Page 1 of 3

Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 26 May 2019, 16:39
by SilentDawning
So, this issue of chapel cleaning has been an issue for me for years. It has bothered me for a long time that rather than invest in some kind of staff, contract or otherwise, to clean the chapel, it's placed on the backs of the members.

Normally, I just ignore it and don't volunteer. I recognize that this shifts the burden to others, probably the Same Ten People (STP), but it's been my way of coping with what I feel is egocentrism...

Anyway, last time the EQ was supposed to clean, no one came to do it. So our Ward Auxiliaries changed it up. They assigned people into teams by family, with no single auxiliary responsible. Responsibility was diffused across families. Then they set up a schedule. Each team is way overstaffed to allow for attrition (not stated, but I know that's why they did it). Each team has a rank and file member, generally reliable, as a team leader.

This is what irks me. First, I don't agree with this assumption that members can just be called upon to do this kind of work. I think if I was more committed, I would do it (I used to do it all the time prior to my faith transition). But I'm not in that place anymore. Further, speaking personally, years ago something "snapped" in me due to lack of support in cleaning at home, and I learned to achieve many things while not cleaning my space. I hate it, but for some reason I can't bring myself to clean anything but the common spaces in my home, and even then, it's because my wife has matured to the point she pulls her weight in this department, and I want to be an active participant as a show of support. With her support in those spaces, I do it. But in my own space, I CAN'T seem to bring myself to do it. I hate it but I live with it. To have to then clean some other space at church repels me significantly.

But even more bothersome, and the focus of this thread, is how people are just ASSIGNED to do it in this case. They also do it with missionary exchanges as well now and then.

To me, this is abuse of the goodwill of the members. While I realize it's not a calling, but an assignment, the only guidance we have on how to get people working in church work is through the 2nd Handbook of Instructions, Section 19.2, on callings.
After receiving the necessary approvals, an authorized leader conducts a personal interview to determine the member’s faithfulness and willingness to serve. If the member is willing, the leader extends the calling. The leader may invite the spouse of a married person to be present and give support when the calling is extended.
Note that people are extended callings after it's determined whether they are willing. If they are not willing, then they aren't extended the call.

Should this principle of willingness apply to the membership at large when it comes to chapel cleaning? Is it right to simply assign families to clean without regard for their agency? Should people be asked if they are willing to serve this way, or do the local leaders simply have the right to assign people to do anything, expecting them to follow? Is there a better way to deal with the admittedly undesirable task of chapel cleaning?

Re: Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 26 May 2019, 19:40
by Curt Sunshine
Philosophically, I believe it is wrong. I feel strongly about that.

In practical terms, I get it and don't fight it. Those who are willing show up; those who aren't don't. (just like so many other things)

Re: Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 26 May 2019, 20:28
by BJE
The family approach you describe is what is done in my ward. As much as I’d rather not do it I still do. I have a key to every door in the stake so when I help clean I clean the stake offices, bishops offices and clerk offices because usually nobody has a key to get into them to clean them so they tend to be in need of a good cleaning. I asked a councilor in the stake presidency whether or no it was okay to dump the garbage in the stake presidency offices. He said it was okay to dump the garbage in his office and that of the other councilor but that I should go through the president’s garbage to make sure there weren’t things which should be shredded. I thought to myself that I’m not going to sort through the stake president’s garbage. He can get rid of it himself.

What does irk my is getting a phone call the night before asking my to help. Last time I told the organizer that I wanted to know at the beginning of the quarter when I was expected to help. Well this time I got two weeks notice.

Re: Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 26 May 2019, 20:33
by SilentDawning
Curt Sunshine wrote:
26 May 2019, 19:40
Philosophically, I believe it is wrong. I feel strongly about that.

In practical terms, I get it and don't fight it. Those who are willing show up; those who aren't don't. (just like so many other things)
I believe there is a better way. Here is how I would have done it...

First, I would try to raise willing volunteers. That may fail, but I would use the personal priesthood interviews the leaders are supposed to be doing to invite people take this on willingly. I would make sure they knew there wasn't an obligatory expectation, only a request to see if they were willing. Let them know at this stage that I am simply trying to see who is available to clean voluntarily. Did you know that some people have a passion for cleaning? Rely on those people.

If that fails, I would, in the next round of interviews, indicate that cleaning is a recognized burden to the membership, but that we don't have sufficient volunteers to do it all. Indicate there is a need for it, and although there is a recognized aversion to cleaning, would these people be willing this time, to do it even thought it's not something they would naturally gravitate to.

I would see who I can raise with this approach.

I would also consider a calling -- chapel care specialist, and have several people called for a six month period to do it -- twice in those six months. Then they are released and someone else takes a turn. It would be a cultural thing in the Ward that we share the burden. I might even dedicate a fifth Sunday to it or part of it to it. We are to share each other's burdens -- perhaps frame it up that way.

