A fight I really didn't expect at church

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Liahona, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    husband works now on Sunday during our church time. Our church is 3 hours long and easy child 3 eats during the most of the 1st hour. This means I'm in the mothers room. I need help to watch the other kids during this hour especially difficult child 1. I went to our womens leader with what has been going on in our home and requested help for this hour. She was very supportive and went to go talk to the preacher about it. She came back to talk to me. She told me difficult child 1 is no longer welcome to come to church. She went on to say that in a few weeks if difficult child 1 was better he could come back. AND, that if I could find someone in the family to watch him the rest of the family could come. I told her that this was going to last much longer than a few weeks and no, I'm not going to have the rest of the family go to church and leave difficult child 1 behind.

    I was floored.

    First, this goes against our scriptures and church policy. Second, it shows a shocking lack of knowledge of mental illness. Third, its just not nice.

    So, I went over the preachers head. And called the man in charge of this preacher (called a stake president). I explained the situation to him. He is going to talk to the preacher. He is going to try to get us help so we can go to church. I'll update when I hear back from him.

    Of course husband doesn't understand how much this hurts me (this church is the only socialization I get outside of the kids therapists and this board.) He doesn't understand my need to talk about it. I try to get him to open up about his thoughts and feeling about it and he changes the subject. So, I'm here writing about it. And I called my parents who tried to re-start an old fight between us. I didn't have the emotional energy for that and thanked them for their advice and hung up fast. Should've known better than to call them.

    So, anyone else have church problems that can vent and commiserate with me?
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I have never experienced that, and truthfully church attendance has never been a priority. on the other hand I feel very badly for you and wish I could make it better. It must make you feel very alone and isolated. Wish I could make it all better. Hugs DDD
  3. shellyd67

    shellyd67 Active Member

    Wow that is terrible. I would say find another church to attend but quite frankly, it doesn't matter. Last week during Mass one of our parishoners became ill. husband drove him home and made sure he was OK.

    When husband returned a bunch of cackling old ladies surrounded him and began to really bash the man who fell ill.

    I was appalled ! It is not the church, it is the people. I am sure there are plenty of members in your church that would be understanding and caring.

    I respect alot of people I attend church with that is why I remain in my parish.

    I would call this woman out ! You and your family are there to worship not to please her in any way. Boy she really has me hot right now and I have never even laid eyes on her !!!

    Do not let one person push you or difficult child out !
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Three hours is a long time even for easy child's. Would it be possible for you and the children to join the services after the first hour so the baby is fed and there is a shorter period of time where good behavior is required? Does difficult child take any medications to help him? Perhaps a slight change in the dose timing might also help him settle.

    by the way, I can't imagine getting six children ready for church to say nothing of monitoring their choices for three hours. You must be a gifted Mom. Hugs. DDD
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    I personally am not a big fan of churches. Your experience is part of the reason. I am appalled that they want you to leave difficult child 1 at home!! Dang right it's against scripture! I truly hope you get some positive results going over the preacher's head. It would really be a travesty if we had to start implementing IPPs (Individual Prayer Plans)
    I'm amazed you were able to keep yourself together when she told you this. KUDOS to you for that! I would have gone completely difficult child. I've always been taught that churches were supposed to accept EVERYONE following Jesus' example. My heart aches for you, because truly these ppl (if not the whole congregation then at least the preacher and this women's leader) should be making it easier for your family to participate in services - not harder.
  6. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I don't want to make a cheap point but I would seriously ask your preacher how he thinks Jesus would deal with this situation.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    So let me get this straight...

    A mother with SIX children asked for help watching the kids and feeding babies during church and instead of offering help - the church decided that one of the children is no longer welcome?

    Oh I'd be BEYOND angry and hurt...

    and I'd probably end up saying something that I'd later regret.
  8. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I am sorry you are going thru this. If it was me, I'd be looking for a different church that is more kid friendly. Three hours is too long. Not sure if that includes a Sunday School setting where the kids go for an hour or not. We have church for 1 hour, coffee time 20-30 minutes where people visit, then classes based on ages for kids/teens or adults based on interest.

    Some churches we have been at had a basket of "musical" instruments likes tamborines, things that rattle or beat on, and young kids grabbed an instrument during music and got in the aisles and had fun. Others had ribbon streamers and girls would dance around waving the streamers. Our church has a basket of clipboard with papers and crayons the kids can take in with them.

    We have had a young man in our church with a brain injury that would some times shout out stuff unexpectedly. Everyone just understood it was unintentional. Kind of funny when our new pastor came for her first visit and preached her first sermon... I don't think anybody warned her ahead of time. But she got thru it.

