View Full Version : It's been an emotionally rough week

August 24th, 2013, 04:38 PM
First let me apologize to all of you who are dealing with real problems: illness, tragedy, misfortune, etc. My troubles are petty compared to yours, but it's been a tough week.

In a week where I ended up getting to bed well past midnight due to a freelance editing job -- and two of my daughters were offered jobs half way across the country -- my church held a "listening session" so that parishioners could identify the parish strengths and weaknesses to our new pastor. They split us into small groups based upon our birth month; I was placed in a group with just four other people.

My life, my self identity, even my Missouri Star avatar, revolve around being a musician. I have played guitar in church for 28 years. I have led youth choirs, adult choirs, and currently sing in a duo with my husband. I have spent thousands of (unreimbursed) dollars taking lessons, paying for copyright permissions and upgrading my guitar. Music ministry is the driving force in our lives, because every week time must be devoted to music; it needs to be researched, chosen, rehearsed, and sometimes even written. Art on demand, I often joke.

So back to this small group. Two people identified themselves as only attending the Saturday Vigil Mass (at which I play) and never attending Sunday Masses. Without acknowledging my presence or giving any sense that they recognized me, they proceeded to talk about how awful the music is, how there should be only an entrance and a recessional song, how modern music is not appropriate for the Mass. After awhile I said, "I don't know if you recognize me, but my husband and I provide the music for the Saturday Mass." The man looked me straight in the eye, set his jaw, and nodded. It was all I could do not to cry.

I babbled for awhile, mostly to keep from bursting into tears. The man then looked me straight in the eye and said, "What are the chances that someone else could do the music?" I babbled on about how no one else volunteers. Time was up, and we needed to head back to the large group.

As each small group presented their consensus report, almost every one stated they "would like more traditional music." I did start to cry and I didn't stop for two days.

My pastor heard through the grapevine that I was pretty upset. Bless his heart, he called me and invited me to come in and talk. I thought, "Oh, how nice. He's going to be so supportive." I believe he was trying to be supportive, but in the course of that hour and a half meeting, he told me that he's not fond of guitar music. I offered to say goodbye if he'd like, but he asked me to stay since there is no one else. OK, I'll take faint praise.

Then came the kicker. My pastor said, "If God wanted to stop that man, He could have. But God was trying to discipline you." I said, "Punish me?" He said, "No, discipline means teaching." I asked, "What do you think He was trying to teach me?" The answer? "I don't know." "How do you know that was from God?" I asked. The pastor said, "You'll have to figure that out. Test it."

Well, I'm thoroughly wrung out and hanging on a clothes line now. I truly don't know how to continue. I'm an introvert; getting up in front of that microphone is not easy for me. This week I actually waved the white flag; I contacted the Men's Chorale and asked if they'd sing with me playing the piano. Bless them -- I think they might have heard the rumors -- 10 of the 12 have committed to be there tonight.

Thank you all for listening. As I said, in the grand scheme of life, this is pretty petty. But I feel so wounded.

August 24th, 2013, 04:45 PM
I would be hurt too. How very rude and sanctimonious of them. It surely could have been handled in a much different way. Saying prayers that God will lead you where he wants you to go.

August 24th, 2013, 04:47 PM
Whoa! I don't believe God would ever silence some one singing his praises!!! Please don't stop. This might be a strengthening from God, but he would never hurt one of his children. Please pray on this... I know I will. But rest assured God loved your music. I know that just because some one is sitting in church..or leading it..does not mean they are speaking 100% for God. He WILL come through for you.

August 24th, 2013, 04:54 PM
First of all what kind of Pastor is this. God is not about punishment or discipline as he chose to call it. What kind of man would say those things to you in that little group? I believe your experience was a complete misinterpretation of God.

God is love. God is joy. God is support. God is not discipline and a lack of empathy for others feelings.

No one want the job of providing music and they bash and mistreat the only ones that are willing to step up and provide this service? Did they ever consider requesting a song or two?

I would quite honestly have a difficult time in going back. You are a wonderful person to do this for your church and I am sorry that they do not recognize how lucky they are to have you.

