Timberridge Presbyterian Church has indeed voted to leave the PCUSA immediately, becoming an independent Presbyterian church, according to the Layman Online:
The Presbytery of Greater Atlanta has approved appointing an administrative commission for a church that went to court over its property rights, but softened language that would have let the panel investigate whether the pastor has attended any New Wineskins Association of Churches “events or conferences.”
Meanwhile, the congregation – Timberridge Presbyterian Church in McDonough, Ga. – has voted to immediately disaffiliate from the Presbyterian Church (USA), now considers itself an independent Presbyterian church and will not cooperate with the administrative commission, The Layman Online has learned. The church’s pastor, the Rev. Matt Allison, also has renounced the jurisdiction of the PCUSA.
The Rev. Ed Albright, executive presbyter of Greater Atlanta Presbytery, said presbytery commissioners changed the wording of the power to “investigate any contact by the pastor or church with the movement called ‘New Wineskins.’ This would include investigating any attendance at New Wineskins events or conferences.” That was changed to, “Grant the powers to determine the issues and causes contributing to the decision of the Timberridge Church to disaffiliate.”
Would that someone on the Committee on Ministry had thought of putting it that way in the first place.
Two hundred and 19 church members, or 62.5 percent of the church’s 350 members, took part in the Nov. 25 vote, sources told The Layman Online. Of those, 205 members or 94 percent voted for immediate disaffiliation and 14 members or 6 percent voted against leaving, the sources said. A separate vote was held on ratifying the election of the church’s session and pastoral staff, the sources said.
Two hundred members or 91 percent voted for ratification and 19 members or 9 percent voted against it, the sources said. On Nov. 27, Allison sent a letter to Albright informing him of the votes’ results and renouncing his jurisdiction in the PCUSA, the sources said. Albright said he was handed the letter at the presbytery’s stated meeting.
Immediate disaffiliation renders the administrative commission’s work moot because Timberridge Church no longer recognizes the authority of the panel or the PCUSA, the sources said. But Albright said while the presbytery accepts Allison’s renunciation of jurisdiction, it still considers his congregation a member of both the presbytery and the PCUSA.
Rev. Allison, of course, has no property for the presbytery to try to hold on to. And there are the 19 to be cared for, assuming they choose not to head out the PCUSA door with the rest of the congregation.