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Insight into leaving a really good parish.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
So I am looking for someplace to put some thoughts out there and sort them out, because I am reconsidering my religious affiliation. I don't really have anyone I can talk to about some aspects of it - the people I might talk to are the people it concerns.

Up until a year or so ago, I had been in a few Anglican parishes I wasn't very happy with, and I considered moving, but nothing really came of it. But since then, I've moved, and I am in a parish that I really love in every way. My husband also loves it and is really growing as a Christian there, and my kids do too. I have made some friends there, and I think the friendships could be quite wonderful ones given a bit more time.

But - I am not happy with the Anglican Church of Canada overall. I am, theologically speaking, becoming a rather strange Anglican in many ways, and I am not sure that, as a group, I can really even call myself an Anglican any more.

If I moved, my husband would not come along. He is not crazy about this, but is not going to make me stay. He is a bit uncomfortable with the kids coming with me, but practically that would be the only way, since he works away from home a lot.

But what is really bugging me is that I feel like I would be abandoning my parish family, and that I have a real responsibility there. Especially since I can foresee that as a group on traditional Anglicans, they could have to make some serious decisions in the next few years. If I am gone, would they go in a different direction than they would if I had been there?

I'd appreciate any insights or responses anyone has.
post #2 of 11
Bluegoat, I can sympathize. I've been in somewhat similar, but not exact situations.

mid-2002 [corrected - it's 2002 not 2003] - I left an Episcopal parish I liked, lot of great people, but the rector was a radical liberal and that just didn't go with my beliefs. But I was very active, held a lot of responsibilities, was chairing part of a major fundraiser. I made the decision to leave the parish, but the major fundraiser was coming up. And I'm a responsible sort. What I ended up doing for two months was to "double dip" by going to an early service at the conservative Anglican parish a 45 minute city bus ride away and then go to the late service at the Episcopal parish. The day of the fundraiser was the last time I was there at the Episcopal parish, aside from helping out some with a meals for the homeless program.

late 2007/early 2008 - I desperately needed to transfer out of the Orthodox parish where I was chrismated. I had major issues with the priest (who publicly treated me badly to the point others were talking about it), in addition to some stuff that went on at the parish, but the people were wonderful. I held a huge number of responsibilities, including doing the bulletin each week. I'd been attending weekday feast day and Lenten services at a parish near work since early 2007. I got to know the priest and a number of people. I went on several Sundays in a row and loved it even more. I talked with the priest at new parish. I began getting phone calls from people at old parish asking where I was. Talked with priest at new parish more, told him I wanted to transfer in. He told me to go back to old parish for the next Sunday, say goodbye, and then be at new parish. I did that. Nice closure with fellow parishioners. Unable to talk with old priest, aside from telling him I was transferring out and X things needed to be handed to new people. I had done the bulletin when not there for the several Sundays, and politely handed over (via email) all the resources I used for doing the bulletin. I've gotten comments from friends still there that the bulletin was more interesting when I used to do it!

My leaving that Orthodox parish forced a good number of people to step up and do things that they'd refused to do before, which was good.

If you are responsible for/in charge of certain things, you have to plan for handover. Think of possible people to hand things over to. If you're willing, let people know if they can/email you if they have questions on a ministry you used to chair. Sit down and talk with the rector if you can, although I know from experience that this not always possible. Say goodbye to everyone either personally at church or via phone/email before hand. I let people know the upcoming Sunday was my last one at old Orthodox parish.

Make it very clear to people that this is something you have to do for your spiritual well-being and that it has nothing to do with *them*.

I tried staying in the old Orthodox parish a year past when I'd begun to see there were some major issues, primarily because of the people. But it did me no good, as I was very unhappy. A lot of people *knew* I was unhappy, but most didn't know what was up. Only a few did, and I'd been talking with them about the issues I had with the priest/parish all along.

I know this is different than your situation, but I hope you're able to find something to help you in it.

If I may ask, what church are you considering going to? If you don't want to publicly share, please PM me.
post #3 of 11
Hey Bluegoat, Ill just tell ya what I would do. If my dh wasnt ready to move, Id stay for a little while and see how it goes. Mostly, bc I do think that dividing the family between churches (or parishes) honestly can cause some strain and divisions in the family that makes the move not worth it. Committments all over the place, different teaching. If you are there and are heavily active, you can be a part of the major decisions coming up. Honestly, I would hold out for a little while longer. I would pray about it, too, for a long time before I made any decisions like that.
post #4 of 11
Hi Bluegoat,
Sounds like a difficult situation and I wouldn't want to be in your shoes. I meant to say "yeah that" to Jenifer's post.
The Lord can really bless you and your marriage if you, by the Grace of God, remain one with your husband. If you've prayed with him and he is willing to let you go then I suppose it would be okay, but not easy to meet in two places. Also, the children see a division no matter how you frame it to them.
Sometimes spouses can be touched in their inward parts when their spouse stays in a situation for them without complaining about it. Maybe if you give it more time and prayer the Lord could change his heart. I do believe with all my heart that when i honor my husband as my head, regardless if he is right or wrong, and follow him, the Lord is honored by that act. May the Lord grant you much love and wisdom in this choice you are facing.
I am wondering where you may go unless, of course, it's a private matter to you.
post #5 of 11
I wanted to agree with Shami. I have seen God do miraculous things through a wife's patient prayers Also is there some sort of compromise you would consider. Maybe still going to church with husband/family while actively looking elsewhere and perhaps participating there on some level? Its such a hard spot to be in.
post #6 of 11
Frankly, I've found that the practical issues at the parish you would be leaving behind often are more important to some of the people you're leaving behind than anything. If you've been doing a lot, all of a sudden people are facing, "I'm going to have to do THAT now?" and that seems to upset some people more than a friend leaving!
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've talked a bit more with dh about this. I'm considering Orthodoxy. Anyway, I've found out that from dh's POV at this moment, if he felt he had to leave the Anglican Church of Canada, he'd go with one of the splinter Anglican groups. So almost the opposite of what I am thinking of. To me, that seems like almost the worst possible idea.

