Parish Pastoral Council
  • They aren't going to like that music plan.

    At this point, this place is not your problem. You can't reach them, you can't teach them (you can't teach anyone who knows it all and knows you are wrong.) Again, you just need to keep a roof over your head until you get the real job where you will be valued and allowed to use your expertise.

    So you need to revise this plan substantially. Too much organ based stuff. Get rid of all of the chant based stuff. Keep it to one "organ based" hymn a mass.

    You are doing Blest Are They, but you should also do "Christ, Be Our Light," "One Bread One Body", "Gather Us In", etc. Get rid of the "Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts" every week.

    I'm quite serious in my advice. There are people who want you out. And they have the pastor's ear. If you want to even have him continue to work with you and not be shown the door now, you need to do this (while looking to GET OUT of there.)

    Remember - it's a late Easter this year and Christmas just passed. If you submit that plan, I'll bet you money that there would be discussion (or thought internally on the pastor's part) that if they let you go ASAP they might get someone in place before Easter.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • I should add - lest you think I'm not a fan - that this plan looks great for any place other than where you are - that is, any place with some SANITY.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,100
    I see nothing wrong with your planned music, and other than what looks to me like OCP settings - we don't use OCP materials - it is not radically different from music that I do. However...you need to get out of that toxic environment. It can't be good for your health and happiness. I don't know where you are, but maybe it is a large enough area to have many liturgical churches that would appreciate your abilities. Notice I said, 'liturgical churches.' The day is long past where I think the Catholic church is the only place to work. If I left my current position and sought another, a Catholic church would NOT be the first one to come to mind.
    Thanked by 1noel jones, aago
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    I'm trying to move away from OCP, but it's *whines* sooooo haaaaard!

    I had the pastor nearly sold on the St. Michael hymnal because hennaed we could print worship aids for any contemporary stuff we needed. Goes to show you how quickly things can go south. I started this discussion over the summer, I think. I'm sure he wouldn't go for it now.

    PGA - remember the pastor has final authority in all music selection now, so I can have a discussion with him about it, and he can change whatever he wants. Do you think I still need to revise it before submission or can I revise it with him to show him that I am receptive to this "collaboration"?

    Since a few members have expressed concern over the amount of sharing and (and I don't disagree) perhaps it would be best for anyone who wants to continue this discussion to PM me so I can start updating everyone that way. I will post here again periodically with updates so that those who stumble across this thread in the future have a rounded out perspective of what happened and what the solution was. My goal here was to determine how unusual my situation was and if I was right for feel uncomfortable with many of the developments. Obviously, this thread accomplished that. My intention never as or will be to "bashing" anyone, especially my Pastor. I really do like the Pastor so it is particularly painful for me that these people have sunk their teeth into him. For a long time, this position was a dream come true and now, just in the last two or three months, it has become a place I dread setting foot in.

    So again, if you want to continue to be in touch about this, (and I hope many of you do) shoot me a message.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    "Sanity" and "Church musician" are oxymoronic nouns.
  • You still do know your pastor better than I do, but my point was this: You don't want him getting a music list and saying to himself "Ugh, look at this. See, he still just DOESN'T. GET. IT. People are angry and want contemporary music, and three out of every four of these are for the organ."

    If you can't see him saying that, and think he will just "tweak" your plans, then submit it as is. That's really the line where you know more than any of us.
  • am overwhelmingly RELIEVED that he is finally being direct and taking a side. It's the wrong side, but it at least gives me somewhere to start. I am going to meet with him this week and see what he has to say, smile and nod, and cry on the inside or when I get home. I'll do whatever he wants me to do for a few months, won't argue him on any choices he makes with regard to music, and let HIM see what it's like to be in the position of choosing music for this parish. They can't attack me if he has the final authority and all my decisions cross his desk. Hopefully there is a lesson to be learned by him here.


    To put it simply, he's not going to notice. People are going to intensify their efforts to get you ousted every time they wanl in the church an yuou are still there which, along with your attitude of being nice and trying to get along, will all just work against you.

    IF he cared about keeping you there, he would not have let all of this happen.

