August 17 2014, yet another Sunday to remember at Fairfield Uniting. For the wrong reasons though and, yet again, it is the contrasts which highlight the conflicting tragedy Fairfield Uniting has become.
The worship service - again - experienced a 'technical hitch' preventing the use of both projector and video screen; the 'plan b', hand held hymn books with canned music. A great example of why, sometimes, with a slice of forethought what is seen as a step forward was little more than an un-necessary indulgence and a waste of a valuable resource.
In contrast, Rev. Kava's sermon “faith can work without prayer but prayer cannot work without faith” was delivered with a passion and a deep sense of spirituality and personal conviction. It was a pointed, relevant sermon – as have others he has given - and contained valuable advice and guidance for us all. Rev. Kava spoke from the heart and, in doing so left no doubt in my mind he was speaking wisely, to me and the congregation, whilst at the same time challenging us all to adhere, follow and apply Christian principles to all we do and say.
As this blog is about recording the personal experiences endured by some in Fairfield Uniting for the express purpose of ensuring the truth is not wall papered over, distorted or changed. Bearing the last sentence of the previous paragraph in mind, I'll continue in highlighting the contrasts and tragedy Fairfield Uniting has become.
As happened (to me) on the previous Sunday [and the one before that ;-) etc.....], the Sunday just past, whilst standing outside of Fairfield Uniting, prior to the commencement of the morning service, I was once again verbally abused by two women arriving for the morning service. For a brief period it was a joint effort: two on one. If it wasn't so serious you may be excused if you were thinking – what I write about - is a rehearsal for a tragic opera. But seriously speaking both these people revealed much about themselves and what I refer to as the driving force: which is in the main a selfish self interest driven by a belief right is on their side. It goes without saying neither of these women stop to consider, even for a split second, about what might be so wrong in unjustly heaping abuse on a person, in this way, at church (or any time for that matter). These episodes define the nature of the beast we are dealing at Fairfield Uniting; hopefully, at some point, those two and all who 'sit on the fence' watching will, with God's help, one day realize, just how 'wrong/unjust' they have been.
A look at some of the comments: Cathy's opening shot was about the previous post stating I should have talked with her directly not “through the blog”. A reasonable comment: except she provided no invitation or opportunity to explain myself when she first attacked me. Had Cathy asked me to explain my actions I would have been happy to do so. I did point out on this occasion she needed to know the full story, and that may change her perspective, but clearly that was not going to happen.
A second part of Cathy's “you should have talked to me directly” approach was to tell me I should have the courage of my convictions. Smiling (which she interjected offended her) as I replied “it is standing up for my convictions and what is right I am being castigated for”. Cathy followed with another gem stating, as I have indicated in the previous post, “I (Cathy) have not been coached”. Really. Cathy can that be true?*
I asked Cathy a question; “did she feel what she was doing was what Jesus would do or want done?”. Her reply was to say the reason she came to church was to do good. I replied that was, in part, what I want as well. To that Cathy replied, “*then why did you leave the church for four years”.
*This is a significant comment because not only is it un-true the mis-information has as its source the Solifoni's. That one comment, Cathy, demonstrates the priming I have previously referred too. Let alone it's irrelevance, a very large part of the on-going issues at Fairfield Uniting are fueled by seriously distorted facts farmed out deliberately, by a small band, for no other reason than to cause trouble and division.....
As I said in my previous post, Cathy's original attack was because she directly blamse me for the police for issuing an infringement notice relating to the 'church bus'. Interestingly on this occasion Cathy revealed her son was a policeman. So here we have something to consider; is Cathy saying what I did, in responding to Rachael's “go to the police taunt”, was wrong because in reporting what Rachael had said and done, in bullying me, I had drawn police attention to an illegal act. Is Cathy actually saying I should not report an illegal act? Would that be the position taken by her son (a policeman) if he were a member of Fairfield Uniting?
Which ever way you look at Cathy's comments they raise questions. If the Fairfield Uniting congregation, as it appears it had, broken the law, as a result of its representatives – the church councillors - actions then it does appear Cathy is OK with the fact a breach of the law should be covered-up and or ignored. Interesting stance for a policeman to consider.....? Does this line of thinking, which is also the church councillors stance ring any bells about the past actions – of Churchs' - being aired in the press. Cannot others see this type of thinking and action is NOT what Fairfield Uniting, nor any other church, should be engaged in or encourage!
But what of Rachael's involvement in the latest proceeding? Well more of the same it can be said; Rachael's last spit was full of her usual vehement, slanderous comments relating to me and my family. But there was a more revealing moment I must air. I stole an opportunity, in the tirade, to ask Rachael, as I had done Cathy, did she think what she was doing was what Jesus would want. Whilst Cathy dodged the answer, Rachael was more forthcoming, she replied, “Jesus has nothing to do with this”!
