We have lived together as the Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew for four months. A joyous four months, where much like clay in a potter’s hands we are finding ways that we are being molded by God into something new entirely--a piece that has not quite yet taken it’s final form. Some of the clay is more tedious to mold, while some comes together effortlessly. Through it all, we know God is with us, making our path straight.
We promised our two former communities in Turners and Greenfield that in our first year together we would discern a name: whether to keep the name we have been doing business as “The Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew” and make it our legal name, or whether to choose a new name altogether-- St. James and St. Andrew are no more.
During the month of September we are asking parishioners to fill out this Google Form to submit their thoughts. There are also hard copies in the office and in the Narthex. In October, Rev. Heather, Rev. Molly, and Co-Wardens will then compile that information and share it with the Vestry. From there we will identify a Step 2 in discerning a name.
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