When a committee falls apart
I’m on two sides of that dilemma right now, in two different Quaker organizations. One where I’m agonizing over my former labor of love, and one where I’m picking up the pieces, and feeling bad for the ones who put so much into it before.
Who’s responsible when the clerk of a committee fails to do their work? For real reasons, but still, the work didn’t get done?
And what if you were worried that this would happen all along?
Is it the other committee members? Didn’t they notice that they hadn’t had any meetings or received any emails or phone calls? What responsibility does a committee member have if the clerk doesn’t provide any leadership?
Is it the clerk of the (monthly, quarterly, yearly) meeting? The ministry and oversight committee? Does anybody check to see if all the committees are functioning properly?
Is it the nominating committee who proposed a person who was not capable to the position? All the people who could have done it but said no? The body of the meeting that approved the person?
Me, who had concerns but didn’t say anything, trying to trust the discernment of the nominating committee, knowing that other people had probably turned down the position, and most of all, not wanting to be asked to do it any more?
What if the previous clerk was rightly led to stop? What if the previous clerk stepped out of the way in a healthy and helpful way? Met with the new clerk, gave the new person all their materials, advice, and best wishes?
In both cases, I thought the transition had gone pretty well. I was wrong.
But in one case, I’m still a consumer of the work of that committee. I depend on it functioning. And I’m angry that the situation has come to this.
I’m praying for patience and compassion.
I’m trying to find the right balance between helping where I can and NOT stepping in to solve the whole mess.
I’m trying not to eat a whole batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in my anxiety.
I’m trying to discern what further action I should take. Should I let more people know? Will it all come together in the end? What lessons does God want me to learn from this? Only time will tell.
I’m also trying not to make things worse by writing too much about the specifics here on my blog. But I know that this kind of situation happens in lots of meetings and non-Quaker organizations. Have you handled a situation like this before? Gracefully or badly?
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