Fairmount Community Church United Church of Christ and Malden Road United Church of Christ Vote to Join as Yoked Congregations
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
On Sunday, January 10, 2016, in separate congregational meetings, Fairmount Community Church UCC and Malden Road UCC voted to become yoked congregations, sharing Rev. Gary E. Ferner as their pastor.
After several rounds of productive meetings with both sets of moderators and treasurers, along with representatives from the Malden Road UCC search committee, it became apparent that yoking could be a viable and sustainable way for both congregations to do ministry into the future.
Only 9 miles apart, the two congregations have been in covenant with each other through the Oneida Association of the New York Conference of the UCC for many years. This is the first time either church has considered an alternative form of ministry with another church.
While Malden Road was in search of a new, part-time pastor, Fairmount was facing another budget with a potential deficit. Conversations began in earnest in October of 2015, culminating in a recommendation from the officers of both churches that the two congregations vote to yoke.
Yoked congregations retain their respective constitutions and by-laws, and retain their own leadership with officers, boards, committees or ministry teams. They manage their finances separately, except that they pay the same pastor to serve them.
The call agreement lasts for one year, with a review of the agreement to be scheduled in August or September. This will give all three partners ample opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of this type of ministry, allowing for potential modifications in the next agreement.
Both congregations are excited for this new ministry, and both have expressed an interest in sharing some mission activities and some fellowship activities in the upcoming year. They both bring unique histories and missions to this new relationship, and both communities are excited about what they can learn from each other.