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Merger Talking Points

On Sunday, February 11, we will hold a Congregational Conversation about the potential merger with Christ United Methodist Church. This is the first time that members of the congregation (outside of the Council leadership) can enter into formal conversation, ask questions and hear more about the proposal. Please plan to attend so you can be a part of this very important conversation. It has the potential to shift who we are as a church and how we function. The Zoom link is in the February 7 newsletter on the webpage.

  • Christ UMC has decreased in size and is on a trajectory to closing
  • UCC may not be far behind
  • All Protestant churches (mostly mainline Protestants) are in the same place
  • Christ UMC leadership brought the question re: a potential merger to the UCC leadership 
  • Christ UMC sees this potential merger as a place that they can go to have hope
  • Leadership teams met on October 24, 2023
  • No decisions were made
  • There is a general commitment to explore possibilities together
  • Are now seeking to share information with congregations and get initial feedback

Several folks have raised the possibility of Christ UMC simply closing and the members join the UCC or First UMC.

  • In the United Methodist polity/structure, when a congregation no longer exists, all the assets and resources go to the conference. The UCC would be forced to buy the UM portion of the building, should the conference offer it to them
  • Christ UMC would not be able to turn any financial or other resources over to the UCC
  • For many of Christ UMC members, it’s important to maintain a UM identity and membership
  • There is no potential for First UMC and Christ UMC to merge. The ministries are very different. Christ UMC recognizes that they are already in relationship with the UCC
  • The UCC came to this location in 1976, built the sanctuary & offices, etc.;
  • In the early 90’s the UCC expanded the sanctuary and narthex, added nursery, choir room, basement, main floor bathrooms and revised the office suite
  • A reciprocal agreement was developed that spells out the shared use and maintenance of the facility. The Joint Facilities Committee was created at this time and continues to oversee the facility maintenance and upkeep
  • There have been several shared ministries over the years, including but not limited to: Family Promise, Mitten Makers, periodic shared events and ministries (VBS, Pageant, diaper drive, mid-week programs, etc.) In many ways, we already have a common ministry throughout the years
  • When we have worked together in the past, we’re good at it
  • UCC membership has declined to 226 members on 11/1/23
  • Christ UMC is at 75 members on 11/1/23
  • Finances at the close of 2023:
    • UCC 2023 Budget Expenses: $286.696
    • Christ UMC 2023 Budget Expenses: $127,256
    • UCC Endowment (Memorial Funds): 1,920,182
    • Christ UMC Endowment: $102,447
  • Both leadership teams have a commitment to engaging in a good process to explore the possibilities
  • You will have multiple opportunities to be involved and receive information
  • No major decisions will be made without congregational input and agreement

When we gather on February 11, we will also be spending some time exploring the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that come to mind in considering a merger with Christ UMC. Please give the following some thought so you can contribute to the conversation.

Strengths: How would our congregations be strengthened through a merger of some kind? What existing strengths might come to light? (i.e. more people in worship on an ongoing basis makes for more effective worship experience)

Weakness: How might our congregations be weakened through a merger of some kind? What weaknesses might be revealed in a merger? (i.e. Lack of familiarity with each other’s history and polity)

Opportunities: What opportunities might you imagine could emerge through the merger of the congregations? (i.e. Christ UMC could engage in a process of discernment to become a Reconciling congregation and the UCC could use this as a refresher course for ONA)

Threats: What might feel threatening about a potential merger? (i.e. Challenge to ONA status of UCC; UCC’s History of partnership with DOC that went badly)

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