Finishing With Grace: A Guide to Selling, Merging, or Closing Your Church


book
by Linda M. Hilliard, Gretchen J. Switzer. Booklocker.com, Inc., 2010.

Lay leader Linda M. Hilliard and interim specialist Reverend Gretchen J. Switzer created the guidebook they wished they had when together they faced the challenge of closing a historic Congregational church in Massachusetts. A chapter is devoted to how the closure process will differ in autonomous congregations versus churches in a hierarchical tradition with denominational oversight. Explorations of pitfalls such as assuming a local church should last forever, trying to compress long-term processes into immediate timeframes, making decisions in crisis mode, and stifling anger and grief, blend theological and systemic dynamics well. Highly practical chapters on closing versus merging, how to sell a building, forming spiritual support and asset evaluation teams, and memory keeping methods are clear and adaptable. Discussion and reflection questions as well as worship and ritual templates provide the opportunity for any congregation to effectively utilize the book as a group.

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