...and other Animals 2
As well as most Congs having a number of Bro No Works there were generally some outspoken ones who at the hint of an issue or problem demanded to know "WHAT are we going to do about this..." Bro Hard Nose, who generally wanted to have firing squads set up or a TALK from the platform but surprisingly they were never going to Do Anything, just get other elders to take on more work.
Bro No Work and Bro Hard Nose seemed to have taken a course in criticism as that was their speciality Why is this happening, Who is sorting this out, when will this be done, all questions that indicate an interest but not enough to DO anything.
Eventually with one Bro Hard Now who had demanded to now at an elders meeting what was going to happen to a family who "harboured" a disfellowshiped daughter, I cracked and asked him, WHAT are you going to do, because I bet it is the same as me, NOTHING, I respect the parents for having the moral and physical care of their daughter in mind"
One circuit visit was from Paul Presland, a kind enough brother who had a severe limp. My son almost had to be chained down as he followed the CO and mimicked his limping. My wife and I had my son sat between us with orders not to move.
At that visit the CO was stressing Sunday field service in the afternoon (morning meetings) Field service support in the week was fantastic but I had heard on the grapevine that the CO pressed Sunday service. I was in dread of any CO visit but this time I was more than apprehensive about the Sunday. Sunday came, had elders mtg with CO, then talk and WT and final CO talk. COs wife went home to circuit flat with a lift from someone and a hall of about 120 people slowly shrank and shrank and shrank.
Eventually the great crowd of 120 was down to just 2 me and the CO who was not pleased, nor was I as I wanted my dinner! An hour on the work that day seemed like forever. The brothers worked very well every week on any day but Sunday and we're obviously unmoved by exhortations to go out for 7 days
We also had some elders from the Gunner family, Bro Gunner was always going to do things but almost always failed to..."I was gunner do it but..." He was an expert at questioning others on what they had accomplished on assigned tasks.
Circuit Assemblies back in the days we did food were fun and perhaps to stop the fun the society stopped the food,when actually the taxman hovered demanding VAT (sales tax) , similar reasoning behind the eventual change to literature being paid for directly but indirectly by the publishers, avoiding VAT.
In the UKall Congs had to register as charities in the 90s with a standard constitution prepared by the branch being read and agreed on. It's reading my copy of this Constitution recently and was reminded of the way in which WT would get ownership of KHif cong closed/merger also cong fu Ds on any closure automatically going to branch.
THe Constitution changed the role of elders to also be Trustees bound by law to act independently in the sole interests of the Charity and also legally responsible for any loss due to improper use of funds. More to follow on opposition I experienced as I stressed our elders act as trustees in certain matters and elders in others. Simple example, contributions to Society agreed by elders when insufficient funds would actually be a personal charge to the elders agreeing such contribution. Majority of elders too thick to understand the difference between a Trustee bound by the law of the land and an Elder bound by the law of the society.
Circuit Assemblies a classic example, elders would vote to send WT some amount when circuit funds were empty on basis that brothers would contribute shortfall either at assembly or by a per capita charge to all Congs. In UK trust law the elders agreeing such "tax" on the brothers were themselves responsibl for any shortfall. In time I gave up trying on that apart from insisting minutes recorded who voted for or against a cash resolution at elders mtgs.
I remember Paul Presland. Or at least the name. Your right about the trustee/elder problem. Think there's been at least two investigations by the Charity Commission into congregations where the problem was identified. Not that anything has been done to sort it out. Elders phoning the charity commission to report allegations of child abuse? They don't even phone the police...
Did your circuit ever sell the homemade cakes at assemblies? Best cakes ever. Some people could bake! Some couldn't mind... Didn't realise it was VAT behind the stopping of all food? I know the homemade cakes stopped when Mill Hill figured out they'd be on the line if someone got food poisoning or whatever from a cake. Seem to recall them saying that it had become a 'distraction' to the assembly too. Not allowed nice things and fun.
Look forward to more!
Food service was profitable but the possibility of a VAT investigation and huge back taxes reason I understand for ending, of course "the brothers" not told the facts as with literature change from paid to contributed. On literature for years about 6 in cong, including me, ordered and paid for the bound volumes. When the contribution system starts guess how many ordered volumes...39!
On cakes, yes we had wonderful times eating them and whole family enjoyed (swear word) getting together and making them.
Remember at DC the metal trays with compartments do different items?
Much fun had in those days but today the grey lifeless morons on JW RF can never match it. Still think Letts is really Criton the robot from Red Dwarf!
I remember the switch with the literature, and seem to recall the letter being read which was a load of fluff about new 'better' arrangement. Lot of the subtext went straight over my head.
Vaguely remember the trays, plastic ones I remember, although we took packed lunches, and the little token slips were for chocolate and pastries and drinks for us. Nice little scam they ran with those tokens - cheaper to pop to the local shops!
Never saw Red Dwarf until it shifted to a Tuesday night! Now you say about Lett... yes!