ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians has been received into the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC).
The newest Presbyterian denomination, formed in January 2012, will be officially welcomed into WCRC within the next few months but already has been reviewed and received provisionally.
The Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the WCRC, said, “We welcome the member congregations of ECO as being part of the Reformed family of churches and, consistent with the constitutional basis of WCRC, we desire their active participation with us as together we serve the cause of Christ in the world. In that spirit, and with heartfelt desire, we look forward to welcoming you into WCRC. We seek with you ‘The Fellowship of the Spirit in the bonds of peace.'” (Ephesians 4:3)
In an ECO press release, the Rev. Dr. Dana Allin, ECO synod executive, said, “We are thrilled to receive this word and are eager to explore with others in the WCRC how we can deepen our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ as together we serve in His name.”
More than 50 congregations (totaling more than 20,000 members) have joined ECO since its formation. The denomination has two presbyteries in the United States – the East and the West – that make up the synod and includes clergy and congregations in 20 states.
Approximately 50 other congregations have applied for membership in ECO. They are either awaiting acceptance or working toward dismissal from the Presbyterian Church (USA). Another 100 congregations have requested applications.
Many presbyteries in the PCUSA have taken action to recognize ECO as a Reformed denomination to which they will dismiss churches. Membership in WCRC establishes that standard for presbyteries who were waiting for formal recognition of the new denomination by a third party.
In an earlier interview with The Layman, Allin said he was not shocked by the growth of ECO and interest in the new denomination during the past 24 months.
He said, “With the first event in Minneapolis (August 2011) we saw 800 congregations present … so to see many congregations considering affiliation with us is not surprising. At the same time, it certainly takes a lot of effort and energy to go through the process to be dismissed to ECO, so I am somewhat surprised at how many congregations are willing to go though that difficult process in order to be with us.”
Allin said church renewal, leadership development and church planting are goals ECO wants to accomplish as part of the vision to “baptize more than we bury by 2018.”
ECO’s mission is to “build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.” For more information on ECO, visit the web site at http://eco-pres.org/ or visit The Layman Online’s archive of articles, commentary and analysis on the new denomination.
The WCRC, formed in June 2010 through the merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC), seeks to unite Christians for common witness and service to the world. Most member churches are in the Global South, and many are called to witness as religious minorities in their countries.
Other U.S. denominations in WCRC include: Christian Reformed Church in North America, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Hungarian Reformed Church in America, Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad, Lithuanian Evangelical Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Church of Christ.