Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yesterday and Today

I finished my week out with lots of fun last night. We had a very impromptu gathering in our backyard. I called three different couples about 5 o'clock and told them to come over for hot dogs on the grille and beer. And that's just what we did.

I don't normally eat hot dogs and if I do the only way I like them is done on the grille. So I sent Ole to town to buy some potato salad, some cole slaw and I had a couple of cans of beans and that rounded out our gourmet meal. Everybody loved it, it was very little work for me and it was nice and relaxing. The fire in the fire pit felt really toasty and warm after the sun went down.

Because three of the four men that were here are involved on the church council, and two of the four women involved with the ladies organization, conversation naturally turned to church issues. Several entries ago I wrote about the financial issues that our church is having. Well, things haven't straightened out much, and it's not for lack of trying. The DCE, who was/is causing all the financial drain has found a full-time position with insurance benefits, but is still working (or says he is) at our church 20 hours a week to the tune of $40,000 a year. Still draining the finances of the church. I'm not going to go into all of those issues here today, other than to say that there are two viewpoints of the members of the council - one stating that now that he's found fulltime employment he should step down from his position from the church and the other thinking that it's okay for him to stay on a part time basis. And the two factions can't seem to meet in the middle. The three men that were here last night are all on Ole's page - the ****! should be given the heave ho before he milks us dry.

But the thing I wanted to talk about today is how different things are now than years ago. Here she goes again, you say, living in the past.

Here's a picture of the original church built in 1880. All the spires and the steeples always intrigued me. I may be of ScandiHOOvian decent, but the krauts that started this German Lutheran Church were more than willing to take my family in. Kind of looks like something from the Frankenstein era, doesn't it? It was built in a beautiful setting out in the country on the river bank that was finally its demise. As the years went by and the flooding got worse and worse each year the basement finally gave way and the church had to be demolished. A new church was built in the little town about a mile away from this location. Don't get me wrong, the new church is beautiful, but the old one had so much character and holds so many memories for me and a lot of other folks in the area. I went to Sunday school here, was confirmed here and Ole and I were married here.

Below is a picture of the alter. Quite ornate don't you think? Hand carved oak by one of the original founders of the church. When the church was demolished all the stained glass windows were saved and worked into the new church. The thing that I find extremely upsetting is that the alter wasn't used. It was removed from the old church, hung in someone's storage building for many years and then became firewood. Our new church is quite modern in decor, so the folks on the building committee didn't think the old alter was suitable. My opinion is that it should never have been destroyed, but located somwhere else in the church for history's sake. How about having it on one of the walls in the fellowship hall? I guess that would have made too much sense (I'm being sarcastic and caustic here in case you couldn't tell!)

My family moved here in 1953. The minister at that time was named Pastor Schumm, a very soft spoken, gentle man with a large family and a wife that was very involved with church activities.

One of the interesting things about that period of time is the salary of the minister - it was merely a stipend and depended on how much was left AFTER paying the monthly bills of the church. From what I have gathered from some of the "old time members" of our church is that the majority of what this minister received in compensation was not monetary. He lived in the parsonage - a house right next to the church which was owned by the church. He received a variety of chickens, beef and a garden produce in lieu of cash. His kids and wife were expected to keep the church clean, windows washed, etc., and see that the furnace was stoked in the winter so it would be warm for Sunday morning services. He and his family gave of themselves willingly.
Now, compare this to the DCE who was previously making $80,000+, now cut back to $40,000 for a 20 hour week, has another full time job with benefits and
refuses to do anything even a little bit extra.
I'm certainly not expecting him to work for chickens and eggs and fresh produce, but there certainly is a difference in attitude here. I'll let you draw your own conclusions. I already have mine.
Love you all, Lena


harrietv said...

It gets to a point where one can be thankful for being able to talk to God without a middle man -- because who can afford one?

Our synagogue left town -- they now meet in an office building somewhere -- and I'm on my own, 'cause it's beyond my driving skills. All the personal work that members put into the building now belongs to the church that bought it. The stained glass windows, used as a fund-raising project (and I did pay for one) were moved somewhere, though I don't know where.

But as I have mentioned many times, God and I have an understanding.

Marge said...

I love going back in time with you! You always make me think of events in my does this post.

My dad was the pastor at two little country churches down in Iowa. Most of the last names of the parishioners were: Johnson, Anderson, Knutson, Iverson, Nelson, Peterson, etc! And I remember the children's Christmas programs when after the singing and reciting, the brown paper bags with candy, peanuts, and an apple were passed out. And then from under the tree in the front of the church came boxes and sacks, all addressed to the pastor and family. Oh my, there were chickens, a beef roast, jars of home canned pickles, corn or tomatoes, and often candy and fruit. I thought those were the best Christmas gifts ever!

See, you got me going on memories again! Have a good weekend.

~ Sil in Corea said...

You brought back memories to me, too! ;-) Thanks!

Paula - 53 said...

I do remember time when churchs were run on volunteer power. The pastor got paid (and not much for what was required) and perhaps a token hourly wage for a part time church secretary and that's it. The youth counselors were volunteers, etc. Now I hear the church I grew up on hires a youth person for quite a hefty sum. These are the signs of our times.

Memaw's memories said...

I've never heard of paying that kind of money for a part time job. I work 40 hrs, have a degree, use it, and don't make that much. So he'll get no sympathy from me.