College Avenue and Riverside Merger Update

College Avenue Church Family,

As you’ll recall, last month Pastor Karen shared that the CAUMC team that had been meeting with teams from Riverside and High Street United Methodist throughout the fall and winter had decided to move forward with talks of a possible merger with Riverside UMC.  She also shared that one potential step in the process would be to become a 2-point charge with Riverside as of July 1st.

On March 22nd, the newly formed Merger Team, composed of members of both churches and their respective pastors met with our assigned Church Consultant, Rev. Dr. Doug Anderson, to begin exploring the possibility of merging and the process in doing so.   Part of this discussion included weighing the benefits of becoming a 2-point charge. The Merger Team agreed unanimously that moving to a 2-point charge would be favorable for both congregations. On March 23rd, the Governing Board received this recommendation.

A 2-point charge is a pastoral assignment composed of two autonomous congregations. In our case, Riverside UMC and College Avenue UMC would continue to be two independent congregations sharing a single pastor.

Both congregations are missionally motivated. Both congregations want to make a more significant impact on our community, and we believe we can do that better together! Exploring a formal merger though, will take time. There are many things to work through, including a vision for the new congregation, relationships, ministries, and structures. In the meantime, both congregations are facing financial challenges. The merger team recognizes that concerns about our finances and our facilities are impeding our efforts to accomplish our goals.

The formation of a 2-point charge does not mean that a merger is a “done deal”. By moving to a 2-point charge, the congregations would share the pastoral expenses while the merger team does its work. Additionally, as a 2-point charge we would have greater opportunity to begin joining together in mission projects, small groups, programs and occasional worship.

The creation of a 2-point charge requires that each of the two churches hold separate charge conferences to vote on this recommendation. The Charge Conference is composed of the Governing Board members and will be presided over by our Conference Superintendent, Rev. Russ Abel. Our Charge Conference will be held ­­­­­­­­­­Monday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m.

Before a formal merger could occur, each of the two churches would hold a Church Conference to vote on the issue. A Church Conference differs greatly from a Charge Conference. At a Church Conference each member of the church receives a vote.  Town Hall-style meetings for all members to discuss matters would also be held before a Church Conference would convene.

We ask that you hold our leadership in prayer as they discern the future of our congregations. Please pray for pastors Rev. Karen Bray and Rev. Keith Turner as they await news of a possible new pastoral appointment effective July 1st.

College Avenue Governing Board Members: Jennifer Murray (Chair), Jean Amman, Larry Clock, Bob Ferguson, River Lin, Jim Pyle, Eric Scherrer.

College Avenue Merger Team Representatives: Becki Clock, Rachel Gentry, Loretta Parsons.

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