I need your opinion regarding my problem please.

edited December 1969 in Personal Issues
Hi All,

I serve as a deacon leader at my church, & I'm responsible for teaching coptic hymns at my church.
I teach a group of deacons that are way older than me & the problem is that they always argue with me. They always refuse to learn new hymns & they say "Ahhh...there is no reason for us to learn these hymns, they will take time & effort". One of the group memebers always tries to take control of the other group members & tries his best to convince them not to listen to me. I talked with abouna many times, but it seems like this guy is very close to Abouna & can convince him with his opinion.

I'm very upset, I'm upset that I can't teach new hymns & help my church with this valuable treasure.

Is this a common problem? Any ideas how to solve it?



  • Can I be blunt?
  • Go for it  ;D
  • hey, ilovesaintmark, u forgot to be blunt.
    how did that happen?!  ;)
    baladoos, Jesus said that he who leads must be a servant of all, so u just gotta get used to the lack or respect and the wasted opportunity (as u see it) and ask Jesus to use it to build your character so you can continue to lead in the future.
    on the day of judgement, no-one will ask how well you knew the hymns!
    shocking i know but if you check out matthew 25, it's not mentioned.
    however, it's great that u love to praise God and u want to encourgae others to do the same, and God will reward u for that.
    maybe u can also help to teach me the 1035 hymns i didn't learn yet.
  • I am not there, but here are some issues:

    1.  These older cadets are having difficulty relating to you.
    2.  They do not like you, because you make them look bad.
    3.  They make up excuses to make up for their shortcomings.

    These are the obvious.

    Next, they do not respect you.
    The question begs to be asked:  Why? or Why not?

    Here are some possibilities:
    1.  They have not seen full leadership abilities in you.
    2.  Hymns and chants are one thing, but conducting the duties of a deacon are another.  From how I read your comments, you seem to find alhan as the end all.  It is actually the least all.

    When teaching the chants, it requires at least one hour of instruction on the meaning of the hymn before you can transfer it to another person.  It has to be substantiated in the Bible, the traditions, and in theological meaning long before learning the aaaaa, eeeee, iiiii,ooooo, uuuuu.

    Have you shown them what a deacon is supposed to do and serve as not just the babbling of chants?

    What is your major service in your parish other than just leading chants?

    Can they look to you for leadership after the priest of the church, whether or not they like you?

    If chants and hymns are the only thing you can offer them in terms of guidance and leadership.  It becomes old.  Just like eating a hot dog at a baseball game.  If you eat it every day and at every meal it becomes disgusting after a while and even enough to make you regurgitate.

    The diaconate is not one dimensional.  There is a misconception in that if you learn more chants you have achieved something.  In fact, it is no achievement at all, unless other issues of service have been satisfied.

    The other question is:  Why is the priest not fully backing you?  Did the father declare you the leader of the deacons or was it a self-acclamation in whatever form?  Whether it be showing up and happening to be in front of the microphone or by strong arming your way to the microphone.

    I generally, have not seen in one single church in whatever continent in which I have been that the deacons fulfill their role and duty.  It is always how much catsup I can place on the microphone in order to make it taste better.  It is the rock concert.  It is the show.  It is the:  "let's make believe we are in Egypt and we are Muallim Ibrahim or the deacons at the Cathedral."

    Teach the deacons how to be deacons.  Lead them by example.  Teach the hymns last--the very last.  Show them that there is a need for the chants.  Let them realize that they are an extension of their service and not the reverse.

    Send me a picture of your censer as it is right now and I will prove my point.  If it looks as lousy, as I think it is, I believe my point is made about all of my above comments.

    You need to forget how to be a leader (in an inflated way).  Learn to be a brother--an older brother (despite age).  Learn how to do the most menial of tasks.  Show them the beauty of the diaconate and they will follow.

    If you are their leader, then be prepared that one day you will have to answer before God for what you passed to them.  No different than any parent, priest, bishop, or even the Pope.  The question will be stern and direct:  "What did you accomplish with those entrusted to you?"

    I apologize for my inferences.  Maybe some are correct, and some are wrong.  Some may pertain to you, and some not.  Some you take offense with and some you take to heart.  Actually my comments are not directed personally at you.  They are general comments at all deacons.  I see a deplorable and childish character with selfishness entering the diaconate.  It is not at all based on service but rather self-elevation.

    Before you reply and call me a nasty so and so, think and reflect.  Ask yourself the hard questions, which every leader has to in order to achieve success for himself and those he is leading.

    Look at the censer in your church and it will tell you a lot.  Look at the cruets for the sacrifice of water and wine and ask when was the last time they were washed with soap and water.  When was the altar cleaned?  Do the kids appreciate that the Holy Altar is in deed a place of holiness and Divine Presence?  Look at the vestment closet, I will bet it is a mess.

