First Presbyterian Church of Enid still holds services at 502 W. Maine, but the ranks have thinned. Others who called the church home now refer to themselves as Westminster Presbyterians and meet across town.
The effects of a recent, painful split still are evident but affection remains as well. The church went through a painful split over the ordination of gay clergy and other “progressive” issues upon which many members of the local church did not agree.
The Rev. Bill Stephens of Tulsa is the consultant with pastoral privileges for Westminster Presbyterian Church. Stephens said he offered his assistance upon hearing of the imminent split and is now working with the new church three days a week.
“We are in the midst of putting a local and world mission program together,” he said.
The church has committed more than $160,000 to local and international missions. A budget has not been determined, but Stephens said church members will support many of the missions they supported as part of First Presbyterian.
The members are excited about their new church and are happy with the facilities at Seventh-Day Adventist Church, where they currently meet. A new building is not at the top of their priority list, Stephens said.
“We’ve just started a sign-up for people to become charter members; it will take four to five weeks to see how many people will sign up,” Stephens said. “We expect 130 to 150 adults.”
Westminster Presbyterian Church is part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination, which sets it apart from other Presbyterian churches in Enid, Stephens said. He described the church as evangelical, conservative and biblical.
“Missions are a high priority,” he said of the denomination, which boasts about 300 churches.
Stephens said despite the divide, members of the two churches are amicable.
“We have no animosity; we wish them success. I can’t speak for everyone’s conversation, but I know generally they do not have any re-sentment or hard feelings.” Stephens said of his congregation. “We love them and hope they succeed.
There is a chance the two churches could work jointly on future missions, but that still needs to be worked out, he said.