GREENFIELD — Saint Andrews Church in Turners Falls and Saint James in Greenfield will merge in April to form The Episcopal Church of Saints James and Andrew, according to a press release from the churches.
The two churches began working closer together over the past year and started discussing the possibility of the merger in November. They brought the idea to both congregations in January and had been discussing it and answered questions since that time, according to Molly Scherm, Priest in Charge, St. Andrew’s.
“We just didn’t want to rush anybody,” Scherm said.
The churches will merge into the Greenfield location on April 23, and the Turners Falls property will be put up for sale, Scherm said.
She said there are several community outreach programs held at that location that will continue to be held in Turners Falls until the building sells.
“This merger has been humbling, life-giving and Holy Spirit-led. Both congregations embraced the idea that this merger was not a simple business merger where everything had to be proportional.” said Rev. Heather Blais, Rector of St. James in the release.
The April 23 service will begin at 9 a.m. in both Turners Falls and Greenfield locations with an opening hymn, lesson and prayer, according to the release. Following this last act of worship as separate congregations, the people from St. Andrew’s campus will then process by vehicle over the canal and the mountain to Greenfield, where they will be joined by members of St. James. The group will then arrive at the Greenfield church where the merger will become official.
“In a landscape where patterns of religious practice are changing rapidly and it can be easy to feel disheartened by changes in our congregations, it is tremendously exciting to share ministry in a faith community where we are combining strengths, traditions and gifts to become more than just the sum of the parts,” the release said.