Creative Solutions for the Changing Religious Landscape
The Rev. Dr. Sandra L. Fischer: parish minister, former attorney and Administrative Adjudicator, and congregation collaboration/merger consultant.
Rev. Dr. Fischer earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and then went on to earn a law degree from Washington & Lee School of Law. She practiced law in Maine and Connecticut, becoming an Adjudicator for the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control and subsequently joined Murtha Cullina LLC in Hartford, Connecticut. She decided to respond to her call to the ministry, leaving the practice of law. She attended Yale Divinity School where she earned her Master of Divinity degree, and subsequently earned a Doctor of Ministry from Hartford Seminary focused on congregational collaboration and merger. She is a parish minister in a United Church of Christ congregation in Connecticut.
Rev. Dr. Fischer brings a unique blend of legal and ministerial expertise to meeting the current challenges faced by congregations throughout the United States.
The World is Changing
As thousands of churches and synagogues in the United States close their doors for the last time each year, Congregation Collaboration was created out of Sandra’s desire to use her legal and ministerial backgrounds to support congregations as they face the rapidly evolving reality of decreasing ministerial impact in their communities. Sandra, and Congregation Collaboration, can provide effective guidance to any congregation to determine whether creating multi-church relationships is a resonant means of growing its ministry. Whether it is the sharing of support staff, the creation of joint ministries, or a full blending of congregations, Congregation Collaboration has a process specifically designed to reinforce success.
How Congregation Collaboration Can Help You Adapt
Congregation Collaboration has developed a process that addresses both the relational and the transactional issues involved in collaboration discussions. Included in the process are mechanisms by which congregations can clarify their vision, identity and mission; assess congregational institutional health; determine suitability of potential cooperative partners; conduct healthy negotiation of collaborative agreements, up to, and including, merger; and prepare for the birth of a new congregation entity. Sandra and Congregation Collaboration have strong relationships with other resource experts in the field.
Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Sandra was one of the best students I’ve ever had at the Hartford Seminary. She is likewise a great teacher. I’d hire her in a snap if I thought a couple of congregations might have the hutzpah or foresight to merge or deepen cooperation beyond the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Her combination of legal fluency and theological solidness is what any merger or pre-merger needs.