(Photo: Doug Gleditsch)
A nascent growing conservative Presbyterian denomination has reported rapid growth over the past year.
The Evangelical Covenant of Presbyterians, a new reform body founded in 2012, concluded its National Gathering in Dallas on Wednesday.
The Rev. Dr. Dana Allin, synod executive for ECO, noted that since the last gathering, held in 2013, the Presbyterian denomination had experienced fantastic growth in the number of member churches.
"It's exciting to see how we've grown from 30 churches and 10,000 covenant partners at our first Synod gathering in 2013 to now having 149 churches and 60,000 covenant partners at this gathering," wrote Allin.
"Plus, it's extremely encouraging to see a dozen church plants in various stages of formation and organization! There is so much to be grateful for."
Allin also noted that he spoke at the National Gathering about the need and growth of resources within ECO as well as expanding to have partnerships with other entities.
"I am grateful for the time and resources invested by individuals and churches to be a part of this event," wrote Allin. "I believe our three days together in Dallas will continued to strengthen our foundation as we look into the next phase of this movement."
Cosponsored by the theologically conservative Fellowship of Presbyterians, the 2014 National Gathering took place at the InterContinental Hotel off Dallas Parkway from Monday to Wednesday.
The theme for the National Gathering was "From Consumerism to Community," which was stated in a promotional video.
"We love our churches. They're where we worship. They're where we laugh. They're where we grieve. They're where we share meals. They're where we meet neighbors," stated the video in printed word. "Our churches give us a lot. But what we get isn't the full story. It's just a drop in the bucket. We can experience more. We were made for mission. Made to create something beyond ourselves."
ECO was formed in 2012 after Presbyterian Church USA, the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States, voted to allow for the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals.
After PCUSA approved for its regional bodies, or presbyteries, to allow for this ordination change, numerous Presbyterian congregations decided to leave the denomination.
Virtually all of the churches that have joined ECO since 2012 were once affiliated with PCUSA, including numerous Texas-based congregations with membership numbering in the thousands.
The leadership of the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians did not return comment to The Christian Post by press time due to still being out of the office after the National Gathering.