Pittsburgh Presbytery Dismisses Beverly Heights UP Church
Pittsburgh Presbytery, on Thursday, October 18, by a vote of 174 to 73 with two abstentions, dismissed the Beverly Heights United Presbyterian Church to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The action takes effect immediately. Rev. Dr. Douglas Portz, acting pastor to the presbytery said, “Today’s vote is the result of a process that was put in place eight months ago. Many hours of open, honest dialogue and prayer have led us to this point. We have tried to keep Christ at the center of our discernment and negotiation process.”
Meeting at the Mount Hope Community Presbyterian Church, the presbytery considered the dismissal request of the 400 member church during a “second reading” of a negotiated settlement agreement reached between presbytery’s Council and the Beverly Heights United Presbyterian Church. After spirited debate, it was approved.
The agreement provides for the church to be dismissed with its property. As part of the agreement, the Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church agreed to pay the presbytery $250,000 over ten years. In addition, $46,655 in a trust created by a deceased member and designated to the PC(USA) was turned over to the presbytery. The presbytery and the church agreed not to sue each other in a secular court in accord with scripture.
The Rev. Dr. Portz thanked leaders of the presbytery and Beverly Heights Church for their hard work and closed the time with prayer. “It is our hope and prayer that we can put these issues behind us and get on with the ministry of Christ in the city of Pittsburgh and beyond.” said Rev. Portz.