Ask El Padre: Displaced Disciple

Question: What do you do when you have very deep roots within a church that you love and sacrifice for, and then in comes a new honcho who stops ALL ACTIVITIES within the church and Parish. The Parish was finally in a good place, someplace it had not been in awhile and wham, torn to pieces again. Do you look for a new Parish or do you keep fighting those in charge?

Dear Displaced Disciple,

It sounds like you’re going through some difficult changes in your local church. Who knows, you could be describing my church. Over the time that I’ve served the Greenpoint Reformed Church, lots of changes have occurred. I’m sure that some of these were greeted with joy and others…well, I know that some folks aren’t so thrilled with the changes that have been made.

Houses of worship, especially in a city as vibrant as ours, are constantly changing. Nonetheless, change can be incredibly difficult and painful. It does, though, bring new opportunities that you might have otherwise not experienced. Yes, you could stay and continue to fight with those in charge. Hey, we all know that where two or three are gathered, it’s likely a church fight breaks out. Living in community with one another inevitably involves disagreements. But whenever conflict does happen, you need to be able to resolve it in a loving and forgiving manner. Do you think you can resolve this conflict? Or will it keep going on and on.

Ultimately, church should be a place where you grow in your relationship with God. What might staying keep you from doing and experiencing? Looking for a new parish might allow you to experience God in ways you haven’t had before and allow you to meet new friends and see different ways of being and doing church. It’s easy to think that our one church is the be all and end all place and there isn’t anything like it. We hold tightly to that one place, and sometimes it can be detrimental to our relationship with God. The good news is that there are plenty of parishes where you can grow in your faith. I’d encourage you to take a sabbatical from the current drama in your church and reconnect with God through the life of a different community.

And hey – if you *are* in fact a member of my church, please come talk with me. The vast majority of ministers, priests, rabbis and imams I know all want the people in our communities to thrive in their faith. Sometimes we make mistakes that get in the way of this. Clergyfolks are only human. There are a lot of things I have to juggle, and while I don’t mean to hurt people, I know that it can happen. I try to be open to hearing about this when it happens, and to apologize. If this is the case, I’d welcome the chance to talk with you in person.

Sincerely,
El Padre

If you need advice about life, love or God – Ask El Padre AKA Pastor Ann Kansfield from Greenpoint Reformed Church (136 Milton St)

About Jen G

After living in NYC my entire life, I found the strongest sense of community in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Running this blog is truly an honor and the best part is meeting its readers in real life. Everyday I am energized by smiles and inspiring conversations with fellow Greenpointers who tirelessly do and create incredible things that are good for our community and share the same love I have for life here. If you see me walking with my little dog "D" - please say hi!

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