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Methodist Churches vote to merge

Congregations at Peaceful Grove United Methodist Church, Cottage Grove, and Woodbury United Methodist Church, voted to merge effective July 1. The vote -- taken at both churches in special meetings last Sunday -- was 196 in favor, 83 against and one abstention.

The blended parish has been under discussion by special task forces from both congregations for the past 18 months, according to Gary Christensen of Peaceful Grove.

A second vote will be taken May 18 to vote on the legal aspects of the merger. Until then, committees will continue to meet to organize the day-to-day details of operating a blended parish.

Ron Purcell, a member of the Peaceful Grove task force, said the mission of the new parish will be to "show our church love to all.

"We will be able to offer an extended family to everyone in south Washington County and beyond," Purcell said.