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For me - struggling at the moment


 
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Helen
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Location: Nottingham, UK

PostPosted: September 07 2009, 6:54 AM    Post subject:
For me - struggling at the moment
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Hi

Would really value your prayers...

I've been working as the children's and youthworker for my church for the past 15yrs. I've dedicated my life to the children and young people of my area, choosing to live in the area where I work. It's a tough area with high levels of violent crime, many problems of guns, drugs and gangs. I work and live alongside the people who live here - who are also my friends. I ran clubs and groups for the children and young people which were really popular and worked with a great team of volunteers. And my passion has always been to see these people fulfilled, with a hope for the future and their lives changed for the better.

Anyway, that's the background.

One year ago, my old vicar and boss retired. He was replaced by a new vicar, a pioneer and visionary. He is young (29), full of enthusiasm and with big plans to make a difference to the area. Unfortunately, as it soon became apparent, I was not part of his vision. And I am being pushed out.

The work that I did was constantly criticised by him even though he only saw me face-to-face working with the kids once. He said I had no passion for the job, that I wasn't pro-active, that he'd never once seen me engage with, encourage, discipline or disciple the young people I worked with. I had told him, pastorally, that I was starting going to counselling to work through issues from my past and that I thought there was a possibility it might mean my faith could come a bit shaky, and he used this to say that I was making the young people I work with suffer.

A whole other catalogue of things occurred including, I was accused of being divisive when informing parents of something new the church was planning, and received a written warning for it. I was put under the authority of the vicar's wife who has never worked with children or young people, and she then told me I had demons and would need deliverance due to my past. I was forced to work with a man who, in the past, had intimidated, forced his way into my home, verbally abused me and accused me of being racist. Lastly I was told that my post was coming to an end and that they no longer had any funding for me. I have worked for years for a low-wage, seeing this as my service/ministry, and not doing it for the money. Yet the church has, in the account for my wages 26000, which would pay my salary for 5 years!

I have felt bullied and pushed out. Things came to a head in June and I couldn't take it any more. I was signed off sick with stress by my doctor. He told me I must not put myself in that situation any more until it was resolved. And he was appalled by what was happening.

I submitted a grievance in June. The hearing was a week ago. I received a report back as a result of the hearing from them but it was not satisfactory. So I have appealed. If that doesn't work, then my only other options are to leave quietly (and let them get away with their bullying) or go to tribunal (which feels horrendous!). Yesterday, I was given a letter to tell me that all the clubs I'd been running have now stopped and something new is starting. OK, I'm signed off, but I am bitterly hurt that they have changed all the kids and youthwork in my absence. And I am no longer needed.

I guess I feel really let down and very hurt by the church I have served for 15years. After constant criticism, I've lost my confidence in my ability as a children's/youth worker. And as I have been told all along by my vicar that he is following God's will, my faith is a mess. Effectively, I no longer have a job, even though I am officially on a permanent contract and they can't get rid of me. But I can't stay where I'm not wanted. I need to get a new job, but I don't know what I want to do. I love my job now - least, I did. I've never had another job! But I'm struggling.

So, in that very long-winded way, I'm asking for your prayers that this will all be resolved and things will improve and I find my confidence and faith again.

Thanks, x

PS - Whilst you're there, please also pray for my friends Selina, Brian and Chelsea. They are asylum seekers and have been given their deportation order. They have moved in with us for the time being because they aren't safe in their own home. Immigration officials have dawn-raided their house twice in the last month and they are scared. They have been sent to the detention centre before and it seriously traumatised the kids. They are friends, so we happily have them live with us. But it's a bit of a squash and though the kids love each other, being with each other all the time is hard work, and there are many squabbles! For them there is a constant fear of being sent back to the life they fled in fear almost 5 years ago. And it's draining supporting and loving them. We do it willingly - we love them. So your prayers that this will be resolved too, would be hugely appreciated. Thanks x

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Rachael Kinza (25/07/01), Matthew Isaac - DS & Autism - (14/06/03) and Hannah Cerys (14/06/05) - my gorgeous kids!







Last edited by Helen on September 07 2009, 10:29 AM; edited 1 time in total
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Tigger
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Location: NSW, Australia

PostPosted: September 07 2009, 8:39 AM    Post subject:
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I am so grieved about "christians" who abuse other christians, treat them badly, minimise them, judge them all with the excuse that they are "doing God's will". I can tell you that you are not alone. My husband and I have experienced this very recently and I know of many others who have been very hurt in similar circumstances. I can tell you without any doubt that it is NEVER God's will to bring condemnation or judgement or to abuse or mistreat anyone.

There is a promise that all things work together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:2Cool. And Jeremiah 29:11 - I alone know the plans I have for you, plans to bring you prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future you hope for.

