Merger FAQ’s – This document will be updated regularly as the two congregations continue to
journey toward merger of the United Methodist Church of Auburn and the Calvary United Methodist Church.
🔴 How did the idea of a merger come about?
As the Congregation diminished because of changing demographics around Calvary
UMC it was decided not to continue employing a full-time pastor. The District
Superintendent suggested a cooperating agreement be implemented with the Auburn
UMC to worship with them and with Calvary providing a modest stipend to offset some
of the cost of providing those services. This began a period of discernment and at the
recommendation of DS Karen Munson, Nancy Bischoff began working with Calvary
under a Hebrews 11 grant. No single person made this decision. Both church’s leadership
teams came to similar conclusions about how to proceed.
🔴 Why are we considering a merger?
It appears now that the cooperating/coordinating arrangement is going to be permanent
and this means that the two churches will not need 2 pastors or 2 church buildings or
parsonages etc. The best decision would seem to be to merge Calvary with Auburn and
dispose of the excess property and associated expenses and focus our efforts and
resources on a merged Church and a renewed focus on mission in the Lewiston/Auburn
🔴What are the benefits of a merger?
The merged church will benefit from additional human and financial resources including
pledges that are now going to support a nearly empty church and parsonage. A part of the
merger process will include a refocusing of missional priorities. The merged Church will
have all of Auburn’s current resources. Calvary will bring into the merger financial
resources currently invested with the UM Foundation of New England plus, remaining
proceeds from the sale of both the parsonage and the church building after payment of
any funds owed back to the Annual Conference.
🔴 What is the timeline for the proposed merger?
There is no requirement to merge by a certain date. The merger team is hoping to have
the majority of the work done by January 1, 2024 to prepare for Special Church
Conferences where each Church will vote on the merger proposal by written ballot. This
is a self-imposed timeline. Each church will need to approve the merger by a two-thirds
🔴How will worship change?
No changes are currently being proposed. A single Mission Statement will be developed
for the merged Church to replace the two separate statements currently used.
🔴 How will the budget and finances work be managed?
There are no anticipated changes to the current organizational structure under which
UMC Auburn operates. There would no longer be two parallel efforts. We will all be
working together to move forward as one Church congregation with the addition of the
Calvary financial resources outlined above. The normal Lay Leadership election process
would become a part of the merged church’s annual Church Conference for Finance
Committee and Treasurer.
🔴 Will we have to change our Church’s name?
There is no requirement to change the name. Neither Church wants to lose their “sense of
identity.” If a name change is recommended it will require affirmation by vote. This is a
local church membership decision.
🔴 How will memberships be transferred?
Everyone currently recognized as a member in each Church will be “enrolled” on the
membership roster of the newly merged Church.
🔴 Who decides if the merger will actually happen?
When we complete the necessary work to gain the approval of the Conference Leadership
then the final decision will rest with the full membership in each Church by a two-thirds
majority vote in separate Special Church Conferences presided over by Our District
🔴 If the merger happens, what are the major changes that will happen?
The Congregation will operate as one whole rather than two parallel bodies. This will
provide unified effort, financial support, missional energy and eliminate duplication. All
giving would be directed to the newly merged church.
🔴 What will the merger cost?
The costs will be minimal compared to the funds being transferred from Calvary.
Primarily associated with asset transfers and property sales and the related legal
documents, filings or other administrative costs. Any costs associated with the disposition
of Calvary property will be paid from the proceeds of the sale of those assets.
🔴 What happens to the properties each Church owns?
No changes are anticipated for the Auburn properties. The Calvary UMC congregation
has recently voted through Special Church Conferences to list both the parsonage and the
church for sale. They are actively pursuing offers on both properties including interest
from two non-profits on the church building. The hope is that the disposition of the
Calvary properties will be complete prior to any congregational vote on the merger.
🔴 What happens if the merger doesn’t go through?
That would be determined in the event the merger is not approved but more than likely
things would continue pretty much as they are now until circumstances require some
other action. Eventually all of Calvary’s available financial assets would be depleted in
supporting the two buildings and most likely the buildings would revert to Conference
control. Or, Calvary could simply close as an active United Methodist Church and turn
over the buildings and all financial assets to the Conference immediately. In either of
these situations the hard earned assets meant to serve the Lewiston/Auburn community
would go elsewhere instead of transferring those financial assets to the merged church
for local use.