By Barbara Rybolt, Independent Press (New Jersey)
Members of the Presbyterian Church of New Providence face a big decision in the coming months — whether to leave their current denomination or join another one.
Currently and historically the church is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The leaders of the local church, called the session, have for the last two years been working and praying over whether to leave their current denomination and join a new group, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, said Presbyterian Church of New Providence Senior Pastor Jeff Ebert.
While the final decision is up to the congregation, there is a process involved in leaving and, recently, the session asked “the Presbytery of Elizabeth to appoint a resolution team to work through the process of Gracious Dismissal,” said Cheryl Galan, the Presbytery’s Transitional Leader.
The New Providence Church is just one of many across the county whose pastors and church leaders are contemplating such a move. In New Jersey, The First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen has already left the Elizabeth Presbytery, which is headquartered in Plainfield, and joined the ECO denomination and the Presbyterian Church of Liberty Corner in Basking Ridge is going through the process of leaving.
Pinning down the precise reasons behind the schism is difficult and depends upon who is speaking or writing on the topic.