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Tennessee church
leaves denomination over gays

Tennessee church
leaves denomination over gays

Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., has voted to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA) because of the congregation's theological differences on homosexuality with the national denomination. The 2,000-member church voted overwhelmingly January 28 to break away and join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, which has fewer than 200 churches and a more conservative view of Scripture than the 2.3 million-member mainstream Presbyterian Church.

The Presbyterian Church (USA), like other mainline Protestant groups, has been struggling for years to reconcile members who disagree over how to interpret Scripture on many issues, including the ordination of partnered gays. In June of last year a Presbyterian national assembly voted to give local congregations and regional bodies some leeway to install gay clergy and lay officers with same-sex partners.

The assembly also voted to allow church officials to propose experimental phrasings for the divine Trinity, including gender-inclusive language for the traditional ''Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,'' without requiring congregations to use the alternative wording.

The presbytery of East Tennessee will now consider whether the Signal Mountain church can keep its building and property when it leaves. (AP)

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