By Shelley Spence, Regional Representative
Since 2013 the Faith Communities of St. Andrew’s United Church and Deer Park United Church in Calgary have worshipped together, celebrating our faith, and the presence of God in our lives. Over the past eight years, we have participated together in other activities and projects as well and shared our passions and gifts with each other and our wider community.
Three years ago representatives from the two congregations began meeting to talk about how our two communities of faith could work more closely together in the future. This team held a series of “Moving Forward, Building the Future” workshops with members of our congregations, and an online survey, to get feedback from our members. Building on the feedback received, in February 2020 the Moving Forward Group recommended to the two councils that an Amalgamation Steering Committee, comprised of lay members and clergy from both communities of faith be struck to further explore pursuing amalgamation.
This steering committee consulted widely with congregants and investigated the many strengths and gifts apparent in the programs and ministries of each faith community, the necessary changes to structure and governance, and the opportunities and the challenges choosing to amalgamate would bring. Out of this came a recommendation that Deer Park United Church and St. Andrew’s United Church amalgamate into one community of faith.
On November 7, 2021, the eighth anniversary of our worshipping together, we gathered for concurrent congregational meetings to vote on amalgamation. Prayerfully and intentionally, both congregations voted overwhelmingly in favour of formally amalgamating the faith communities of St. Andrew’s United Church and Deer Park United Church into one new community of faith. A request was made to Chinook Winds Region to approve the amalgamation, effective January 1, 2022; the request was received favourably.
On January 16th 2022 this new community of faith held its first congregational meeting and chose a new name: we now look forward with joy and excitement to a new future together as Fish Creek United Church.