Ministering in a Closing Church: A Discussion with Pastors
Reverend David Schoen, Reverend Barbara Breland, and Reverend Chris Mereschuk
Few church pastors and leaders ever anticipate or hope to engage in the process of ending a congregation’s active life. If you and your congregation are involved in legacy conversations about closing, you are not alone. A congregation closes every two weeks in the United Church of Christ. The impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic will most likely hasten an increase in churches closing or considering closure. Hear UCC pastors, Reverend Barbara Breland and Reverend Chris Mereschuk speak of their ministries serving as pastors in urban congregations that closed. The workshop will also include an account of a pastor’s ministry in closing a small UCC rural church. The workshop discussion will address the experience and role of ministers in the closure process, good practices, difficult conversations, grief and conflict, missional legacy, resurrection theology, and clergy self-care. Participants in the workshop will be encouraged to share comments and ask questions during the workshop which will be moderated by Rev. David Schoen, Minister for Church Closure and Legacy in the UCC Church Building & Loan Fund. Participants will receive information on resources as well as opportunity for follow-up emails and conversations.