Two Gulf Coast Mississippi Churches vote to leave PCUSA, join EPC; votes nearly unanimous

The churches’ larger governing body, the Presbytery of Mississippi, will decide on May 17 whether to approve each church’s request to leave the PCUSA

The congregations at First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs and First Presbyterian Church of Pascagoula voted on Sunday to leave the Presbyterian Church USA denomination and join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

At First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs, 240 members voted to disaffiliate from the PCUSA, three voted to stay associated with the denomination, and four abstained from the voting, said Rev. Scott Castleman.

At First Presbyterian Church of Pascagoula, 188 voted to disaffiliate, 16 voted to stay and two abstained, said Rev. Matt Mitchell.

“You don’t want to make a decision like this and have a divided community, and we really were of one mind and the vote showed that,” Castleman said. “As a leader of a group of people, it was a blessing to see that we were on the same page together about what God was calling us to do for our future.”

“I’m really happy that our church was so unanimous in their vote,” Mitchell said. “That was one step and now we have to get back to work and get back to being a church.”