“Being in on the planning part I don’t think it surprises anyone,” added Rev. Jim Koressel at St. Peter’s. “The changes may not be something you necessarily like, but finally it is here. We can now start to work toward the future.”
In many ways the mergers in Daviess and Martin counties formalize what has been happening over the last several years. “I’ve been here for eleven years,” said Koressel. “The entire time I have been priest for both St. Peters and All Saints. Much of our efforts have been joined together for years.”
“For Martin County churches I don’t think this a drastic change because we’ve been doing a lot of this together already,” added Erbacher.
Something else that is tied to the merger announcement that may make it easier to accept is that none of the churches will be closed. Many of them date back into the 19th century. The churches can still be used for services like weddings and funerals and special events. The actual decision on how to use them will remain up to the parish priest, but it should help ease the transition. “We feel keeping the churches open, holding services there remains a possibility,” said Erbacher. “People who have been attending there for a long time do feel an attachment.”
The mergers will become effective July 1, 2014. “There are some places that have been working together for several years,” said Lilly. “The goal now is to bring those parishes together in a formal way and create one big family, one parish council, one financial council.”
All Saints and St. Peters have already begun work toward building that one family. “We have anticipated this merger since August,” said Koressel. “We’ve already begun joining the councils and hope to have a new council set by the first of the year.”