By Rachael Lee, Christianity Daily.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) has been looked upon with especially critical eyes from conservative groups over the past few years, as it has continuously been taking controversial steps regarding individuals with same-sex attractions (SSA) and same-sex marriages, including allowing those with SSA to become ordained as ministers in 2011 and its recent decision in mid-March to redefine marriage in the denomination’s constitution to include same-sex marriages.
As such, hundreds of American churches have been choosing to leave the PCUSA for other denominations, or many churches have even been dissolved altogether. In 2006, the PCUSA had 2.26 million members, but after the denomination approved the ordaining individuals with SSA by a majority vote in 2011, the membership dropped to 1.95 million. Several Korean churches have also opted to leave the PCUSA, such as Charlotte First Korean Presbyterian Church, and Bethany Presbyterian Church of Dallas.
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church (GSPC)—one of the largest Korean PCUSA congregations in California—is one such congregation that has also decided to leave the denomination. In the presence of representatives from the San Gabriel Presbytery, the presbytery under which the church belongs, the members of the congregation voted on March 23, 2014 whether they would like to leave the denomination, and 91 percent of the congregation voted in approval of leaving PCUSA and giving $635,000 to the presbytery to keep the church property. (Under the ‘Trust Clause’ in the constitution of the PCUSA, any congregation’s property is “held in trust” for the PCUSA, and a church cannot leave the denomination with the property unless the denomination releases it to them. In many recent cases, churches that have chosen to leave the PCUSA due to its changes regarding same sex marriages have had to give payment to maintain its property.)
However, over a year later, the church has yet to be completely dismissed from the PCUSA.