St. Paul, Shive opened to serve the rural farming population of this part of Hamilton County, TX in 1901. In more recent years they partnered with Trinity, Pottsville (served by Pastor Don Kingman). In February St. Paul’s membership chose after 117 faithful years to end it’s congregational ministry on Easter Sunday, 4/1/2018. Bishop Gronberg was blessed to be able to be with them in March for Lenten worship and time for fellowship. It was a rewarding time as we were able to discuss the realities that have led to the closing (declining and rapidly aging rural population, consolidation of families into congregations in Hamilton, honesty about conflict as well). Bishop Gronberg and Bishop’s Associate Pastor Kris Totzke were able to share with them resources on how to conduct a good closing, ensure the care for the cemetery and property, and ensure that records are adequately handed on to our regional archives in Seguin.
When a congregation comes to the place of closing and ending ministry there are many options for them. These include a Legacy Workbook that many may find helpful in walking through the steps to faithfully end Word and Sacrament ministry. In the case of St. Paul they will not be disposing or selling the property but maintaining the worship space as a chapel for future events and of course ensuring the perpetual care of cemetery which is a sacred trust.
It was an honor for our synod staff to walk with this congregation as it made this faithful decision to end Word and Sacrament ministry. We would appreciate the opportunity to be engaged by any other congregations that are discerning their future and how best to be good stewards of the property, records, and history which has been passed down to us. Please pray for the community of St. Paul as they seek new avenues for worship and ways to serve in God’s world. #NTNL #StPaulShive #TrinityPottsville #InMissionTogether