I followed up this morning on an issue from last week. Here is my story, which will run in the York Daily Record Thursday:
Guinston Presbyterian Church voted 84-0 Sunday to leave the Presbyterian Church USA and join the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
The Rev. Daniel Moore confirmed the vote, but declined comment on the decision. A discernment team set up by the Chanceford Township church studied the issue and recommended the move.
Guinston joins several other congregations who have left PCUSA in response to its May 2011 decision to lift its explicit prohibition on gay ordination.
The decision gives congregations the option to ordain partnered lay elders and deacons and gives presbyteries the option to ordain or install pastors in same-sex relationships. Previously, church policy reserved ordination for those living either in “fidelity” within heterosexual marriage or “chastity in singleness.”
Locally, the Presbytery of Donegal oversees dozens of congregations in York, Lancaster and Chester counties (14 of them in York County) under the PCUSA umbrella.
The Presbytery sent three representatives to Sunday’s meeting and vote at Guinston, including the Rev. Guy Dunham.
PCUSA reported a loss of 61,047 members in 2010, and another 63,804 in 2011. It reported a membership of 1,952,287 at the end of 2011 and remains the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States.
The Evangelical Presbyterian Church has 364 congregations and 140,000 members. The church had 182 congregations in 2007 and has exactly doubled its growth in five years.
Guinston will officially join the EPC early next year, Moore said.