I am effectively church-less.
I have been made to leave the church I served, when the pastor initiated not extending my evangelist credentials on the grounds that he did not see a necessity for my ministry in this particular congregation. He initiated the process behind my back, never mentioning it to me. I had to learn of the changes in my status from the church newspaper. (The same level of consideration was shown to a few more female evangelists, so at least I was not alone in being treated like a non-person)
I did ask my pastor why, and learned that, to make the long story short, he did not trust me because I had voted differently than him on the issue of amendments to the Church Constitution concerning the ordination.
It was not that I had committed any errors in teaching or preaching. It was the very fact that I actually think I am called to preach and teach that made me redundant in his church and congregation.
The Archbishop said that the ministry of evangelist is meant for young perspective males to be ordained in the future. I am not young. I do not know about promising, because at my age I guess I must fulfil the promises of my youth. I have never been male and I do not think I ever will be.
He also said, and this is how it has been documented, that they will consider extending my credentials pending on me finding a congregation that would be in need of an evangelist.
So the Church through its ministers has expressed clearly that it does not need me. The Church has made me redundant.
I left the congregation after a congregation meeting where the pastor (again unbeknownst to me or my fellow female evangelists) announced that my credentials have not been extended by the Church Capitul , never mentioning that he did not want me to serve in this congregation.
Some congregation people did ask why, and he gave the explanation that he did not trust me in some serious matters of faith, namely, on the ordination issue. Anyway, the congregation members have no say in who their minister is. There is no accountability of the minister to the congregation.
(oh yes, about the ordination thing. You see, I deeply believe that God calls to His ministry those whom he calls and that God is omnipotent and omniscient, and has the authority to do as He please. God calls and the bishop ordains, and simple mortals can vote all they want, it is not their responsibility.)
Bottomline: I have been made redundant. My calling of twenty years has been negated, made invalid. It has been made to look like a mental illness, a craving them females have now and then. This hurts.
My trust in the Church as an institution has been broken, even worse, it has been violated. Now I know what betrayal looks like from the inside. What the taste of metal is in the darkness that is mute pain.
I have made myself a little cave where to hide from the world till I lick my wounds and shift shape into something else, something that I have no idea of. I also do not want to meet the people who (because they, too do not know what to do) treat me alternately as a mentally ill person and as someone whose loved ones have died in a catastrophe. None of that attitude helps to heal.
Because I have been hurt and am in a certain amount of inner pain, I am not less me. I function. I do not want to explain things over and over again to all who ask those redundant questions (such as… have you found a new congregation yet? what are you doing for church this Sunday? are you going to go rogue like such-and-such? and so on).
The Church’s decision to make me redundant has also put me in a position where I have to prove a negative. Which by definition cannot be proved (a little bit of a paradox there). In other words, I have been made into a woman for sale, someone who has to impose herself upon a church with her craving for an office. And that is unacceptable.
Then again, to think of it, this is what Christianity stands on. Betrayal. They betrayed Jesus one night and got him killed. They betrayed the disciples and allowed them to be killed. Betrayal is essential to Christianity.
God is great and merciful. He sent his own son to pay the debt humanity had accumulated, and his son died to pay that debt. God died on a cross, alone and betrayed, and forlorn. From this betrayal and death comes new life.
Church or not, I follow Christ. And now I know a little more about him out there, in that garden, at that third hour and later, in the darkness that is pain. I am grateful.
I do not know how this will develop. But my calling remains – to glorify God. To serve him in all I am. To bear witness to his mercy and kindness in the midst of suffering. For my God is the awesome God who has entered His reign and will sort all people into His kingdom.
Till then, I will suffer and work towards the Kingdom on earth.