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Churchgoing Christians, please help

(43 Posts)
mummytummy Wed 10-Aug-05 22:53:13

OK, I'm in a huge dilemma. I've been going to the same church for 5 years now, I go about twice a month to the family service. We are having major building work going on, and I have 2 DDs aged 1 and 3. I work on Saturdays, and with all the chaos in the house at the mo, since the building work started 7 weeks ago, I haven't been at all because we are trying to give the kids quality time on Sunday as its our only day together as a family, and they don't enjoy church, and Sunday school is shut during the hols. I went on Sunday evening, which takes place during my kids' bedtime, and my vicar had a go at me for not attending recently. His wife then told me that I shouldn't be putting my kids first. Tonight I went to a bible study group, and I have come out extremely angry. The basic gist of it was that so long as you attend church every Sunday and tithe (giving it all to the church), you will go to Heaven. They then went on to whine about people giving their old TVs to the church when they bought a new one, when they should be giving their new TV to the church. I came out horrified. I am now thinking of going to a different church, or giving up completely with the church and just study independently. This isn't representing my beliefs. It is coming to the wrong time of the month, and I have a terrible cold, so I may be hormonal, but I do just feel like flouncing off. Any advice?

QueenOfQuotes Wed 10-Aug-05 22:56:21

I'd look around for another does rather sound like yours in going in slightly the "wrong" direction (IMO).

QueenOfQuotes Wed 10-Aug-05 22:58:01

FWIW our church is the complete opposite.

We're launching our after school service in September (next month ) so that those families who can't make church on Sundays (due to school sports/other family stuff) can still come to church, there's no sunday school during August - but we have a special 'all age' service every sunday during the Hols with activities for the kids.

MrsGordonRamsay Wed 10-Aug-05 23:02:09

My church asks £30 a month per family, regardless of how many children they have. The church has to make a large contribution to the church schools in the area, per child. We still only ask £30 per family.

When there is no childrens liturgy, I go on my own, at which point the PP normally observes, Ah you felt the need to get in touch with God, not threaten God

QueenOfQuotes Wed 10-Aug-05 23:03:32

The church asks for £30 from each family MGR??

mummytummy Wed 10-Aug-05 23:05:16

Oooh that sounds good QoQ- you aren't near Swanley, are you?
I worry about the affluence in our church. There is no fundraising for anything - everyone digs in their pockets for any church building work, and somebody commented at the study meeting how disgusting it was that some people only put £2 in the collection on a Sunday. I'm one of those people who do that, but I do give to other areas, and parts I see as more needy. I was then kind of made to feel like I wasn't a christian because I don't give enough money to the church!!

moondog Wed 10-Aug-05 23:06:31

Sounds very bullying and unpleasant.
The church I attend occasionally even goes to the effort of having a once wekly club in the local primary school so that kids can come whose parents just feel to pressed to get out on Sunday. Works very well. Kids often come on their own on Sunday too.

mummytummy Wed 10-Aug-05 23:08:14

Sorry MGR, our posts crossed. My last post wasn't in response to your one. £30 is tough for some families. I wouldn't be able to go to that church, because I wouldn't be able to find that much money to spare.

QueenOfQuotes Wed 10-Aug-05 23:09:21

Afraid not - we're up in Wellingborough.

Our church is VERY affluent.........well a lot of people in it are. However those with less money (us included in that) are by no means made to feel like we're no contributing "enough" to the pot.

I know that the majority of the congregation (there's around 100 usually each week) using the envelopes put between £5-10 in each week, the next 'largest' amounts put in is £0-5, but at the other end of the scale there's two envelopes each week which almost always contain AT LEAST £30!

I'd definitely try and find another church it really doesn't sound very pleasant at all.

QueenOfQuotes Wed 10-Aug-05 23:12:22

MT - which church do you go to ATM?

mummytummy Wed 10-Aug-05 23:13:35

One of my worries though with changing the church is that I work for a chap from home from church. His secretary is the Church Warden, and I do any stuff that she is too busy to do, and I'm worried that if I change church, I'm not going to get any more work from him. He was at this meeting tonight, and was aware how upset I was. I did actually have an angry outburst at how I found them to be cherry picking from the bible, and I said to him afterwards that this study group has made me feel like leaving the church. He said he'll chat tomorrow, but I am very tearful now, and I don't think I'm going to be in a state to talk to him.

nicmum2boys Wed 10-Aug-05 23:13:53

Mummytummy on your behalf ((hugs)) to you. We are churchgoing Christians, but it has taken us a long time to find a church that feels like home, somewhere where the worship is alive and vibrant, the people are loving and friendly, the sunday school is relevant and interesting, and the service doesn't drag on 'til 1pm taking over our weekend. Actually, just realised we are tough people to please!
No one has the right to make you feel this way, the bible does not say that if you turn up on sunday and tithe you will go to Heaven, quite the opposite, what is important is a relationship with Jesus not what you do, but who you are.
Shouldn't be putting your kids first????? Of course you should. Can't think of any scripture to back it up right now (tired, long day, wine to relax this evening), but I will get back to you on that one. Children are a gift from God, and I think you are completely right, if they don't enjoy church you should be doing things you enjoy as a family and showing them God that way, how is showing them God is all about sitting in a boring lesson every sunday right??
We found our current church by googling our area and churches, and there was a local website which linked you to all the relevant church websites.
Sorry, feel like I've ranted about this, and that isn't what you need I expect, just angry on your behalf, keyboard happy cos of wine, and passsionate about supposed christians making others feel guilty by preaching false doctrine.
(gets down off pedesal )

mummytummy Wed 10-Aug-05 23:14:43

Its a Church of England one in Hextable - ooh, if there's anyone from there on here, I've really given away my identity with my last post now!!!!

