Over the last several years, our three churches have embarked on a process of exploration to partner together in such a way that we can better minister to our communities and continue Jesus’s mission as He commanded. We have witnessed much fruit from the collaborative efforts of our congregations including: meeting the needs of our friends and neighbors without the overarching financial struggles, growing bible study and prayer group combined with members of all three congregations, and reaching out to help in ways we may have not been able to before like raising almost $5000 to help the tornado recovery efforts and build a basketball court in the Northridge section of Dayton. Even though we have witnessed these wonderful results, we still find difficulty coming even close to our potential and we are facing the reality of three aging congregations. Therefore, under my leadership, the councils have spent the last year attempting to find a church model that is rooted in Christ’s desire found in John 17:21 that we may all be one, and have been working diligently to prepare this model so that we can retain most of what we like about our church and still minister to a new generation that has expressed different needs for their worship environment. Therefore, after careful consideration, consultation with both the Southern Ohio Synod of the ELCA and the West Ohio Conference of the UMC, and many thoughtful conversations, this month we will hold two very important votes:
On November 10, 2019, St. Matthew ELCA, at its annual meeting following worship, will vote to step forward in faith and continue this partnership by beginning a trial period of unity where all three churches will gather each week in one building rather than separately.
Additionally, Gordon UMC and Grace UMC have been given permission by District Superintendent Dr. Jocelyn Roper to have a called special church conference on November 16, 2019, at Grace UMC at 8:30am for the purpose of voting to officially merge the two congregations.
These votes are necessary steps in the timeline and process that we set forth at the beginning of 2019 and will help us continue in our commitment to serve Christ by building His kingdom both near and far with all of our resources together. May we all be in prayer during this time as we seek God’s will and guidance!
Grace and Peace,