacted on individuals who rely on its availability.”
So, in this third post I will follow through with that which I stated in the previous post and present a brief story about the personal impact of our bus not being used for its intended purpose.
What that story will highlight is, yet again, of some embarrassment for the entire congregation. The reason is because it show just how selective our church leaders are in choosing who can and cannot worship at Fairfield Uniting. It’s a power thing, who has what ‘rights’ at Fairfield Uniting.
An additional part of this post, linked to peoples’ rights’ will also be outlined and this component of the post will surely raise peoples hackles in demonstrating just how entrenched are the cultures of bullying, control, abuse and hypocrisy within portions of Fairfield Uniting’s congregation.
Now all of the points above can be measured against the backdrop of a letter I have previously referred to in the second post of this blog. The letter Fairfield Uniting’s Church Councillors used to unjustifiable attack my wife and who accuse me of “working against us”; “us” being, of course, the current Fairfield Uniting Church’s Elder and Church Councillors. The same people who, several times a day see and watch as the church bus deteriorates in front of them: the very same individuals who say I disrupt fellowship within our congregation.
Now let’s take that very last point first (I disrupt fellowship within our congregation) and detail what happened last Sunday (27July2014) before and after the morning worship service. On entering the church I was approached by a congregational member who asked if she could speak with me after church; I replied “yes”. After the service on the public footpath in front of the church I was again approached by the same person who had made the earlier request and, was asked had I come to “her place” and taken photos of the bus. She went on to say that her neighbour had seen me and that I had no right to do what I had done!
Now let’s take a closer look at those statements: her neighbour* had told her she had seen me and *she had; I did/do not deny that fact. I don’t know the neighbour nor she me so how was the link to me made? Furthermore, by that Sunday, the photos were already a part of this blog as featured in the second posting.
But there is a more sinister twist needing to be considered here; there was a very strong suggestion I had go ‘on to her property’. This point was made very aggressively several times during the confrontation. As you can all see ‘the bus’ was on a public road, in full view and accessible from all sides via public property!
The second part of that comment is that I had “no right” to photograph the bus. And there, in that part of her statement, you see an example of the control and bullying to be found in Fairfield Uniting’s Church congregation. The bus being property belonging to the church of which I am a member, parked on a public road in a municipal area in which I have resided for my entire 64 years and yet; I have no right to be on that road photographing something of which is the property of the ‘church community’ in which I belong; for almost the same period of time. What does this say about Fairfield Uniting Church? Is it a faith based ministry or a sect under the dictatorial control of a few? It’s looking a lot more like that latter than the former.
But it gets worse. I have indicated the approach was aggressive and it was: I did not deny what I had done and have no reason to regret my actions (taking the photos) and after the person had made her initial pronouncement she continue to aggressively threaten me (in full view of the congregation) repeatedly stating I had no right to go to her place and that I should never go there again. Having made her point I asked her to step away and when she did not and continued her tirade I walked away. In doing so I was followed, the tirade and threats continuing; I again asked her to step away and when she did not I indicated I should go to the police and crossed the road to break off the contact.
How many of you attend church services which conclude with this type of ‘fellowship’? Is it really me who is ‘disrupting’ the church? What level of protection and or support did I get from the Elders and other Church Councillors at the time of the confrontation or subsequently – NONE! When you know who delivered the tirade you will also know why not protection or support – for me!
Those events, of last Sunday, will have a sequel!
Now, to the second part of this post; a human story behind the un-availability of the church bus.
As previously stated the role of the church bus is to ferry those who are in need of transport to and from church to be able to do so.
Picture if you will a church congregational member who is severely disabled. A person for whom mobility is an extremely difficult and slow process: someone who should be able to count on being able to use/access a gift given to his church for the express purpose of transporting people with the need.
Add to that picture several components: one, this is person who, always with the disability, has attended for many decades. Two, even with the difficulties the person has, he did, for many years get himself to and from church but, due to changing circumstances involving distance this same person turned to using the amenity the church bus provided. That later arrangement has been in place now for probably over ten years. But it stopped, why? Well in part because of what you all now know; Fairfield Uniting’s bus is parked, un-registered and rotting on a public road.
Now the person I have outlined is NOT the only person who was being transported directly prior to the bus ‘becoming un-available’. His absence was not un-noticed and as one would expect the Elders and Church councillors would be right on top of a situation like this and arrange alternative transport? You know, go and pick the person up themselves and or announce or ask other congregational members if they could do so. That’s what you would expect: except as situations like this are under the CONTROL of Fairfield Uniting’s Elders and councillors it’s not what happens. But to be fair he did get mentioned, as not always being able to ‘attend’, in prayers, uttered by an Elder. Was he sick, choosing not come, or had he other commitments (?); some of us wondered.
After nearly six weeks I took it upon myself to visit him. Why the time span you might ask and, a reasonable question it is. We do have Elders in which we should be able to trust, we did have a minister who could well have been following through. But in the main, being honest, with the disquiet rife in a congregation did we want to lift the lid off and expose yet another example of the dysfunctional nature of Fairfield Uniting Church. That is, of course, is what has happened; our dysfunction is once again exposed and, it’s a disturbingly nasty thing which has been exposed!
In my visitation I was told the reason the person was not attending was because the bus had (told to them by a church councillor**) ‘broken down, was not working’ and that when it was fixed (at the end of the month) he would again be picked-up. Well we now know ‘not working’ is another way of saying un-registered and ‘end of the month’ was probably very ‘optimistic’ to say the least.
But, as with everything to do with Fairfield Uniting nothing is without a twist and, here is the twist in this story. Other congregational members, who were being transported up to the point the bus became un-available, broken down, not working and un-registered continue to be picked-up in the private cars of none other than church councillors! Oh dear! Why has one person only, who with the terrible infliction he lives with and who has demonstrated, through his perseverance and effort, his enormous depth of faith, been so appallingly treated by our church, Fairfield Uniting? And this is not the first time.
The fellow I have just talked about can barely walk but, given the opportunity, took it and came to church last week, transported in a private car. He made the effort, but many long term congregational members have given up and walked away from our congregation because of its management, our Elders and Church Councillors; the same people who accuse me of disrupting the fellowship of Fairfield Uniting.
There is yet another twist – after all it is Fairfield Uniting’s Elders and Church Councillors who have now been found ‘wanting’ in this case of ‘discrimination’. In the church hall, after the morning service, my wife was approached – by a **church councillor - about the fact the ‘person’ had been picked-up and asked why it had been done. She answered and, he continued with the question, was the arrangement going to continue. When he was told it would he was clearly ‘un-happy’; why, you might ask? The answer, of course, lays embedded not in the phrase ‘service to others’ but in the phrase ‘WE MUST CONTROL’.
What more do I need to say to convince the Uniting Church in Australia’s hierarchy as to why I have asked for their help only to watched as they just pass by?
In the next post more about control as the primary Pastoral Care tool exercised at Fairfield Uniting Church.