Disciples and Presbyterian Shared Lenten Celebration of Community

October 25, 2015

Shared Lenten Ministry
For release Sunday October 25, 2015
The First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the First Presbyterian Church of Carlsbad, New Mexico will conduct a shared Lenten ministry in 2016. The shared ministry will begin with an Ash Wednesday service, February 10 and conclude on Easter Sunday, March 26. The combined congregations will meet at the Presbyterian Church located on the 200 block of North Halagueno Street.
WHY? The shared Lenten ministry is an experiment by both churches to determine if pooled resources offer a mutually beneficial opportunity to serve God’s will, meet the congregations’ worship and fellowship needs, and faithfully provide the means for expanded mission outreach.
WHO DECIDED TO CONDUCT A SHARED MINISTRY?  The First Christian Church Missional Transformation Team and the First Presbyterian Church Session each voted unanimously to approve the plan.
WHAT IS THE MOTIVATION FOR A SHARED MINISTRY?  Both churches elected representatives have discussed numerous options to ensure the long-term viability of their respective congregations. We believe that a shared Lenten ministry is an opportunity that should not be ignored. Both churches have similar challenges; membership has declined, congregations are aging, budgets have increased, and mission outreach has suffered. We believe this is an opportunity, given by the Holy Spirit, which we can embrace.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER EASTER?  Each congregation will have an opportunity to discuss the experience and decide the next step. Remember, this is an experiment – the outcome is yet to be determined.
IS THIS A PRELUDE TO A MERGER?  That depends on each congregation, one possible outcome is some form of federation where two or more congregations that are affiliated with different denominations act as one local church congregation.
WHAT ABOUT OUR CURRENT STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN?  Stewardship is an individual decision. The amount of time, talent, or money that one gives to the church should be decided prayerfully and without pressure. Each congregation will maintain separate budgets during the shared Lenten ministry.
WILL OTHER CONGREGATIONS BE INVOLVED?  We have extended an invitation to St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church to have a conversation regarding shared resources. Open dialog with others is possible, but not currently planned.
WHAT ARE THE DETAILS FOR THE SHARED LENTEN MINISTRY?  A planning committee will be addressing details such as Lenten observance, times of worship, form of worship, music, pastoral leadership, budget, etc. We acknowledge that individual comfort zones may be challenged: In the spirit of Lent we may each have to give up something for the shared experience and the greater good.
WHAT TO THE GOVERNING BODIES FOR EACH DENOMINATION THINK OF THE PLAN?  Both congregations have the full support of their respective denominational officials for the plan.
WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS?  Please ask questions and share your concerns with our planning team members: Dave Rogers, Mike Pfeiffer, Sue Gamboa, or JoAnn Stevens. No questions are off limits. We are treating this shared Lenten ministry as an opportunity for growth in our Christian faith and the life of the Church.