Methodist Calendar For Alter Cloths

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Sale of First Congregational Church is finalized – what happens to the church’s assets?

It’s been a month since Gardner’s First Congregational Church held its last service, and now the church’s leadership is finalizing the dissolution process of the congregation.

Earlier this year, the congregation decided to decommission the church and put the 28 Green St building up for sale. On Friday, Oct. 27, the two-century-year-old church was sold to the Maranatha Christian Church of America in Connecticut for $500,000.

Now, the leadership council, along with Rev. Stacey Kullgren, has been reviewing Massachusetts state law with the church’s legal counsel to figure out how to distribute the church’s assets.

Rev. Kullgren said they are gaining a better understanding of what is possible to do with the church’s assets and what’s not allowed under state law. After they decide, she said the plan needs to be approved by the Massachusetts Attorney General and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

On Sunday, Oct. 1 the First Congregational Church of Gardner at 28 Green St. held its last service in celebration of the long successful history of the church. The church is being sold and decommissioned after 237 years of service.

Liturgical Color Calendar by United Methodist Publishing
Liturgical Color Calendar by United Methodist Publishing

“The church has some priorities in supporting local missions when leadership plans for dissolution,” she said. “All of their financial gifting has to be done in accordance with the Massachusetts General Law. There are some restrictions on what we can and can’t do.”

The dissolution process of the church should be completed by the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Rev. Kullgren said planning out the distribution of assets and dispersing them is the final step of the congregation’s closure.

UMC Liturgical Colors / Parament Colors - Main Street UMC
UMC Liturgical Colors / Parament Colors – Main Street UMC

More: First Congregational Church of Gardner votes to sell its building. What’s happening next

Gifting church’s archives to Boston Library

Besides the plan to gift financial assets to different organizations, the church council has signed paperwork to donate all of its archives to the Congregational Library in Boston.

The church also gifted two paintings to the Levi Heywood Memorial Library in Gardner. Several other items were donated to the Gardner Museum.

All the altar cloths of the church were gifted to the United Church of Jaffrey in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Rev. Kullgren said gifting those items will pass down the congregation’s legacy.

More: ‘Witnessing a Legacy:’ The First Congregational Church of Gardner holds its final service

What’s next for Rev. Kullgren

For the rest of the year, Rev. Kullgren said she will continue her pastoral responsibilities in Gardner and offer pastoral counseling to the church members, as well as help complete the dissolution final steps.

After her work in Gardner, she said she plans to serve at the First Congregational Church in Westminster as their interim pastor. At the same time, the newly established pastor-searching committee will find a permanent pastor.

Rev. Kullgren said because the committee has just started its search, she does not know how long she will serve the Westminster community, but expects between three to six months.

Rev. Kullgren said she has plans outside of being a pastor for the Greater Gardner community. She is seeking a professional coach certification through the International Coach Federation to guide individuals through conflict negotiation and transformation.

“A coach approaches an individual from a perspective with all the tools that they need to make the change that is necessary to find new life or to transform them to accomplish the goals that they have in front of them,” she said. “So essentially, I’m a life coach, and that’s really what my ministry is.”

This article originally appeared on Gardner News: Gardner First Congregational Church building sale is final