At our May Vestry meeting, we affirmed and signed a Covenant between St. James, Greenfield and St. Andrew's, Turners Falls that confirms our mutual understanding as we merge two faith communities into a single parish. The covenant reviews the background and purpose of the merger, as well as what we have agreed to with regard to name, timeline, governance, finances, clergy leadership, ongoing discernment and review. The Covenant was signed by the entire Vestry and can be viewed here and on the bulletin board outside the chapel. Questions or Concerns? Please contact us.
The vote is in! We are very pleased to announce that the vestries of both parishes have overwhelmingly approved the merger of St. James Episcopal Church and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church. We will begin our worship life together on what we are calling “E-merging Sunday”, April 23, 2017, but we are beginning the integration of our new parish right away: you’ll notice that both “E-pistle” and “Pew News” are going out this week simply as “The Newsletter”, and that our bulletins, beginning next Sunday, will reflect the parish name that we’ll be known as until such time as we decide what our "forever" name will be – The Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew.
We are also happy to announce that our new parish will be governed by the following lay leaders:
Elizabeth Keitel and Diane Kurkulonis, Co-Wardens
Bill Hattendorf, Clerk
Fred Momaney, Treasurer
Karen Greene, Assistant Treasurer
Members of the Vestry:
Class of 2018: Charlie Houghton and Laurie Neely
Class of 2019: Jack McKinnon and Susan Mareneck
Class of 2020: Ginny Crowl and John Sousa
Integration of our electronic lives is also underway, steered by the technology geniuses of the combined parish;
On practical and legal fronts, things are happening, as well. We are finishing up details on a Letter of Agreement appointing Rev. Molly Scherm as Associate Rector of the new parish, and Steve Abdow from the Bishop’s Staff is guiding us through the signing of forms that initiates the legal transaction of merger. Our financial leaders have been collaborating for several weeks now, developing a combined budget to take us through 2017. Thanks to Karen Greene, Kathy Maleno and Fred Momaney for their good work in this area. An appraisal of the St. Andrew’s property has been scheduled, and we’ve been offered the encouragement that our diligence in the building’s maintenance should make it attractive for folks in this market.
The Steering Committee continues to meet: next up on our agenda are developing the Memo of Understanding that will record our vision for the life of our new parish (as well as setting out details of specific agreements) and planning for the liturgical celebration of E-merging Sunday. As always, as good ideas, hope, suggestions and questions occur to you, please be in touch!
-Joint Steering Committee
Dear People of Saints James & Andrew,
This past Sunday, St. James and St. Andrew's held separate parish meetings to further discuss the merger, and should they be ready, vote to affirm the merger. We are delighted to report that both congregations enthusiastically voted to affirm the merger of our two congregations onto the Greenfield campus.
Next Steps are as follows:
Rev. Heather & Rev. Molly
on behalf of the Joint Steering Committee
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)