K. McEuen
August 24th, 2013, 05:00 PM
I offered to say goodbye if he'd like, but he asked me to stay since there is no one else. OK, I'll take faint praise.

I'm sorry, but if that was the only reason they wanted me to stay I'd have told them to learn acapella.

You deserve a lot more than that minister and congregation has given you.

August 24th, 2013, 05:03 PM
My heart hurts for you, I can't believe this all came from a church. I would be wounded, not trying to make you feel worse just saying you have every right to feel the way you do. Me? I would not have changed or gone back. Why waste your talent on the unappreciated? God loves you

Jean Sewing Machine
August 24th, 2013, 05:06 PM
I know how you feel, because I had been a church musician since I was 10. I sang in the elmentary school choir, HS chorus then graduated to the adult church choir. I added guitar to my repretory at age 19, then back with church groups once this style of music became popular. Did that for at least 30 years until several issues with my playing and singing caused me to be so unhappy after each worship session that it was causing me to look away from God. Since my faith is more important my music ministry, I have not played in church for 2-1/2 years. The pangs of sorrow over losing something so important to me hit everytime I went to Mass, and I'd often leave to cry my way home. I have adjusted to just being a choir member, although it brings me very little personal satisfaction, I am still in my music ministry. I have little invested now, hence low satisfaction, but also low frustration.

I can only imagine that it felt like a slap in the face to you to be directly confronted by someone who didn't appreciate your music. To have a consensus of the congregation agree that they want something different has to really hurt also. To have the pastor say he wants you to continue only because there is no oe else to volunteer doesn't help, but he is responding to his own tastes and the voice of the people through the listening session. Your plan to offer something different may be the way to move everyone to a place where they find comfort in music during worship.

Change is difficult, and to be asked to do something different from what you have prepared for through lessons, practice and upgraded instruments is especially difficult. People couldn't understand why I decided to step back from my ministry, and explaining it in general terms didn't answer their questions. But once the decision was made, there was no going back. I only hope in your reflection of where ( in time, place, musical style) you will continue in your ministry, you can find a place of peace in your heart and mind, That God's plan is one we can live with, and grow through the experience.

I wish you the best. By the way, I have three nice guitars that are for sale!

August 24th, 2013, 05:11 PM
Whoa! They were totally rude (and that includes your pastor)and way out of line. My reaction would probably have been-fine, you do it! and quit on the spot. Having been in choir and at one time a substitute organist I can tell you it's hard to find musicians. one of my friends plays at several churches-not in her denomination-because they cannot get people to commit- even for pay.
If they truly wanted a different type of music the way to do it would be to approach you and ask if you would be willing/able to play a variety of hymns or a different instrument.
Personally, I would be looking for a new parish. My God does not hurt and insult people to "discipline" them or teach them a lesson. He is a loving, caring Father that guides us thru his love.

Andrea F
August 24th, 2013, 05:12 PM
I am so sorry for you, that was very rude. I am so impressed that you manage to go there again to sing and play for those people that donīt value what you do for them. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and do something in front of people and if they donīt like it they could at least have been polite. Honestly, I could be pretty stubborn if I were hurt this way. I would probably tell them to sing themselves and leave me alone...

August 24th, 2013, 05:13 PM
I think this is a message from God that you find a new church!

What happened to you sounds very unchristian to me!
Our most popular Mass is the Sunday evening Mass that has guitars!

August 24th, 2013, 05:24 PM
If I were treated like that by a group of people I attend church with, they would hear some pretty unchurchlike things coming forth from my mouth. If they are not willing to step up to the plate, they don't have room to criticize you for what you obviously love doing. I would search for and find another church that welcomes you with open arms, because people attend church to find peace in their lives, not to be treated like this.

