What would you do…for a straight answer?
Reflections on the Oversight Committee ‘Process’
Defecta in primis.
Definition: the ‘process’ here has not yet been articulated–it actually requires more thought. I will revise ASAP.
a. The committee is populated with people who approved the dismissal of the person (Simon Templar) whom they are then supposed to help.*
b. The fact of (a.) is bad enough; complicating it is the fact that so much was said about ST, critical and slanderous, in his absence at the Classis meeting of December 8, 2015. What was said has necessarily affected the committee members’ perception of ST.
c. There are two aspects of (b.) worth expounding. It was a moral wrong for defamatory things to be said in ST’s absence before all in the Classis meeting, without his having opportunity to hear them and then to counter them if he was able (there is injustice in one being permitted neither to know the accusations against him nor to face his accuser). Also, the nature of the communication and meetings, and consequential awkwardness between the parties, precludes ST from directly asking the committee members what they heard about him in December, and therefore ascertaining how what they heard has affected their dispositions toward him and his case. He continues to be prevented from countering any allegations against him or trying to recover his reputation in the eyes of the men in the committee.
d. *Returning to the use of the term ‘help’ in (a.). What is the purpose of the Oversight Committee? What are they to do? Is it clearly defined in writing somewhere, such as in the Church Order? Is there also a procedure they are to follow in terms of how they conduct committee business? What is their authority, and to whom do they answer for their part in the process? What is this ‘process’? Is it anywhere defined? I’m sure it must be, as at least the ‘evaluation’ was established as the necessary first step, by someone…
e. I ask (d.) because the ‘process’ has seemed somewhat convoluted. Someone was supposed to contact Pastor-Church Relations at the end of December 2015 for guidance on where to begin. ST offered to do this; a committee member said he would do it instead. By the time the Oversight Committee met in late April 2016, it appeared that the member hadn’t actually made contact with PCR until the morning of the meeting itself—four months later. Per that convo with PCR, apparently the two months of back-and-forth to arrange that April meeting was a total waste of time. Why? Because it was in the PCR phone call that the committee, through its member, discovered that there was nothing they could do in the ‘process’ until after ST had had a psych eval conducted by a CRC-affiliated professional or group of… Two questions: why wasn’t this known before the first of January? And, where was Cadet Porky when we needed him?
f. As it is ‘church business,’ do the members of the committee have a moral duty to ST in this process, as well as a business one? More on both aspects in the next installment.
g. How many clues does one need to conclude that the committee members are not particularly interested in their candidate? Such clues could consist of: specific examples of failure to listen; not following through on previously agreed-upon steps; refusing to answer questions from ST, with no acknowledgement that they are doing so, due to which it is hard to determine whether this is a deliberate withholding of information [in which case, why, and is that right?], or simply a lack of courtesy in ignoring ST’s concerns. Neither of those is a good thing.
h. One particular question put to the committee was an inquiry about the origin of the idea for a new course of action (contacting members from ST’s previous church). The email reply (in which none of a total of six questions was answered), said only that this process was ‘on going’. This, along with other vagueries, strongly evoked a classic Indiana Jones moment.
To be Continued…