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Nazarene churches to combine congregations

Come Jan.

Monday, December 10, 2001

Come Jan. 6, the Ellison Street Church of the Nazarene and the Elm Street Church of the Nazarene will come together – literally.

That will be the first date the two congregations will meet as one, at the recommendation of the Central Ohio District Church of the Nazarene. The district decided it would be in the best interest of both churches if the two churches merged. The Ellison Street church, founded in 1968, was outgrowing its facility while the Elm Street church, founded in 1939, had room to accommodate both congregations.

In the end, though, the church will have a brand new church, a brand new name, and a brand new pastor, said Marlene Ferguson, secretary of the new church board. The new board is made up of five people from each congregation. Those serving on the board, in addition to Ferguson, are Beth Bayless, Herb Christian, Duane Dornon, Kathy Dornon, Dan Ferguson, Ruby Kerns, Joan Lucas, Angie Ratcliff and Jeff Ratcliff.

Ferguson said the district superintendent, Dr. Richard Jordan, will be present at the Jan. 6 services to help the new church organize. She added the Rev. Herb Zuercher, assistant district superintendent has been instrumental in the merger process.

According to Ferguson, the pastors of both churches had to resign as a result of the merger. The board will be reviewing resumes of potential pastors in the weeks to come – supplied by the district – and will hire a new pastor. She added the district will assist the former pastors of the churches, the Rev. Kenny Brown of Ellison Street and the Rev. John Cadwell of Elm Street, in finding new churches.

The naming of the church will be finalized on Dec. 16, Ferguson said.

Though the congregation will meet at the Elm Street Church for the time being, Ferguson said a lot of things, such as the pulpit, pulpit furniture and, perhaps, the organ, will be brought from the Ellison Street church.

The most time-consuming thing, Ferguson said, will be a lot of paperwork. She pointed out the churches’ bank accounts will have to be combined and items such as checks will have to be reprinted with the church’s new name. Also, the church will have to sell the Ellison Street property soon and, when the new church is built, the Elm Street property.

"It’s going to be a long process, but in the long run it’s going to be worth it," Ferguson said.

She added that the merger will also help in the church’s mission in the community. She said the Ellison Street Church has a younger congregation, which will be the church’s energy, and the Elm Street church an older one, which will be the church’s experience.

"We feel like we can do a lot more in the community with both of us together," Ferguson said.

A name for the new church will be voted on by the congregation this coming Sunday.