You know the call that is on your heart. Seek the Lord because his plans for you are good and no matter what these people purpose for you, God will turn it around. He is sovereign over all.

My suggestion is that you continue to fight as you are able. It is important to stand up for the truth. But ultimately the fight is the Lord's and there may be a time where you need to give it into his hands and walk away. This is a very very hard thing to do but you are only human and no one could keep going under the stress and garbage you have been facing.

We recently went to the oversight of our ex-church because of similar issues and received a very unsatisfactory result. It is different because we have already left but we are wounded and grieved.
We have been praying because we knew that God had called us to a particular area of ministry and that was cut off. Now He is opening up a whole new area and we have hope again. I know that He can do that for you also.

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Karyn
Mum to Nikki (Jul 89), Stefanie (Sep 96), Joel [June 98] and Talitha (DS) (Nov 05) AVSD/PDA repaired 23 March 06

"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." Psalm 139:14
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Karien
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PostPosted: September 07 2009, 9:29 AM    Post subject:
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I totally agree with Karen.

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~Ben'smum~
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PostPosted: September 07 2009, 3:00 PM    Post subject:
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If your faith is a "mess" then it should be his job to help and guide you not to bully, harrass and push you further from your church!! Could you go to the bishop about him or get some of the locals to support you? If I were you I'd seek advice from your solicitor or at least from the citizen's advice.

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Helen
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PostPosted: September 07 2009, 3:13 PM    Post subject:
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Crazy thing is, my faith was the best it had ever been a year or so back. I was buzzing. I guess after a while I just got worn down, and gave up. My bad. But yeah, his job was to support, not actually make the problem. Can't go to the bishop - vicar's have no boss. They are self-employed / employed by God. I've got a solicitor friend advising me, and I have a strong case. I just wish it hadn't come to this, you know?

The locals would support me. I know that. And it is really important to me and I'm incredibly grateful for that. But I don't feel it's right to make this high profile and get petitions and the like. Whatever they've done to me, the last thing I want is for others to see Christians and the church as divisive and un-loving and something you can't trust. It's hard to maintain your integrity and act with grace, when inside I'm very very angry!

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Rachael Kinza (25/07/01), Matthew Isaac - DS & Autism - (14/06/03) and Hannah Cerys (14/06/05) - my gorgeous kids!





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kctahoe
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PostPosted: September 08 2009, 12:05 AM    Post subject:
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Helen, I am so sorry. I have worked with kids in ministry a bit (on a very small scale) and it is so much work, yet when your heart is for the kids, there is just no other way to live. I can only imagine what it is like for an outsider to come in and criticize your work which you have literally poured your life out in order to do--giving up a chance to live in better neighborhoods or receive better pay. Every bit of you you have given to what the Lord has called you to do. Make no mistake, the new vicar is young and, apparently, lacking in much wisdom. And you, you have done the work of the Lord for countless children, and He is pleased with you.

I will be praying that God gives you peace, supernatural peace, in the midst of these trials. I pray for comfort in the midst of your current family situation, and comfort for the family you are helping. I will pray that he give you wisdom as you continue down the road with this vicar and deciding how you need to deal with this situation. And, I pray that you will be able to understand how pleased the Lord is with your work and your heart for the children and youth in your neighborhood in spite of all the cutting criticizim. You have done an excellent work, Helen. I hope you know that. I hope you can, in some small way, pity this young vicar whose visionary ways don't include God's faithful servants. His thinking will not serve him well. God has a place for you, Helen. I believe He has more plans for your life as you pass through these trying times.
K

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grammy to Aleena
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PostPosted: September 08 2009, 10:56 AM    Post subject:
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Ah dear Helen, we will be praying. Youthful ambition, cloaked in "God's will" is missing the mark if people are being trampled and hurt. Praying that God will hold you close and heal the hurt. He has a plan for you.

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shea01
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PostPosted: September 10 2009, 3:05 PM    Post subject:
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Oh, Helen, I am praying for you!
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LinMac
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PostPosted: September 14 2009, 11:56 AM    Post subject:
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Helen

We had a similar situation a few years ago. We didn't want to 'rock the boat' in a company my hubbie was a co founder.
Felt the bad publicity might affect all the good that had been achieved in starting this company that employed 60 people. We were thinking of the investors, employees, customers, etc. We never thougth of ourself in all this. And this had a big impact on our lives.
My hubbie left quietly against the advice of his solicitor who was talking 'constructive dismisal' and 'compensation'. He had a very strong case.

With the benefit of time I believe our solicitor was right! And if I coud turn the clock back I'd take her advice and let her negociate an on our behalf.

Its time for you to put yourself first Helen!

You're in my thoughts and prayers at this stressful time!

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