First Presbyterian left because of PCUSA’s growing liberal trend, evidenced by the denomination adopting changes in immigration policy, geopolitical standings, ordination requirements, and church government structure. The congregation felt isolated from the denomination for its more traditional beliefs.
First Presbyterian elected to leave the denomination to join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church on Aug. 30 after the congregation voted 104 – 12, surpassing the Presbytery of Lake Michigan’s required threshold of 75 percent congregational approval for the church to leave the PCUSA.
The Presbytery of Lake Michigan approved First Presbyterian’s request to separate from the PCUSA on Tuesday, and the EPC accepted First Presbyterian as a transitional member on Wednesday.
“PCUSA, their most pressing concern is social justice,” Pastor Patti Beckman said. “Now, I’m not against social justice, and it should happen in the course of ministry, but for them, ministry might happen in the course of social justice. They are completely fixated on that. We are concerned here that the Bible is not held as the standard, the fact there are no moral standards for those who are ordained anymore.”