“The PCUSA’ 2014 comparative statistics recently released by the Office of the General Assembly reported that the PCUSA dismissed 101 congregations to other denominations in 2014 and closed or dissolved 36 churches. However, the statistics also show that there are 209 fewer churches in 2014.”
While the Presbyterian Church (USA) is in a decades-long membership decline, two other Presbyterian denominations are growing, according to their respective statistics, and a third, while having a slight decrease in its membership totals, grew by five churches during the year.
ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians
In 2014, the newest member of the Presbyterian family of denominations, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, had 77 churches join the denomination. Between January and May of 2015, 17 more churches had joined. On June 5, the web site listed 208 congregations and 305 pastors in the denomination.
ECO reached a mile-marker on May 19 when The First Presbyterian Church of Griffin, Ga., officially joined ECO, becoming its 200th church.
Dana Allin, synod executive of ECO, told The Christian Post that “Roughly 190 congregations were formerly PCUSA. Some have been church plants and some have not been connected to a denomination previously but have seen how being a part of ECO can help their mission.”
ECO developed from the formation of The Fellowship of Presbyterians (FOP). In August of 2011, more than 2,000 people gathered at the initial Fellowship meeting in Minneapolis, Minn. Five months later at a similar gathering of approximately 2,220 in Orlando, Fla., ECO was established, providing a new denominational home for those ready to do church differently while upholding a conservative or traditional Reformed faith.
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
As the Evangelical Presbyterian Church prepares for its 35th General Assembly this June, denominational reports show that 46 new churches have joined the EPC since last year’s General Assembly.
As of May 26, 2015, the EPC has 566 churches, compared to 520 on May 30, 2014. The EPC tracks church movement from May of one year until May of the next, with the list being revealed at the annual June General Assembly meeting.
In his written report to the upcoming General Assembly, Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah wrote of the EPC’s “growing pains.”