It was the end of an era today for Saint Luke's United Methodist Church on La Crosse's north side.
After nearly 160 faithful years, it held its final service Sunday morning.
Church leaders said the move is a good thing, not only for the church but the community.
"It's just sad to lose something you love," said Dolores Teachout, a longtime church member.
Teachout became a member back in 1951. Throughout the years, she's created some very fond memories inside the church's walls.
"I was married here, my children were all baptized here, I had a son that was buried here," said Teachout. " My in-laws come here for about six generations, so I have a lot of love for this church."
Like many churches across the nation, St. Luke's isn't immune to the reality of declining membership, but the church's administrator, Trish Clifford, said the church has found a way to become stronger -- by combining congregations with the Asbury United Methodist church on the city's south side.
"Our ministries will be more strong," said Clifford. "We'll be a better presence in the community. There are lots of opportunities for spiritual growth for us as well as helping the community out."
Together, the two churches will form a 125-member congregation.
While this may be the end of one era, Teachout says the next one has a bright future.
"I'm optimistic, but I don't think I'm excited," said Teachout. "But I know we have to do it."
St. Luke's won't be closing its doors for good. The weekly Monday night meals and the food pantry will still be held at the church.