January 20, 2012
According to Ed Stetzer of LifeWay Research, a new Presbyterian denomination called The Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO) has been launched at the Fellowship of Presbyterians Covenanting Conference in Orlando. "ECO is a denominational entity under the umbrella of The Fellowship of Presbyterians that is committed to growing and planting flourishing churches and nurturing leaders," Stetzer said. "The distinctives of ECO include an emphasis on connecting leaders in accountable relationships, peer review systems for churches, leadership training and a flatter polity system than the PCUSA." The convention and the new denomination arose from a growing dissatisfaction by conservative Presbyterian churches with the more liberal-leaning PCUSA, which has approved the ordination of gay ministers. Presbyterian churches will have the option to leave the PCUSA for ECO, or affiliate with the new denomination without leaving the larger church.