This thead is a little bit long and it's not earth-shaking. It just gives a glimpse into the inner-workings of elder meetings.
Several years ago I was serving as an elder and the C.O. decided that it was time for our congo and a neighboring one to merge. The grandstanding, posturing and politicking by the various elders during those first few combined elder body meetings was nauseating and comical by turns.
The Secretary from the other congregation was a rare breed of elder, IMO. Let's call him Starry Eyes. He was raised by a JW mom and a secular non-JW dad. He got baptized as an early teen and by his late teens and early twenties he was very money-oriented and got himself a reputation as a bit of a materialistic ladies' man. In actuality, he was probably fairly well-adjusted and had a good head for business and Dad's approval to pursue a career.
Somewhere in his late twenties Starry Eyes began to truly start drinking the JW Kool-Aid. He scaled back his business and dove into pioneering and serving where the "need is great" full bore. Eventually he married a JW bride from one of his overseas "need great" excursions and they came back to a more comfortable life in American suburbia. But he still had his "true believer" goggles firmly attached.
This guy positively oozed "appreciation" for all things "spiritual". Holy Spirit could be found all over the place if you just had the right frame of mind. I don't want to misrepresent him here, so let me clarify. He was not someone who liked to APPEAR super-righteous so as to receive accolades from a fawning congregation. He was 100% sincere. So sincere that he often seemed innocent and naive.
Now lets drop in on what I'm pretty sure was the second time both elder bodies got together to hammer out the practicalities of how we were going to handle things going forward as one big happy Uber-Congregation. Elder blow-hards had been yammering on for at least a couple of hours when the earth-shattering topic of.....
Meeting Days and Times....
reared its ugly head.
At this point in time I had just started posting on JWN and was fully aware that the bulk of JW doctrines and policies were B.S. Our old congregation's Theocratic School & Service Meeting were on Thursday nights which sucked big time. Why? That's when The Office (NBC) was on TV. This was the first season and the show, even though it was a knock-off of Ricky Gervais' British version, was fresh and hilarious. So that was my own personal reason for wanting a Wednesday night TMS & SM. A reason that I chose not to share with the rest of the Good Old Boys.
Personal preferences aside, I did have what I thought was a pretty logical argument as to how a decision should be made.
"Brothers, as JWs we know that no day is more sacred than any other day. We are not expected to have meetings on any particular day. I know of one congregation in Wyoming that was in a "Company Town" run by an oil company. The majority of the congregation were brothers and they all had to work Monday through Saturday and a few on Sunday, with rotating shifts. Sunday was the only day that most of them had off. So they chose to have ALL the week's meetings back-to-back on Sunday morning. The deciding factor was what day and time worked best for the majority of the congregation's members. I propose that we ask the friends a couple of questions re: the TMS & SM:
1. Which evening would you PREFER? Wednesday or Thursday? (Tuesday was out of the question since another congo already had their meeting then.)
2. Would either Wednesday or Thursday pose a GREAT HARDSHIP for you to make the meeting?
At this point, Brother Starry Eyes couldn't take it anymore. I think he wanted us to employ the Urim & Thummim to make this momentous decision. He said:
"Brother OM, there's something we need to keep in mind here. Who do the sheep belong to? (Insert, super long pause.)
...... They belong to Jesus and we should seek His direction in making our decision."
Inside my skull was a giant, neon, flashing, W. T. F. ?
Uh, OK, if Jesus wants to direct us towards which night would be best, I'm all ears. But, as far as I can tell, Baby Jeebuz is being silent on this issue so we're stuck with making a decision that works the best for the majority of "the friends".
The preceding paragraph was being recited silently in my skull, but, as a fairly good-humored fellow elder told me later, it was pretty apparent on my face as well. I was speechless.
Somebody else chimed in and another 5 minutes of hot air was expelled before we finally came to an agreement that we would put it to a vote for the congregation(s).
I think Brother Starry Eyes thought we should stop the Elder's Meeting in our tracks and pray for guidance on this issue. He didn't actually say this, but it was the only explanation I could think of for what path he thought we should take. Of course no prayer was said, but plenty of opinions were expressed.
I hope this wasn't too disappointing of a thread for you. It's just a snapshot, as well as I can remember, of the inner workings of Elder meetings.
(BTW, Wednesday night won out and our family got to watch The Office for the next few seasons before we switched congregations.)