A lot of the more traditional Presbyterian congregations have already left for smaller Presbyterian denominations, like the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the ECO Presbyterians. I guess that many others who’ve been sitting on the fence will begin the process of separating from PC(USA). Churches have to go through denominational processes before they can join another Presbyterian denomination, so it takes a while.
Yeah, except the Episcopal Church claims all local church property for the national organization, so if a parish voted to leave then it could be sued for ownership of assets. As I understand it, the Presbyterian Church encourages its regional governing bodies to practice what is called “gracious dismissal” of churches that want to leave and join alternative Presbyterian denominations. So, I’d expect more Presbyterian churches to leave since its a lot less riskier for them than their Episcopal counterparts.
Itwin, I think this is not always the case. Who owns the buildings/assets is still being debated and contested within the Presbyterian church. Although, you are correct in that the local Presbyteries are the ones who are demanding ownership of assets, and not the National Church, which is where The Episcopal Church is doing the legal contests.
Here is a link to what is going on in the Dallas area.
Yeah, local presbyteries are not always willing to allow congregations to depart, but there are presbyteries which will avoid legal fights over the property. A lot of times, the departing congregation will give a financial gift to the presbytery to go towards mission/church planting as a way to compensate the denomination for the loss of the congregation.
In the Episcopal Church, diocesan bishops who have tried to work out similar arrangements with disgruntled congregations have often been rebuked by the national church.