Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Pastor in Enid Oklahoma & "A Time to Play the Long Game"

Two opposing forces met today in my reading material. One was an article in a newspaper in Enid Oklahoma; the article Enid minister removed from post. Rev. Roy Schneider was removed from his church, First Presbyterian, by an Administrative Council of Cimarron Presbytery. Schneider had already announced his retirement on Dec. 18th, but because his church has voted to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by a vote of 131-69, the pastor, it seems, is being punished by the AC. His removal, just a few weeks before his retirement, is unconscionable. This is church politics at its worst.

The other article was on the Theology and Worship blog site, Thinking, Praying, Living. The article written by Barry Ensign-George is A Time to Play the Long Game. In the article, Ensign-George is trying to encourage both sides of our denominational split to be civil with each other so that in the future there might still be a remaining relationship. He writes:
Let us live our present disagreements, sharp as they are, in ways that refuse, wherever possible, to break relationship completely. Where it is necessary to take leave of one another (and we have the witness of faithful sisters and brothers that in some cases it is necessary), let us seek steadily to do so in ways that establish new relationships that leave us praying for, and genuinely wishing God’s gracious goodness for one another – however differently we may understand what that goodness is.
But this has not happened at the Cimarron Presbytery in Enid. The AC is playing the short game. And I have a suggestion for those in top leadership positions in the PC (U.S.A.). Ensign-George's article is good, there are some very good suggestions, but in some cases, the Enid case in particular, one cannot use only abstract principles. Leaders of the PC (U.S.A.), leaders of Cimarron Presbytery, be bold! Lift up the hurt and point out the harassment of a good pastor. Risk something for the sake of Christ, give the church back its pastor until after Christmas.

Perhaps no one in leadership cares to caution against such actions but history will place you on one side or the other of a damaging event. When all of the events of this time have moved on and records are filed away in dusty bins and boxes some annals historian may look through all the dust and name you and/or the offenders.

But more importantly, God, who holds all of history, even the minute events in his hands, who sees clearly in the human heart and promises to care for his own, will not forget at all (Unless there is repentance).


Anonymous said...


I do have to wonder why the Presbytery could not have allowed him to retire at least. It would have made no difference to them. It would have cost them nothing. But making a "point" seems to have been more important. It's very sad.

John Erthein
DeFunuiak Springs, FL

Viola Larson said...

There can only be two explanations. The AC wanted control over the Church and/or, probably both, they wanted to punish or make an example.