    Change your group name NOW if it in any way relates to your actual name.
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    Is it even possible to change my name? I didn't think it was.
  • There's a $75 charge, just make the check out to THE CATHOLIC CHOIRBOOK.
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    Resurrecting this once more to say that I have finally been able to give notice for this position and will be leaving sometime in September for a musically superior UCC Church as an Interim (attempting to hold down the fort while they find someone to fill Olbash's massive shoes....).

    The PPC situation spiraled out of control and evolved into a few key members both on and off the PPC forming a "Youth Ministry" committee behind my back and hijacking the music for the 5PM Sunday Mass (with the Pastor's permission). I was brought into the equation only after all the plans had been finalized. A (retractable) projection screen was installed and they "experimented" last Sunday with the Youth Mass model. Naturally, they think it was a resounding success. Except, the contemporary people they brought in didn't know the contemporary Mass Ordinary I use so "wouldn't I just come in and play the Mass parts?" I was not ready to give notice at that point, so I had no choice. This undermining of my stance and "authority" in my position made it impossible for me to stay there even if I had wanted to.

    But, in reality, I made the decision to leave in April. Pastor asked me to keep the triduum "simple because we have sacraments at the vigil." That's when I realized the gap between my understanding of liturgy and this Parish's were so vastly different that they could not be reconciled anytime soon under the current conditions.

    Bottom line is I am thankful to have been able to find something suitable, albeit temporary, to be able to get out of this (as some have said) "toxic" parish. Thank you all for your support and encouragement!
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Very sorry to hear of this outcome. God bless your future endeavors.
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,300
    I realized the gap between my understanding of liturgy and this Parish's were so vastly different that they could not be reconciled anytime soon under the current conditions.
    Am I cynical or a realist?
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,100
    That was a toxic place and I am glad you are leaving it. Shake the dust from your sandals and recommend it to God as you leave, and let him deal with it.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    ... and please do everything in your power to name the place or to make sure that anyone else looking at it understands the situation.

    If the job gets posted here or at NPM, make a thread and say "If interested, contact me first."

    You NEED to do this, lest someone go out there, interview, and have a façade put on for them - "Oh, we are not militantly against real music, the last guy was just a little more hard core and unbendable ... we WANT "good" music! We really do! So come work for us." Rinse and repeat, and someone else is here starting a similar thread - someone who maybe moved their whole family there and bought a home there.

    Really, we need someone to house an "un-official" black list of parishes, with the problems as the incumbent musician sees them, available to anyone looking for work ...
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,615
    Silliness. Just because one musician doesn't work out at a parish doesn't mean another can't.

    I went to a parish that had 10 music directors in 10 years. Everyone warned me, but I liked the vibe I got. The result? I stayed there several years and enjoyed myself thoroughly.
    Thanked by 1melofluent
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,100
    There are churches known as difficult, whether it be the pastor, congregation, music director, or behind the scenes scheming and plotting by those who have means and want to run the place. It never hurts to be aware of such things before going into them. You may be able to defuse them, or you may not think it worth the time and trouble. Knowledge is good!
    Thanked by 1hilluminar
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,478
    Am I cynical or a realist?

    Francis, I believe at CMAA we say "curmudgeon".

    Yes CharlesW: Hell hath no fury like an old babushka ... except for a whole sodality of them.
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    Yes, MJM, I think the attitude you're projecting is one of confidence, whether in self, in others, in clerics or whomever. We're neither masters of our domain nor serfs at the whip and whim of all persons of influence in the parish. But if we're really good servants, like butlers or chauffers extraordinaire always at the ready and at hand, we'll pretty much thrive in most circumstances.
  • PaixGioiaAmorPaixGioiaAmor
    Posts: 1,473
    I went to a parish that had 10 music directors in 10 years. Everyone warned me, but I liked the vibe I got. The result? I stayed there several years and enjoyed myself thoroughly.


    Why did they go through so many?

    If it's just because of money, then I can see how they could do that, and you might be able to afford to work for less.

