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Finishing With Grace:  A Guide to Selling, Merging or Closing Your Church by Gretchen Switzer and Linda Hilliard

Finishing With Grace: A Guide to Selling, Merging or Closing Your Church

by Gretchen Switzer and Linda Hilliard

144 pages
Guide for churches that close. Addresses logistical, spiritual and emotional concerns.

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Category: Religion
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About the Book
Thousands of churches close yearly, affecting tens of thousands of the faithful. Reasons for church closures run from aging congregations to conflict, from dwindling funds to pastoral betrayal.

Finishing With Grace is written as a guide to churches that are forced to make major transitions in their lives. These communities are faced with heart-rending decisions and profound change. This book provides guidance and support for any congregation who is considering selling their building, merging with another congregation or concluding their ministry completely.

While Finishing With Grace offers voices of experience when it comes to logistical concerns, such as organizing a physical assets team or dealing with church support staff, it also delves into the spiritual, emotional and psychological aspects of such a huge transition in the life of a congregation and how it affects individual church members as well as the congregation as a whole. Short personal stories or vignettes highlight the more practical prose to give the book further depth and interest.

One reader expressed herself this way when she was done reading Finishing With Grace:

“This book is incredibly helpful to congregations considering the possibility of closing their church doors; it gives them the tools and the courage they need to go through this process. You lead a congregation step-by-step through every detail, as well as naming the deep emotional layers, both conscious and unconscious. I especially love the stories and anecdotes - both real and useful. You describe how to talk about everything and creative ways to deal with the wide variety of responses to this “earthshaking” and “faith-shaking” decision – and how it may even deepen faith. Lovely, fantastic job!!
With thanks from all who are faced with this momentous decision” Reverend Terry Fitzgerald, Worcester, MA

Finishing with Grace is the guide to faithfully managing congregational transition. It offers practical help for dealing with your church’s building, staff, money and belongings, while also exploring the deeper facets of dramatic change in the church.

Designed to be read and used by the people in the pews, this is the only book of it’s kind. We hope Finishing With Grace provides struggling churches with a road map for navigating the journey.



About the Author
Linda Hilliard and Reverend Gretchen Switzer are members of the United Church of Christ. Linda was moderator of a Congregational Church in Massachusetts where Gretchen served as Intentional Interim pastor. Together they helped the congregation manage the difficult transition of selling its 140-year old stone edifice.



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