Kitty, I am not sure where to start but as a pastor, I feel you have several options. First, I am not sure what kind of church or leadership structure it has but I would start there. You could talk with the pastor if there is one. Explain that you heard that there was some erronious information shared with the congregation. Depending on how that is received it would direct your next step. You could also have your friend go with you and both of you could share what you have heard and how it has effected you.
If this happened in a church that I was pastoring, I would certainly want to get the truth out. If, as the pastor, I felt that someone was falsely accused, then I would talk to the woman who started it. After that I would try and bring all three of you together and try and facilitate reconciliation. If that works, then a statement can be given to the congregation that some unfortunate information was shared that was not true and that the parties have met and that there has been forgiveness granted and that all the parties are saddened that this happened but it has now been taken care of. It of course would depend on the pastor and how the meetings were handled.
This is very unfortunate and will be difficult to walk through. My experience is that if you don't try and get it straightened out, you will always wonder if people really think you were the woman she describes you as. It is possible that the 80 year old woman has other issues and her memory plays tricks on her. If that is the case, the pastor might already know the possibility that what she said was not true.
If none of this works, then you could change to a different church but I would try and reconcile first. I will be glad to help you in any way possible. If you choose to try this, I would be glad to keep in touch and advise you as you go from step to step. I am sorry this has happened to you especially at a church that is supposed to be a safe place.
Post Edited (Pamela Neckpain) : 3/13/2009 1:58:25 AM (GMT-6)
I am so sorry this has happened to you....I agree with all of the posts! Does this lady have known Dementia? Maybe this can explain why she would do this? Just a thought!
I am so sorry this has happened to you. Most likely the older lady is suffering from dementia. At the hursing homes and hosptials you find this "stealing of money and drugs" theme very prevelent. You need to take a step back and say a prayer as I have already done for you and maybe talk to your pastor as others have suggested and just go on with your life. After a few weeks it will all die down and the rumor mill will start up with someone else, you'll see!
I knoe this is a hard time and embarrassing for you, but this too, shall pass, I think someone said ( see, my mind is going too. I can't remember for sure if someone already said that. hahahahahahaha.) Don't worry, it will all blow over. I am sure.
God bless you and gentle hugs.