The Valley’s three Presbyterian churches have maintained a collaborative spirit throughout the years.But soon, the Athens, Sayre and Waverly churches will work together in a new way: by merging into one large congregation.Members of the three churches recently voted to go forward with the merge, said Dale Barber of Waverly Presbyterian Church, a leader of the committee that has spearheaded the changes. The three congregations will become one church beginning Jan. 1, 2014.Slightly over 100 members of the congregation participated in the vote, and 100 of them voted yes, Barber said, calling the results “overwhelming.”Officials have already tested the waters for the past couple of years. The congregations have participated in activities together. The Athens and Waverly churches alternated worship Sundays during the summer last year; this year, Sayre joined in.The three churches started exploring the possibility of sharing services with one another — not necessarily a merger at that point — about a year and a half ago, Barber said. At that time, the Waverly and Sayre churches were both between pastors, and Athens’ pastor, Nelson Kopatz, had begun to plan his retirement, set to happen this October.A 10-person group formed from the three congregations to explore what the groups could do together.