By W. Jacob Perry, The Bernardsville News (New Jersey)
In a move that was in the making for months, the congregation of Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church voted on Sunday, May 31, to formally disaffiliate from Presbyterian Church (USA).
The Rev. Don Feuerbach, pastor of the church, confirmed a report of the vote in an email response Monday, June 8, saying 85 percent of the church members present voted for disaffiliation under the “Gracious Dismissal Policy.”
He noted that last September, Liberty Corner’s board of elected elders voted unanimously “to seek dismissal because the national church seems to spend more time on political issues than assisting local churches to thrive and be strong.
“Liberty Corner is a church where many diverse views are held and we found this political focus to be distracting,” Feuerbach added. “We are a church focused heavily in the area of mission to the poor both locally and globally, and we’d like to continue to do that with less distraction.”
Liberty Corner Presbyterian, located on Church Street, was founded in 1837 and its church building was erected in 1869. The congregation has more than 800 members.
A congregation member, who asked not to be identified by name, said disaffiliation sentiment grew last summer after Presbyterian Church (USA), the nation’s largest Presbyterian body, took several political stances.
Those stances, he said, favored same-sex marriages, gun control legislation, more progressive taxation, and divestiture of church funds from U.S. companies that sold products tied to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
“These are the kind of things you would expect political parties to debate – not a church, not a denomination that has as its mission making people disciples of Christ,” he said.