Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As members of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, we face an important decision – whether to remain a part of the Presbyterian Church (USA) or to leave our denomination to join the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO). The decision we make together has powerful implications for our Church Community, now and for years to come.

In the process of studying objective and verifiable information regarding both the PC (USA) and ECO, a growing group of FPCB members called Presbyterians for Unity has concluded that there are theological, ethical, and practical reasons why our church can continue to “Know God, Love People, and Serve the World” within the Fellowship Community (formerly Fellowship of Presbyterians) and in unity with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The immediate goal of Presbyterians for Unity is to work cooperatively and transparently with the Presbyterian Engagement Team (PET), recently formed by the Lehigh Presbytery under the leadership of Rev. Dave Duqette, Moderator. The role of the PET is to oversee a Period of Discernment for our congregation prior to the important vote to stay within or leave the PC (USA).

Please note that the Period of Discernment is just the beginning of a process that may – or may not – culminate in FPCB leaving the PC (USA). It is a time for our members to become informed about the issues prior to a congregational vote.

Presbyterians for Unity supports the Lehigh Presbytery’s goals of “reconciliation and continued engagement in relationship with all congregations within the Presbytery without the threat of isolation, estrangement or blame” (Policy and Procedure for Dismissal of Churches, lehighpresbytery.org), and pray that our efforts can bring us into the light and love of Christ, despite any differences of opinion, no matter how deep and sincere.

We urge you to become informed during this Period of Discernment, attend upcoming meetings with the Lehigh Presbytery’s PET (Presbytery Engagement Team), and share your thoughts and feelings.

If you have questions or comments or would like to join us, please feel free to leave a comment here, or, if you prefer, send an email to: presbyteriansforunity@gmail.com

With reverence, humility, and hope,

Joanne Kelhart, Chair