As simple as it sounds, cooperative ministry can be a complex! After many years of informal cooperation between our churches in the eastern end of the Oneonta District, laity and clergy across our Schoharie region of United Methodist Churches put our heads together in the fall of 2018 to discern what we could do together than we couldn't do alone. By entering into an intentional conversation about our own future together, we formed a plan for shared ministry over which we could all have ownership.
The result of this conversation was the formalizing of our long-running partnership into a Cooperative Parish which launched on July 1, 2019. We ground our partnership's structure in Book of Discipline language found in paragraph 206 defined as a "larger parish." Each church maintains its own autonomy and administration. Yet in mission and vision, we put our heads together to best use our resources for the good of the Gospel in our community. United Methodist churches in our area can choose on a yearly basis whether they want to covenant with our co-op. Once covenanted, clergy and lay representatives from each church join a governing cooperative council that meets every other month.
As we explore this way of ministry, pray for us. We long to be open to how the Spirit is moving in the Schoharie Valley and surrounding hills. We long to the be the hands and feet of Christ for a hurting world.
If you would like to read our covenant, you can find it here. Read more about our complete process of discernment here.