Handley United Methodist Church ordered to close, after 141 years

Handley United Methodist Church ordered to close, after 141 years
The Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, has decided to close Handley United Methodist Church, after 141 years of service.
Please see the letter below notifying the congregation of the decision.

September 25, 2018

“Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
As you may recall from the letter I sent a few weeks ago announcing my departure from Handley UMC, I mentioned that there would be a time of discernment and discussions regarding possibly joining with another United Methodist church in some way that would allow the missions and ministries of Handley United Methodist Church to continue.
Over the past several weeks, there have been a number of meetings between a variety of individuals. After all the conversation and discussion, the recommendation was that Handley UMC prepare to close its doors at the end of the year.
Last Monday evening, Sept. 17th, the Finance Committee met to hear a report on those meetings, and, by consensus, agreed that the most logical, and most feasible course of action was the closing of the church, probably by December 31st
This decision came with much sadness and reluctance. In the end, however, the cost to operate the church plant is quickly becoming prohibitive to any kind of corporate ministry or outreach, especially with the dwindling numbers of members in attendance.
Though the church will be working toward closure, the missions and ministries will continue to operate as they have been, only under the capable leadership of Rev. Judy Richmond. She will be offering uplifting sermons each week in addition to being a calming presence in a time of such upheaval.
A church-wide Charge Conference will be called in the near future for you to come and make your desires known. Please keep in mind that, as much as all of us would like for Handley UMC to stay open, the financial realities are really virtually impossible to overcome. You are certainly welcome to express your concerns about the closure of the church at the Charge Conference and vote your conscience, but the financial resources will remain very limited.
Through the end of 2018, there will still be mission and ministry happening that covets your involvement and support including; the Fall Festival on November 4th after morning worship, a Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 18th, and a beautiful Choir Cantata to celebrate Christmas on December 9th. I believe that finishing the year exhibiting your strong faith and trust in God’s love will best honor the legacy of the 141 years of ministry that Handley has very capably provided to this community.
For those of you who have already moved on to a different church, please let the church office know, so that we can officially remove you from our membership rolls and transfer your membership to your new church home.
For those of you who are still members at Handley UMC, it is my deepest prayer that you will continue to support the missions and ministries at Handley until the end;
celebrating all that Handley has done and meant through the years, taking some time to mourn together the loss of such a great church, and looking forward to the next thing and place that God has planned for your future.
At some future point, a nearby church will be designated as the automatic recipient of our membership records. If, at that time, you have another church you wish to become a part of, you will need to contact the church office to make your wishes known.
I’m really sorry I cannot be with you through this most difficult time, but I know that Pastor Judy will be available to provide much caring, comfort and support. Please make plans to celebrate everything that Handley UMC has done in your lives and for the community.
Celebrate the heritage of Handley, and especially celebrate God’s presence through this challenge as well as all of the amazing works God has done in and through Handley United Methodist Church.
You remain in my prayers and those of many others. Wishing each of you the strength of faith and friendship that will see you through,
Rev. Sally Fleming, Pastor