Grace Presbyterian Church 113 Hargrove Road, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 - PO Box 1234, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403 205-758-1193

Grace Presbyterian Church Blog

Church Merger Update Sept. 4, 2016

September 4, 2106

Merger Minute to Congregation delivered by Natalie Adams

Many of you have heard the term “plan of union” discussed over the last few months.  I’d like today to talk a bit about what is a “plan of union” and how the Steering Merger Committee is going about writing the Plan of Union.

The Book of Order has little to say about the merger of churches, but the Presbytery, in consultation with the two merging congregations, has the authority to unite two churches.   The “Plan of Union” is a written document that must be submitted to the Presbytery for approval.  Basically it lays out specific details about the new church on a number of issues.

We are required in the Plan of Union to address the following:

  1. The process for forming the Session for the new church.

  2. A plan for the disposition of property that specifies what property from each church will be transferred to the new church. This includes, cash, securities, property and other assets.  This also includes memorial gifts.

  3. A plan for pastoral leadership. This is an area in which we are working closely with our Administrative Commission to help Cathy, Neil and both congregations make this transition.

  4. A plan for writing and adopting new bylaws for the church.

  5. A plan for the new church’s organizational structure and staffing.

  6. The name of the new church.

  7. A process for formal approval of the merger of both congregations and the Administrative Commission.

  8. A plan for empowering the new Session to form a new corporation and satisfy all civil obligations.

  9. A plan for the final services of each congregation and the first service for the new congregation.

As a steering committee, we have elected to include in our Plan of Union a summary from each sub-committee (e.g., Worship, Christian Education, Buildings and Grounds, etc.)  explaining its long-term vision for Grace Presbyterian Church in that area.

The Plan of Union must be submitted to the Presbytery for approval.  Our goal – to which we have been working diligently – is  to complete our Plan of Union in time for the Presbytery to vote on it at its November meeting.  If for some reason, we do not meet this deadline; the Presbytery will vote on it at their February meeting.  We are not officially Grace Presbyterian until the Presbytery approves our Plan of Union.

So what can you do?

  1. Continue to pray for the Steering Merger Committee as we move into the next phase of planning for our merger, which is the actual writing of the Plan of Union.

  2. Contribute to the writing of the Plan of Union through active participation in one of the many sub-committees. By including the long-term vision of each of these committees in our Plan of Union, the Steering Merger Committee hopes that the Plan of Union will be seen as a document to which all of us had a part in writing.

  3. Be supportive and helpful. If a member of the Steering Committee or one of the sub-committees asks you for information, please respond promptly.

  4. Ask questions. If you are concerned or confused about something you have heard or read, contact Adam or me or another member of the Merger Committee or the Presbytery’s Administrative Commission.

We throughout this process (which is now going on two years) have been led by one overarching belief – In spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people through our words and actions, we will be better and stronger together.  So lookout Tuscaloosa, Grace is coming your way!