n The congregation had
requested approval to withdraw and affiliate with another
BY GALEN HOLLEY
OXFORD – The Presbytery of St. Andrew, the regional, governing authority of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has agreed to dismiss Corinth First Presbyterian Church from the denomination.
The Feb. 5 decision marked the end of a process, begun in 2007, when members of the Corinth church voiced their grievances and formally requested dismissal.
Those grievances included the Presbyterian Church USA’s ordination of homosexuals in some local churches and presbyteriesand issues of Trinitarian theology expressed in a 2006 document titled “The Trinity: God’s Love Overflowing,” known widely as “the Trinity paper.”
A special, seven-member administrative commission, first appointed by the presbytery in May 2007, eventually determined that “reconciliation was not possible, and therefore began the work of negotiating a settlement …”
In a press release dated Feb. 6, St. Andrew’s executive presbyter, the Rev. Gregory Goodwiller, said that the dismissal comes with “regret and deep sadness.”
No objection to decision
According to the press release, the settlement agreement was “approved by voice vote without vocal opposition or objection.”
As part of that settlement, the Corinth church will pay $150,000 to the presbytery over the “next several years” in return for which “the presbytery will file the necessary papers with the civil courts relinquishing any legal claim on or responsibility for the church’s property.”
Therefore, the congregation will remain on the Corinth premises, retain the name Corinth First Presbyterian and join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Don Elliott, pastor of the Corinth Church said that he and his congregation are “relieved to be reaching the end of a 20-month time of crisis and struggle.” He added that he’s “thankful to the presbytery for their peaceful conclusion,” and that the church is “eager to move forward, proclaiming the Gospel and being involved in mission.”