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Help with quitting churchwarden?

(27 Posts)
uhoh1973 Thu 31-Mar-16 10:50:49

I need some advice. I was talked into being churchwarden for a tiny church a couple of years ago. I love the church but the congregation is very tiny (3-6 people?). I don't mind cleaning the church and filling in grant application forms etc. But the other church warden is abrasive and bossy and I have had enough. I get 'shushed' at the PCC meetings and told I can't phone people etc. She is very information is power. And yet when it comes to fundraising events I seem to be left doing everything... She has fallen out with the lady who was churchwarden before me and unfortunately has said she wont take it back from me because she cant work with this woman. The vicar is soon to retire and I am trying to not burden him with it. I have not signed up to attend a visitation. The rest of the PCC are not interested...

What do I do? I have told the vicar and other churchwarden I don't want to continue. Should I tell the other churchwarden why? She has also peed off other people at the PCC meetings... My husband says I should just tell her but she's obviously not going to be happy about it and then it could be a mixed blessing if she were to quit. (TBH the lady I took over from is also no angel...)... arrggg

GinandJag Thu 31-Mar-16 11:50:20

You need to speak to her.

Matthew 18:15-17

uhoh1973 Thu 31-Mar-16 12:06:07

Wow good quote
15 “If your brother or sister[a] sins,[b] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[c] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
I like the bit about the tax collector ;-)

GinandJag Thu 31-Mar-16 12:36:31

Other versions talk about disagreements between you.

I can't get my mind wrapped around your small congregation and full PCC. Is everyone on the PCC?

I am a new warden and I love it! It's very much a team job though, so everyone has to get on. No one can get precious about their jurisdictions. We are the hands and feet of Jesus,

uhoh1973 Thu 31-Mar-16 13:04:06

TBH I dont know much about the PCC but it looks like anyone that wants to be on it can. We typically have 6 people at the meetings so I dont know if that is 'full'. I love the church and dont mind doing stuff for it but can do without the agro. There is no teamwork it is more like 'master' and slave. And I just cant be bothered any more. I have alot of other stuff in life to do..

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Thu 31-Mar-16 16:13:57

Please talk to the vicar. As a vicar I know that good church wardens are wonderful and brilliant and we can't do our jobs without them.

uhoh1973 Thu 31-Mar-16 16:25:46

The vicar is lovely and I have known him some 15 years. He is retiring this summer and also despairs of the situation. He is hoping I will stay on another year and work with the lady but my heart is not in it... The lady who used to be a churchwarden is also a pain and they have fallen out with each other.

GinandJag Thu 31-Mar-16 17:01:07

Is your church following all the guidance of the CRR?

Has the other church warden been in role for more than six years?

Lovelydiscusfish Thu 31-Mar-16 22:39:59

You have to think about yourself here (and I say this as a church warden myself). Give what you are willing and able to give to your church. You can do this as a member of the PCC (without being warden). - you can also do this as a member of the congregation.
But you don't have to give more than you are able! It is very difficult when you have a co-warden who is rude and awful to you. Do you know what the vicar, and other members of the congregation, want you to do? Are they willing to support you?
It is so difficult. Is your APCM coming up soon? You should not feel any guilt if you decide not to stand as warden again (after all, hardly anyone is willing to stand). Do what feels right for you. In rural parishes it is hugely tough.

springydaffs Sat 02-Apr-16 02:56:48

Goodness! Just leave. She sounds vile and, no, you don't have to put up with this shite rubbish.

I'm sure the place won't fall down without you wink

GinandJag Sat 02-Apr-16 05:30:04

Actually, keeping the building standing is a key church warden duty smile

springydaffs Sat 02-Apr-16 22:38:22

I guess God is all of a fuddle about his church and keeping it standing..

uhoh1973 Sat 09-Apr-16 01:38:32

I met recently with 'the other lady' who I took over from who is also 50% of the cause of problems with the abrasive lady... oh dear.... from this I have concluded neither of these people have the right 'agenda ' to be churchwarden. They are both madder than a box of frogs... the 'other lady' was so rude about the abrasive one the meaning of Christianity seems to be lost on both of them. I spoke to the vicar and told him neither behave in the manner befitting of a church warden ... we are both at a loss. I plan to stand down as I have enough stress in my life without this! Oh its sad :-(.

uhoh1973 Mon 18-Apr-16 08:47:18

So the abrasive one is also likely to stand down a churchwarden but hasnt actually come out and said it yet(I expect she likes keeping the rest of us on our toes?). She has set the date for the APCM when neither I nor the 'other lady' are able to make it. I am guessing no one else will step forward to be churchwarden. The church will either have to close or the meeting will have to be postponed... who will blink first? Madness..

notquitegrownup2 Mon 18-Apr-16 08:51:30

If she is going to step down, couldn't you stay?

MaybeDoctor Mon 18-Apr-16 08:54:53

This is flipping pitiful and I don't know what God would have to say about it.

You need to tell the rest of the PCC that you are thinking of resigning and exactly why.

Your vicar needs to step up and show a bit more leadership.

ABetaDad1 Mon 18-Apr-16 08:56:07

I am beyond bemused about the politics between members of the church I am involved with.