    If it sounds like my post is like a previous one, it is.  It is intentionally so.
  • You know something Mabsoota, I wish you were a guy.  I wish you were a deacon.  Your character and approach is what is needed in service.

    Do not expect any more blatant compliments.  I like to keep my nasty tone.  I am the bulldog.  There has to be an older brother to say the difficult things out loud.  Believe me it is not easy nor admirable on my part to say these things.  I do not take pride in it, despite my stringy comments.

    I do not really think you need to learn any of the chants.  What you say and do are sacrifice beyond any chant can say.

  • Thanks for your reply IloveSaint

    To answer your questions:

    Yes I have been appointed by the church priest to be the deacon leader of the church & the person responsible for teaching Coptic Hymns to the senior group of deacons.
    This particular deacon does not have the ability to learn long & complicated hymns, for example Praxion Ton or equivalent. He is the oldest in the group & that’s why most of us (as young adults) get embarrassed to argue with him & force him to learn something that he doesn’t want to learn. Sometimes even other members like to learn new hymns, but because they are embarrassed, they don’t say that they want to learn new hymns.

    Abouna likes me & he backs me up, but the problem that this deacon sits with abouna at least 2 or 3 times a week, & somehow he can convince abouna with his opinion. Even though sometime (at the beginning) abouna is more convinced with my opinion. I’m not upset because of personal ego or personal achievements. But I see that one of the duties of a deacon is to learn new hymns so he can pass it (one day) to the next generation of deacons. If all of us don’t learn new hymns, then one day those hymns will be completely lost. What about the cantors that spent all their life learning hymns so that they can pass it to others to learn, do you think we should completely ignore their efforts & stop learning new hymns? You might think I’m a bit harsh, but I think we will be asked by God whether we have done our best to pass these hymns or not. Cantor Mikhael the Great used to teach hymns till 10 pm on the last day of his life, & he departed at midnight. Cantor Gad Lewis cried & wept in one of his interviews because he was very upset that people don’t care about the heritage & hymns of the church.

    All what I’m saying is: If I don’t want to learn long hymns, then fine, no problem. But It’s incorrect to stop other people learning & benefitting from these hymns. There are other people that want to learn & improve their knowledge. I mean this is just my personal opinon.
  • Balados, my man,

    Look at it this way:  You keep circling around to the hymns and chants.  I love them dearly, but they should be the last thing on your priority list.

    I paraphrase from my previous posts:  novices in the monastery learn how to clean and to be disciples to their elders; military personal learn discipline.  The chants, as a duty, are derived from the service of the Levitical ranks.  However, if you recall the definitions of the deacon and their mandates as set forth by the Book of the Acts and the Epistle to St. Timothy, there is no mention of chanting.  A cantor is not considered a deacon.  His job to chant is not related to the diaconate.

    Please do not overlook my other comments, because they are the main crux of the issue.  In regard to someone who does not want to learn a particular chant, so be it.  Let it be.  As one gets older, they tend to stagnate and become comfortable.  Maybe he has learned more biblical verses, and that may be instrumental for his growth.

    Leave the guy alone.  Let him be.

    Do not be upset with me.  I tend to harp on the aspects of the basics and not the over-flowered and glorified.

  • I completely agree with you in what you are saying, but again, there is a question that I want to ask: Can I stop other people learning because I don’t want to learn? I can simply say: “I’m not interested to learn these hymns, but others are welcome to”. How would you feel if you are teaching your kids hymns of the liturgy, & then someone came out of no where & said “I don’t think that these hymns are useful for the children, teach them something else”. Again I’m not saying that the duty of the deacon is only chanting, but I’m trying to pass my point that it is one of the responsibilities of the deacon to learn hymns & chant them. The Epsaltos is responsible for this. Also, a lot of our cantors like: Ibrahim Ayad, Fahim Girgis, Farag Abdel Messih are/were actually deacons.

    Lets say for example that a priest is doing a bible study on the book of Tobit (which is one of the books that are not included in our current bible, but the Coptic Church considers it a book of the bible), & then someone cam & said “ahh…come on….we don’t need to study this book, lets study something more popular like book of St. John. Are we going to just accept it & agree with him??? If we do this, then definitely one day there will be absolutely no one that will know about these books.

    Are we really arguing not to learn long hymns because we care about the word of God more, or because we are actually lazy & don’t want to spend the time & effort learning them? I personally really appreciate the work of the hard working cantors that preserved this heritage for us, & I fully agree that we definitely should work, as much as possible, to learn every hymn. If someone doesn’t want to learn, then sure, let it be, but he doesn’t have the right to prevent other people from learning.

    I mean, this is just my opinion, maybe I’m wrong
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