(By Laurel Black, The Paducah Sun, KY) A Calvert City congregation is facing [eviction] after disagreeing with its national governing body over same-sex marriage.
The First Presbyterian Church of Calvert City, 639 Evergreen St., asked to be dismissed from the denomination after its national governing body, the Presbyterian Church (USA), changed its description of marriage in 2015.
Instead of granting the dismissal, a lawyer with the Hopkinsville-based Presbytery of Western Kentucky, the church’s regional governing body, asked the congregation to vacate the church building by April 19, said Paul Ambler, who serves as clerk of session with the congregation and whose wife, Adele, is the pastor.
“I’m a real strong believer in the civil rights of people. They can enter into any sort of civil agreement that they want, but I don’t see the need to pull that into the church context when the Bible says it is specifically against that,” Ambler said.
A majority of the 171 nationwide members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved in March 2015 an amendment to the church’s constitution to change the description of marriage within the denomination.
The new description reads in part: “Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives,” according to the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s website.
In response, the Calvert City church’s 27 congregants voted 22-5 in May 2015 to pursue a gracious dismissal, Ambler said. “We would just like to keep the building and have nothing to do with the Presbyterian Church (USA),” Ambler said. “Our congregation would remain in that physical building.”
Ambler said the congregation has offered the presbytery $300 a month to rent the building for 10 years, which he said would be comparable to a minimum the group would have to pay to rent “some storefront-type church.”