A group from First Presbyterian Church of Columbus has started a new congregation in response to the recent defeat of an effort to break away from the Presbyterian Church (USA).
The new group, which has adopted the name Grace Church of Columbus, held its first Sunday worship service on April 26, just a week after the controversial vote.
The service was held at Shearith Israel Synagogue, 6727 River Road, attracting about 70 members from First Presbyterian, according to some who attended. The group plans to meet at the location regularly and already has a Facebook page and a website announcing its location and service times. Child care is provided, according to the website.
Members of the group had been among those seeking to separate from the PC (USA), which has become more liberal about same-sex marriage and other doctrinal issues in recent years. They had hoped to join the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, a new denomination formed out of churches that have separated from the national denomination.
Members of First Presbyterian, a 900-member congregation at 1100 First Ave., voted 266 to 146 in favor of separating from the denomination at an April 19 meeting. However, the resolution fell eight votes short of the two-thirds required for dismissal.
Cathy Bickerstaff, 67, helped organize the new congregation. She said the group hopes to join the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians once legal matters are addressed.
“It may be six-nine months before we could join them,” she said. “But we have been in contact with them and they are very willing to help us.”