+ Do not destroy Gill, even if you disagree with him
I support, along with many others, the Rev. Ken Gill at Longboat Island Chapel in his ministry. He is a man of God, called by God, to administer to the chapel’s members. I felt I was part of a family. A family usually defends itself from outside criticism.
This board of trustees, some newly elected in possibly an incorrect manner according to bylaws and Florida statutes, have issued a scathing report in a letter to all members, in an effort to undermine and possibly terminate Rev. Gill. Accusations of mishandling money, which has subsequently proven to be incorrect, were not reported by them to the Longboat Observer.
In an effort to reduce the deficit at the chapel, the trustees arbitrarily reduced the minister’s salary and benefits and retroactive to Jan. 1.
However, prior to this, they voted to pay a member of the board $30,000 for six months to perform a function that would normally be handled by a volunteer member of the congregation, requiring no more expertise than basic common sense.
This particular member of the board was shown only love and kindness by Rev. Gill when he needed help, as evidenced by a new board member reading a letter Jan. 8 from Rev. Gill in support of a job application on the board member’s behalf.
I would ask these misguided people to get on their knees and pray before going down this long road of destruction to a fellow human being and one they called brother.
In John, 4:20, if anyone says “I love God” and hates his brother, he is a liar, for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.
With prayer the board will reach the right decision when it comes to the crossroads at its next meeting.
Matthew, 7:5, says: You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see enough to deal with the speck that is in your friend’s eye.
Dear board, do not in your misguided vengeance destroy the future of this man of God. Disagree yes, but destroy, no.
Ethel M. Doughty
+ Rev. Gill has served the chapel well
I have been a member of the Longboat Island Chapel since 1968. I am totally distressed by what is happening here at the moment. “Love” is no longer the doctrine. A small body of malcontents is maliciously trying to discredit our minister who has served the chapel so well for almost 12 years. Among other things under the leadership of Pastor Gill, the LBIC has had an outreach program that is has contributed thousands of dollars annually to the Manatee Homeless Coalition, We Care, Sister Nora Brick (Stillpoint House of Prayer) and has sponsored two Habitat for Humanity homes in Manatee County.
The chapel outreach budget is small and none of this could have been accomplished without the generous contributions from a Longboat Key resident who was impressed with Pastor Gill, his leadership and his ministry. These outreach monies were given to the chapel because of Pastor Gill. I also know that Pastor Gill and his lovely wife, Connie Buckler Gill, have made countless unheralded contributions to this community and to the world.
+ We hope Island Chapel does not oust Gill
We were shocked to have read such a reputation damaging letter about Rev. Gill, a man of God, whom we have come to know, love and respect as our minister. The lies that continue to be spread by Longboat Island Chapel board members have been proven to be false and were never retracted. To terminate a caring and kind minister who has served the chapel for 12 years is completely un-Christian. Six members of the board stormed into Rev. Gill’s office and demanded that he vacate his office immediately; these actions are Gestapo-like methods.
The Island Chapel has an affirmation of faith, which is recited at the beginning of services on Sunday.
Apparently the board and certain vindictive individuals have chosen to ignore this statement. The affirmation follows:
“Love is the doctrine of this church; the quest of truth its sacrament; and service is its prayer. To dwell together in peace, to seek knowledge in freedom, to serve humanity in fellowship, to the end that all souls shall grow into harmony with the divine — thus, do we covenant with each other, and with God.”
We ask all chapel members to pray for peace and not to let this board ruin the chapel and a great man of God, Rev. Ken Gill, and ask all Island Chapel members to examine their hearts and to vote not to oust Rev. Gill Jan. 29.
Alan and Inge Boudreau
+ The perfect clergyman does not exist
Although I can’t speak to the particulars of the situation at Longboat Island Chapel regarding the Rev. Kenneth Gill, I do know I possess much respect for him and the contributions he has made to the wellbeing of the Longboat Key community. I also know that those serving as spiritual leaders of congregations today face daunting challenges.
They are expected to grow their congregations, despite trying economic conditions and altered demographics; be dynamic change agents but still preserve the status quo; and offer a religious vision that inspires everyone and disappoints none. In other words, they are under great pressure to please all their congregants all the time. Additionally, of course, this must be accomplished under constant scrutiny.
Congregations should certainly hold their clergy to high standards but they also have to be realistic. The perfect clergyman (or woman) does not exist.
Rabbi Jonathan R. Katz
Temple Beth Israel