Decatur-area church to close its doors

Posted by Dena Mellick December 16, 2015
Photo from www.facebook.com/rehobothpres

Photo from www.facebook.com/rehobothpres

A Decatur-area church says after multiple discussions with the congregation, it has decided to close its doors.

Rehoboth Presbyterian Church posted an announcement on Facebook that said despite exploring the options of cutting expenses, reducing staff hours, or even selling its property at 2729 Lawrenceville Highway, it doesn’t have the finances to continue on.

In that Facebook post, Rev. Rachael Whaley Pate said, “Over three town hall style discussions, it has become clear that the majority of our members feel the most faithful course of action is to close. We have not taken any official action- that requires a duly called meeting of the congregation, which will take place next month. But in order to take that step, the session needed guidance about which direction to pursue. We now know that we will be pursuing closing as a congregation.”

Pate said a team will need to be appointed to help close the church. A final worship service is tentatively planned “on or about Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016.”

Pate said, “We do not make this decision lightly. We could potentially put this decision off for many years, surviving just to meet our own wants and needs, but we believe that it is better to serve the gospel of Jesus Christ than to serve ourselves. We believe our resources are better spent in service and in mission to the wider world, than in maintaining a property for our own use. We believe the church exists not for our glory, but for the glory of God.”

Here is her full letter to the congregation:

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

As many of you are aware, our congregation has been weighing several options for our future in light of our current financial reality. At the present time, we are unable to maintain a full operating budget with our current resources.

We have explored cutting expenses, reducing staff hours, selling our property to worship at another location, merging with another local congregation, and closing our congregation. We wanted to know which option was the best way for us to continue our mission of growing disciples of Jesus Christ.

None of the choices were easy. None of the choices were things we wanted.

Over three town hall style discussions, it has become clear that the majority of our members feel the most faithful course of action is to close. We have not taken any official action- that requires a duly called meeting of the congregation, which will take place next month. But in order to take that step, the session needed guidance about which direction to pursue. We now know that we will be pursuing closing as a congregation.

What does this mean for the congregation at Rehoboth? At our congregational meeting, we need to ask the Presbytery to appoint a team to help us close. There are many things to be done- celebrating our life as a congregation, arranging for the sale of our property and assets, deciding where to tithe a portion of the proceeds, discerning other worshipping bodies for our members to join, and planning for our final months together. The session has discussed a date for a final worship service to take place on or about Pentecost Sunday, May 15, 2016.

We do not make this decision lightly. We could potentially put this decision off for many years, surviving just to meet our own wants and needs, but we believe that it is better to serve the gospel of Jesus Christ than to serve ourselves. We believe our resources are better spent in service and in mission to the wider world, than in maintaining a property for our own use. We believe the church exists not for our glory, but for the glory of God.

And so even in the midst of our sadness that our time as a congregation at Rehoboth is coming to an end, we can rejoice that our mission will continue to live on through the call that God has placed in each of our lives: to grow disciples of Jesus Christ through relationships.

Growing as a disciple with you,

Rev. Rachael Whaley Pate
Pastor, Rehoboth Presbyterian Church

About Dena Mellick

Dena Mellick is the Associate Editor of Decaturish.com.

View all posts by Dena Mellick

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