The long-expected divorce in the Presbyterian Church (USA) seems to be imminent, with a group of the fifty biggest, wealthiest, whitest, and most conservative churches in that denomination attempting to start something new. This “Fellowship” will be a strange Venn Diagram for a denomination — in a video posted this week, one member of that Fellowship explained that this group would be in relationship with churches within the PC(USA) and from other denominational groupings as well.
It’s no surprise that more progressive elements within the PC(USA) are skeptical. Adam Walker-Cleaveland, for one, talks about the 300 pound gorilla in the room: that these churches should probably just leave the denomination, but they would then likely lose their buildings and property (although I seem to recall that the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of a local church and against the Episcopal Church denomination in a similar case).
Adam thinks these churches are trying to have their cake and eat it to, and he challenges them to just leave:
If you think the PC(USA) is deathly ill…leave. But don’t try and concoct an anti-connectional scheme that will let you break away and create a “differentiated sub-set within the whole” yet still remain within the denomination and keep your vast properties and millions. If your beliefs and convictions lead you to surmise that breaking away from the PC(USA) is what your community needs to do – then so be it. Each presbytery is working through how it’s going to deal with the property and financial issues of such decisions; work with your presbytery, accept your fate and move forward.