My solution is don't get involved. I really limit my contact. Do what I think helps the church and leave the rest to argue and go to meetings.

I suggest you do the same or move churches. It seems like it might close anyway with so few members.

uhoh1973 Mon 18-Apr-16 09:21:41

I really don't want to stay as churchwarden as 'the other lady' who probably will become churchwarden is also a bit of a nightmare and treats it like her own. She is not really interested in the religious aspects. She was talking about 'fighting the (abrasive lady) to keep the church open'. I do not consider this constructive or christian like..

The vicar is about to retire so he is just walking backwards and just keeps saying he hopes I will hang in for another year but I have enough hassle in my life at the mo without this.

ABetaDad1 Mon 18-Apr-16 09:45:55

Sounds to me like the church will be closed or amalgamated with another parish team hen the current vicar goes

If you don't want to be warden then don't. Just tell the vicar you are happy to keep doing some things to help out (e.g flowers) but the new lady who is coming will more than likely be happy to take on some of the things you do anyway and you won't need to go to meetings etc.

I think you have a right to say you have too much going on in your life and you want to take a step back while still being as supportive as you can.

In the end your health and well being have to take precedent and everyone - even a non Christian would understand that..

ABetaDad1 Mon 18-Apr-16 09:46:22

hen = when

Lovelydiscusfish Mon 18-Apr-16 22:02:46

It is so hard, isn't it? It sounds like both of these ladies are willing to rip the church apart between them, rather than let their position, and its associate "power" or influence, go.
From my experience in rural parishes (am guessing you are rural too?) the (often ancient) building and the traditions associated with it can become much more important to some church wardens than the actual people who make up the church. Indeed, who am I to comment, because I've only ever been interested in the people, and would probably allow the church to fall down around my ears, (lucky for me I'm surrounded by others who wouldn't, and don't). I guess the responsibilities of church warden encompass building AND people - that's why I'll always be a rubbish warden!
But you, OP, sound brilliant, and like you care so much. But what can you do? If your vicar has no capacity to dissuade these women from their course, and nor do your PCC and congregation. All you can do, I think, is pray for your church, and also consider your own needs -give what you can give, and no more. Your thread has really struck a chord in me, and I'll remember you and your church in my prayers.

uhoh1973 Thu 21-Apr-16 12:59:59

So we have had 'custards last stand'.. Other churchwarden + her husband, myself and the vicar met the other evening. It was all very tense. We were discussing preparation for the APCM. She has scheduled the APCM knowing I am not available even though I could have made later in the day (odd?) and has said she may not attend herself (!!). She will also stand down as church warden, as will I.

It was all very grim and at the end she gave it with 2 barrels to myself and the vicar saying we should have communicated something faster that the annoying other lady had done to her and that we (the vicar and I) had let her down(!!). Good grief. I felt terrible for the poor vicar who she made apologise to her. All very embarrassing and unnecessary...

The APCM is timetabled for when the annoying lady is on holiday and the only person I thought would make a good churchwarden the abrasive churchwarden made us 'dis-inivite' as they have not been on the electoral roll for 6 months... good grief. So the church will have no church wardens or vicar for a while...

The only thing (apart from the insanity of it all) I am left uneasy with is its 99% likely the annoying lady will become churchwarden (which she was before). My reservation is that she treats the church as her own and has made small 'modifications' to it in the past without applying for a faculty (or indeed even telling us the churchwardens!). She has also insisted on keeping a key whilst not churchwarden. Both of these things have greatly assisted in winding up the abrasive churchwarden and helped to bring about the situation we are now in. I do have reservations about leaving the church with this woman. I have discussed this with the vicar but he seems unwilling to do anything about it. Should I mention the attitude and track record of the annoying lady to the buildings chap from the diocese so he can atleast have a word with her? Or do I just leave her to it?

.. we are indeed rural ;-)

GinandJag Thu 21-Apr-16 16:50:26

I'm wondering if the archdeacon needs to get involved.

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts Thu 21-Apr-16 17:22:43

As an outgoing churchwarden it would not be unreasonable for you to send a message to the archdeacon and rural dean saying that you are stepping down but that you have concerns about the vacancy giving the example of modifications without a faculty. Then walk away until the new priest is appointed. It may be a while as it is getting harder and harder to find someone to do five to thirteen rural churches but there are priests who have a real heart for this work.

The problem with keys is fairly common and one that the new priest will have to sort out. I changed all the locks here within a month of starting and that ruffled a few feathers!

Lovelydiscusfish Sun 24-Apr-16 20:49:03

OP, so sorry for all your troubles with this - it sounds horrible!
Re the lady making the modifications to the church - on what scale are we talking? If you report it, your church might need to seek retrospective faculty, and you just possibly may land her in a heap of trouble (I say, from bitter experience - not exactly my own I might add, but that of others in my benefice). That doesn't mean it isn't the right thing to do, of course! But before doing so I would potentially seek the vicar's advice, and also do some research and some praying about it.
It's certainly a tough position you are in, and all from trying to do the best for your church! I'm so sorry, and I wish (some) rural parishes weren't like this.

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