Lutherans look to share church facilities with Episcopalians

LACONIA — This evening Reverend Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, will preside at a service for the deconsecration of St. James Episcopal Church in anticipation of the building becoming the permanent home to the Boys and Girls Club of the Lakes Region, which is purchasing it.
Pastor Tobias Nyatsambo said yesterday that the club will be represented at the service where its mission statement will be read. "St. James has always been about serving the community," he said, noting that the church has hosted the longest standing pre-school program in the city and has long prepared a meal for the Salvation Army on the third Tuesday of each month. "The Boys and Girls Club will be doing what St. James has done," he said. "For us it is exciting."
Nyatsambo explained that the parish hopes to enter an arrangement with the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on Parade Road, by which the two would share worship and office spaces as well as outreach ministries. St. James parishioners would keep their affiliation with the Episcopal Diocese.
Nyatsambo said that St. James has offered to share the expenses of operating and maintaining the church on Parade Road, where the parish would hold its services on Saturday evenings beginning next month . "We believe that in the long-term it would benefit both churches to share one building," Nyatsambo said.
Pastor Dave Dalzell and the Church Council of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will present a formal proposal to their congregation on Sunday, July 21.Dalzell could not be reached for comment.
In the meantime, services will continue to be held at St. James on the remaining Sundays in July, after which the club will begin the conversion of the sanctuary. The club has been using meeting space room in the church building for several weeks now.