Miss Sheri
August 24th, 2013, 05:27 PM
Wow Toni, a heartache is a heartache, no matter the cause. My heart is drawn out to you in this painful, and unexpected hurt. It is really hard to feel misunderstood and unappreaciated, especially if it is already difficult to reach out to other people. In your current pain, it is too easy to give in to the anger that pride will put in front of you and harden your heart. It is much more difficult to allow humility and forgiveness to soften your heart, and find a way to continue your music ministry in a way that you can still share, and also be at peace with yourself and others. I will be praying for you sweet friend.

August 24th, 2013, 05:37 PM
I'm so sorry that you've been treated this way by your church. If this happened to me, I'd find a different church. I pray that God will show you His better plan for you...whatever that may be.

August 24th, 2013, 05:42 PM
You are all so sweet and good to me. Good for me, too!

My pastor at one point said, "You're pretty angry with that man, aren't you?" Now I'd been crying most of that meeting, but that was when I collapsed. There was not one ounce of anger in me, just wounded brokenness. I assured him that I can get angry, but that was not the case now. Since then, I find a bit of anger start to well up, but I push it down or pray it away. Anger would not be helpful.

The Men's Chorale will sing today, and then the big choir is playing next week because the Bishop will be there, so I'll get three weeks off. I need it.

I thank you all for your love, your prayers, and your support. Jean, I know that you have lived this pain. It's just awful, isn't it?

Please pray that I am able to discern what God wants me to do.

August 24th, 2013, 06:15 PM
One word: Leadership. Your church appears to lack it.

Although it must be difficult, don't take their comments personally. Art is in the eye of the beholder and taste is personal. Their comments are about them, not you.

It's very disheartening to pour yourself into something and then feel unappreciated for it. I recommend you follow your heart. Hang in there with your church if you can find a way to still do it with joy. If you cannot, find another outlet/forum for your musical passion and don't look back.

Jean Sewing Machine
August 24th, 2013, 06:15 PM
Toni. Let God guide you to the right place emotionally and physically!

August 24th, 2013, 06:41 PM
Sending prayers your way...my heart is hurting for you...

August 24th, 2013, 06:55 PM
It makes me mad as all that you were trodden on that way, first by your congregation (?) and then by the pastor. If they want a change, they should ask you to be a part of it (hasn't there been any mention of this before?). You have every right to be angry when you get treated that way! How he blames you for that and tries to pin the whole situation on God is just ludicrous. It's worse, it's power play of the worst kind. Making it about you and your reaction to the rudeness instead of dealing with the real issue.

I'd go somewhere else, but I only have this story to go on. You might have a lot of fond memories from that church, strong ties.

I just hope you can find the joy again in playing (or not, depending on what you decide)!! Big hugs.

August 24th, 2013, 07:12 PM
Toni.... I hear you.... My life has evolved around church music forever.... I sang with a small, but very good group, for the seven-thirty Sunday Mass for years..... Thankfully, we were totally supported by "our" people. Even pastor liked us... Our speciality was acapella singing.

Anyway, a new pastor caused our pianist and cantor to leave.... I was so mad, and so hurt that I left, too. I can't tell you how much I miss leading worship.... I did harmonies,,,by ear....so it was very satisfying. We had a twelve-string guitarist, piano, and hstmonica ( it wa really pretty). Occasionally we would have a second guitar.... BTW... This pastor has driven away almost his entire staff, did in a church of over four-thousand families, there is a big staff....

You are right to feel hurt, and humiliated.... And, it isn't up to anyone but yourself to discern God's plan for your life....or to decide that God is trying to "tell you something".

Sorry to go on and on...but I feel so bad for what you are going through....

I understand the hurt and confusion you feel..... There is a certain contingent withun the Church that wants only an organ, voices, and very traditional music.... I am so sorry you have run into a bunch of these people. They generally lack a sense if humor, and are quite dogmatic in their views.

Nothing....nothing hurts like feeling that your church has let you down.... It's so painful... I am so sorry you are going though this,

Your pastor was out of line.... And a little snarky, if you ask me.... And no one did, of course... I's just that I know how awful it feels to feel that your church.....where you expect love and support.....isn't all that supportive, after all.

