A bully in church
Posted: 02 Nov 2006 @ 00:00
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
It all depends on who is doing the bullying: the vicar, organist, a PCC
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
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
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.
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.
Email answers and questions to
Out of the Question