That folks says it all: finally Rachael has put in words that which is the root of the problems in Fairfield Uniting - “Jesus has nothing to do with this”!
Jesus is NOT a part of the 'processes' which are leading Fairfield Uniting and there was/is no way Rachael is/was going to let Jesus 'rain on her parade'. She continued her tirade demanding I leave and go home. Rachael repeated that demand clearly not wanting me to go into church. To this I angrily replied you go into church and ask Rev. Kava to come and tell me to go home.
That was not going to happen but I was so incensed with Rachael, like a petulant child I walked into church (which had commenced), walked to the front of the church and told Rev. Kava, Rachael had told me to leave.
I ask this question: if I am such a bad person, full of evil and evil intent as Foni and Rachael Solofoni and, as it does appear, other congregational members do, is not church exactly where I should be? Should each of the Elders and Church Councillors be moving heaven and earth to expose me to the teachings of Jesus to rid me of the evil they (appear) to see? Have David and Pat Tweed, Foni and Ma'ata Solifoni been 'appointed' as councillors for the purpose of doing God's work and in doing so use their posts of responsibilities, as Elders and Church Councillors, to throw me out of a church which I have been a part of for sixty plus years with no counseling, just or defined reason?
Who in the Uniting Church in Australia, or any other church, is equipped, or courageous enough, to answer that last question?
More importantly though, who in the Uniting church in Australia has the calling and commitment to step up to the plate and do, at Fairfield Uniting, what has been necessary for a very, very, very long time.
As they say, but wait there's more: At the church door, after the morning service, I asked our Church Council Chairman (Elder), Mr. D. Tweed if it were possible the fellow I had been bringing to church could be taken home in the 'new' church bus. My approach was not welcomed, but replied “we'll do what ever we need to do” and in doing so re-directed the question to Foni Solofoni who promptly replied “no”. In the ensuing exchange our erstwhile Chairman/Elder walked off not wanting to pursue the rejection (leadership?).
Now the person this is about I have previously outlined but I will remind the reader(s) he is a severely disabled church member who has, until 'recently' being ignored by the current church leaders/councillors, been attending F/U and for thirty years+ has made an enormous effort to attend despite his disability. For a great period of that time he has been assisted with access to the church bus – that is, until the 'recent' management**.
To return though to councillor Foni Solofoni: his rejection of my 'request' was, of course, and I am constantly told so, my fault (all of Fairfield Uniting's 'problems' are caused by me). 'Leader' Foni Solofoni was quick to remind me of a hostile question he asked me only one week earlier. The question was, “was I going to continue to pick-up the church member? My answer simple was “yes”. Foni Solofoni's question and my answer were part of the exchange outlined in an earlier post; the same one in which Foni said to another person, from a different congregation, I was a waste, rubbish etc.
It is important to note I knew the 'church bus' was an un-registered vehicle and would not be able to pick-up any person. I was not aware of, nor did Foni Solofoni, for his convenience it now appears, impart any knowledge about the fact he would have other transport available next week/soon; why was that you may ask?
Foni Solofoni pushed his argument in a numbers of ways, basing his argument (with his son's support) stating I had said I would pick-up the person and therefore he had no reason nor obligation to do so. He is effectively refusing (which he denies) to use church property, for the purpose it is for, to transport people to and from church, who he feels would be inconvenient to him! Why do I say that with such certainty?
Well the answer is; because Foni flatly refused to take the fellow home in the 'new bus'; that is a refusal of kindness by a 'church leader'. However, bearing in mind why the bus exists, I pressed Foni Solifoni about picking up the fellow next week. It took several attempts but Foni, begrudgingly, agreed to do so, but with a caveat? That caveat was, if it is raining “I will not pick him up”. Interesting? So I asked why and the answer was if he slipped over he would sue the church.
Over thirty years of making the difficult effort to attend church and a church councillors main concern is being 'sued'. Goodness gracious me have you ever heard anything so pitifully ridiculous? Possible yes, plausible no. It was just another excuse among many, proffered as a reason to cover what amounts to being inconvenient effort to Foni & Co. Picking this fellow up for church is a work load and an effort beyond what Foni (a church councillor) wants to perform and that is the real reason he fabricates agreements to leave somebody behind.
Another example of how Jesus is left out of Fairfield Uniting's 'management'!
I must admit at this point in time I had had the proverbial 'gut full' and angrily said to Foni what he was doing was ridiculous. He was very quick to point out it was me who was being ridiculous (***); but there was a more potent statement made by Foni and that was, “I am in charge”. Foni went on to say I (the writer) should never have gone and visited the fellow he ignored (and inferred I should not have picked him up either) without asking his (Foni's) permission! “We are the council he followed, I (Foni) decided what happens!”. Ah! Now we see more of the real colours of Fairfield Uniting's management exposed; it's all to do with CONTROL. Do only as I (Foni and councillors) tell you and don't do anything, anything we have not approved.