Personally, I would not....indeed did not....stay in a situation that either made me angry (I couldn't sit there at mass, and glare at Fr. Bob), or brought me pain and/or humiliation.... But we all have to decide those things for ourselves.

I hope things will work out for you.... You have my prayers...

Sandy from Cincinnati

Iris Girl
August 24th, 2013, 07:16 PM
I will say this is very rude and one of the reasons I will not go to church. Each time I went I seen stuff like this and worse, this is a place where this should not be happening. I have no words... I am truely sorry this had to happen to you, you and your husband were doing a wonderful service and now its ruined.

August 24th, 2013, 07:55 PM
No matter what anyone else is going through, you are justified to feel your own hurt and pain. Please remember that and don't apologize for it. (If I was standing next to you, I'd throw a hug in right about now.) :icon_bigsmile:

What these folks did to you was unconscionable! And it was very unChristian-like. (Yes, I am a Christian, and no, I am not bashing Christians, just those who hide behind it (like that man in your meeting and sorry to say, even your Pastor) and use it in a passive/aggressive way to get what they want, often hurting people along the way.) I am so, so sorry they did this to you. Shame on them! I hope this somehow gets resolved, but a good bit of damage has been done. I'll keep this and you in my prayers!

August 24th, 2013, 08:29 PM
How rude and completely insensitive. It is one thing if they want a change of music; some people like more traditional stuff. Nothing wrong with that, but how they handled it was waaaaaayyyy out of line. Yet another reason I don't go to church; I find the meanest people in the world there. I'd listen to your guitar music and enjoy every minute of it! Chin up, girl, what they think really doesn't matter in the end, does it? Just remember why you are playing and who you are playing for. I think He might be partial to the guitar!

August 24th, 2013, 08:37 PM
You go back and tell that Pastor to read this thread because I believe God is trying to tell him he's in the wrong profession. Music in church is a form of worship, I can only admire your commitment to God's service. You continue to make a joyful noise unto the Lord and don't mind those who can't see, hear or love.

August 24th, 2013, 08:48 PM
You are a better person than I am. I probably would have asked the group if they would like to provide the music, since they didn't like what my DH and I provided. If the pastor asked me to stay after all of that hatefulness just because no one else volunteers, I would have told him No, thank you: let them have a low Mass. Not very Christianlike on my part, but you should not have to be treated that way by anyone, least of all your church family. Also, since they have more than one Mass, those people can go to any other Mass instead of complainig about the Saturday night music. Unfortunately, there are always those who will complain and criticize others, but will NEVER do their part What would those people say if they had a polka Mass? LOL! I think they owe you an apology at the very least!

August 24th, 2013, 08:53 PM
First off a big hug to you, this is a something major in your life that is causing you pain. We're here for you as a sounding board, to pray, share the good and the bad. :)

I can't believe your pastor is throwing this out as a "God is teaching you a lesson" passage. Even worse "You figure it out." mentality. His leadership style or should I say personality style is not what I would be looking for as the head of my church. There are so many different ways he could have dealt with this situation.

You have a three week break, it will give you time to pray, look in your heart to see if you can continue within the parish/church. Maybe you can attend a different time - I personally couldn't do it, I would feel God gave me this talent and clearly it's time for me to find a more kind, loving, more appreciative place to worship and play music.

Prayers, love and huggers, Ruby

August 25th, 2013, 03:43 AM
I'm so sorry that you are experiencing this pain. I guess that's the difference between religion and relationship. You see, you have a relationship with God, that's why you can play and sing your worship song and do your music ministry. That is the the reason why you didn't get angry but stayed humble and were hurt when they said what they said. They other people have a religion. They just go to Saturday night mass. If they had a relationship, then they would have remembered the second commandment, "Love your Neighbors as yourself". They sure don't seem to love themselves. I personally think they were on assignment from the enemy to try and steal your joy, and yes the enemy uses the people in the church, even the pastor. Also, don't let the enemy stop you from worshiping. Remember praising and worshiping is spiritual warfare that always defeats the enemy. You are stronger than you think. If you don't believe me, look up the story of Joshua and Jericho in the Bible. It was the worship warriors that defeated the city.

