Well I'm back and, it ain't with good news.
What would Jesus do with the Congregation of Fairfield Uniting Church?
Should, Fairfield Uniting Church be closed?
If you don't want to read all this post just go to the 2nd last paragraph starting with '*In closing.....' and let me know what your answers may be to the two opening questions.
In talking with a minister a couple of weeks ago there was a suggestion inferred these blog posting were not helping.
They are not meant to help! They have been done to record (the truth for the future) the un-Godly behaviour of Fairfield Uniting Church under the leadership of its current Elders and Church Councillors.
I use, un-Godly, in a strict sense meaning, quite simply, as a description of the behaviour of Fairfield Uniting's Elders and Church Councillors; behaviour which excludes (completely) God, the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Jesus, in every respect.
I also have used these posting to highlight the contrasts found at Fairfield Uniting: often very good sermons are book-ended by behaviour which is almost incomprehensible. Bullying, verbal abuse and physical intimidation can all be experienced before and after the Sunday services at Fairfield Uniting and, Sunday the 2nd October 2014 was no exception. What happened, that day, is the subject of this post.
In addition to being a record, these posting gave the Elders and Church Councillors an opportunity to see another’s perspective of their actions and behaviour so as to allow, their actions and behaviour, to be addressed and fixed. A faint hope but I remain 'relatively' optimistic ;-)
So what did happen last Sunday. Well, for starters, my wife and I arrived late for Church due in no small part having travelled nearly 400km to get there; we arrived as Rev. Choi was concluding his sermon and just prior to the delivery of communion. Having not heard the sermon I am unable to comment but, if Rev. Choi's delivered a sermon similar to the past it would have been a worthy lesson.
Morning tea followed the service which was, in turn, followed by a Congregational meeting; the first since the 14 April 2013.
The meeting was opened (and was to be Chaired by the self appointed) Mr. David Tweed (an Elder and Chairman of the Church Council). Mr. D. Tweed opened with two statements: the first statement indicated the meeting would be run according to the 'Rules'. The second statement – which in all probability passed over the heads of all but two – was that only people in “good standing within the Church” were entitled to be there and participate.
Only people in “good standing within the Church” were entitled to be there and participate. A curious comment but one which was not lost on me as this is precisely the comment D. Tweed has directed at me personally many times and, has used when referring to me when misleading Presbytery in relation to my membership status. When it was (to my knowledge) first thrown at me, some years ago, I was taken aback. In trying to get to the bottom of why D. Tweed used and still uses, and directs, that statement at me has met a complete dead-end. D. Tweed's failure (for years) to tell me why he refers to me in this way has led me to the conclusion it is completely without basis in fact and is totally unjustified. It has now reached a point of being a discriminatory and defamatory statement. It was used, again, in the Congregational meeting, by D. Tweed (Elder) in an attempt and as a reason for denying my democratic right to speak*!
Now the Congregational meeting to which I am referring was to be our annual general meeting and one which elected two (2) persons to the existing Church Council. Following is the format of the agenda provided and printed on a Church letter head;
1. Minutes of last year
2. Minister report
6. Financial report
It's a joke eh?
No joke, Yep, that's it folks a genuine agenda Fairfield Uniting Church style: a title and seven (7) 'points' of which only three (3) probably carry any real meaning outside of a guess. Now, to you the reader, if you know something about meetings of the type we were attending you would be probably thinking was the meeting organised by kindergarten children or experienced Elders/Church Councillors. As the Chairman/Elder D. Tweed is in his eighties and has an extremely dictatorial style, that agenda indicates, in just how much disdain David Tweed holds the Congregation and just how cavalier are all the Elders/Church Councillors in relation to the offices they hold.
In short, the meeting was an inconvenience to the Elders and Church Councillors and totally un-necessary, from their dictatorial point of view. As you will soon come to see the Elders and Church Councillors of Fairfield Uniting Church are a rouge council bent on protecting, at any cost, their positions and control over Fairfield Uniting's Congregation and The Uniting Church in Australia's property and assets. With behaviour which excludes completely God, the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Jesus, in every respect.
So to work our way through the agenda. The first item: well they actually didn't have the minutes from the previous two meetings what was presented was a 'recollection' of what occurred. That another way to say we'll present what we want you to hear not what happened. I do know why they do not have the original minute notes; because I have them ;-)
To continue: we ramble our way through the “Minister report”, Office, Diner and Annexe arriving finally at the Financial report which revealed some very interesting points. Of particular interest was information extracted in relation to Church owned vehicles destroyed and purchased. More on that topic latter.
The we get to the Ballot: this was of particular interest to me because it involved the election of two persons to the existing rouge Church Council.
