Two churches, same mission in the Diocese of Massachusetts

Posted by Kendall Harmon

About 20 people who gather at St. David's in Pepperell on Sundays embrace and support each other just the way the 30 people at Trinity do. And, together, the two churches have enough parishioners to do missionary work outside the Episcopal church.

"I felt like people were excited about the growth in a sense that we can share our community with other communities to do bigger things," says Linda Hammill of Townsend, a St. David's parishioner, about the two churches' collaboration -- which includes sharing their priest, [Marsha] Hoecker.

Hoecker has kept busy over the past 10 months, doubling as the priest for Trinity Chapel Episcopal Church in Shirley as well as for St. David's Episcopal Church in Pepperell, after
the two parishes agreed to share resources.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

Posted July 30, 2010 at 5:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. JustOneVoice wrote:

Fallon says. “Having a building is not the most important thing; a religious community can develop in any place.”

Words escape me.

July 30, 7:39 pm | [comment link]
2. Cennydd wrote:

When two or more parishes (in this case, it looks like they’re really missions) have to share clergy, that tells me that there is a shortage pf priests.  Believe me, I’ve seen this before; I’m originally from the Diocese of Central New York, and this was commonplace years ago.  It’s still very much in evidence there, according to family members who are still there.

July 30, 7:53 pm | [comment link]
3. Statmann wrote:

St. David had Members of 120 in 2002 and 140 in 2008, ASA of 45 in 2002 and 30 in 2008, and Plate & Pledge of $35K in 2002 and $40K in 2008. Trinity had Members of 160 in 2002 and 80 in 2008, ASA of 60 in 2002 and 40 in 2008, and Plate & Pledge of $50K in 2002 and $50K in 2008. They both appear to be dying. And even combined, a total Plate & Pledge of $90K is not enough to provide a total program. And yet they go on. It caused me to look at a truly worse situation. In 2008, I found 53 TEC churches that had Plate & Pledge of ZERO. A check of diocesean websites (in July 2010) leads me to conclude that 12 of these 53 have closed. So, if 41 having ZERO Plate & Pledge can survive, why not these two?  And this touches on a huge TEC problem as there were about 4,200 (in 2008) churches with Plate & Pledge less than $150K. There is a very real reluctance for bishops to close churches. I suspect that many small churches are in rural areas that have little, if any, real estate value. Sure does causes one to ponder. Statmann

July 30, 10:10 pm | [comment link]
4. elanor wrote:

I’m sure they are doing what our parish did—spending down the endowment.  once it was gone, we had to let our FT priest go.  our P&P is less than $90K, so for now we have supply clergy.  this seems destined to close with a whimper.

July 31, 10:44 am | [comment link]
5. Marie Blocher wrote:

Not so much a shortage of priests as a shortage of money to pay the priest’s salarys.
There are two rural churches in the diocese of Dallas that share a priest, out of the same kind of situation. I understand each church has a deacon who can provide services on Sundays when the priest is elsewhere. They are considered one
parish (TRINITY NE TEXAS) for the purposes of determining the
representation at the annual convention and other things.

July 31, 4:36 pm | [comment link]
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