On January 21, 2019 a Special Joint Charge Conference was held at Canal Fulton UMC to vote on the merger of our congregations. While Church of the Lakes voted in favor of the merger, Canal Fulton UMC voted against the merger.

Next steps:

In consultation with the Conference, Pastors Bryan and Jared will look at other options to live out our mission to grow the kingdom through a multisite ministry approach. We are exploring options of finding a new campus pastor from within our existing congregation, and will move forward when the time is right of identifying that individual and the location of our new campus.

Please keep Pastor Don and his wife Erin in your prayers as he serves the Canal Fulton UMC congregation in this season, and begins his ministry in July at Crossroads UMC in downtown Canton. Though Pastor Don will not be working with Church of the Lakes through multisite ministry, we look forward to seeing the fruits of his labor, growing God’s Kingdom in our region.

Looking back on how we got here…

When we began our capital campaign in early 2018 it was unclear where our multisite vision would take shape. However, in April we were notified by our District Superintendent, Rev. Benita Rollins, that Don Ackerman would be appointed as Pastor at Canal Fulton UMC and Multisite Planning Pastor here at Church of the Lakes. In June, at Annual Conference, Pastor Don was officially appointed to these positions and has been settling into his new roles (while finishing seminary at Methodist Theological School in Columbus). It quickly became clear to our church leadership that Pastor Don and Canal Fulton UMC are where the Lord is directing Church of the Lakes to begin our campus ministry. With this new direction Church of the Lakes is in the process of planning a merger with Canal Fulton UMC to become One Church with Multiple Locations.

On August 29th, the Pastors visited Cornerstone Church in Grand Rapids, MI as part of an on-going multisite mentorship program. The video below features their Pastors along with Pastors Bryan, Jared and Don discussing the need and details of multisite. 

On September 20th, Pastor Don presented our vision for multisite to the Canal Fulton UMC Administrative Council. They then formed an Exploratory Committee to discern God’s call for them, and collect additional information.

On October 11th, Pastor Bryan and Pastor Jared visited Canal Fulton UMC for a town hall meeting. They shared our vision for multisite and gave them information about the missions and ministries of Church of the Lakes.

On October 17th, the Canal Fulton UMC Exploratory Committee met with some of the Lay Leaders from Church of the Lakes. The group shared a meal during our T-N-T program, had fellowship and discussion about being partners in ministry.

On December 10th Church of the Lakes will have our Administrative Council meeting. Church members are encouraged to attend as we will not only be setting our budget and ministry goals for 2019, but we will also be discussing in further detail our plans to move forward with Canal Fulton UMC as our first multisite campus through a merger. Click here for the current draft of our merger document. Please keep in mind that this is a draft, there may be missing information or items that are subject to change.

A team of members with building expertise are in the process examining the building structure at Canal Fulton UMC. As the Exploratory Committee and Church of the Lakes leaders continue to move forward towards a merger we ask that you pray for these churches, congregations and leadership to be able to discern the direction that God is calling all of us.

On Monday, January 14th , Church of the Lakes held a town hall meeting for members to gather more information and voice any questions or concerns regarding the multisite merger process.

A Special Joint Charge Conference was called by District Superintendent, Rev. Benita Rollins on Monday, January 21st, 7:00 pm at Canal Fulton United Methodist Church. The purpose of this meeting was to vote on the merger of Church of the Lakes United Methodist Church with Canal Fulton United Methodist Church. While Church of the Lakes voted overwhelming in favor of this plan for merger, the Canal Fulton Congregation rejected the plan by 10 votes. Pastor Don Ackerman and a wonderful group within his congregation wanted to embrace new ways of doing mission and ministry within the community. However, a majority of the Canal Fulton members focused on issues of control and committees. As Jesus stated in the parable of the wine and wineskins, old containers burst when new wine is introduced. In consultation with the Conference, Pastors Bryan and Jared will look at other options to live out our mission to grow the kingdom through a multisite ministry approach. Please keep Pastor Don and wife Erin in your prayers as he serves that congregation in this season.