Ending with Hope: A Resource for Closing Congregations


book
(Beth Ann Gaede). Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.

Alban Institute publication Ending with Hope is based on the foundational vision “that closing a congregation is a resurrection opportunity to release resources for new ministry” (Preface, vii). Fifteen different Protestant mainline clergy and lay leaders, some with academic background, others from the front lines of church ministry, have contributed chapters in three major categories: Decisions and Dynamics in Closings, Stories about Closings, and Resources for Leaders. The Decisions and Dynamics section explores discernment, assessing congregational viability, the differences and similarities in the members’ versus the pastor’s experience during closure, merger as a new beginning, and the judicatory perspective. The Stories section includes both rural and urban accounts of closures. Finally, the resource part includes the value of ritual, deciding what to do with the building, managing congregational records and artifacts, and guidance for decision makers.

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