Returning from time away, the post has accumulated. Much of it is of little interest, circulars from numerous charitable bodies looking for support (how do they afford such glossy material?); a handful of bills from utilities intent on spending money on administration despite being paid by direct debit; and a pack about the diocesan synod. The synod pack contains ballot papers for elections to various diocesan bodies; by some strange rule, the name of every cleric on the diocese is listed on each paper and, the diocese being so small numerically, there are almost as many vacant positions as there are candidates. The church regularly talks about reforming itself but continues as though it were still the 19th Century. What does the meetings of all those committees achieve?
I remembered the words of a fax I got from a friend in the mid-90s, before we all had email.
“Are you lonely ?
Work on your own ?
Hate having to make decisions ?
Rather talk about it than do it ? Then why not
“HOLD A MEETING”
You can get to see other people
Sleep in peace. Offload decisions
Learn to write volumes of meaningless notes
Feel important and impress (or bore)
And all in work time !
The Practical Alternative to work”
A colleague in the North used to have a plaque on the wall of the vestry of his church: “For God so loved the world, he did not send a committee”.
The fact that the structures endure means there is a consensus they should do so – it would be useful if one of the tacit supporters of the cranky machinery of organisation which runs the life of the church would explain what it is all for.