Now cast your mind back to an earlier paragraph in which I said “Mr. D. Tweed opened (the meeting) with two statements: the first statement indicated the meeting would be run according to the Uniting Church rules. The second statement – which in all probability passed over the heads of all but two – was that only people in “good standing within the Church” were entitled to be there and participate.
You would be forgiven for thinking having said the meeting was being to the 'Rules' that he (Elder/chairman D. Tweed) meant Uniting Church rules and, you would be wrong! This is a Tweed and Solifoni show therefore it's their 'Rules' which apply NOT the Uniting Church's.
You see the nomination, for the two positions, were NOT done nor did the notification follow the Uniting Church rules. With the consequence that when to ballot papers were about to be handed out I stood and asked to speak. The immediate reply from the Chair was that I was not going to be allowed speak, he as the Chairman was not going to allow it and further more he angrily stated the reason why; it was because “I was not a person of good standing in the church”. There is that comment again and delivered as it was, very angrily, and in front of the entire Congregation you may now see why I consider it doth discriminatory and defamatory. What D. Tweed (Elder/Chairman) was attempting to do was to deny me my democratic right by discrediting my character – in public this time!
The meeting – understandably - descended into chaos and on the way other Church Councillors of the Congregation – one being, Foni Solifoni, a self appointed Elder – choose to take the opportunity, and NOT speaking to the motion in play, to also besmirch my character with one very lengthy dissertation culminating in telling everybody about this blog. Now if you have read the other posts, in this blog, you will be familiar already with the character Foni Solifoni and some of his earlier exploits (more on him later too in relation to him being a 'self appointed Elder').
There came a point, in the chaos, which I did get to speak. Important to note, at this point, without any formal procedure a Ms. Ma'ata Solifoni took over the functions of the Chair (you now see why I say Fairfield Uniting is a Tweed/Solifoni circus with rules of administration to match). I commenced speaking and in doing so pointed out how D. Tweed had mentioned 'running to the rules' I also pointed out that only last Sunday Ma'ata Solifoni had given a long childrens' talk in church about the importance of following rules in society; the 10 commandments being the basis of that sermon.
With a small amount more to say about why the nominations were incorrectly done and why the Congregation should have the opportunity to nominate others, I was stopped by the 'self appointed Chair' and asked to summarise. In other word we don't want to hear what you have to say so make it brief. So I did by moving the following motion;
As the nominations of Janet McKinley and Lorna Field have not complied with the regulatory requirements of notification; I move (a procedural motion) the Congregation vote to defer, their vote, for or against their acceptance of the nominees, for the positions of Church Councillors, to an adjournment of this meeting to be convened on the 30th November 2014.
The postponement will provide additional time and opportunity for the nominees to reflect on the responsibilities of the office; it will also provide additional time to ensure regulatory requirements are met and, will provide the Congregation its rightful opportunity to put forward other nominations for consideration.
Self explanatory and not a big deal actually and, if you were a person, in that hall, with a head on your shoulders and a brain within tuned in to 'GOD and doing things correctly in a Christian environment' you, may, have rationally discussed the reasons for and against and then proceeded. Don't forget this is Fairfield Uniting Church – the Tweed/Solifoni show. After putting the motion, in the melee which followed was when Foni Solifoni delivered his condemnations on my character. Normal and predictable behaviour on behalf of the Elders/Church Councillors and using their methods of coercion my motion, to postpone and, allow the Uniting Church rules to be adhered too, for the opportunity of other nominations, was defeated and two new Church Councillors were elected.
Those two councillors now join the ranks of the rogue Elders and Church Councillors and, sadly, they will now - unless they stop what is happening (fix what has happened, ha! ha!) - become stained by association. Sad and true!
Voting done and dusted D.Tweed then asked what next? I said date of next meeting. D.Tweed then said to all assembled did they want to finish and that was then end of the first Congregational meeting since early April 2013. No date set for the next meeting is yet again a display of the contempt the Elders and Church Councillors hold the Congregation and is their way of displaying how they hold on to their power.
*In closing I am going to make a very important statement. Mr. David Tweed, an Elder, Chairman of the Church Council and self elected Chairman of the Congregational meeting told all those assembled that what is written in this blog is “all lies” and that I was a liar. Now this very serious accusation was from the mouth of a Fairfield Uniting Church Elder whilst he was Chairing a Congregational meeting – you, the reader, can draw you own conclusions about what I have written but what Mr. David Tweed did was witnessed by the Congregation and nobody, absolutely nobody at that meeting could challenged what was said.
In not seriously challenging Mr. David Tweed's character assassination of me – as it happened - condemns every person present, which in turns condemns the very spirituality and Christianity of Fairfield Uniting Church: leaving only questions to be asked: a key one being, what would Jesus do and a second, given the un-Godlyness displayed; Should Fairfield Uniting Church be closed?