The Frankford Presbyterian Church has changed its membership from the Missouri Union Presbytery (PCUSA) to the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, which has more than 200 congregations across the United States, due to the beliefs of the congregation.
The Frankford church, which had applied for membership in the ECO denomination in June, was released by the Missouri Union Presbytery last week.
"With this move, Frankford joins the First Presbyterian Church of Hannibal and the Bonhomme Presbyterian Church in Chesterfield, St. Louis County, as ECO congregations in Eastern Missouri," reports Hannibal Courier-Post.
Joe Siefkas, currently a supply minister, will soon be installed as a fully ordained ECO Minister in the Frankford congregation.
The conservative ECO sect says its mission is "to build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ."
"We believe the Bible is the unique and authoritative Word of God, which teaches all that is necessary for faith and life. The prominence of God's Word over our lives shapes our priorities, and the unrivaled authority of the Bible directs our actions to be in concert with Christ's very best for our lives," ECO says on its website.
ECO draws its origins back to a gathering in January 2012 in Florida of over 2,000 clergy and laity in response to PCUSA's increasing acceptance of homosexuality and other issues.
In 2010, delegates at the PCUSA General Assembly approved Amendment 10a, which allowed regional bodies, or presbyteries, to ordain non-celibate homosexuals.
The 2012 gathering was organized by the Fellowship of Presbyterians, a theologically conservative movement within PCUSA.
"ECO is a denominational entity under the umbrella of The Fellowship of Presbyterians that is committed to growing and planting flourishing churches and nurturing leaders," according to a 2012 statement describing the new church body.
"The distinctives of ECO include an emphasis on connecting leaders in accountable relationships, peer review systems for churches, leadership training, and a flatter polity structure than the PC(USA)."
The Rev. Dana S. Allin, Synod Executive with ECO, earlier told The Christian Post that he was thrilled to see the church growing fast.
"We are thrilled that so many churches have felt that they will better fulfill their mission by being a part of ECO," Allin said. "By having 200 congregations we have great resources in the body that can mutually encourage one another and help all of us reach the calling that God has on our congregations."
"We believe in living out the whole of the Great Commission – including evangelism, spiritual formation, compassion, and redemptive justice – in our communities and around the world," ECO says.