    Hope you find a church that is open and friendly. A little disturbance is not going to ruin worship... Even Jesus caused a ruckus in the temple and tipped over the tables of people trying to do business at church. KSM
  9. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sending gentle hugs your way. I never understand when something like this happens at church of all places. I hope you are able to find a new church that will be more accepting.
  10. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Hugs. We do not go to church, and for us it would not be an issue. To me, church should be the place that all, especially the chronically ill no matter what their illness is (as long as they are not a danger to anyone) should be accepted.
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I am a spiritual person, and I used to frequent church, until exactly these sorts of things started happening.

    I am SO mad for you right now!!! Livid.

    I remember one time waiting for an hour to see a pastor about Matt's problems, you know, seeking spiritual counsel. I walked in his mansion of an office, (that I could have lived comfortably in), and briefly told him what was going on. He slid a card across the table to me of a counselor, told me he was late to his daughter bd party, and that he had to go.

    Matt was also kicked out of vacation bible school, church daycare etc....and this along with so many other things that happened in many churches caused me to never ever go back. I cannot handle people who don't truly walk the walk. Like Marcie said, what would Jesus do - well we all know.

    Again, I am SO sorry. I personally wouldn't ever want to go back this church - is there another one that is nearby?
  12. keista

    keista New Member

    Several have mentioned finding a new church, and as much as this is an option, I don't think this should be Liahona's first option.

    , if you have the energy to fight this fight, I think you should. I'm just guessing that at least some ppl in your congregations actually walk the walk and would be just as appalled as we are. I hope it would be at least 50% of them. If on the other hand the majority of the congregation is of the same mindset as this pastor and women's leader then.....your energies would certainly be better directed elsewhere. See, in my opinion this isn't just a fight for you, but a fight for everyone involved in this church. in my opinion they are all being tested to see if they will rise up and do the right thing. They deserve the opportunity to do so. But ultimately, it's up to you to decide how far you are willing to take this. You've already started full force and I'm behind you on that! I wish you continued strength.
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I don't think that changing churches would be an option. Obviously I don't know but I believe that her faith of choice is not likely to have multiple congregations in one community. Likely she has lifelong attendance and belief in her faith and follows it's tenets closely. That complicates matters for sure.

    Perhaps Liahona could hire someone to attend services with her and give the assistance that is needed? Some churches are open to non participatory visitors and, of course, some are not. I've been thinking about this and it seems doubtful that a congregant would fill this role due to their need to actively worshp. Tricky problem for sure.

    If the church membership and participation provides a life plan for her family and the social interaction enhances her life, or at least relieves stress, then I think non-confrontational discussion with those in charge is her best step.
    Boy, I'm sorry you have to face this, Liahona, but we are here for you 24/7. Hugs. DDD
  14. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    Are you sure the lady was really expressing a wish from the pastor? You should meet with the pastor and ask him about this. Ask him if he seriously believes that "Let the little children come to me" is an option. It would be wonderful if he states he did not have a conversation with this lady and that she decided to take matters into her own hands. If it is hard to speak with him face to face, write a letter. Find verses in the bible that encourage people to come to church - The woman at the well, the Good Samaritan, Jesus with the children.

    Start the letter, "After a very confusing conversation with a leader in the church, I feel the need for written clarification from the pastor and church elders regarding this matter. I find when my husband is unable to worship with the family that I have my hands full. Even a mother's set of extra eyes can be stretched with kids ranging from 3 months to 11 years old. I have recognized the need for an extra set of hands to assist me during worship service. When I brought this request forward to ________________ thinking that was the best place to start, her answer was that she would see what can be done. She later came back to me and told me that after speaking with Pastor ___________, it was decided that difficult child was no longer welcome during worship services. She stated that this directive came from Pastor _______________. I am so totally shocked. God wants all HIS children to worship Him. Services were created to bring God's children together to support each other and offer praise, thanks, requests for forgiveness, etc. If I am to believe what ______________ said, the church is not honoring difficult child's position as a child of God? I believe this rather harsh and am at a lost on how to react. My church life is very important to me and I just can not accept that it is the true wish of my congregation to deny access to God to any of my children. I don't think I can truly understand or believe this is happening without the congregation's written request that difficult child be locked out."

    Make copies - send to the pastor, the pastor's supervisor, the head lay person of the congregation, and each elder (if you have them).

    Continue to ask others for help. Try the Sunday School leader or difficult child's church teacher. Does difficult child have a friend that goes to that church? Could that family watch over him?
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    While I am not a very religious person, I tend to think I agree with DDD. I have a feeling based on the original post that this isnt just an average church that you are going to find 30 of them in every city. I did have a similar thing happen to me when Cory was little and the local church that everyone in this community attends asked me...no told me...not to bring him back. I said alrighty then, none of us would be back and we werent, until his great-grandmothers funeral.

