Colo. church moves toward leaving denomination

March 5, 2012 - 12:35 AM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The 4,000-member First Presbyterian Church in Colorado has taken another step toward leaving its denomination.

Almost 90 percent of the Colorado Springs congregation on Sunday voted in favor of proceeding with efforts to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that, in an informal vote, 88 percent voted to split and align with a newly-formed governing body, the Evangelical Covenant Order.

Ministry official Alison Murray tells the paper that the church will proceed with the split and soon take a formal vote, probably in late April.

KRDO-TV reports that senior Pastor Jim Singleton cited disagreements with the denomination's direction, including a decision last year to allow the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy in committed relationships. Church leaders are expected to vote this summer on whether to allow ministers to officiate at same-sex weddings.

The First Presbyterian Church is one of the largest in the country to belong to the Presbyterian Church (USA).