The idea of my husband as the spiritual head is in some ways a bit -I don't know, not how we tend to actually experience it - he is a relatively new Christian. He wasn't raised in a Christian home, and only became religious as a result of the marriage preparation classes we did. So I've tended to be the one who has more knowledge and experience as far as religion goes. Which isn't to say I try to lead him around, but in a lot of cases he tends to accept my advice or reasoning on religious issues. But this is not something I want to pressure him on - it is the first time he has actually been in a really good parish, and I know he could really grow a lot here.

Practical issues are not too bad, I haven't been doing a huge amount because my kids and dh's work make it hard to commit to certian things - mostly I am in the nursery. If I decided now for sure I would wait until he came home in January, and then the kids could finish up the Sunday School year at our current parish.

But what is really making me think, is I can see the possibility that within, say, the next five years, my whole parish might be looking at making a decision about how to move forward. I kind of feel like if I defect now, I won't be able to present my POV on what that ought to be.

OTOH, I feel like I am somehow being dishonest with my parish.

But, I think for now I will sit tight. And maybe try to visit the other parish on Saturday evenings when I can.
post #8 of 11
Since you are considering Orthodoxy.....

I would recommend finding a good parish and talking to the priest about what direction you should take. Ask him to lead you in how to pray for your family in this. Start building a relationship with him. I have seriously seen some miraculous things....have faith. In the mean time maybe you could go to week day services, vaspers etc and still attend church with your family on Sunday mornings.

How open is your husband? Would he read some books? There are Anglicans coming to Orthodoxy in droves. Several books on the topic. Careful though. This causes some people to dig in their heels when you start saying "ooo read this!"
post #9 of 11
I know you already know this but Ill say it anyway. I dont think there is any reason to rush this decision. Now, if there was something VERY wrong suddenly going on in the church, I could see leaving sooner, but I can honestly say, this has been my personal experience, that it can be a blessing, even if it feels difficult, to wait till you and dh are more on the same page. It seems like, from what you said in your 2nd post, that you and dh are in a place of compromise already! Thats a good thing, imho. I know you made the decision to sit tight, Im just saying thats a good thing. Fwiw, Im in a similar situation. Im considering becoming a member at the church Ive attended for the last 18 months. Dh doesnt even attend any church and hasnt since we've been married. I know in my heart of hearts that I cant make that committment without dh atleast being ok with me doing it. I cannot undermine him. My dh isnt a new christian but as far as biblical leadership is concerned, we are kind of like you guys. *Im* the 'spiritual' one. He's not attempted to lead whatsoever. So, I still see it as my job to follow his lead, even if it means me, spiritually speaking, waking around like Im following a headless chicken. Im doing it bc I trust Christ to talk us thru this *long* journey together. Honestly, fwiw, imho, I believe you are doing a wise thing sitting tight.

Again, if your dh is ok with you doing what lylika says, by all means, but I wouldnt push it if he isnt.... and Id give it over to God and I wouldnt stress it.

hugs!
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
Since you are considering Orthodoxy.....

I would recommend finding a good parish and talking to the priest about what direction you should take. Ask him to lead you in how to pray for your family in this. Start building a relationship with him. I have seriously seen some miraculous things....have faith. In the mean time maybe you could go to week day services, vaspers etc and still attend church with your family on Sunday mornings.

How open is your husband? Would he read some books? There are Anglicans coming to Orthodoxy in droves. Several books on the topic. Careful though. This causes some people to dig in their heels when you start saying "ooo read this!"
Yes, I think this is more or less my plan. It would, as you guys have said, be better if we could come as a family. It would also make it much easier for my kids.

Dh has done some reading I have given him, and even been cheerful about it. Part of the difficulty is if I saw "what do you think about theological position X or Y" he tends to say "I didn't know either of those existed, so I really don't have an opinion on their relative merits".

I am hoping to be able to get to Vespers, though dh is about to go away, which makes it hard - my toddler is not easy in church these days. She seems obsessed with hiding under the chairs in the sanctuary for some reason, and trying to throw herself under the altar rail.
post #11 of 11
hiding under the chairs is perfectly fine in vespers so long as she is reasonably quiet about it I would give it a try and just relax about your dd acting like a toddler, its what they do.
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