A second Iowa congregation affiliates with ECO

ECOAn Iowa congregation became the second from the state to join ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians when it was dismissed from the Presbyterian Church (USA) in May.

United Presbyterian Church of Boyden was dismissed from Prospect Hill Presbytery with property on May 13, joining First Presbyterian Church of Sibley as the only two ECO congregations in Iowa.

The 98-member congregation, located in Sioux County near Iowa’s northwest border with South Dakota, is the fourth church to be dismissed by the presbytery, joining the Sibley church, First Presbyterian Church of Little Rock (Evangelical Presbyterian Church) and Riverside Presbyterian Church in Linn Grove (Presbyterian Church in America).

To be dismissed, UPC-Boyden paid $5,000 to the Presbyterian Camp on Okoboji with intent to continue mission support of the camp as well as per capita in the amount of $2,140.56 for 2013 and $1,942.36 for 2014. All per-capita payments were made by June 1.

The congregation also agreed to pay all costs associated with the Administrative Commission’s activities related to the dismissal process and to turn over church records to the Presbyterian Historical Society.

upc-boyden1The UPC-Boyden session sent a letter regarding its intent to seek dismissal and highlighted three major concerns prompting the decision to leave the denomination. Those were:

1-The PCUSA’s views on Scripture, salvation and the Lordship of Christ;

2-The PCUSA’s views on marriage and ordination; and

3-The PCUSA’s views of the acceptance of social change.

Following a pair of listening sessions in February, the Administrative Commission called for a congregational meeting to vote on remaining with the PCUSA or transferring to ECO on March 23. The congregation voted 59-3 in favor of joining ECO.

In the report to the presbytery from the Administrative Commission, Moderator Dale Lint wrote, “As the result of meetings, votes and accounting sessions the Administrative Commission recommends that the Presbytery of Prospect Hill approve the motion put forth by the commission and the terms as previously agreed to by the commission and the session of the United Presbyterian Church, Boyden, Iowa.

“While there is a sadness brought about by this transfer the commission seeks that God’s hand of direction and guidance go with this congregation.”

UPC-Boyden interim pastor Rollin Haynes, who plans to retire Aug. 31 when his call expires after nearly three years with the congregation, said the elders at the church were very effective in leading the dismissal process.

“I was so impressed with them and proud of what they did,” Rollins said. “They really carried the ball on this.”