I am sad and dismayed to learn that the session of Kirk of the Hills Church in Tulsa has voted to leave the PCUSA and affiliate with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Kirk of the Hills is one of the largest churches in our Synod, having over 2,600 members.
Both pastors renounced the jurisdiction of the PCUSA. A congregational meeting has been called for August 30 to discuss this action.
Tom Gray, senior pastor of the church, explains the move on his blog today, in a post titled "Serious News". This is serious news, indeed. Gray said, " The session decided that, especially in response to the recently-revealed legal plans of the PCUSA, it was time to take decisive action." So it appears that the release of Advisory Opinion # 19 by the PCUSA Stated Clerk's office created concern about pre-emptive action by the denomination and precipitated this decision.
I don't know whether or not part of the congregation will contest this decision. It's not clear from this post whether the church will seek to be dismissed with its property, because Tom Gray says the action is taken independent of whatever happens with the property. I don't know whether the powers-that-be in Louisville were planning action against Kirk of the Hills, and if they were, whether they had grounds for it. I just know I am very sorry to see Kirk of the Hills leave the PCUSA.
There is a lot at stake in this situation and Presbyterians across the country will be carefully watching the response of the Presbytery of Eastern Oklahoma, the Synod of the Sun, and the Stated Clerk's office to this announcement.
(Credit to Presbyweb, which was the first with this information. It is a subscription website, but you can sign up for a month free trial subscription with no strings attached--then you decide the amount of your donation. It's well worth it.)