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Edmond congregation votes to dissolve denominational relationship

Members of the First Presbyterian Church of Edmond voted Sunday to sever ties with the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination.
by Carla Hinton Published: January 28, 2013

/articleid/3749738/1/pictures/1938336">Photo - Carol Waters collects ballots after a congregational vote Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, 1001 S Rankin in Edmond.
 <strong>DOUG HOKE - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>
Carol Waters collects ballots after a congregational vote Sunday at First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, 1001 S Rankin in Edmond. DOUG HOKE - THE OKLAHOMAN

Pay the presbytery

Elass said the congregation has agreed to pay the presbytery $510,000 in about three weeks if the presbytery accepts the vote results.

He said the church planned to take out a loan to pay the presbytery.

Sunday, church members greeting each other congenially as they filled the lobby area to register for the vote.

They later packed the 1,100-seat sanctuary, opened the meeting with prayer and sang several songs led by the church's worship team.

Elass said Tom Laubert, a member of the administrative commission that conducted the voting, cautioned members to be sensitive to anyone who voted differently when they reacted to the vote results. Elass said members who applauded and cheered the vote results meant no disrespect to anyone.

“It was a release for folks — a spontaneous eruption,” he said.

“We've been in this process thinking about leaving the denomination since 2005 so it's been seven years of task forces and reports to the congregation. People were eager to have an end — and a new beginning.”

Elass also said he thought many people were particularly happy that the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of separating from the denomination.

He said he knew of one member who voted against the leave-taking who is actively seeking a new church home and a few others may follow suit. However, he said he thinks the majority of members who cast “no” votes on Sunday will remain with the church because they consider the church a “family.”

No ill will

He said he wanted to emphasize that the church does not have ill will against the denomination.

“For us, it's not a desire to bad mouth or demean the Presbyterian Church (USA). Rather it's our desire to follow this new path we believe God has called us on.”

The Presbyterian Church (USA), based in Louisville, Ky., is the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination.

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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