Our Savior’s and Emmanuel Join With Other Area Lutheran Churches to Discuss Creating an Area Ministry Strategy and The Possibility Of Sharing Pastors
Updated on August 5 after each church council met and voted for a recommendation. - Pbc
Our Savior’s and Emmanuel, along with Nazareth in Withee, St. Paul’s of Curtiss and Our Saviour’s in Holoway, have been in conversation for a year about working together in cooperative ministry to develop an area ministry strategy, and share resources and do things collectively that individual congregations can not do on their own.
The most recent Cooperative Ministry meeting was held on Tuesday, July 28 at Nazareth in Withee. Pastor Bonnie Cain of Nazareth in Withee is retiring as of the beginning of September. This has lead to the discussions moving from theoretical to practical – what can be done and what is the best way to approach this. Representatives from Nazareth said they are willing to move forward without a pastor in the short-term so that no one feels forced to rush into a decision.
From this meeting, two different options are being discussed.
The first is for the five churches to agree to have an area ministry strategy, and form a new five-point parish. This is a formal arrangement like the one between Our Savior’s and Emmanuel. Each church would maintain it’s own identity, but with a representative Parish Council that would oversee areas of joint ministry. Synod staff provided a sample worksheet on a shared ministry agreement. That worksheet is an example of an agreement, and can be used to guide the discussion and formation of an agreement.
It would include having people from some of the other churches participate in our ministries (such as confirmation, Luther League), much as currently happens between Our Savior’s and Emmanuel. It would also allow for members participate in other ministries (such as a choir, or Bible studies) that individual churches can not do on their own.
The second is for Nazareth to work with the four churches to enter into a one-year contract to share pastors and pastoral leadership. Nazareth would “buy time” from the other churches to have their pastor provide pastoral care & leadership. With this option, shared ministries and activities would occur only to ease pastoral duties.
All five church councils have discussed developing an area ministry strategy, and are tasked with coming to a consensus on its recommendation on how to move forward. Councils from Emmanuel and Our Savior’s met in the days after the Cooperative Ministry meeting to discuss these ideas.
At it’s council meeting on August 2nd, Emmanuel’s Church Council voted unanimously to support the development of an area ministry strategy of a five point parish, and would accept a one year contract only if agreement with others cannot be reached, pending congregational consensus.
At Our Savior's council meeting on August 4th, the council voted unanimously to pursue discussion of a one year contract to share our pastor, with the idea of revisiting the idea of forming a five point parish at a later time, pending congregational consensus.
During an extended Announcements time at each church on SUNDAY, AUGUST 9TH, council members will provide information and lead discussion about what area cooperative ministry is, and what these options could mean to each church. These discussions should answer questions, allay concerns and provide congregational consensus and guidance for the councils.
PLEASE NOTE: Up to this point, everything that has happened has been a discussion. Nothing has been committed to. No formal arrangements have been made. Nothing is being forced or directed from the Synod or elsewhere. Assistants to the Bishop have been at most of the meetings to provide information and guidance.
The next Cooperative Ministry meeting is Tuesday, September 15 at Emmanuel in Longwood at 7:00 p.m.
If you have questions, contact Pastor Brian or a church council member.
Churches involved in Central Wisconsin Cooperative Ministries
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