1987 March 27 – 2nd Special Letter Reg. Day Care (Bulletin Letters)
The issue of a Day Care Center at St. Anne’s is closed. The Parish Council decided the Parish is not ready to accept such a program. They felt that to approve the effort wou1d cause too much dissension within the Church. Forty-one parishioners attended the Thursday night meeting. There were many questions raised and good discussion. A lot of misinformation was cleared up. The Day Care proponents were prepared to work within the two main conditions that the Parish would demand; that the program would not interfere with the normal life of the Church and that there would be no added financial burden to the Church because of the program. Much of the meeting was spent in answering how those conditions would be met. After an hour and a half of discussion a vote was taken of those present. The Parish Council then went into a closed session to count the vote and make their decision. The vote was 23 against, 17 for and one refraining. After the count and brief discussion, the Parish Council decided to turn down the proposal. I support the decision of the Council. It was the best decision they could have made given the situation. It was an emotional meeting. After the decision was announced some words were said and tears shed. I felt helpless at the time. I still do.
We should be clear on what grounds the proposal was turned down. That there is a need for a Day Care Center in our area is unquestionable. There are those who maintain the need does not exist; that parents these days aren’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary to raise their children properly and that a Day Care Center would benefit the parents more than the children. This is bunk! It is easier to deny the need than to deal with the substance of the proposal. At the core of this discussion are two understandings of Church. The Day Care proponents were willing to accept the most difficult conditions in order to secure the building. As the vote would indicate, a majority of those present would not accept a Day Care Center at St. Anne ‘s under any conditions. Concern for the building was the bottom line, a building that stands empty 90% of the time and will out live us all well into the 21st Century. At issue is the Church of property and the Church of People. In this decision we chose the Church of property. Some on the Council felt we should never have dealt with this issue. Anything that would cause so much pain within the community should never be dealt with in the first place. I cannot accept this point of view. If we shy away from such issues we will never grow. The scriptures are filled with stories of the faithful in the mist of struggle and pain. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, spent a11 of his public life in the middle of controversies and struggle, much of it brought upon him by following his Fathers will.
The real failure in this situation was with your pastor. I didn’t do a good job. I was entirely too biased. I still am. Being on the right side, is not enough for a pastor. Bringing his people to make the right decision is the role of a good pastor. I did not do this. I failed you. The tension between the Church of property and the Church of people is not peculiar to St. Anne’s. It is part of the larger challenge facing the USA Church. How can we who have much share with those who have little? A different priest, a different style of leadership would have served you better in this instance. I am sorry and ask your forgiveness. You are good and generous people- every one of you! I love you all. For those who are hurt on both sides of the issue let us reach out to each other in our clumsy ways and support each other in our differences as people of good faith doing the best we can. I’ve got to believe good things will come for this effort. A good attitude to have as we enter the last days of Lent.
Your less than perfect Pastor;