Dear People of Saints James and Andrew,
We want to offer an update from the Joint Steering Committee of Saints James and Andrew. Both Vestries offered their support of these recommendations at their February meeting. After much prayer, discussion, and reflection, it is our strong recommendation that we take the simplest, most affordable, and quickest route to merging our two communities together in order for a new community to emerge. We believe it is in everyone's best interest, including the communities we serve, if we can begin our common life together as soon as possible. Therefore it is our strong recommendation that our two communities merge onto the St. James campus on Sunday, April 23, the first Sunday after Easter.
In order to facilitate this process the Joint Steering Committee has addressed several frequently asked questions, all of which will be published this week to our communities. The timeline would be as follows:
●Week of February 13 Publication of Frequently Asked Questions in both churches
●Week of February 13 Discussion of Joint Steering Committee recommendations at both Vestries
●Sunday, February 26 Coffee Hour Conversation for Q&A about the FAQ at both churches
●Sunday, March 5 Parish Meeting in both churches for dialogue, Q&A, and a call for an affirmation of support for the merger with a vote. An affirmation would be accomplished if a majority of those present voted to affirm the merger.
●Week of March 13 Both vestries vote on Merger. If both vestries vote to merge, we would begin the merger process.
●Sunday, April 23 Process from St. Andrew’s to St. James and begin our common life together.
One of the matters that the Joint Steering Committee understands is sensitive in nature is what name the newly merged parish will use. Names signify who we have been, who we are becoming, who we are called to be. They also can be an important tool in unifying a community and introducing ourselves to the wider community. Therefore it is our strong recommendation that the newly merged parish NOT make a permanent decision about a name for the new parish at the time of the merger, but instead, charge the new Vestry with prayerfully and thoughtfully considering this question, with a decision to be made before the end of our first year together. Rev. Heather & Rev. Molly would make sure this task stayed in front of the new Vestry. It is also our recommendation, that during this year we do business as The Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew.
We hope both congregations will trust that these recommendations, along with the answers we have outlined in the Frequently Asked Questions, were the fruit of a great deal of thought, prayer, and discussion. This is not easy work, but there is also great joy in seeing what beautiful new thing God is doing as we look to become a new body of Christ.
Yours in Christ,
Joint Steering Committee
Heather Blais, Bill Hattendorf, Elizabeth Keitel, Di Kurkulonis, Fred Momaney, Molly Scherm
ALL FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
We believe God is calling us to cultivate a community of love, joy, hope, and healing. Jesus is our model for a life of faith, compassion, hospitality, and service. We strive to be affirming and accessible, welcoming and inclusive; we seek to promote reconciliation, exercise responsible stewardship, and embrace ancient traditions for modern lives.
Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
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8 Church St. Greenfield, MA 01301
8 a.m. Holy Eucharist
10 a.m. Holy Eucharist