The Pittsburgh Presbytery on Saturday acquiesced to the departure of three area Allegheny County congregations to a more conservative denomination after reaching settlements in which the churches will keep their properties and make parting financial payments to the presbytery.
But the presbytery also added a member Saturday, formally recognizing a start-up congregation that has been growing in Squirrel Hill since its 2008 launch.
The three departing congregations took varied procedural routes to the exit doors, but all three are leaving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The latter, and other conservative Presbyterian bodies, have drawn scores of congregations in recent years, several of them in southwestern Pennsylvania, amid liberal trends in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), such as a 2011 constitutional change allowing non-celibate gays and lesbians to be ordained.
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