I always say, if things are running smoothly in my life, with no hiccups or bumps, I need to check myself, I'm not doing things God's way. Cause when your doing things God's way, the enemy hates it and he's going to try to do everything he can to make you miserable, sad or depressed. So remember Psalms 30:5 "weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning". Pick up you guitar and praise and worship God. You are truly blessed with a gift many wish, including me, they had.

Send you a hug. Be blessed.

August 25th, 2013, 04:32 AM
As much as I love being a Christian, there's a reason why I no longer attend church and it's in the same vein as your experience. I listen to metal music (mostly Metallica, Slayer, Lamb of God, the "milder" metal bands) and I often get asked "How can you listen to that stuff and call yourself a Christian?" Well, how do we know that God's not up there headbanging and listening to Metallica? I don't remember seeing in the bible "thou shall only listen to gospel music".

I know you are likely attached to this church, it may even be the only one in your area, but if I was in your shoes and had another church I could attend, then I would. Not because I would want to run away from the whole situation, but more because I couldn't remain a member of a church with such un-Christian values. Don't they remember that there is only one man who can judge us? And saying that he would ever want to PUNISH you, that's wrong, cruel, and many four letter words that are not appropriate to use when describing a man of the cloth...

Divine Daisy
August 25th, 2013, 07:17 AM
I have read this whole thread several times, but have been determined not to comment. My Aunty Lizzie told me, if you can't say something nice, keep your mouth shut..........................Sorry aunty Lizzie.

I am so so sorry you are hurt by those who should be your friends and supporters. How sad that this should have happened, actually not so much sad as infuriating.

As someone else said, some of the meanest people I have ever known have been members of churches who seem to think that God is always on their side and has given them the right to say what they think, to whomever they wish and it be 'ok' no matter how unpleasant and hurtful it is because it is to do with the Church.

I am Jewish, so I cannot and would never claim to know how a Christian church is run. however, I was a Jewish girl who was sent to a convent school to 'make a lady of me' (my mother always bitched about that waste of money btw) so I did get a little insight.

As far as I am aware, Jesus never said a cruel or hurtful thing to anyone, never humiliated anyone and did not judge people. This as I understand it is the basis of living a Christian life and in that context I too try to follow that example. How members of a church can validate such being so cruel even in their own minds let alone a minister's is beyond me. I could rant like this for hours but it is not my place. I just wanted to say that I am sorry you are so hurt and that they had no right to behave in this manner. Enjoy your music and don't let others diminish what it means to you and what you do with it.

This is the second piece of cruelty I have come across in as many days from member of an organised religion. The other happened to me. Two Mormon gentlemen who were they said doing missionary work came to my door. When I explained very nicely that I am Jewish they literally back away from me and I will not repeat the words they said. I simply bid them goodbye and hoped they enjoyed their time in the UK.

My Aunty Lizzie taught me something else which I would like to share with you, it helps me almost every day. She said that people like this are ' more to be pitied than scolded'. She was right and I try to remember it.

Big hugs and as a famous Irishman said..... 'May your God go with you'

August 25th, 2013, 11:10 AM
Oh Miss Daisy You have all the right words and I hope GuitarGramma takes great comfort in them.

Sounds like the whole listening sessions was a set up, even to the group you were paired with. Why all the subterfuge? Your pastor could have told you privately that more traditional music was preferred. You still would have been hurt after playing and singing your heart out to God and them each week but it would have been oh so much kinder. I pray that you and your DH find a place for your music, a place and people who appreicate you singing God's praises.

August 25th, 2013, 11:34 AM
Toni, I am so sorry you were treated this way. I agree with others that this could have been handled differently. I know our church was in a bit of an uproar when some wanted more contemporary music, but it got worked out and the Saturday evening and one of the Sunday morning services are always the contemporary services - we have a band with guitars and drums. At first, I was not so sure about the change, but our son preferred it, so we started going to those services. Now, that is all we attend - the traditional service just does not appeal to any of us anymore. We like the enthusiasm of the more contemporary music. Find a way that works for you to continue your music ministry, whatever that path may be.