    Personally I tend to think maybe you should write your pastor a letter and include one of those bracelets that were so common..WWJD.
  16. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Thank-you for your support. Changing churches isn't really an option. The 3 hours for the kids includes 1 hour were all the families are together (preaching), 1 hour of songs and stories, and 1 hour of Sunday school class time. The women's leader visited me again and told me I could bring my family (all of them) to church as long as a responsible adult was with difficult child 1 at all times. She also told me there are NO responsible adults who attend this church that can help me so it will have to be me. And I could not breastfeed easy child 3 while in the meetings or in the mothers room with difficult child 1. Translation: You can come, but we are going to make it as hard as possible in the name of keeping everyone safe. Before you all tell me the other kids being safe should come first over difficult child 1 going to church realize he has never even had any defiance in the church setting much less hurt anyone. Then she proceeded to tell me how sorry she was while I shut the door in her face. I didn't trust myself to speak much.

    We're not going to church today. Not because of their un-Christen rudeness but because I can't get all the kids ready in time. I'd go with my kids if I could. Next week our church does something different, so this won't be an issue. Oct 9th will be the next time we can go to church. I'm going to go. I'm going to feed easy child 3 under a blanket in the meeting. I'm going to stay with difficult child 1 during his classes. While in the Sunday school class of 11 year olds if easy child 3 gets hungry difficult child 1 and I will find a different room. Maybe I can get my cousin to help me (I'll verify that he is a responsible adult even if they aren't.) He is talking to his wife and will get back with me sometime today.

    There are members of this church who would be horrified by the way I have been treated. I have very good friends in this church and because of our schedules church is the only time I get to see them. Of course the way church will be set up for us Oct 9th and ever after I won't be seeing many other people besides the 11 year olds. The doctrine of this church has also helped me keep my sanity (maybe, am I sane?) and I would like to pass that on to my kids. So, even if I have to give up my friends to let my kids attend I will. The kids also have friends at church.

    I am trying to keep this as non-confrontational as possible. A confrontation, while would relieve some of my anger, won't change them at all. I will contact my friends and tell them about the situation. Then maybe we can work something else out with our schedules.

    Of course at home I'm crying and calling the preacher all sorts of swear words. But they'll never see that. They will see a calm person with difficult children that one or two stupid people aren't going to run out of the church.
  17. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I think you are responding to this with dignity, Liahona. You are right that getting angry with them will not help them to see things differently... however completely understandable and inevitable feeling angry is. I wish the leaders of your church could be more Christian. Since they are not, it is for you to make the situation manageable in whatever way you can...
  18. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Andy, with a few modifications that sounds like a great letter. The person over the preacher was appalled by them telling me not to come back and spoke to the preacher for me. I think I will send a variation of that letter to the preacher. I think knowing our family situation scares him spit-less. And while a letter probably won't change his mind it might give him reason to pause and realize that this is not what Jesus would do.

    Again thanks to everyone for your response and upsetness on my behalf.
  19. keista

    keista New Member

    Above all else, this REALLY breaks my heart. I will continue to send you Love, Hope, Faith and Strength.
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so very very sorry. This must be tearing you apart inside, and I wish I could fix it. Your dignity and grace while interacting with these people is amazing. I am proud of you for not losing your cool and blasting them. Refusing to allow a child to be at church? I am pretty darn sure that this isn't part of any religion I know.

    Not having someone who could help you is koi. Isn't there a nursery where someone doesn't go to the service but stays to watch the littlest kids? Our church actually has speakers so that those in the nursery, ESPECIALLY the kids, hear the service. Most of the women who run the nursery see that as a part of their worship.

    This is blatant discrimination. There are LAWS against ANYONE, even a church, discriminating against someone with a disability. Around here it would make the paper f anyone learned that a child wth problems was thrown out of God's house.

    Do not stop with your boss's boss. Who is the head of the church nationally? A letter needs to be sent to them, or you could call them. The fact that a child who has endured what your child has been through is now being told that he isn't "good enough" to go to church? That will get results - children like difficult child need faith or they can't even hope or pray to be able to change thngs for the better. No way will the higher-ups not realize exactly how much of an enormous error that those who told you not to bring made.

    Do they truly want to tell a child that God doesn't want him around, that he is such an awful human beng that he cannot even attend a service? What will that do in teh long run if this continues? If God thinks you are so awful and messed up that he won't have you in his home for services, then how can you sink any lower than that? Why try if you are that awful a person?

    No one deserves that. Especially not a child.