Church Adoption FAQ’s
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE ADOPTION PROCESS BETWEEN FIRST UMC – St Johns AND REDEEMER UMC – DeWitt
Prepared by Pastor Ellen
Do you have a question? No doubt someone else will have the same question so don’t be afraid to ask! Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org; or text to 517-515-9500, stop in the church office or call the church at 989-224-6859. To view the video of the Information meeting on April 8 click here http://www.firstumc-stjohnsmi.com/adoption/church-future/
1. Why didn’t we know who was our proposed partner sooner?
First UM Church began to talk about this option with the District Superintendent in December, but Redeemer did not know about our interest until late February. Pastor Ellen announced it to the congregation on April 1, which was her first opportunity to announce it in worship.
2. Before the announcement what had been happening?
A group, primarily church council members, met with the DS in February to talk about the various options open to the church since Pastor Ellen was retiring July 1. The 3 options discussed were – asking for a part time local pastor to be appointed here, becoming part of a 2 (or more) point charge, being adopted by a larger, more successful church. The agreement at that meeting by those present was to pursue the adoption option.
Also in February, the church council met with a group from Redeemer to discuss what an adoption would look like for us. At the March church council meeting, we met with a representative from Potterville Campus of Sycamore Creek UMC to discuss how their adoption had gone.
At that time (March 20) the church council agreed to continue pursuing the adoption proposal. We then had to wait for Redeemer’s decision.
3. Why are we doing this?
St Johns First has faithfully fulfilled its ministry for more than 150 years, but the congregation is aging, dwindling, and no longer able to support a full time elder as its leader. In order to continue to faithfully fulfill its mission “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world” and its vision “sharing Jesus Christ through worship, prayer, study, and service” something new must be done. By joining with Redeemer, we will be infusing new life into the congregation. We will be learning new and more fruitful ways to share the gospel with new generations of believers. And we will be able to more effectively continue in ministry to St. Johns for years to come. If we chose one of the other 2 options presented to us by the DS, the church council felt that we would essentially become a “hospice” church – maintaining at best and declining more probably until we no longer were viable.
4. What will happen now?
We held a meeting to discuss the adoption process with Rev. Dirk Elliot on Sunday, April 8. If you would like to view a video of that event go to the church website and click on the CHURCH FUTURE link in the bottom left of the home page. Don Zimmerman taped it for us.
Redeemer will prepare an adoption/merger document for us to review and act on.
There will be 2 town hall meetings – April 24 at 7:00 and May 3 at 7:30 for members of First UMC to attend and ask questions of the Redeemer staff. If you need a ride to one of these events, please let the office know.
May 16th at 7 pm there will be a called church conference. All members of the church may vote at the conference on whether or not to merge (adoption is a particular kind of merger) with Redeemer UMC. The District Superintendent will preside. Redeemer will also have a conference on May 14th. Both churches will vote and neither church will know the results of their vote until both have voted.
5. What happens to our name, membership and endowment?
The name will likely change – we will become one corporation. The adoption/merger document will address that issue.
Membership would transfer to the new entity on the date the merger is effective (on or about July 1, 2018)
The endowment fund would be merged with the endowment fund of Redeemer. They have similar usage stipulations on their endowment as we do. If there are stipulations with the funds that were made when they were given, those will be honored.
6. What happens to the staff?
Redeemer’s staff is fully employed. Redeemer will likely continue to use most of the staff we have. Some of their duties may change and some layoff may be necessary as we merge and share systems and processes.
To learn more about Redeemer UMC check them out online at https://www.dewittredeemer.org/ or on Facebook at Redeemer United Methodist Church of DeWitt