August 25th, 2013, 03:02 PM
Thank you, thank you, three pages full of love, thank you. You have all been so kind and supportive, and I appreciate from the bottom of my heart all that you have said. I appreciate the prayers you have offered and the kind uplifting you have given me. You are all wonderful.

I am feeling much better, MUCH better. A huge part of this is all that you, my dear sister forum members, have written. The other part is how well last night's Mass went and some of the sweet things that happened there.

The Men's Chorale is the newest singing group in our church. They began three years ago, and I was their accompanist for the first six months until I could no longer handle the double workload. I had a grand time working with them, but I was prepping for two different liturgies each week, and I had to stop.

Because my husband had a class yesterday, coupled with my emotional state, I knew I couldn't stand in front of a microphone and sing solo. I knew that I would break down and cry in the middle of Mass. So I called one of the men who in turn contacted the entire Men's Chorale. Twelve of the fourteen members showed up to help me out. What a vote of love and confidence! With one day's notice, I had a veritable army standing at my side.

The Catholic Church has prescribed readings for every day of the year. Over the course of three years, virtually all of the New Testament and much of the Old is read aloud in Church. Our pastors preach from these prescribed readings.

Guess what one of those was? Hebrews 12: " 'My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by Him; for whom the Lord loves, He disciplines; He scourges every son He acknowledges.' Endure your trials as 'discipline.' " Thinking back, I remember my pastor saying, "It's like my homily [sermon] this week." He was quoting Scripture, the very Scripture I was going to hear at Mass! This puts what he said in context; it was the Word for the week. I feel a little silly about the way I heard him on Wednesday.

While a different priest celebrated Mass last night, my pastor came to thank the Men's Chorale for helping me. When he saw me, he grinned from ear to ear and greeted me in the friendliest way. As you can imagine, priests usually keep an arm's length away from women so as not to give scandal. But he reached out his hand palm up, held it there until I reached back, and gave my hand a huge squeeze. That was an act of support that is very unusual for a priest.

I hate to say this, but I have come to the conclusion that my pastor is a very poor communicator. I won't bore you with all my evidence, but when even my husband -- the sweetest man on God's green earth -- is shocked by what seem to be turn-arounds in instructions we've been given, I can draw no other conclusion. For this I must forgive him. His heart is focused on Jesus, but he doesn't verbalize his thoughts well. His greeting to me yesterday was one of complete support and happiness to see me. I believe that he felt we dealt with things together and was glad to see I was back on the job. I will move forward knowing that we simply must triple verify anything he tells us.

I had a heart to heart with the young priest who celebrated Mass last night. He is the one compiling the topics both written and oral from the "listening session" on Tuesday. I told him what had happened in my small group, and he said a couple of interesting things. Number one, he said that he had literally never seen the man at our church before. Number two, he said that in the written submissions people were very balanced; they'd say that we had good music but that they'd like some more traditional options.

(Just a note. Our parish met in a gym for eight years. We have been in our church building for less than two years. We have a piano, but no organ. My husband and I are considered the "traditional" group, as the Sunday groups are extremely contemporary. The Men's Chorale, who do far more traditional hymns, only sings nine times a year.)

Back to this young priest, with whom we are good friends. When he heard EVERYTHING including a couple of hits I'd taken about other issues, he laughed and said, "God was trying to tell you something about not being there." I laughed back and said, "Yeah. On Monday, my husband said he didn't think we should go on Tuesday. But *I* said 'Oh, no. I want to be supportive of the parish.' God was trying to tell me to listen to my husband!"

I will continue to pray about what God wants of me. At this point, my emotions have evened out and I can listen for God's direction. I've learned some things about this new pastor that will serve us well. He is not a bad man, just a bad communicator. And I will keep up with my voice lessons while we take a little vacation, just in case God wants me to keep singing!

THANK YOU ALL for your love, for taking the time to write to me, and for your prayers and kind wishes. You are the greatest group of women on the Internet and I love you all.