First United Methodist Church and St. Mary’s Methodist Church combining congregations in merger

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – First United Methodist Church and St. Mary’s United Methodist Church in Beckley are combining to form a new congregation.

There’s no shortage of businesses that have been hit hard by COVID-19. Representatives from the two churches noticed their operations dwindling, and decided that they could serve themselves and their congregations better together rather than separately. The new church will be called Beckley Community United Methodist Church.

“The process has been five lay leaders from each church forming a tax force with our district superintendent, Reverend Doctor Joe Kenaston, leading them,” said First United Methodist Church Reverend Betsy Evans Ingstrup. “(They) determined a whole new vision for this congregation.”

First United Methodist Church has found inspiration to take a step forward and embrace a new position through the merger.

“God is calling us to be a new thing,” said First United Methodist Church Minister Laura Fygetakes. “Not the same old, same old, and to really be God’s light in the community as much as we can.”

Reverend Ingstrup believes that the merger will prove to be the right decision for each church, both in the short and long term.

“We are combining congregations,” Ingstrup said. “Combining congregations in numbers. In spiritual gifts and also in leadership. That’s one gift. The other gift is a financial gift. We can do more collectively together than we could separately.”

Each church will be bringing their own missions together, as well as forming new ones as the merger grows. The new Beckley Community United Methodist Church will a commemorative service this Sunday at 11 am.