Letter to the Clergy.


On behalf of this forum, we wish you a very happy and purposeful New Year. 

We are not so worthy to advice you Biblically or spiritually as most of you are very learned and spiritually sound and achieving great things for God in the midst of various problems.  However, there are corrupt elements amongst the flock, spoiling the name of the Church who are to be exposed and eliminated by the church.  It is the responsibility of every one in the church including the clergy and the laity, otherwise the church will be doomed.

We are not biased by caste, creed, origin, area, language etc. etc.  while taking up matters with regard to the church.  We have no bitterness or vindictive attitude towards any one.  We do not want to destroy any one or any institution but only to build.  Because we love the entire church and the properties which our forefathers inherited, we raise our voice seeking justice which is totally Biblical.

On this New Year, we plead you to follow the Biblical principles and the Church Constitution in a fair and just manner in dealing the church matters so that there would not be any problems in the various churches.  Among others, a few such requirements which we feel good are given below:

Are you doing things in a fair and just manner? -  This phrase “fair and just” is derived from the Bible (Colossians 4:1) and being used in all legal matters and domestic enquiries.  Though this phrase is meant for employers by Paul, the Biblical leadership is not master – servant leadership. Jesus Christ came not to be served but to serve.  God expects such a leadership in our churches.

Are you misusing the constitution for selfish motives?  - Many leaders are exploiting the ignorance of the congregation and misusing the constitution for their own benefit or to please their corrupt superiors.  Often constitution is applied only to take disciplinary action against members whereas the leaders are not following their functions as per the constitution.  While a Bishop or Presbyter is a paid employee of the church, they are expected to function purely according to the constitution and set rules.  They are not expected to be masters over the flock.

Are you dealing matters with the consent of the elected bodies? -  When elected bodies are taken into confidence while dealing any matters, there is no need of any issues.  But when the bishops or presbyters behave in a partisan manner, there arise the problems.  Selfishness is the root cause of all evils.  When the chairman is fair and just, there need not be any problem at all.

Are you dealing things in the dark? -  With the matters relating to the church, nothing is to be dealt in a confidential manner.  The decisions of the various committee meetings should be displayed for the information of the congregation.  The constitution should be translated in the mother tongue and given to all the members who wish to have it.  There should be a system like right to information act in the various dioceses to see the various books of accounts or details of the various property deals.

Are you recruiting the right person to be candidates for ordination? – Recently one man of God said that as the parents are dedicating the most inefficient child in the family  to the ministries, the church leaders are like this.  To some extent, this may be correct.  The various seminaries should screen the candidates in a spiritual manner and admit them for the ministerial training.  Now a days, the Bishops are ordaining most inefficient and unqualified church workers as Presbyters and because of that we are suffering.

Is there any system in the church to monitor the performance of the presbyters or the church workers? - While in the worldly responsibilities,  the manager’s performance appraisals are being made on a regular basis and accordingly they are promoted or demoted. There need to be a system in the church to appraise each and every presbyter or other fulltime workers on a regular basis.  Accordingly, their responsibilities should be distributed.  There is no accountability with regard to functions for any fulltime workers.  

Are you conducting elections in a fair and just manner?  -  Majority of elections in the diocese are conducted in a very partial manner with the interference of the Bishops or Presbyters.  There arise all the problems.  From the preparation of electoral rolls to conduct of election, how many fraudulent dealings are done by the leaders.  It is most shameful.  Even the political elections are conducted in a fair manner but we who believe the living God, could not conduct the elections in a fair manner.

Are you exercising the Principle of natural justice while taking disciplinary action? –  Without following the principle of natural justice, members or dismissed from the church which is a gross human rights violation.  Then the members or fulltime workers approach the court and the church is spending huge money on court cases.  That is the easy way to shut one’s mouth and they can pull on the show.  This happening in spite of the Hon. Madras High Court gave a historic verdict, fining a Bishop to pay from his pocket Rupees one lakh for dismissing a member from membership.

Are you conducting the General assembly regularly?  - In majority of the churches, general assemblies are not conducted to discuss the various problems in the church.  As the General assembly is not conducted, the matters are taken to streets.

Are you redressing the grievances of the congregations in a fair and just manner? -   Though there is system in the constitution, that is not being done.  For example, in the North Kerala diocese, after the pastorate election, a member had given a complaint to the Bishop regarding irregularities during July 2010, but till date the bishop is not disposing the petition thereby the Bishop himself allowed the matter to be in courts and prevented to install the committee.

Are you concerned about the reaching unreached? -  In general, the clergy is not concerned about finding new believers for the church and they are not interested at all.  If so, how could we expect growth in the church?  Many believers are leaving the church because of attitude of the leaders.

If the leader concerned soul search on these questions  among others and correct themselves in their functioning, we hope there would not be much problems in the church from this new year onwards.

At the same time, whether the elected bodies and laity are fair and just in their dealings with the ordained Bishops and Presbyters.  They have to ensure that they behave well and give them all sort of co-operation with regard to the ministry. 

If we scan the pages of 1st John chapter 3,  from verses7,  it is said that  “He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He (God) is righteous. (8) He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.  (9) Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.  (10)  In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.

We would earnestly appeal all concerned to be fair and just in their dealings in the church matters and thereby we can maintain peace and tranquility in the churches always.

May the triune God help every one to be faithful in their calling and practice righteousness in their actions which God expects from every believers and leaders.

Thanking you and in great anticipation.

Yours sincerely,
For CSITA Justice Seekers Forum


Anonymous said...

Well written. If church leaders try to examine themselves, the church would be a problem free zone.

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