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A bully in church

Your answers

How should a church deal with a bully in its midst?

The questioner does not say whether the bully is a priest or a lay person. In my experience, if a priest with freehold is bullying his or her congregation, then the only real remedy is to find another church.

If it is a lay person, then the parish priest should intervene. But a priest who is willing to tackle this problem will not want to be left high and dry, and is entitled to know how many share your view, and to be assured of their support if need be.
(The Revd) Alan Horton

Bullies exist in all walks of life. They display paranoia, jealousy and other manifestations of an inferiority complex. The Church has long been a haven for such people.

Many secular organisations have policies that set out the procedure for dealing with these situations. Whatever the position of the bully in the church, there is always a superior who could be approached. Evidence needs to be well documented and substantiated, as bullies are frequently devious. They are also experts at avoiding detection except by their victim.

Perhaps concerned parishioners should work together to resolve this problem. Those concerned should not be afraid, because bullies thrive on the fear they create in others.
Ann Dendy, (Dr) David Dendy
Blewbury, Oxon

It all depends on who is doing the bullying: the vicar, organist, a PCC member?

Let us assume that he or she is a PCC member. The answer is for the incumbent to know committee procedure well. “That’s an interesting idea, Bill. Is there a seconder? Sorry, Bill, I’m afraid that no further discussion is possible: your proposal has not been seconded.” If it’s seconded, discussed and carried, it’s not bullying. In the debate: “I’m sorry, Bill, you have already spoken on this subject. May we hear from others before you summarise your position?”

Assuming that he or she is not a PCC member: “That’s an interesting idea, Jane. Why don’t you ask a churchwarden to put it to the PCC?”

In general terms, I find a good response is: “That’s a good idea, David. May I tell the Vicar that you have volunteered to do it? . . . No, then you don’t feel very strongly about it.”
Christopher Haffner (Reader)
East Molesey, Surrey

Your questions

When I was a wartime pupil in Arbroath High School, I heard the chant: “Piscy, Piscy, Amen! Down on your knees and up again!” But what was the Episcopalian reply to these Presbyterians? I can’t remember.
B. B.

Is there any rule that specifically forbids the use of flowers, natural or artificial, to adorn the interior of a church, especially the aumbry, during Lent and Advent?
D. A. C.

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