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Highland Park Presbyterian Church Votes To Change To New Presbyterian Denomination

DALLAS, Oct. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of Highland Park Presbyterian Church voted Sunday to end the church's voluntary relationship with Presbyterian Church ( U.S.A.), PC( USA), and begin steps to join a new Presbyterian denomination, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.

More than 1,500 members of the congregation voted, endorsing a plan proposed by church elders and the board of trustees by an 89 percent margin. In September, the church's Session unanimously agreed to begin a discernment and discussion process that culminated in Sunday's congregational vote.

"By joining ECO, we are not walking away from our Presbyterian values; we are preserving them," said Rev. Joe Rightmyer, Interim Senior Pastor of Highland Park Presbyterian Church. "With this vote to change, we will still be Christians in the rich stream of Presbyterian theology, and are ready to begin working with other churches in a growing denomination that is guided by the same beliefs and tenets that guide us."

Church elders recommended parting with PC( USA) and its district body, Grace Presbytery, based on fundamental disagreements over core theological beliefs; the authority of Scripture and salvation through Jesus Christ alone; and the impact of PC( USA) governance policy and practices on the life of Highland Park Presbyterian, particularly on the selection process for new pastors.

"We are thankful that thousands in our congregation have attended informational meetings, church-family gatherings, round table discussions and prayer times," said Monty Montgomery, elder and co-moderator of the Session-Appointed Discernment Coordinating Committee. "We've been impressed with the way the people have engaged and they've asked questions – good questions – that help make genuine discernment possible."

Founded in 1926, Highland Park Presbyterian Church is a group of Christian believers located in Dallas, Texas, whose mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ and to make a difference in the world for the glory of God through "Core Four" practices: Worship God, Grow in Christ, Build Community, and Bless the World. HPPC offers four unique types of worship services in the reformed Presbyterian tradition: a service for wholeness and communion, two traditional sanctuary services, a contemporary service, an international service with African influences and a new worship community for Mandarin-speaking Chinese. More information is available at

For more information, please contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or .

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