Fate of Danvers’ Church to be Determined through Mediation
The congregation of the Disciples, United Church of Christ in Danvers will be decided during a 90 day mediation.
The future of the church, located on Centre Street, has been up in the air for some time. The members finally decided on a three month mediation session, assuming that no resolution would be possible without assistance from a third party.
According to church representatives, there is still a lot of tension concerning the future of the church, and there are philosophical differences over what is the best resolution in the situation. Some parishioners want to find a way to keep the church open, but the majority want to sell the church and focus on missionary and outreach work.
The vote for mediation was 13 to 4.
In addition to taking the dispute to mediation, the vote also included waiving the contract deadline of the church’s leader.
The current dispute concerning the future of the church is just another stumbling block in the church’s recent history. The divide within the Danvers, UCC has been raging for at least a year since the church’s “restart”. The church originally closed down in the summer of 2016, but was reopened in September 2016. It was originally the First Church of Danvers Congregational, but was renamed when it reopened and divided into four “ministry teams” to reach out to marginalized groups.
Leaders of the restart wanted to improve church attendance and worship, but some parishioners called the restart unsuccessful. They said membership was down and the atmosphere was not “as happy as it once was”. Others supported the church’s new focus on outreach and mission work.