Sunday, May 23, 2010
Transparency Requires Reading
In addition to the published newsletter, there is a 4x8 ft bulletin board just off the narthex that has all the financial reports, the minutes of the meetings, copies of the Synod publications (Reporter, etc.) and any other groups that the congregation belongs to and more... These are put up month after month as the new reports give way to the old (and the past 3-6 months worth of reports can be found under the current one.
BUT... and here's the rub... in order for this transparency to work, people have to READ them! I am amazed at how often people will ask me about something that has been in the newsletter for months -- as if they have never heard it before?!? I hate doing verbal announcements on Sunday morning but somethings are just not being read and it is important that they be heard even if they are not being read. Even then people will ask basic questions about something that they just heard explained.
I really dislike announcements but I must admit that I should not complain about a few things said here and there. I once watched a video of an Easter service at one of the largest parishes in Synod only to be blown away when the Pastor stopped his Easter sermon for, you guessed it, an announcement from another staff member. So he gave several minutes of announcement on this forthcoming event and then yielded his time back to the man in the pulpit who finished off his sermon, as it were. I guess that was an announcement they wanted all but those nodding off during the sermon to hear!
For all the good it does to make this information available, it accomplishes little good if no one reads is. Of course, I do get a wicked kind of satisfaction saying to folks who ask about something, "Oh, well, it was in the newsletter for several months. Didn't you read it??????"
When the Church is accused of not being transparent it may be due to the lack of information available. Or, it may be due to the fact that no one is reading what is there... Either way, the folks in the pew are in the dark when they do not need to be.