Wednesday night prayer meeting: a group in exile

One of the vital activities of our church before April 1 was our Wednesday night prayer service. It was a time when the pastors would update members on the latest celebrations and problems in our ministry. Upon removal of the Higgs, Wednesday night prayer meetings were suspended. Feeling the need to spend time together in prayer for our church, several members decided to start back with our Wednesday night programming. Neither the interim pastor nor the associate pastor, Rachael Martin, however, was able to join us on Wednesday night. And the group which wanted to gather — although long-time, very active members of the church — was no longer deemed trustworthy enough for keys to the building. So we began to convene in the home of one of our members. In essence, we were a group in exile from the church we had worked together to build.

When we received news of a new associate pastor following annual conference, we invited her to join us on Wednesday night and requested the church be made available to us again. The associate pastor (Lillian Eddleman) did attend one Wednesday night. After that, arrangements were made for us to get into the building, but still, the pastors did not attend. Without regular, pastoral reports on Wednesday night, there was no longer a connection between the day program and Wednesday night group. Between the removal of the Higgs, the discontinuation of Wednesday night programs altogether for a period, followed by their being resumed off location, and then brought back home but clearly not endorsed or valued by pastoral staff, attendance on Wednesday night suffered. Attendance had dropped to a small, core group of members who continued to hang on to the vision of the church and maintain a study group that supported the ministry.

Later, we would be accused by the associate pastor of turning inward and clinging to each other, with no apparent understanding of the dynamics of the group prior to April 1 or afterward. This is one of many examples of our not being heard in this process.

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