Amherst Congregational UCC Blogs
The merger date approaches...
Below you will find the news release about our merger with Lorain. Many people are putting in a lot of effort to insure the success of our transition from two congregations to one. Last week we had the first joint Council meeting, which was unofficial since the merger has not taken effect, as well as a workshop that began our journey toward a working vision statement. In the week this is written, we are holding a "Committee Extravaganza" in which the joint working committees will all meet on the same night to get to know each other and begin their mutual ministry conversations.
The Lorain congregation is experiencing a month filled with memories and legacies as they move toward the final worship service in their sanctuary on June 25. On July 2, the newly-merged congregation will have its first worship service in the Amherst sanctuary.
We are in the process of gathering suggestions for naming the merged congregation. Please submit any ideas on the bulletin inserts both congregations are using, or email by June 18 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until we finalize a new name, which we anticipate will take place at a congregational meeting on July 23, we will use the commonality between our two congregations as our name: Congregational United Church of Christ. Until we have a new name, we will maintain Amherst's current staff emails, web addresses, Facebook page, and so forth - because we only want to change those things once!
Please be a part of the excitement this summer as the cocoon opens and a new butterfly spreads its wings!
Over 322 years of ministry will join together when Congregational United Church of Christ of Amherst and First Congregational United Church of Christ of Lorain merge on July 1.
Both congregations voted overwhelmingly on May 7 to become one. While the ministry will be centered in the Amherst building at 379 S. Main, the merged congregation will continue the Lorain congregation’s passion for ministering to people of need.
Over two years ago, First Congregational Lorain began a formal process to change its course and determine a new future. This process ultimately identified Amherst Congregational as its preferred merger partner, leading to the May vote.
“Each congregation brings different gifts and strengths to the other,” said the Rev. Brian Burke, who will serve as the interim minister of the merged congregation. “The Amherst congregation is filled with youth and vitality while the Lorain congregation brings a passion for mission outside the church walls. With similar worship styles and core values, the merged congregation will thrive.”
Amherst Congregational was founded in 1840 and still worships in its original 1843 church building. In 1872, First Congregational Lorain came into existence. The two historic congregations will choose a new name to reflect its vision and ministry, and will retain its affiliation with the United Church of Christ.
“The transition teams of both congregations have looked at church mergers that succeeded, as well as others that experienced significant challenges or failed,” Burke reflected. “They are doing their best to incorporate the positive aspects of these experiences and avoid the pitfalls to insure the smoothest possible transition.”
The final worship service of the Lorain congregation in its sanctuary will be on Sunday, June 25, with the merged congregation holding its first official worship service on July 2, 178 years to the day that the Amherst congregation was founded.