    But for every one experience like yours, there's MANY who don't go like that. A place that 10 other people couldn't deal with is not LIKELY to be a place the next guy can deal with either.
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    You might, just for curiosity's sake, watch where that priest is in the next couple of years. Likely, he won't be there, either.
  • Having once been on the receiving end of a disgruntled ex-employee's subtle attempt to throw a wrench into my church's hiring process, I must respectfully but very firmly disagree with PaixGioiaAmor's suggestion that you post an "If interested, contact me first" comment or start a new thread when the position in advertised. While this behavior is not unethical per se, it will be perceived as unprofessional and petty by many who read your comment. I believe it also contradicts the forum etiquette guidelines, which state that job postings must "not attempt to bias the applicant selection process. Any additional commentary will be deleted." (Unfortunately, the forum administrators do not uniformly enforce these guidelines, but this is a digression...)

    As CharlesW said, shake the dust off your feet and let God deal with it now. Once you leave, what happens at that parish is none of your business. You will naturally have hurt feelings and bitterness over what now seems to be a massive waste of your time, talents, and energy over the past years, but taking steps to discredit the parish leadership in the eyes of potential applicants is vindictive and unconstructive. Most applicants will take steps on their own to find out why there's a vacancy, and someone who needs a job badly enough simply won't care. Better to move on and let it go. Best wishes in your new position! It has been my own experience and that of many colleagues that it's often much easier to work outside of one's own denomination; conversely, I think many priests have found that non-Catholic musicians tend to be more willing just to follow directives without asserting their own liturgical or artistic ideologies (but pity the poor Protestant organist who gets his liturgical formation from some of these priests!).
    Thanked by 2bkenney27 chonak
  • GavinGavin
    Posts: 2,799
    Badmouthing the church as publicly as you can will just make you look like an unstable jerk.

    I recall looking up organs online, and found a church web site domain had been hijacked by a former organist. It said that this church was a BAD CHURCH, and that everyone should STAY AWAY from this BAD CHURCH because they did BAD THINGS!! And he had page after page of all these horrible things that the organist claimed was done to him. It was a massive web site with much abuse of HTML coding.

    You know what I thought after reading this? It wasn't, "wow, I'd better stay away from this church." It was, "wow, this guy is unstable, and I'd better make sure I stay far away from him. And advise my colleagues to do the same." Maybe he was mistreated (although none of what he described was actual professional abuse); most of us are. But trying to ruin someone else's reputation is never justified.

    I found a web site the guy made last year, in which he warns us of another BAD CHURCH, from which he had also been fired. He played at this church, and they IGNORED his PROFESSIONAL ADVICE to replace their "historic" Hook organ with a bigger electronic organ. They were actually going through with restoring it - what lunacy!

    BKenney, don't be that guy.
  • WendiWendi
    Posts: 633
    No, but on the other hand, if someone knows you worked there and asks you for your impressions, it would be far more charitable to be honest about the problems, than to pretend they don't exist.

    As a musician with a family, I would want to know if someone had problems with attacking sheep before I moved my family in order to take a position.

    However, in the interests of prudence, such comments are best given via private message rather than public comment.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 638
    More and more I'm gaining a better appreciation for pastors who ditch the PPC.
    Thanked by 1Salieri
  • bkenney27bkenney27
    Posts: 444
    Oh, dear, no no! I don't intend to go around with a megaphone through the streets, certainly! I am not convinced this position wouldn't work for someone who is willing to move a bit more slowly and compromise a bit more than I was. It is certainly a beautiful church with a beautiful organ in a magnificent acoustic, and perhaps someone coming in with a clean slate and a better understanding of the events that have happened (as described above) might be able to make a real difference.

    I am definitely planning to make a note that I held the position and am available for questions for any applicants. As I noted above, I do not think I would ENCOURAGE anyone to apply, but I would be happy to share the positive and negative aspects and let the applicant decide.
    Thanked by 1Gavin
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,100
    As I noted above, I do not think I would ENCOURAGE anyone to apply, but I would be happy to share the positive and negative aspects and let the applicant decide.


    Sounds reasonable to me!
    Thanked by 1bkenney27