Faith United Methodist gets more time to figure out its future
The future is still far from clear for Farmington’s Faith United Methodist Church, but church members are going to get some extra time to bring it into focus.
The church was originally targeted last year for either closure or merger with a newly formed congregation in the city. Membership in the church had been declining.
Church members resisted, though, and they eventually got an additional year to make peace with the change. Now, thanks to a deal struck earlier this month, the church will get as much as another year to figure things out.
“We’re very excited about that,” said Lisa Schultze, chairperson of the Faith United church council. “We’re still in limbo, but the news we’re going to be around for another year has been fantastic for us.”
Schultze said church members have spent the past year focusing on current outreach projects, like an award-winning effort to provide food-filled backpacks to underprivileged Farmington students. With the news they’re going to be around for a while longer, church members plan to explore new opportunities to get involved with the community.
Whatever fate ultimately awaits Faith United, Schutze is confident the congregation will still be present and active in Farmington.
“We know that we’re still going to be a strong force in the Farmington community,” Schultze said. “What that’s going to look like in the future, we don’t know exactly, but we’re still there.”
There is no timeline yet for figuring out the next step for the church. Clay Oglesbee, River Valley District Superintendent of the United Methodist Church, said the congregation has agreed to meet with Rosemount United Methodist Church to discuss a merger.
Rosemount United Methodist is currently conducting an outreach effort to build a new congregation in Farmington. Faith United could combine its congregation with that group, merge with Rosemount United in some other way or explore mergers with other congregations in the area.
“These are baby steps for them to move forward,” Oglesbee said. “What they’re really looking for is where there’s a missional fit.”
While a few members have left the congregation over the past year, most have stayed. There have even been a few new additions.
“We all pretty much kept our faith, I guess,” Schultze said. “I don’t know that any of us really believed we would be closed and locked up. I think that’s what’s been keeping us going.”