A 60-year-old nonprofit formed to helped Christian churches work together will close at the end of the year, with board members of the York County Council of Churches saying the organization's model is no longer sustainable.
The group's seven-member board of directors recently unanimously voted to dissolve the council, an "emotional" but appropriate decision, said board president Chad Linder.
The board started to pay particular focus on the long-term viability of the organization after the Rev. Guy Dunham was dismissed as executive director about two years ago, Linder said.
"We just were unable to determine a model that was realistic and would work," Linder said. "If you had absolutely unlimited resources, I think you could really go somewhere with it ... but nobody has unlimited resources."
The board decided to close its doors on Dec. 31.
"If we don't have a way to be really good at what we do or have a way to do it efficiently, we shouldn't be here draining resources from the community," he said. "Those resources should be going to other organizations."
Board members didn't want the group to exist just for the sake of its history, he said.
"It was not an easy decision, and it was emotional for everybody," he said.
Background: The organization, 595 W. Market St., has served as an adviser and incubator for numerous charitable events and community engagements, having had a hand in forming or sustaining groups such as York Habitat for Humanity, Access-York, Bell Socialization Services and the York County Literacy Council.
Linder said he hopes the churches in the community, about 80 of which were members of the council, find a new way to serve the functions that had fallen under the council's purview.
"There still is a need and a benefit to having churches come together," he said. "But we just have to determine as a board that the York County Council of Churches is not the method where that's going to happen feasibly."
The board had considered getting a new executive, he said, but decided against it.
Dunham had worked for the council for less than three years, and his departure was the fifth time in less than 10 years that the Council of Churches was without an executive director. Linder declined to disclose the reason for the dismissal in 2011, as he did again on Wednesday morning.
Dunham said at the time of his 2011 firing that he had strained relationships with a couple of board members, and that might have caused his dismissal.
Police had investigated packages (with no return address) that Dunham had received in his council mail. The contents included T-shirts that made fun of his height and put down his character.
- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.