I repeat: Do only as I (Foni and councillors) tell you and don't do anything, anything we have not approved.
This 'instruction' - from a church councillor (speaking for the entire church council) – a person who has openly flaunted Uniting Church in Australia rules and NSW laws; a person and group (the church council/councillors) who are openly hostile to individuals who have been part of Fairfield Uniting for their entire lives and or many decades.
I pose the following questions to Foni Solofoni – in part due to the importance he seemed to place on 'agreements of convenience' he had supposedly made with an individual about transport - but they are questions for all of Fairfield Uniting's church council, the Fairfield Uniting congregation, and the entire Uniting Church in Australia.
If accepting the challenge of being a Christian is and 'agreement' made to accept Christ as our Saviour, to follow, and apply, his teachings to our daily lives and in all we do and say, then why is it we, at Fairfield Uniting, are in the midst of the crisis we are?
Did anything said to me, on the Sunday(s) past, by Cathy, David Tweed (Elder), Rachael and Foni (church councillor) Solifoni reflect the agreements made in accepting the 'title/responsibility' of being Christian and up-holding the principles outlined for a Uniting Church Councillor?
Is it acceptable for the Fairfield Uniting Church Council/Councillors to flaunt the laws of our state and then to heap scorn and blame on another church member when caught out?
Lambasting, slandering and bullying individuals is a component part of Fairfield Uniting's current leadership; are they acceptable traits or required characteristics and component(s) when accepting Christ as Saviour?
What I have been doing in these pages, as I have previously outlined, is diarizing part of the life of Fairfield Uniting Church as directly applied to me, my family and a great many others who have fled; as I did for a short period. In the main it has been done as an historical record but it has also been very important to me in other ways.
I am not an overtly angry person: however; the past years of attendance at Fairfield Uniting have changed me and driven me to depths I would rather not have had to experience. My anger and rage have grown as each injustice has been delivered and exposed. It has also grown out of the shear frustration of having to watch as the leaders of Fairfield Uniting have purposely dismantled much of the past good, have been un-truthful, have vilified ministers, have caused splits in the congregation and families and defections of considerable proportions.
I know part of what is driving the 'hate' they feel they need to express; my anger is driven and multiplying with the frustration I feel in not being able to find a way, for these protagonist of evil, to see the error of their ways. I feel enormous sadness for them.
My anger has grown ten fold as I have witnessed the cruel and vindictive behaviour, displayed at Fairfield Uniting, being left un-challenged/corrected by the leaders if Uniting Church in Australia's apparent un-willingness to wade into our difficult situation; for their failure to demonstrate the moral courage, conviction and commitment their positions would give them the authority to exercise.
Their failure to intervene/lead when asked, is one thing; for me, the other is the/their complete inability/desire or willingness to provide guidance, a plan, a process or something else to assist in preventing the continued propagation of sin as exposed in Fairfield Uniting.
Rev. Luney's reply to a similar statement I put to him was to say, “if only people would read the new testament”. This seemed, to me, to imply reading the bible would fix the problems. In part that is correct; however it requires application, not just reading.
We, in Fairfield Uniting, have witnessed Church rules and laws of society broken in deliberate and calculated ways. Knowing the rules and laws does not prevent intentional breaches.
Knowing the bible has not prevented what has happened at Fairfield Uniting, quite the reverse.
I reached a point some time ago in which I decided I would stay at Fairfield Uniting to confront what I see as evil and that is also why (one reason) I have documented the events of the past few Sundays. To expose that evil as a warning, to others, and as a record for the future.
With the exception of the sermons over the past weeks, attending Fairfield Uniting for me (and my wife) is the worst day in our week: there is no joy, little reverence and absolutely no encouragement to return the next week. If that is seen as being a church of value then I throw the following question; if Christ was to return (in person), into Fairfield Uniting's midst what would he think or do.
I know he is in our midst but not all hearts and minds are open. Fairfield Uniting is a test we are all failing and for which, if we are not very careful and quick to change, we will be held accountable.
I close with the following: whilst Cathy and Rachael were lambasting me Cathy said, “I (me) should forgive people not do what I am doing!” In what way can her attacks and those of Rachael, Foni and Ma'ata Solofoni, David and Pat Tweed be interpreted as forgiveness. Is being told to, or forced to, leave the church a display of forgiveness worthy of Elders and Church Councillors?
“faith can work without prayer but prayer cannot work without faith”
At Fairfield Uniting faith, prayer coupled with courage, decisive and transparent action is the only way forward now; the alternative is to descend deeper into hell!