Three Woonsocket churches merge into one, combine denominations

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WOONSOCKET, S.D. For more than 40 years, three churches in Woonsocket shared on paster on Sundays. Now, they've decided to merge into one congregation with a new house of worship in the works.

Many Spirit of Faith members believes the merging of the three churches is going smoothly.

"It doesn't feel so much like 'well this week is the Lutherans turn and this week is the Methodists turn' or 'this team is supposed to be serving or that team was supposed to be serving.' It's definitely more of a combined community feeling," Church Council Financial Secretary Rachael Anderson said.

Some of the members joined the new congregation to become more involved in the community.

"That is why I came in. The transition has been getting easier the longer that it goes on. This has been a very welcoming parish," Spirit of Faith Member Wanda Swenson said.

The turning point for a smooth transition happened when the transformational ministry was introduced.

"Where we moved, very intentionally, to being a part of the mission of the community and the congregation looking out to beyond the walls of the church and going out the doors to be disciples to others," Spirit of Faith Pastor Rhonda Wellsandt-Zell said.

Now, the church is bursting at the seams. Members are ready for a new church that has more room, is handicap accessible, and to bring their mission into the community.

Spirit of Faith members are working hard to make a new facility happen.

"The day of commitment Sunday, there was 140 people in church and it was a race up to put in their commitments, so there's a lot of excitement," Anderson said.

Even the kids are helping out.

"Getting a little Tupperware and putting coins in it and bringing it to church on the first Sunday of the month," Spirit of Faith Member Oscar Anderson said.

The layout of the new facility hasn't been officially decided on, but it'll cost between $400-500,000. The church still has some funds to raise, so they plan on having quite a few fundraisers in the near future.

Construction on the new church is planned to start in April and last until October. The 9 a.m. Sunday service will be held at the Prairie View Nursing Home during that time.