By David E. Malloy, The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, WV).
More than 80 new members were enrolled Sunday at the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, also called the Christ Presbyterian Church, which is conducting services at the B’Nai Shalom Temple on 10th Avenue.
A number of the members of the First Presbyterian Church in the Tri-State broke away from the church in a disagreement about the Presbyterian Church (USA) moving in a more liberal direction on issues including homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
“We are West Virginia’s first ECO Presbyterian Church,” said Patrick Hall, an Ashland resident who serves as an associate pastor at the new church. “We were a brand-new church with no place to meet.”
That issue was resolved earlier this summer when church members signed a one-year lease with B’Nai Shalom to use their building on Sundays. B’Nai Shalom holds its services on Saturdays.
“They welcomed us with open arms,” Hall said. “They’ve been so gracious.”
The church members added the word Christ in front of Presbyterian “because we want Christ to be the absolute center of what we believe,” said Hall, who was among those enrolled in the new church Sunday. “We started here in July.”
“We felt the most peaceful resolution was to leave,” Hall said. “We felt like we didn’t leave the denomination. We feel like the denomination left us.”