I have written about my church's massive multimillion dollar capital campaign almost a year ago.
Well, even though they're a couple 'a million shy the original goal, demolition begins this week I believe, on the second phase of the project *drumroll please* the Children's Pavilion. Never mind that two of the pastors are now doing three jobs with less assistance. Never mind that the original building's goals have not yet produced the regular "programs" that were planned, because the plan was to staff the church mostly with volunteers who have not materialized. Although all the hype you would read or hear decries the opposite of what you would see and experience.
The macro tragedy is the enormous amount of expenditure into buildings so grandiose that many are now askance at said grandiosity. Not to mention the debt the church will be burdened with for many many years. (Financing is with independent banks, not Presbytery). And when, as I fear, a sizable amount of the pledges those loans are based upon, prove to be uncollectable, it's not gonna be pretty.
The micro tragedy (or actually tragedies) that draws my sight to the macro tragedy are personal experiences such as -
~I learned that a mission fund had an additional $6,000 to give away and was looking for needs. I called them. Twice. And e-mailed. With a most appropriate avenue. No one ever called me back or replied to my e-mail. Not even to say "Sorry, already spoken for".
~One of the pastors was to call me, during a difficult time, which I was really needing. Took my number. And never called. When I saw him some weeks later, not even a mention of the oversight.
~The deacons received new assignments this year. I received a postcard telling me that "K" was to be my new deacon. When I saw her on Deacon Sunday she said, "No I'm not. You're not on my list". I don't believe I was on any list. At any rate, three months later now, "K" kindly "adopted" me, after the pastor in charge of the deacons was not able to figure out what had happened. I've talked to several members recently who have said, "What? We still have deacons? What do they do?"
~And this, which really makes me sad in terms of the new 8 million dollar Children's Pavilion. I volunteered to teach Sunday School this summer. Such a big push for volunteers needed because summer is so difficult. I have never taught at this church, so I expected some kind of phone call, or flyer or something to prepare me. At least tell me where to meet. The Thursday before the first Sunday I was to teach, I finally got an answer to my e-mail saying that because of the early demolition on the Sunday School buildings there had been no time to prepare a lesson and that a video would be shown. The second week, it took my third e-mail sent late Saturday night to find out that VBS had taken more attention than thought and again, a lesson had not been prepared and a video would be shown.
~Wonderboy and I ran into a young woman who had grown up in the church. I asked her what she thought of the highly touted youth programs. She sighed and said that she had tried to get into the youth groups there, but as she neither lived in the area nor attended the same school most of the kids did that they ignored her. That it was a very cliquey group. And this surprised me because for years I've heard what a great program this church does with its youth. Though it misses the mark on most everything else. Certainly the children's choir has not been that way for us.
The upshot is that Wonderboy will participate in his beloved Children's Choir with Janet and Judy one more year. Especially since his school will be new. Then I believe it will be time to move on.
And I will never again volunteer for anything at this church. It makes me ill to imagine what good would have come if the building and upgrades (many of which were sorely needed, to be fair) had been done in keeping with the original architecture and done more modestly, with all that lovely money.
Now they will have a very fancy Children's Pavilion to show the kids videos on Sunday because there was no time to prepare a lesson.