Our relationship with Carden
By Rebecca Thomas, council member
We are all taught the difference between right and wrong when we are kids. Daniel and I are currently dredging though this tough topic with 3-year-old Joshua, who defines the concept by labeling everyone a “good guy” or a “bad guy.” While I have never been a fan of those phrases (since it is behavior that is bad, not a person), I do understand why his young brain needs to label in this way for the world to make sense. Things need to be black and white. Right or wrong. Soon enough, however, he will grow up and become familiar with another concept - the dreaded grey area.
I’d like to share with you how the Council has found itself in its own moral grey area for a long time when it comes to one truly frustrating topic: what to do about Carden School.
For years the Council has agreed that, while we were happy to provide a facility for Carden to teach their students, the relationship with them was purely financial, and did not fit with our CGS mission to Proclaim, Welcome, and Serve. Naturally, it seemed that we should find a “higher and better” use for those buildings. But what about the income they bring us? Wasn’t our role as Council members to make sure we took care of this congregation? And that cannot be done without financial stability. These debates kept us in an unstable relationship with Carden, as they continued to miss payments, use more of the campus than agreed upon, and ignore our correspondence. The relationship was becoming a liability to us, just because we were trying to do “the right thing.”
Ultimately, we decided it was imperative to send a very detailed lease that would protect CGS both legally and financially. It was sent to the owners of Carden School in November, and they did not agree to sign. By not agreeing to our terms, Carden will be evicted from our campus on December 31st. This has presented us with a grey area that troubled me more than any so far – what about the poor students, their families, and the staff?
It breaks my heart to know how difficult this will be on the families as they will have to scramble to make other school arrangements. And what will happen to the teachers? Will they still be paid through the end of the school year? Have the families been told what is happening? Sadly, we don’t have the answers to any of these. Would Joshua define me as one of the “bad guys” in this situation?
We want everyone at CGS to know that we have tried everything we can think of to keep a healthy relationship with Carden, and their eviction was not something we decided upon lightly. That is why we chose to do it at a time between school terms, giving them the best chance possible to find a new classroom situation, while no longer putting us under potential financial and legal liability.
These grown up decisions are harder than anyone prepared me for when I was 3. The only way we can all get through is to pray that God continues to give us all guidance - Joshua, my family, the Council, Carden, everyone at CGS, and all inhabitants of this world we share. With God’s help, the answers become clear. Please, Lord, continue to help us out of the grey and into your LIGHT!
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Christ the Good Shepherd
Various editorials, articles, and other items of interest.