Washington Churches Leaving PC(USA)

The fallout from the decision of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to allow noncelibate homosexuals to become clergy and lay leaders continues as more churches vote to break away.

Sumner Presbyterian Church of Sumner, Wash., voted on Sunday to leave the PC (USA) due to the change in the denomination’s constitution.

Around 90 percent of the congregation supported the move to break away, with the church planning to become part of the Evangelical Covenant Church.

According to its website, the ECC was founded in 1885 and identifies itself as multiethnic, “Evangelical, but not exclusive,” and “Traditional, but not rigid.”

This news comes as the Fellowship of Presbyterians, a conservative movement comprised of former PC(USA) congregations, readies for its “National Covenanting Conference” next year in Orlando.

Until then, the fellowship will be holding regional conferences in late November in Peoria, Ill., and Plymouth Meeting, Pa.

Gradye Parsons, stated clerk for the Office of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), told The Christian Post that the extent of these splits cannot at present be accurately ascertained.

“We don't have those numbers yet. We will only have those numbers after presbyteries have reported the dismissals,” said Parsons.

Regarding the claim by groups splitting away from the PC(USA) that the mainline denomination has lost sight of the Gospel, Parsons mentioned the oath for church officials.

“The first four questions that any church officer must affirm as a person are to Christ, Scripture, our theological confessions and a summary question asking that their ministry also reflect those three important qualities,” said Parsons.

Aside from Sumner, other Washington State churches including Chapel Hill Presbyterian of Gig Harbor and First Presbyterian of Tacoma have also opted to leave the mainline denomination.

Sumner Presbyterian could not be reached for comment and Chapel Hill Presbyterian declined to comment.

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