[From Bob Wilkins, president, Standing Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem and chair of the Parish a Risk Committee for St. George's Nanticoke]
The Parish at Risk Committee for St George's Nanticoke met with the congregation for its 10am service followed by breakfast and the Annual Meeting, January 26, 2009. Fr Andrew Gerns, having his own annual meeting at Trinity was not in attendance.
Following thoughtful discussion and review of alternatives the congregation (consisting of about 25 adults and youth) voted to give up the church building because of insufficient funds to maintain it and to deed the building to the Incoporated Trustees (the effective date to be as soon as possible). The Chancellor will be in touch with the President of the Trustees to initiate the transfer process.
The congregation wishes to remain intact and voted to accept an invitation from St John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Nanticoke to worship at a separate service in St John's Church. The initial commitment is for a period of three months to determine if St George's can put together a viable budget and financial plan to sustain them for a longer period of time. Deacon Divis was asked to continue with the parish and agreed for the stipulated period and at her present salary. The Archdeacon was in agreement with this arrangement. Deacon Divis has been very conscientious and diligent in attempting to guide this congregation through this difficult period.
The parish will obtain liability insurance and was assured that the contents of the church could remain in their possession.
The Committee offered its assistance and the services of the diocese to help the congregation during this transition period. The Archdeacon also offered to assist with Sunday services as his schedule permits.
The Parish will have access to the income (approx $2,300 annually) from its trust account and also the approximately $5,000 in its bank account although the objective will be to maintain a bank balance of $5,000 by increasing plate and pledge income to cover current expenses. Control of the bank account and payment of bills has been transferred to Diocesan Controller Bruce Reiner. Building expenses from February 1, 2009 will be for the account of the Incorporated Trustees.
There were many fond memories and sadness prevailed as the reality and finality of the occasion became apparent. However there was also a feeling of renewal as they planned a future in which they could remain together. St John's Lutheran is a church in transition, looking for a new pastor and discerning their future. The Catholic Diocese of Scranton is closing many churches in the area and this is also creating some changes in attitudes and outlooks.
Bob Wilkins, Chairman