(By Kip Burke, The News-Reporter (Georgia).) The congregation of Washington Presbyterian Church is about to complete a long-sought separation from a denomination that has become far more liberal than most members, and is joining like-minded Presbyterians in another denomination.
The congregation, led by Rev. Glen Kohlhagen, will bid goodbye to the old and be welcomed by the new next Sunday. “We’ll have a service of farewell Sunday, October 9, where the moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Northeast Georgia Presbytery Dr. Helen Epps and I will share the pulpit for the farewell, followed by a pot-luck dinner. Then Sunday night we’ll have a welcome to ECO service, with Rev. Jim Lugo, from Sharon Church in Hartwell, thus making the transition,” he said.
The separation has been long in coming, Kohlhagen said. “There are 14 different Presbyterian denominations in the U.S., and the PCUSA is the biggest by far, and the one that has gone through the most recent changes to liberalize, allowing gay marriage, allowing abortion, putting down Israel, and that kind of thing, the kind of things we just can’t live with.”
The congregation will join many other Presbyterian churches in the South by joining with the ECO: a Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians,” which grew out of the dissatisfaction with the growing changes in the PCUSA. “The ECO is a relatively new denomination, only five years old, but it’s built around the old Southern Presbyterian Church of the 1970’s and earlier,” Kohlhagen said. “We ordain women, but we don’t do all this other stuff that they’ve included in the last few years.”