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Controversy
Legal showdown in PA between a denomination and one of their churches. Redstone Presbytery is suing Covenant Presbyterian Church over wanting to leave the denomination over their recent decision to allow active homosexuals to serve as pastors and in church positions. The denomination is ticked that they church isn’t moving through the process correctly.  The church feels the denomination is dragging it’s feet. You can read more here. QUESTION:  What would case you to pull-out of YOUR denomination? SECOND QUESTION:  What is the main service/opportunity that your denomination affords your church? Todd
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Current Events
Everything is in place to create a new Presbyterian denomination comprised of conservative congregations and led by First Presbyterian of Orlando. The only thing missing is churches. “It’s kind of like an empty warehouse,” said First Presbyterian Pastor David Swanson. That empty warehouse denomination called the Fellowship of Presbyterians will start filling up in January when a convention of Presbyterian churches meets in Orlando, Fla. The churches are dissatisfied with the Presbyterian Church (USA), which voted last year to allow the ordination of gay ministers, deacons and elders. “We feel like in a very short period of time, this new denomination could become one of the largest Presbyterian denominations in the country,” said Swanson, one of eight Presbyterian ministers behind the Fellowship of Presbyterians. The creation of the Fellowship could speed the decline of PC(USA), which has been losing members almost since it was formed in 1983, said Tony Tian-Ren Lin, a sociologist of religion and academic researcher at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. “What I see is the PC(USA) will be much smaller and the decline will be much faster,” Lin said. Others doubt the number of defecting congregations will be large enough to challenge PC(USA). They view the Fellowship more as an umbrella organization that provides cover for conservatives who aren’t happy with the direction of PC(USA), but aren’t sure what to do about it. “Joining the Fellowship doesn’t mean leaving the denomination. The Fellowship is a very wide range of conservatives and evangelicals who want to get together and talk about the lay of the land and what their place is in it,” said Barbara Wheeler, former president of the Auburn Theological Seminary, a liberal Presbyterian divinity school in New York. Trinity Presbyterian Church in Satellite Beach said it intends to join the Fellowship. The 150-member College Park Presbyterian Church is one of those exploring whether to join and to what extent. “The Fellowship leadership has done a terrific job of presenting a myriad of options. It’s not a one-size fits all,” said College Park Pastor Jeff Ryan. Members would have the option of remaining within PC(USA) but affiliating with the Fellowship, or breaking away from PC(USA) to become full-fledged members of the new denomination. That half-in, half-out option appeals to conservative Presbyterians who still feel a strong attachment to the denomination, but don’t like being associated with a church that endorses things they don’t believe in. via First Presbyterian of Orlando leads churches breaking away from denomination | The Republic. Thoughts? Any PCUSA folks out here want to comment on this one? Todd  
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Controversy
More than two decades after Scott Anderson told his California congregation that he was gay and therefore must resign as its pastor, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) is preparing to welcome him back. Anderson will be ordained Saturday as the denomination’s first openly gay minister, marking the latest mainline Protestant church to move toward accepting homosexual relationships. During a recent interview at his new church in Wisconsin, the 56-year-old Anderson recalled keeping his personal life a secret from 1983 to 1990. He told his congregation the truth and resigned after a couple learned he was gay and tried to use the information against him. “That was really the best and worst moment of my life,” Anderson said. “It was the best because I was able to claim for the first time who I was as a gay man. That was incredibly empowering. But there was also the sadness, the grief of leaving the ministry and what I loved.” Saturday’s ordination was made possible by decades of debate over whether openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the church. The church constitution used to include language requiring that clergy live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The Presbyterian national assembly last year endorsed removing that rule. The change was approved in May by a majority of the denomination’s 173 regional church bodies. via Presbyterian church in US to ordain 1st gay man – Yahoo! News.
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Trends
So… how are the denominations doing these days?  Not so well.  Here is the top ten of denominations in the United States as reported by the new 2010 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, as well as their increase of decrease over the past year. 1. The Catholic Church: 68.1 million, up 1.49 percent. 2. Southern Baptist Convention: 16.2 million, down 0.24 percent. 3. The United Methodist Church: 7.8 million (U.S.), down 0.98 percent. 4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 5.9 million (U.S.), up 1.71 percent. 5. The Church of God in Christ: 5.5 million, no change. 6. National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc: 5 million, no change. 7. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 4.6 million, down 1.62 percent. 8. National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.: 3.5 million, no change. 9. Assemblies of God: 2.9 million, up 1.27 percent. 10. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.); 2.8 million, down 3.28 percent. More here… Any thoughts? Todd
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Current Events
Each week, I try to find the best ‘stuff’ out there that I think you should take a look at. I share this throughout the week on Twitter. I also encourage you to send me news items and stories that you think other leaders should know about. Here’s this week’s list: Ten Reasons Why Churches Stall 7 Reasons Your Leaders are Quitting! The world’s deadliest four letter word Our traditional religious formulas and beliefs too quickly limit God only to our self-centered imaginations Five ways to know if you’re really a Christian “It’s disciples we’re after, not statistics” 5 Warning Signs of a Personality-Driven Church Almost anyone can become a leader… but… If you stop jumping to conclusions, you’ll avoid a good amount of personal conflict Are Southern Baptists facing an identity crisis? The PCUSA joins boycott against Arizona The GENIUS of AND The NINES Church Building Spree ala Huffington Post If you have a 14 year old girl around your house, you’re probably sick of this Free Vuvuzela Concert Check out the “Jesus Loves Strippers” ministry Drive-Through Prayer Rick Warren is expected to make a full recovery Robert Schuller’s daughter is OUTRAGED! Doug Oldham dies at 79 Oral Roberts Presidential Compound sold for 1.5 million Church has to cut staff after $210,000 goes missing This may help your church staff meetings Cross Point is looking for a Campus Pastor How to scan your print documents to Google docs Annoying Email Habits Finally… add images and html to your Gmail signature 60% of evangelical pastors say they don’t drink 5 of the world’s 10 largest churches are in Seoul, which is home to the world’s biggest Baptist, Methodist & Pres flocks Survey says: 1 in 6 women caught up in internet pornography Church sponsors “International Burn A Quran Day,” on Sept. 11 this year Inside Westboro Baptist The Christian Shopping Channel Finding Out Your Pastor is a Murderer What should Christians do with Mel Gibson? Not to be out done by Rick Warren, TX pastor has stomach pumped after eating poisonous leaves of rhubarb plant Reading your Bible could bring you lots of mone Feeling is not the admission price for worship. Jesus’ blood is
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                    Trends
                    The PCUSA’s membership is down over half since 1965.  Over half.  From 4.25 million to 2.07 million.  The clerk for the denomination says:  “What continues to sadden me is that the overwhelming majority of the loss in membership is in the category of ‘other,’ which means these are brothers and sisters in Christ who did not die or transfer to another congregation, but probably quietly slipped out the back door.” Some interesting facts from an article at the Courier-Journal.com: The median age of Presbyterians is 61. Membership went from 2,140,165 in 2008 to 2,077,138 in 2009. The PCUSA recently cut 44 positions from their payroll. 40 churches have left the denomination in the past 2 years. Presbyterians now number less than 1% of the U. S. population. You can read more here. Why do you think the PCUSA membership is down so dramatically?  Can it be saved?  Should it be saved? Love to hear your thoughts. Todd
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