On Sunday January 31st, in response to many questions as to the status of the Merger Process, the merger team presented a video to explain their findings and status to date. It was a snowy Sunday, but several members remained after worship for the information.
This presentation had been scheduled several times over the last several months as our District Superintendent wanted to attend, however due to scheduling problems, had been unable to attend. We plan to hold these every few months so that people can ask questions or offer suggestions as we work through this process.
Each presentation was less than an hour in length. Several members of the Merger Team attended both presentations. Following the video presentation, questions from members in attendance were brought forward and were answered by members.
The Merger team met the following Sunday on February 7th.
We began our meeting sharing reflections from the previous week's presentation in order to inform some team members who were unable to attend. Our reflections:
Team members all shared that they felt the sessions went well.
It is clear that we need to find a way to communicate more often in order to alleviate fear as COVID has affected our ability to communicate with members effectively.
Some members of our churches are fearful of the merger process, thinking it is in response to a direction of the Annual Conference to close "small churches" or some other unspoken motive. Statements such as these are based in fear and come out of a lack of understanding and trust as opinions and conjecture feed real concerns. This must be addressed by calling for loving, truthful communication; making team members available at all gatherings, groups, and meetings to address concerns.
There is a concern in our membership over the UMC Separation Protocol that needs clarity for our members in before any major steps are taken in the merger process.
This Separation Protocol is also a crucial element to our values statement and requires clarity for our our work to move forward as well.
Our team believes that there is significant agreement for us to continue our work while we wait for our churches to do this work.
We will meet again in one month.
Before our next meeting:
Members will ask Raum Chapel and Wesley Chapel Ad Boards as well as Rock Hall's Leadership Board to enter a process to do this work as it isn't in our scope of responsibility.
We have developed a "Position Paper," where common questions can be addressed for all to have access to the same information. These statements will be updated periodically as we progress in the merger process.
You can view that document HERE.