MrsGordonRamsay Wed 10-Aug-05 23:15:05

Well Yes and No............

We aspire to it, it is in essence a fairly affluent parish.

We went through a longish period where we could not afford it, but nobody turned a hair.

However, if you are jetting off several times a year and do not make the minimum needed to keep the church open and the parish going, then that is beteeen you and your maker.

QueenOfQuotes Wed 10-Aug-05 23:15:24

MT - I'm sure you could find another church with much friendlier people (and less emphasis on money!).

And if he stops giving you work then I'd say he wasn't worth working for anyhow, I'm sure you'd find someone else to do stuff for.

QueenOfQuotes Wed 10-Aug-05 23:17:49

but MGR even if you tithe as per the bible that doesn't nessecarily (sp) work out at £30 per family as each families income is different, so therefore the amount tithed isn't going to be £30, for some it could be £60 and others just £3

mummytummy Wed 10-Aug-05 23:21:24

Thanks for that NM2B. Is it quite common for people to change churches? I mentioned to my vicar that one of the other members had said about finding another church with a holiday sunday school for the duration of the holidays, and he said he was going to have a go at her for recommending another church. I did actually say to him that God hadn't left me just because I am not going to church during the duration of the building works. I guess I am still raw from that conversation, and then it all got dragged up again in this study group. Someone said that not going to church was a modern day version of offering defiled meat as an animal sacrifice, but I feel that going to church just to get a tick in an attendance box is hardly fooling God!

MrsGordonRamsay Wed 10-Aug-05 23:24:14

Based on the community and based on the running costs, that is what is needed.

We are not frisking anyone at the door, we just feel that it is important that people realise, how much the basics cost.

I, for one didn't and thought that £20 a month was generous, it is but sadly it is not enough.

I for one feel that it is money well spent, we have a wonderful community and every Sunday, I get an hour to recharge my spiritual waters, and that sets me up for the week.

nicmum2boys Wed 10-Aug-05 23:25:58

Precisely Mummytummy, it's not about ticks in boxes. Your relationship with God is just that, your relationship with God. It is between the two of you, and no one else has the right to poke the finger (what is that quote about the speck in your neighbour's eye, look at the log in your own? reckon you should bring that up with you fellow churchgoers!)

Ladymuck Wed 10-Aug-05 23:28:34

Sorry to hear that you are unhappy. I'm guessing that you go to a "non-established" church (no idea what the current technical terms are but house church rather than established church for eg).

I've seen this trend before, and it usually results from the leaders own insecurity. Without the (financial) backup of a denomination, the leaders feel very exposed, and through their own weakness may be unreasonably demanding on their congregation. It is easy for them to take their eyes off the big picture, and instead to over-emphasise the fact that they want the congregation to be "as committed" as they are. If there were loads of new people arriving at the church, and plenty of new tithes coming in, I suspect that you would not be hearing these messages!

Some of this comes from the time of year - people are on holiday, attendance and possibly giving is down, pastors get nervous that no-one will ever show up again.

Now this isn't to justify their behaviour, but do bear in mind that they are human, and have the same weaknesses as the rest of us.

In terms of flouncing, I guess you need to consider whether this church is where you are meant to be part of God's body. No church is perfect and sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and put up with it (I have to say that I can tell how the bank balance of our church is doing by the length of the premably to the offering each week!). Sometimes you just have to keep smiling and focus on loving the people. Churches are full of sinners, so there will be plenty of things to wind us up.

As a treasurer to one such church, there were rarely any families giving less than £30 per month. Generally members were expected to give 10% or more of their income.

mummytummy Wed 10-Aug-05 23:28:47

Thanks everyone. I'm going to bed now to sleep on it. I have just sent an e-mail to Swanley Christian Fellowship to find out about their service times, I have nothing to lose by trying a couple of services, have I?

Night everyone.

Ladymuck Wed 10-Aug-05 23:31:11

Ooops - just (cross-post as mine was so long) seen that it is anglican. Seems a bit more bizarre then?

QueenOfQuotes Wed 10-Aug-05 23:37:34

MGR - we have the biggest parish share amount in the whole of the Diocese (sp) after the Cathedral.......but people are still told to only give what they can realistically afford.

Seeing as though it's an Anglican church there's no reason why it HAS to have such a large income, of course the Diocese would like it's full quota of the parish share but they're not going to close it down if it's not payed!

And as for

"and he said he was going to have a go at her for recommending another church."

What utter garbage!!! Several regular members of our congregation attend other churches as well as our own - including the couple who run the Toddler Church on a Thursday afternoon!

Ameriscot2005 Wed 10-Aug-05 23:55:42

You could always speak up for your beliefs at your study group - that's basically the point of these things. Did everyone else agree with what was said?

Ameriscot2005 Thu 11-Aug-05 00:05:20

An average of £30 per family isn't a lot of money to run a church.

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