On January 13, 2016, the session of Veto Presbyterian asked to join the Ohio Presbytery of the PCA as a mission church. On February 2,, with great joy, the Ohio Presbytery voted to receive Veto as a mission church of the Presbytery, with a provisional session of members of the session of Grace Presbyterian, Hudson, Ohio, and Granville Chapel, Granville, Ohio.
After a unanimous 61-0 vote of the congregation, on December 6, 2015, Veto Presbyterian Church of Vincent, Ohio, voted to withdraw from the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) and join the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
On January 13, 2016, the Session of Veto Presbyterian asked to join the Ohio Presbytery of the PCA as a mission church. On February 2, with great joy, the Ohio Presbytery voted to receive Veto as a mission church of the Presbytery, with a provisional session of made up from members of the Sessions of Grace Presbyterian, Hudson, Ohio (Rhett Dodson, pastor), and Granville Chapel, Granville, Ohio (Todd Naille, pastor).
Bill Howell, a member of Veto remarked, “Veto Presbyterian Church appreciates the help provided by Grace PCA in Hudson, Ohio, who helped us as a congregation. We especially owe a debt of gratitude to Ruling Elders Scott Wolfe and Peter Miller, along with Pastor Rhett Dodson, for shepherding the Veto Church as it went through the process of finding its new affiliation in the PCA. These men spent hours answering our questions and outlining the steps we needed to take the actions that we did.”
One of the significant questions that had to be answered was the role of women in church office. Veto’s Session was comprised of six elders, five women and one man. At first it appeared that it would be easier to withdraw from the PCUSA and affiliate with a denomination that already accepted women in church office, like the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). However, the Veto Church had long discussions on the qualifications for church office and the church concluded that male headship was the biblical pattern.
All of the ruling elders voted in favor of recommending to the congregation that the Veto Church withdraw from the PCUSA and join the PCA.
According to Peter Miller, Clerk of Ohio Presbytery, the newly minted PCA congregation is presently without a pastor; however, now that the church is on its new denomination it will begin a pastoral search process. While Veto Presbyterian Church is new to the PCA, it has a history going back to its founding in 1896.
With a unique name like Veto, it is accompanied with a unique history behind it. Veto is an unincorporated community in Washington County, Ohio. According to historical accounts, the name Veto derives from the time when Ohio was deciding whether to be a free or slave state.
Ephraim Cutler (1767-1853), who arrived in the area in 1795, became a prominent member of the community. In 1802, Cutler was appointed as a Washington County delegate to Ohio’s constitutional convention. One of the contested issues at the convention was whether to permit or exclude slavery in the new state of Ohio. Cutler drafted the language to a section of what would become the bill of rights in the Ohio constitution that specifically excluded slavery or involuntary servitude in Ohio. This section was passed by the convention by one vote (and some claim that it was Cutler’s vote that broke the tie). Because of Cutler’s role to veto slavery from Ohio, his area of Ohio was named Veto; there is a Veto Lake as well. Cutler also participated in the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape from slaveholding areas.
On February 6, the Muskingum Valley Presbytery, PCUSA, voted to release the Veto Church, in accordance with the Presbytery’s “go in peace” policy. The last worship service as a PCUSA congregation will be held on February 28; on March 1, Veto Presbyterian Church will become an official mission church of the PCA.