Area Churches Merge

Area Churches Merge
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The Carl Junction United Methodist Church holds a vote to join ministries with the St. Paul UMC.

7 months after the Carl Junction United Methodist Church burned to the ground, leadership promises new beginnings.

Sunday.. The congregation took a significant step towards beginning it’s future.

An agreement between the Carl Junction UMC and St Paul United Methodist Church in Joplin will see a merger of sorts between the two churches.

“What it would really be is that the two congregations, in essence, become one,” St. Paul Pastor Aaron Brown said. “We pool our resources, we pool our leadership. We’re able to pool a common vision, and mission, and do much more together than we ever could apart.”

“You know, by joining resources,” Carl Junction UMC Pastor Bill Kenagy said. “We can better impact the kingdom of god in Carl Junction.”

The Carl Junction congregation will continue to worship in it’s temporary residence at the Simpson Funeral Home.

“Nothing really changes,” District Superintendent for the United Methodist Church Mark Statler said. “Worship is gonna continue here for awhile. We’re gonna try to grow the congregation together.”

The merger would be more accurately described as an adoption. Allowing St. Paul to more easily share resources to help the Carl Junction ministry.

The plan even includes beginning construction of the Carl Junction church building at it’s former location.

But the 32 to 26 vote shows signs many members are still hesitant.

“And I would be too if I were in their shoes,” Brown said. “Because it can feel like you’re losing your identity. It can feel like you’re losing your history.”

“There’s a lot of people who are not real happy with the vote. Cause it was so close, obviously,” Carl Junction Member Jodi Russel said. “But I think it’s gonna be a great thing. Im pretty excited.”

And with the help of the St. Paul UMC, the Carl Junction congregation believes it can rebuild it’s former home by the end of the year.

“The goal is to begin the building committee quickly and begin work on what that’s gonna look like and get it going,” Statler said.

“What I hope can happen is we take their rich history and our rich history, combine them together into a really amazing future,” Brown said.

The St. Paul United Methodist Church says it will help Carl Junction develop an additional, more modern ministry, to expand it’s reach within the city.

As well as assist in the pastor-selection process when Kenagy steps down in April.