Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Withdrawal Challenge

Yesterday, General Council was notified that the session of one of our churches (Heritage Presbyterian Church, Houston) has called a congregational meeting for the purpose of voting on its proposal that the church be dismissed with its property from the PCUSA, and affiliate with the New Wineskins Presbytery of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. This is the first church in our presbytery to do this and we are very saddened by this development.

Almost exactly a year ago Presbytery of New Covenant approved a process addressing congregations seeking to withdraw from the denomination in the hope we would never need it. The goal of the process is to make reconciliation and relationship the most important aspects of the process, whatever the outcome of the congregational vote. Now we will find whether the process will work as envisioned.

Heritage invited presbytery to send representatives to attend and speak at the discussion meetings and the congregational meetings, saying that their issues were not with Presbytery of New Covenant but with the national denomination. We're appointing a review team to do that and appreciate the collegiality evidenced by the invitation.

Prayers for all involved are appreciated.


Jules said...

This makes me very, very sad.


Stushie said...

Remember Pharoah, let my people go.

Lori said...

While I agree this is really sad, it is also being handled in such a thoughtful, prayerfull, caring way. I pray that whatever happens that Jesus prevails for everyone.

St. Casserole said...

May God be with all of you.

We had a stealth departure where the church sent us a notice they'd left on their new EPC stationery. Great.

Our process for possible departures was written by the pastor at the stealth church.

Lord, have mercy.

Gannet Girl said...

We have a similar process in place in our Presbytery,and a large church is now engaged in it, with a vote coming up soon. It is indeed very, very sad.

Anonymous said...


I just had an email from a friend who told me this was posted on your blog. It's a bit strange to have the first reply to our letter be made in an internet blog but I'm glad to see that our invitation was seen as collegial.

We very much want to work through this process in a loving and mutually respectful way. The Presbytery of the New Covenant is not our enemy. We have been partners for many years and are deeply pained by the decisions made by the General Assembly which have led to our desire to seek realignment.

Thank you for the prayers and please know that you are in our's as well.

Elliott Scott
Pastor, Heritage Presbyterian Church

Jody Harrington said...

Thanks, Elliott. An "official" response is on its way via snail mail from the stated clerk.

I join you in prayer that we may work through the process in a loving and respectful way.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like your presbytery is off to a good start on this process.

Prayers and hope for the maintaining of attitudes that honor God are the best beginnings to these kinds of issues.

Anonymous said...

Heartbreaking. Classy way to handle it.