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Presbytery votes to dismiss four congregations

Post by Steve Maynard / The News Tribune on April 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm with 11 Comments »
April 26, 2012 5:03 pm

With little emotion or discussion, Presbyterian leaders have voted to dismiss four churches that decided to leave the denomination after it started allowing noncelibate gay ministers.

Like the end of an amicable divorce, the regional body Wednesday night approved the departure of each congregation, ending nearly a year of study and negotiation.

After some speakers praised aspects of the negotiation process, the Rev. David Alger spoke up.

Alger, who was a member of the committee negotiating with First Presbyterian Church of Tacoma, called that church a “major institution in our city.”

“I think we should shed some tears,” Alger said. “It breaks my heart to have to vote on this.”

The approximately 100 representatives of the regional body, the Presbytery of Olympia, voted unanimously – except for one faint “no” on two of the votes – to approve each of the four congregations leaving. The voting, which was held in University Place, was over in a half hour.

The four breakaway churches include Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor, which has 1,660 members and is the largest in the presbytery covering Southwest Washington. The other three are: First Presbyterian, which has about 460 members; 365-member Sumner Presbyterian Church; and 88-member Evergreen Presbyterian Church in Graham.

Three of the four will join smaller Presbyterian organizations and still have “Presbyterian” in their names. Sumner will join another denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, and change its name accordingly.

Read more in Friday’s News Tribune.

Comments → 11
  1. pegstermm says:

    apostate churches will be destroyed by God.

  2. tacomajoe says:

    By my math, that’s 2,573 sinners total in those congregations who are on their way to hell. Satan thanks you for this contribution.

  3. those in glass houses should not throw stones. I am talking to you the3rdpigshouse.

  4. serendipity says:

    WWJD? Jesus loved everyone. These churches are not walking in His footsteps. I am with Alger, this is a heartbreaking decision.

  5. Who really cares if a person is gay or straight? I don’t think God cares.

    If Presbyterians can stop spending their energy on squabbling over Biblical interpretation, and concentrate on telling — and showing– the world what God’s love means, then we are all better off. I wish the seceding churches Godspeed!

  6. It is my understanding that the differences go much deeper than this, but of course the gay issue will get all the attention. I think it unwise for people uninvolved in the decades-old discussions going on in the Presbyterian USA denomination to presume to know what they are talking about. But then, wisdom doesn’t dictate the postings on this site as a rule. It’s too bad though. So many opinions, so little actual understanding.

  7. ruzylacm says:

    I knew a gay man–a good friend of mine– who loved God with all his heart and DIED in combat for his COUNTRY as decorated and distinguished U.S. Army Officer. He was not celibate. He loved people of all kinds. Helped them, nourished them physically and spiritually. Was active in the church. Was kind spirited. And made no big deal of the fact that he was gay. It’s just who he was. Now considering all that, how could anyone even consider that this good man is burning in hell for the person he was? Someone tell me…. and don’t just say because Paul said so in 1 Corinthians. Or maybe, just maybe you think you are GOD and have that authority to make those judgements.

  8. hubbysinlf says:

    I didn’t choose to leave my PC(USA) church because I hate gays and lesbians. I left because the church has decided to pick and choose which parts of the Bible to follow. Those who the church chooses to represent it need to be following God’s word and I felt that this decision doesn’t. I know there will be other posters that say we can’t take the Bible word for word, or that there are other parts that are outdated, but some passages need to be looked at in the context of the time and this I don’t feel is one.
    So instead of thinking that all who don’t believe in or agree with the Presbyterian’s decision are gay haters, maybe you should open your minds and not just follow along with the culture d’jour.

  9. Knowing this town and the people who generally post here for what it is, I have no doubt this article will have several hundred comments made before the week is out, by those who have never set foot inside a church, much less Presbyterian, or who generally refer to themselves as agnostics/atheists who are now experts on religion.

  10. @Hubbysinlf….

    Of course you do know that generally speaking, most people if they rely on The Bible at all, commonly “pick and choose” the bits and pieces, usually completely out of context” to support what THEY want.

    What is really funny is the way those who claim to be atheist or at least agnostic, that spend a good deal of precious time ridiculing Christians and their Bible, will also be the first to use that silly “fairy tale” to take more bits and piece of it that suit them to support their ideas!

    Religion is entertaining stuff! :D

  11. I’m a long-time Presbyterian, from a church that is not leaving.
    And yet I think we need to send them off with love and compassion.
    And they who leave, need to say farewell to people who will not miss the controversies, but will miss the people in the Presbyterian family who choose to leave us.