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Episcopal Churches Plan To Consolidate, Then Search For Priest

While it’s not quite of the magnitude of the much-ballyhooed ABC-Disney merger, that colossal union at least had someone to sign the contracts.

Two Valley churches exploring the possibility of merging congregations are without CEOs. Neither All Saints Episcopal Church, 12817 E. Broadway, or the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit, 15319 E. Eighth; have priests. Still, they plan to press toward consolidating congregations.

It’s not easy. But Ren Hager, senior warden of All Saints, said folks need to be loosed from old moorings.

“So many people get tied to priests or structures (and) don’t want to give up people they’ve known for years,” Hager said.

The two churches began to examine the possibility of merging last fall. Until the early 1960s, the two churches were one congregation anyway. The churches split up for reasons Hager said are long forgotten. Consolidation would make one church, with twice the membership and only half the bills.

Each congregation now has about 150 members.

The congregations decided since they were both without pastors, they might as well find one to serve both churches. That would at least get things rolling.

The search for at least an interim priest was on. Two candidates later, the churches still didn’t have anyone in either pulpit.

But they decided to move forward together.

Starting Sept. 10, the congregations will hold services together. The Sunday school programs have now been merged.

But the merger isn’t a done deal. The congregations will alternate worship sites monthly. Both congregations will meet at All Saints through September, then move to Holy Spirit come October.

“Nothing has been decided yet, but the first step is to have these services together,” Hager said.

That arrangement will continue until a permanent priest can be found.

The search for an interim priest has been called off, and now the churches are looking for a permanent rector instead. Two retired priests will lead worship services until then.

New music minister

Redeemer Lutheran Church, 3606 S. Schafer Road, recently selected a new music minister, Kellee Bellile.

Church spokeswoman Arlene Rogalski said the church has been looking since last year to find just the right person. Lu Stocker retired from the position in 1994 and Carla Boyd has filled in since then.

, DataTimes

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