On Saturday, October 28 at the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts Diocesan Convention, James and Andrew was one of three emerging churches welcomed into the larger church. For the sixteen parishioners from James and Andrew, it was an emotional, and moving moment that brought up memories from April 23, Emerging Sunday. Below is a picture of our new banner, produced by the leaders of St. Andrew's Guild (in a mere 5 days); our group being welcomed at Convention; and a special order video about the three emerging churches played at convention.
During the month of September 89 different parishioners participated in our Discerning a Name survey.
When we look at that same information by congregation of origin:
After much prayer and conversation, the Clergy, Wardens, and Vestry voted to make the following changes regarding our merged community's identity and name based on your feedback:
We will keep "The Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew" and make it our legal name. A common thread we heard from the ‘keep’ votes was a desire to preserve our individual histories as St. James and St. Andrew. In making our name The Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew we are honoring those individual histories while recognizing we are a new ‘emerged’ community of faith. We also recognized in our discussion just how many of our community partners and neighbors already know and are refering to us as "James and Andrew". The Vestry found this energizing and hopeful. We will send a press release to agencies we work with to further communicate this decision.
We will refer to ourselves in everyday speech by saying "Church of James and Andrew" or "James and Andrew". This will prevent further frustration in saying “Saints”.
We will embrace Saint James the Greater as the ‘James’ and Saint Andrew as our Patron Saints. While the history is murky on which James we are actually named after, there are a whole lot of scallop shells indicating it is the Greater throughout the campus. We would be able to celebrate both of their feast days (a beloved tradition in Turners, and no such tradition in Greenfield). James feast day is July 25 (which we would celebrate near the fourth Sunday in July) and Andrew’s feast day is November 30th (which we will celebrate on the last Sunday in November in lieu of Christ the King).
We will be intentional about not 'dropping a saint' when we refer to our church's name. We recognize it takes time and will be patient with one another as our mouths get used to referring to our new church name. We'll gently remind one another of our new name as we live into our new identity as an emerged parish.
We will budget to redo the the signage around the campus in the next six months: new directional signage, a new sign for the front of the church, and a new metal Episcopal sign that hangs on a pole in front of our campus. If you would like to donate to the fund for the new signage please write a check to Saints James and Andrew with "sign fund" in the memo line.
Thank you for journeying with us as we discerned a name, particularly your prayers and participation in the process.
Rev. Heather and Rev. Molly