The congregation of the soon-to-be-created Prince of Peace Lutheran Church is searching for a new home, possibly in the Indian Trail area.
Calvary and Ascension Lutheran churches will consolidate Sept. 10 and, for a time, continue to hold worship services in Calvary’s sanctuary at 3909 W. Rowan.
But the new church, to be called Prince of Peace, is looking for a new home, said Dianna Perrine, spokesperson for the consolidation committee.
A site committee is searching the real estate market for a location large enough to hold the 500-member congregation. One site could be in Indian Trail, where Ascension was worshiping before consolidation plans began.
The two churches have been worshiping together since June to familiarize each congregation with the other. Perrine said no public deliberation on a new site could happen until the churches legally merge. Until a new church is built, the Prince of Peace congregation is bulging at the doors in Calvary’s building. The church offers three services.
Before the consolidation, Calvary Sunday school rooms were crowded; now, they’re packed.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, said Gwen Akers, a member of the consolidation committee.
“It’s pretty exciting to have Sunday school rooms crammed with eager children,” said Akers, who joined Calvary in 1959.
Members of both churches involved in the merger have had to deal with “the grief process” in letting go of their own church, Perrine said.
“There are a lot of emotional ties with your congregation, but we’d rather look on it as a death- resurrection picture: Two bodies die to become a new church,” Perrine said.
Ascension was formed 30 years ago, and Calvary just celebrated its 40th anniversary.
Plans for the merger started in September 1994, when Ascension approached Calvary. Ascension had seen membership dropping for some time, had sold its church and was leasing meeting space at Excelsior Youth Center.
The two churches were theologically identical and just two miles apart. Calvary, which has grown rapidly since the Rev. John Vaswig became pastor six years ago, easily approved the merger request.
Vaswig will be pastor of Prince of Peace.
The state recognizes churches as non-profit entities, so the consolidation committee had to work through stacks of paperwork.