I might even have the leadership and their families do the cleaning the first time just to show I am willing to do it too.

I would NEVER go to massive assignments without people's permission.

Finally, I want to add -- when an organization institutes a program (like chapel cleaning), and there is no enthusiasm for it, and no one wants to do it -- what does it say about the viability of the program? Do we continue voting with our feet for years and years and years, until the leadership finally sees the error of their program and its introduction to the membership? This is what I believe happened with home teaching.

Re: Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 27 May 2019, 04:02
by Minyan Man
Back in the olden days (40 yrs ago), we had a retired man that served as the ward Janitor & was paid a minimum hourly wage. In return, of course, the church got back 10% tithing. It gave him something to do, kept him active & busy. The building was immaculate. From time to time, members that received Welfare assistance from the Bishop would help him. It gave them a method to help out & feel like they were contributing.

I don't know why that ended.

Re: Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 27 May 2019, 04:56
by DarkJedi
We've done this team approach for years. Each family is assigned to a team (we're on team 6 out of 8) and they rotate through. Our turn comes up about every other month. We don't go, it's as simple as that. No one, either on our team or in leadership has ever said a word. I'm sure they know because I know others who don't do it as well. What we don't have is a specific time we're supposed to do it - that probably makes a difference. For me this works wonderfully.

Re: Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 27 May 2019, 07:11
by SilentDawning
DarkJedi wrote:
27 May 2019, 04:56
We've done this team approach for years. Each family is assigned to a team (we're on team 6 out of 8) and they rotate through. Our turn comes up about every other month. We don't go, it's as simple as that. No one, either on our team or in leadership has ever said a word. I'm sure they know because I know others who don't do it as well. What we don't have is a specific time we're supposed to do it - that probably makes a difference. For me this works wonderfully.
It's unfortunate how these things leave with me with apparently no other option than to behave in ways I abhor in others. It bothers me when people "shirk" responsiblity, engage in ghosting (radio silence), and other things. Yet that is how I behave when it comes to chapel cleaning.

The thing that I guess justifies this kind of non-participation IS the lack of agency granted.

I was thinking of paying my son to go on our behalf, to represent the family...but then the need to pay for something I was never asked if I wanted to do in the first place sort of offends my sense of propriety.

Re: Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 27 May 2019, 10:11
by Katzpur
SilentDawning wrote:
26 May 2019, 16:39
Normally, I just ignore it and don't volunteer. I recognize that this shifts the burden to others, probably the Same Ten People (STP), but it's been my way of coping with what I feel is egocentrism...
Lucky you. In my home ward (which I'm fortunately not attending while serving at the jail), the names of the people in the ward who have been assigned to do the cleaning are listed in the monthly ward newsletter. That's how you -- and everyone else in the ward -- finds out who's got the job. :lolno: Maybe I shouldn't be complaining. At least we haven't been assigned to clean the jail!

Re: Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 27 May 2019, 10:23
by Minyan Man
I have to admit there is an up side to the Chapel Cleaning assignment too. Most of the time, we get to work
with members that we don't know very well. In the process of doing the work, we get to know them better & talk to their
children too. It is a lot like russian roulette though. You can also get some member that you don't get along with. In this case, I go
to the other end of the building & find something to do. This has been a commercial message from MM.

Re: Irksome Approach to Chapel Cleaning

Posted: 27 May 2019, 11:16
by Roy
We pass around a sign up sheet in second hour in our ward.
Minyan Man wrote:
27 May 2019, 04:02
Back in the olden days (40 yrs ago), we had a retired man that served as the ward Janitor & was paid a minimum hourly wage. In return, of course, the church got back 10% tithing. It gave him something to do, kept him active & busy. The building was immaculate. From time to time, members that received Welfare assistance from the Bishop would help him. It gave them a method to help out & feel like they were contributing.
I speculate that the old system was unwieldly from an employment law perspective. Workman's comp claims and OSHA requirements can be a headache. Also the janitor was prohibited from participating in the annual ward building spring clean (because the church cannot legally receive unpaid work from an employee). Once we moved to volunteers - all of that goes away. Also, I believe requiring welfare assistance families to clean the building in exchange for assistance can create a de facto employment situation and open the church to a myriad of legal issues.
SilentDawning wrote:
27 May 2019, 07:11
It's unfortunate how these things leave with me with apparently no other option than to behave in ways I abhor in others. It bothers me when people "shirk" responsiblity, engage in ghosting (radio silence), and other things. Yet that is how I behave when it comes to chapel cleaning.
Being LDS can be a fairly significant burden. That burden can be managed and minimized but it is a burden nonetheless. Part of the coping strategy is to be assertive in setting boundaries. Another coping strategy is to passively resist assignments by just not doing them. It is my observation that many card carrying LDS use these same strategies.