First Church, South Church congregations vote to merge

Print More

After several years of discussion and collaboration, First Congregational Church (FCC) and South Congregational Church (SCC) have decided to formally come together as one. The two churches have spent the past 18 months jointly learning more about each other and the needs of the broader Granby community. In keeping with Congregational tradition, the members of the two churches voted that the creation of a new entity would enhance alignment with God’s purposes in and around the communities we serve.

The new church is propelled by hope and the significant commonalities between the churches. Both churches are aligned on religious beliefs, welcome all, and have similar approaches to sharing the love of Christ with the community. Naturally, one of the important questions is which physical building will remain, as each church currently has its own campus. After thoughtful consideration, the new church will keep both campuses until a settled minister is in place and its congregation can decide on best use. This decision means the new church will alternate worship between the locations on a yet-to-be determined schedule.

This idea of only one United Church of Christ (UCC) church in small town Granby is not a new concept. Ironically, 150 years ago, the minister and 38 congregants broke away from First Church to form South Church in the center of town. In the years since, the two churches have worshipped together in the summers, participated in mission work together, and supported a youth program together, so the concept of collaboration had roots. The churches began considering further collaboration, as both of Granby’s UCC churches have seen significant decline in membership in recent years. This is consistent with nationwide mainline church trends. The new church will combine its financial resources, allowing the UCC church to remain vital while also maintaining responsible stewardship.

The actual creation of the new church will take some time to accomplish. Over the summer, church members along with legal counsel will start the work required to dissolve the existing entities and create the new.

Moderators Bob Giles (FCC) and Becky Sielman (SCC) have begun the process of seeking a temporary minister (called a bridge minister) to jointly serve both churches in the immediate future. A subset of the congregation will form a search committee tasked with finding an interim minister, whose job will be to help the new church through the transition. It will likely take two or three years to secure a senior minister and assemble a new staff and ministry team.

Change is upon us. Second Corinthians reminds us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” We invite you to join the new church community for worship, youth programs, and mission activities—please watch for upcoming Drummer ads and articles. New life has come to Granby, and we welcome your support.