Two merged churches in Danvers and Peabody will be worshipping under a new name Sunday: All Saints Episcopal Church of the North Shore.
And how parishioners came to name the combined parishes is a bit unusual.
Calvary Episcopal Church in Danvers and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Peabody announced a contest in August inviting people to submit names they felt were suited for the combined worship of the two parishes, said Fran Weil, a parishioner and member of the inter-parish council.
“I know people have done it to name polar bears and that sort,” said Weil. “But we did it to name our church.”
After about 80 submissions from all over Massachusetts as well as from New Hampshire, Maine, and Virginia, both parishes held preliminary votes, narrowing the field to six finalists, she said.
A final vote was then taken, selecting All Saints Episcopal Church of North Shore and beating out other prospects such as St. Paul’s Calvary, Together in Faith, and Church of the Mustard Seed.
“Both parishes voted and it was the clear winner. And people were pretty pleased,” she said.
“It was wonderful. People really feel at home with the name they chose.”
The winning name was submitted by one parishioner from each church: Julia Saunders of the Danvers church and Gail Austin of the Peabody church, within minutes of each other. Austin, a St. Paul’s member for about 13 years, said “Our first service together will be the Sunday we celebrate All Saints Day,” which was Thursday.
Austin and Saunders will march into the newly named church’s first service Sunday at 10 a.m.with a quilted banner made by Peabody church members for the merged congregations, said Weil.
“This is a fairly new phenomenon to have churches to come together,” she said. “People don’t go to church like they used to, and numbers have been down.”
Weil said the blending of the two parishes was a great way to bundle resources and explore new opportunities.
While it is still being worked out where the church will land permanently, All Saints Episcopal Church of the North Shore will be housed temporarily at 46 Cherry St. in Danvers, Weil said.