Mid Councils Newsletter | October 3, 2016
So, I have stopped paying someone to paint my hair. It has been interesting to see the reaction from people.
First, the process. I used to spend 2 hours every five weeks at the salon near my house. There were two good things about it. I got to catch up with the young stylist who does my hair. Since I met her she has gotten married and had her first child. She even got burned by errant fireworks a couple of years ago and asked my legal advice about dealing with the city. (I advised her to talk to someone who knows more about this stuff than I do 😉 ). The other good thing was that I got all caught up on celebrity gossip by reading the magazines there. The bad things were the expense, the time, and the chemicals on my hair. I decided that we were not fooling anyone anymore about whether or not I am young so over the last couple of months we have gotten to my natural color.
Here is what has been happening since. There is a stylist at the same salon who is an elder in one of the churches in the presbytery that I served that went to the EPC. It has always been a little awkward to see her and we just say “hello.” When she noticed what we were doing with my hair she tried to talk me out of it. . . for two months in a row! Then there are the people who have not recognized me.
But most interesting is the way I get treated differently. Waiters and other strangers with whom I interact (always men, never women) call me “Young Lady.” Nobody thinks I am young and it is a pejorative way of dealing with “the elderly.” The other thing that has happened is that I have people ask me if I can do some physical thing, as in “Can you manage the stairs?” Or “can you hold your arms above your head to do the scanner at the airport?” Grrrrr. I try to be polite. With the amount of exercise that I do, which includes lifting weights, I am sometimes tempted to challenge them to a race or an arm-wrestling contest right there.
So what does my white hair and the new reactions I get because of it have to do with your Mid Council? Maybe a couple of things.
Whenever you institute a change, there will be people who want to drag you back. They like the status quo or get some benefit from the status quo or are afraid that a change you have made in the way things are done might force them to change as well.
And, of course, there is the temptation to make assumptions about our Mid Councils or congregations based on what they look like from the outside without inquiring any further into their gifts and assets. Many of the people who read this note are new to their position in the Mid Council. For those of you who are new, what is something surprising that you have discovered about the people who called you to lead them that is different for your first impression? On the other hand, if you have been there for a while, when was the last time you really talked with the leaders of the congregations or presbyteries that are not a problem—you know, the middle children who do not get much of your attention? What assumptions are you making about them that might be wrong?
I have gained 90 minutes and $60 every five weeks to do something new. I also have no idea why Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are getting divorced. I would say both of those are positive developments!
Leaders from about two dozen presbyteries across the country gathered in Des Moines, Iowa, August 26–27, for the trial run of a new kind of training event. Called, “Practical Presbytery Leadership Training: Teamwork for Changing Times,” the conference was designed to equip teams of people to meet the diverse leadership needs of their presbyteries, especially presbyteries in the midst of change. (more)
Be sure to mark your calendars and share these dates with others in your mid council. All of these events will be in Louisville.
Moderators Conference: October 28–30.
Association of Mid Council Leaders (AMCL) and Association of Stated Clerks (ASC): October 28–30. (If you need more information about these organizations or would like to join, please contact Jeff Hutcheson in San Francisco about AMCL and Doska Ross in the Synod of Southern California and Hawaii about the ASC.)
Stated Clerk’s Polity Conference: October 30–31. This conference will end the evening of October 31.
Also PLEASE TAKE NOTE. If you have attended the Polity Conference before then you know that there is a price break for the first two people from a mid council who attend. In the past, this was assumed to be the stated clerk and the executive/general presbyter. With all of the changes in the way presbyteries are organized, there were some questions about this last year.
New Stated Clerk Orientation: October 26-28. For more information or to register, please contact Diane Minter (email@example.com).