Well I knew that I would eventually talk/gripe about this on Xanga, but I was kinda hoping that it would have happened a little later than 4 days into my on-line journal… lol…
So tonight I’m pissed, I’m frustrated and I’m really tired – and it’s all thanks to a meeting I had tonight. Before then my day was going pretty decent. I’m done with my finals, I had a really productive day at work that ended with me feeling great. What more could I ask for? Well certainly not a UMAC meeting.
UMAC stands for University Ministry Advisory Commission which is a group at our church that comes together to help vision and offer direction for our campus ministry. This is basically my last tie into campus ministry at my church (the ugly part which I don’t enjoy talking about). So many changes have occurred in the last year, but it looks like the last day of finals wasn’t too late for more changes to come.
So enter the UMAC meeting where the following occurred.
Beginning of the meeting Bombshell – It’s now official, we’re no longer going to hire a director of campus ministry, or a campus minister for that matter. Our pastor decided that because we have a new priest, utility costs have risen and we want to give everyone in the staff a small raise, we no longer have money to hire a PROFESSIONAL campus minister. Perfect, just perfect. But now it gets better… We ARE going to hire a part-time campus minister – WHO IS A STUDENT!?! Boy, good thing they told the Campus Minister search committee that – OH WAIT – they didn’t! Perfect – just perfect. Not only did we piss away our opportunity to get an experienced PROFESSIONAL Director of Campus Ministry or settling for someone fresh out of college with no experience (like our current CM) – we couldn’t even do that! And it’s not even the fact people value saving money more than they value bringing in qualified people, but the fact that this decision was once again made in the back room, counter to the values of the community and volunteers!
So this already put a bad taste in my mouth for the meeting, but things were going to get worse… Towards the end of the meeting we were talking about UMAC membership for next year and the Campus Minister and someone from the student leadership team made a comment about how it’s important that we should have some students on UMAC who are involved in the activities.. "They’re not trying to say that anyone does this, but it should be important that students who are on UMAC are students who attend activities and know other students, etc". Well of course the only other students there are myself at Emily, so I wonder who the comments are directed at…
So in response to my accusation that "I am not involved and can no longer represent students", I offer these points:
Point #1: What is your definition of not involved? I’m not doing the things that you like to do? I’m still at church three nights a week, involved in 2 leadership groups and am now CHAIR of the Pastoral Council (a role I have reluctantly accepted for the greater good). How can I not be involved at this parish?
Point #2: Given that I was in Spirit Fire student leadership for two years in a row (and signed on for a third year), helped plan & lead over 20 retreats in the four years I’ve been involved in campus ministry and have logged more volunteer hours at that church than the campus "ministers" combined in my tenure, I think it’s safe to say I have an understanding of campus ministry.
Point #3: This last semester I have traveled 7 times for NCSC and have been actively involved with Campus Ministry on a national level – cut me some slack.. I couldn’t come to your retreat because I was in Orlando… It’s not like I’m actively boycotting your activities, so why don’t you cut me some FREAKING SLACK? I still have campus ministry ties which are just as valuable.
Point #4: Granted, I don’t know many of the students anymore, but I think that might be due to the 90%+ TURNOVER RATE our program has had.. Maybe I don’t know many of the students anymore because all of the students I knew and were friends with are gone.. Where are they – I have no idea… But you might want to take that into account before you say I know no one.
Point #5: This is our last and only tie to Campus Ministry at J23… Emily and I have gone from being two of the most involved people there to being pariahs in the community. We gave you what you wanted by resigning from Spirit Fire and staying away…. Are we that big of a threat that you need us to relinquish in one remaining tie to the program… I’m getting pretty sick of this hostility towards the institutional memory.
What makes things really tough is the fact when I told the committee that I was thinking about not coming back (on the heels of those comments being made) all of the parish & faculty members of the community talked to me privately expressing their disappointment if I would leave and all of them said I am a valued member and are imploring me to stay on… It’s an awesome feeling to be affirmed in that way, but it also reminds me that the people who really have a problem with me being there are the ones that have all the control at this point.
Am I coming back? I have no idea… I need some time to think & to pray, maybe a week or twelve… I will say this though: I have a mental list of reasons I’m still around – seeds of hope & joy that I have.. One of them is playing music on Saturday night, another is working with the youth – but one of them was bringing in a QUALIFIED Director of Campus Ministry to help shape the program and challenge students like myself… So one more item is crossed off that list…