First Synod Meeting of New Denomination Also Held
ORLANDO, FL – January 30, 2013 – Nearly 1,200 Presbyterians from the US, Canada, and Africa are gathered for the 2013 National Gathering of The Fellowship of Presbyterians / ECO in Orlando, Florida. The three-day conference, January 30-February 1, has given pastors, elders, and ministry leaders opportunities to connect and collaborate around a shared mission of building flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Gathering is a joint collaboration between The Fellowship of Presbyterians, a community of churches and individuals from various Presbyterian denominations, and ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, a Reformed denomination that was birthed out of The Fellowship of Presbyterians movement.
On Thursday, January 31, ECO held its first Synod Meeting, The Reverend. Dr. Dana Allin presiding. Allin will become the first Synod Executive of ECO on April 15, 2013. ECO was officially launched as a denomination one year ago at the 2012 National Gathering in Orlando. In the ensuing 12 months, 28 congregations have fully joined ECO, 48 more are in the process of transitioning into ECO, and another 75-100 congregations are in a congregational discernment process. The most recent congregation to join was the 1700 member First Presbyterian Church of Edmond, OK.
Keynote speakers at the National Gathering include Gary Haugen (President & CEO of International Justice Mission), Jim Mellado (President of the Willow Creek Association), Leighton Ford (President of Leighton Ford Ministries), and Kevin Ford (Principal Partner and Chief Visionary Officer for TAG Consulting), and Joseph Small, author, theologian, and international ecumenist, along with over two dozen other pastors, leaders, and musicians.
The Fellowship of Presbyterians, founded in 2011, seeks to be an accountable community for, and resource to, congregations and leaders in the PC(USA), ECO, and other denominations. The Fellowship offers intentional networks, vibrant events, and ministry resources, centered on a passion to equip leaders to live confidently as followers of Jesus Christ in whatever contexts in which they serve.
Founded in January 2012, ECO’s name represents its commitment to make disciples of Jesus Christ (Evangelical), connect leaders through grace-based relationships (Covenant), and unite around standards of life and ministry (Order). ECO is a Reformed denomination that is structured to feel like an association, with an emphasis on nimble governance, relational networks, and autonomy for local congregations.