Context of Denominational Concerns
For decades many who call East Main Presbyterian Church (EMPC) their home church felt a strong sense of disconnect between our congregation and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the denomination to which our church belonged for many years. While the specific issues were many and varied, our overall concern was that we believe our denomination had strayed from its biblical and Reformed roots. We always found solace in the idea that as long as our local church and presbytery remained true to the Scriptures, then EMPC was insulated from the decisions of the denomination and it's theological direction. However, General Assembly's recent adoption of a change in ordination standards, for many, became the last straw. The Session of EMPC declared that at this point in history we needed to thoroughly and prayerfully examine the issues and discern how best to respond.
After more than a year of thorough study, discussion, and prayer, the congregation voted to approve the Session's recommendation to change East Main's denominational affiliation to the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO). This process was completed on Feb. 26, 2013.
Included below is an assortment of documents and resources used by EMPC leadership and members in the process of selecting a new denomination.
Table of Contents
Session Response (May and August 2011) - the concerned response of East Main's elders to a recent change in our denomination's standards.
Presbytery Resolution (June 2011) - the response adopted by the Presbytery of Shenango to which East Main belongs.
Presbytery Dismissal Policy (November 2011) - the Policy and Process approved by the Presbytery of Shenango for withdrawal of a congregation in this presbytery from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Denominational Concerns Timeline (January 2012) - a summary of significant events and decisions presented to the congregation by Elder Mike Jackson.
Session Update (March 2012) - Session approves a recommendation to the East Main congregation regarding denominational affiliation.
Session Letter (March 2012) - Session calls for a congregational meeting at 10:15am on April 29 to vote on the question "Shall East Main Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) request dismissal to another Reformed body of its choice?"
Special Congregational Meeting Called (April 2012) - East Main's active members approve a motion to withdraw from PC(USA)
Amendment 10-A: Change in the Book of Order - passed by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 219th General Assembly in 2010 and sent to presbyteries for approval which occurred in May 2011.
A Tale of the Mouse and the Elephant: Presbyterians, 10-A and the World Church - an article, written by Dr. Ken Bailey, which explains the reaction of the world church to the passage of Amendment 10-A.
Q&A Regarding East Main's Relationship with PC(USA) - Questions and answers prepared by the Denominational Issues Team at East Main.
East Main's Responses to PC(USA) Actions - a 21-year time line showing East Main's responses to denominational issues.
Denominational Options Chart - a one page comparison of two denominational alternatives and shortcomings of several others.
Papers written and presented by members of East Main regarding the core issues at stake:
Jesus is Lord - by Tim Homan
Authority of Scripture - by Alan Rice
Christian Sexual Standards - by Van Campbell
Frequently asked questions with answers from the websites of two Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) groups expressing their concern about the direction of the denomination:
FAQ-Presbyterians for Renewal
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - pcusa.org
The Presbytery of Shenango - shenango.org
ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians - ECO-pres.org
Evangelical Presbyterian Church - epc.org
The Fellowship of Presbyterians - fellowship-pres.org