ENID, Okla. — Westminster and First Presbyterian churches are healing after a split divided the two last October, and both are reaching out to help the Enid community.
A more moderate stand
The Rev. Bill Stephens became pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church Feb. 12, 2012, and the group now meets in Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Purdue. Stephens said the church pays rent and in the future hope to erect a joint sign.
“We hope it will be a symbiotic relationship, benefiting both churches,” Stephens said.
The biggest focus is on missions, and half of the church’s budget, or about $186,000, goes to that end.
Half of that $186,000 is put into local missions, he said. They supply funding for a wide variety recipients in Garfield County. Stephens said they have been funding existing ministries, rather than starting new ones. Stephens explained there are six denominations within the Presbyterian Church, and Enid now has two of them. Those denominations are Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), Cumberland Presbyterian Church (CPC), Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church USA and Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), which is the largest denomination.
The Westminster group joined Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Stephens said they left PC (USA), which he said is the most theologically and socially liberal denomination, and joined a more moderate one. Both theological and social issues determine where the denominations stand.
Westminster has 134 members, and Stephens said the church as lost and gained about a dozen members.
Some families have been split, as well, with part going to the new church and another generation of the same family staying at the old one.
“Our hope is for two healthy churches,” Stephens said. “For the folks who left — it had nothing to do with the people who stayed. It had to do with what is happening at headquarters in Lexington, Ky.”
In the future, they will need different facilities and whether or not they will build or purchase an existing building is still undetermined.
“We are praying, searching, looking. But right now we are happy where we are. But it’s not permanent,” Stephens said.