ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians
First Pres is now an ECO Congregation
On September 10, 2012, the Session of First Presbyterian Church voted to remain in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and join The Fellowship of Presbyterians, an umbrella organization that included members of the PC(USA), members of the Presbyterian denomination ECO: A Covenant Order of Presbyterians, and sisters and brothers in Christ beyond these two denominations.
On June 3, 2014, the Fellowship of Presbyterians announced it was becoming The Fellowship Community, a new movement that represents a merger between The Fellowship of Presbyterians and Presbyterians for Renewal (PFR). These two organizations have joined together to nurture and connect gospel-centered PC(USA) congregations and expand relationships with our counterparts in other mainline traditions.
On November 1, 2015, our congregation voted overwhelmingly to terminate our voluntary affiliation with the PC(USA) and to affiliate with ECO: A Covenant Order of Presbyterians. We were approved and received into ECO and its Presbytery of Texas and Louisiana on November 18, 2015. Being a part of ECO provides First Pres with a foundation for Biblical faithfulness and a community of other like-minded Presbyterian churches in which First Pres can participate for mutual encouragement and support.
What is ECO?
ECO is a new Presbyterian denomination formed in January, 2012. The mission of ECO is to build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ. Almost all ECO churches were members of the PC(USA) who desired to live more faithfully under the authority of God’s word. Many of the churches FPC had long-term relationships with are now ECO or are considering becoming ECO congregations. Our styles of worship and our liturgy will not change. ECO is a thoroughly Presbyterian denomination steeped in the reformed tradition.
What does this mean for First Pres?
Joining ECO provides a foundation for Biblical faithfulness. ECO has established very clear, historic essential tenets that align with the beliefs of our congregation. ECO provides a community of other Presbyterian churches with whom we can participate for mutual encouragement and support. Joining ECO allows us to continue to be the church God has called us to be and to leave aside doctrinal disputes, and to get back to the Great Commission: making disciples of Jesus Christ. Joining ECO is really an extension of what FPC has been doing for over 160 years. Together, we have the great opportunity to embrace where the Spirit is leading First Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, and press on to the upward call in Christ Jesus.
2016 ECO National Gathering
The 2016 National Gathering of ECO is in Newport Beach, California at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church, the home of our own Bryan and Timberly Eckelmann, and Rich and Kelly Kannwischer, January 26-28, 2016. The theme for this year’s gathering is “Strive: Press on Toward the Goal.”