OK, I give up. Apparently nothing happened in Denver that the Presbyterian Church (USA) should have any comment on, interest in, or desire to report to its membership. Fine. Be that way. My brothers Toby and Will (see comments here) told me it would be that way. They were right, of course. They know the system and its leaders better than I.

But even if the folks in Louisville want to put bags over their heads and cry, “I can’t see you!”, that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening:

Three southeastern Pennsylvania churches that are older than the United States of America voted overwhelmingly June 24 to immediately disaffiliate from the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The congregations – Forks of the Brandywine Presbyterian Church in Glenmoore, Great Valley Presbyterian Church in Malvern and Upper Octorara Presbyterian Church in Parkesburg – also have filed lawsuits against Donegal Presbytery, seeking to be declared owner of their properties.

The Layman Online has a lot more detail on these three. There are two interesting things about these three churches. One is that they long predate the PCUSA, and the other is that they are in a state where the courts ruled in favor of two  congregations that wanted to leave in the 1980s, were sued by the denomination for their property, and won the right in court to leave with their property. If that precedent holds, it may just start a real exodus, at least in Pennsylvania, by conservative congregations. At least in this case, however, it may turn out to be a moot point, according to the Rev. Andy Curtis of Forks of the Brandywine:

“To this point, Donegal has been very friendly,” Curtis said. “I’ve not experienced any indication from the presbytery that they intend to take a hard-line stand of any kind. My understanding is that they have no interest in the property. My understanding is that they have every interest in having a peaceful and grace-filled transition.”

I certainly pray that Donegal’s attitude will hold, and will spread to other presbyteries, for the good of both PCUSA and the New Wineskins churches.

About these ads