A Message from Rev. David Schoen, Minister for Church Legacy and Closure:

Greetings of grace and strength in God’s Spirit.  Thank you for your ongoing ministry and leadership.

This article contains information on:

  • Pastor zoom conversation group dealing with closure during Covid-19
  • Impact of Covid-19 on church closures
    Updated Church closure information from 2012 through June 2020
  • Record keeping resources for congregations
  • Church Building and Micro Church blogs
  • Future date for closure zoom discussion with Conferences
  • Other recent blogs on Church Buildings, Covid-19 and Ten Person Churches

Pastor zoom conversation group dealing with closure during Covid-19

There is an ongoing monthly zoom conversation for pastors serving congregations that are dealing with closure discussions and decisions.  The conversations are a time for pastors to talk about ministry during time of closure and Covid. If you know a pastor who would be helped by being part of this ongoing conversation have them be in touch with me at dschoen@ucc.org.

Impact of Covid-19 on Church Closures

There is the likelihood that the impact of Covid-19 will be an increase in church closures.  Churches that may have lived for another several years, may close sooner.  I wrote a blog on Covid-19 and Church Closures that looks at some projections including the president of Barna Research Group suggesting that 1 out of 5 congregations might close in the next 18 months.  What would be the impact of such an increase in church closure on the future mission and structure of denominations, judicatories, congregations, church related organizations and the surrounding communities and regions?  These challenges call for conversation, collaboration and cooperative strategies between churches, conferences, ecumenical partners, national ministries and community serving organizations on sharing ministries, resources, buildings, financial assets and more.  I would be interested in hearing what you are seeing and experiencing concerning closures during Covid-19.

Updated Church closure information from 2012 through June 2020

From January 2019 through June 2020, twenty-nine congregations in the UCC concluded their ministries.  In addition to the churches that closed, at the end of July 2020, 84 congregations were listed on the data base inactive status.  Twenty congregations were marked inactive in 2019 and ten so far in 2020.  From January 2012 through June 2020, a total of 246 congregations made the decision to end their ministries and pass on their mission legacy.  I will be sharing information on the locations, regions, ages, race/ethnicity, ONA and more in the future.

Record keeping resources for congregations

See attached documents created for churches on keeping important documents by Rev. David Bartholomew-Cleaver, Transitional Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship and Financial Development SNEC and Rev. Jonathan Guest, UCC pastor and lawyer.

Future Zoom with Conference Ministers and Staff in January

Conference Ministers and Staffs will invited to a zoom conversation in January on Closure during Covid to share with each other what is happening in congregations and conferences; data on church closures from 2012 – June 2020; new resources and programs; and any questions.

More information will be forthcoming.

Other recent CARDD Blogs on Church Buildings, Covid-19 and 10 Person Churches

Peace and appreciation,

Rev. David Schoen
Minister for Church Legacy &  Closure