A successor communion to the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. is in the making. The first step was taken September 7 when six ministers and ten elders signed a resolution agreeing to “covenant together to form an association to be known as Vanguard Presbytery, a Provisional Presbytery for Southern Presbyterian and Reformed Churches Uniting.” The churchmen belong to congregations that have withdrawn from the denomination or are trying to. A constituting convention has been scheduled for November 14.
The move came rather unexpectedly and without prior encouragement from the main conservative elements in Southern Presbyterianism, a strong segment of whom have shown a separatist bent but have not ventured a break.
Moderator L. Nelson Bell issued a statement that expressed regret over the organizing of the Vanguard Presbytery “because it fragments the witness of the Church which they are repudiating. Their conservative witness is sorely needed in our midst.”
Many Southern Presbyterians are united in concern about their denomination’s leftward theological drift but divided over whether and when to sever ties.
The covenant to form Vanguard Presbytery was signed at a meeting in the Eastern Heights Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia. Convener of the meeting was the Reverend Todd Allen, minister of the church, one of two Savannah congregations that left the denomination in 1966 in a move that after years of litigation was upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court. A decision was made to incorporate Vanguard Presbytery in Georgia and to request legal counsel from Owen Page, the lawyer who handled the litigation of the Savannah churches. Allen was elected moderator, and Chester Hall of Louisville, Kentucky, was named stated clerk and treasurer. ...1
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