The people of Peace Lutheran and Our Redeemer’s began a journey of exploration to consider a shared future. Pastor Gail Cromack and Pastor John Kuehner, along with each church’s council began conversations toward the end of 2013 about bringing the two Lutheran communities together.
The initial steps centered around one worship service that incorporated and represented each community’s liturgical expression. By example, Pastor John and Gail worked as a team as true co-pastors, which they invited all parishioners to model and embody. Budgets and councils remained independent during this exploration.
We continued to further bring the churches together in 2014. For example we looked to share costs where it made sense. Most importantly, our worship occurred as one, which was the most important consideration during initial conversations and throughout the year.
Guided by the Spirit, organizational planning and transparent communication were cornerstones to the process. We provided periodic updates and formal Q & A sessions to make sure ideas, concerns and thoughts were shared among all community participants.
With Pastor Gail’s retirement, Peace Lutheran Council affirmed Pastor John’s role as transition pastor effective September 2014. Peace Lutheran Church council and Pastor John finalized conversations with Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church to formalize becoming one Christ-centered community via merger.
In January 2015, Peace Lutheran voted to dissolve as a 501(c)3 organization transferring assets to Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church and establishing the Peace Endowment Fund.
In February 2015, the members of Peace Lutheran were officially received as members of Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church (now Unity Lutheran)!
The story does not end here as Our Redeemer’s Lutheran and Calvary Lutheran of Millbrae also considered formal steps to become one church, where a new church name of Unity Lutheran added another chapter as a community in Christ!
No Peace Lutheran, No Calvary Lutheran, No Our Redeemer’s Lutheran, but a new name, Unity Lutheran, and new beginning for everyone! A new creation!