Congregational Church of Chester makes bold move forward

CHESTER, Vt. – At a special congregational meeting Sept. 27, 2019, the membership of the Congregational Church of Chester, a member of the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference, voted to replant their church ministry.

A replant is defined as a new season of ministry for a church. In a replant, the existing church continues to meet for services and other events while plans are put in place to transition appropriate resources to a new ministry. The denomination will work to find a church planter who will come to the area to create a new church with a fresh perspective on ministry for a new day. The new church would still be a CCCC church, but at the end of the transition period, the ministry life of the Congregational Church of Chester will be ending.

The ministry and functioning of the Congregational Church of Chester will continue as usual during the transition period. Sunday services will be held weekly at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary. All community groups currently using the space are welcome to continue to do so until July 2020. Any new applications for the use of space during this time will be considered. As the transition process moves forward, those groups will be kept informed of decisions and details that will affect them, including decisions regarding the church building.

The chimney issue, which was discovered earlier this fall, has been rectified and the church building is now completely safe to use. The inconvenience of closing off the facility and parking lot for several weeks until a mason could come to evaluate the issue was worth protecting the friends and neighbors of the Congregational Church of Chester.

Before the transition is finalized, the Congregational Church of Chester will enjoy the traditional aspects of the Christmas and Easter seasons. In June, a special worship service and reception will be held to celebrate all the ministry that God has done throughout the 246-year history of the Congregational Church of Chester. Former pastors and parishioners and anyone interested will be invited to join the current congregation in this very special celebration.

It was further decided at the Sept. 27 meeting that Rev. Susan E. Moody, the transitional pastor, will remain to help the process of “ending well.” She will maintain ministry to the existing congregation and the community until July of 2020. After the final celebration, the ministry of the Congregational Church of Chester will draw to a close, and Rev. Moody will move on to a new ministry.

Questions about this decision or requests to be included on the final celebration invitation list can be directed to Rev. Susan Moody at susanemoody@gmail.com, Deacon Ruth Walker at rdw2066@yahoo.com, or Deacon Ken Barrett at shirken@vermontel.net.

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