This weekend was a busy one in Bosque County. Saturday was filled with meetings, as I met first with leaders of the congregations to continue building relationships and making plans for shared activities, then with individuals about future plans for ministry. After all of that, I went to Meridian to meet with the council members of Faith. They made the difficult decision as a congregation to cease worship and close their doors.
While this is a painful time of grieving for those still there (including some charter members,) they have been intentional about ending with purpose. They had enough money yet in Thrivent investments to keep their doors open for another year and a half, but they preferred to use those assets for good ministry and not just prolonging the end of their congregational life.
Because of this decision, over a dozen ministries and organizations will benefit – including Lutheran Sunset Ministries, Mosaic, Water to Thrive, ministry candidates, and other ELCA and local ministries.
They are also being intentional about caring for each other in the coming weeks. They have a schedule set for the remaining members to worship together at neighboring congregations until everyone decides where they will call their new church home.
Sunday morning was their final worship in this place, which was filled with neighbors from the Methodist congregation in Meridian and the Bosque County ELCA congregations who came to support them in this closing I was honored to preach and preside at this service, and to do the closing ritual.
But it wasn’t all grief, as we celebrated the baptism of a 16 year old young woman, whose mother had grown up in this congregation too.
The celebration of this day and this congregation ended with a lunch – local BBQ, of course! We were fed at the table of the Lord, and at the tables of their fellowship hall.
I have full confidence that the people of Faith will continue to serve well wherever they land next. It has been a blessing for me to know them and work with them. Their good ministry will live on.