DISCERNMENT AND DISMISSAL
This FAQ page addresses issues of common concern for our congregation. You may also review FAQ specific to the Joint Solution or dismissal from Los Ranchos Presbytery (LRP). If you have a question that isn't addressed here, please feel free to email us.
How much money was contributed by Presbytery and/or the denomination at the time Irvine Presbyterian Church was formed?
Presbytery contributed $24,000 toward the pastor’s salary and expenses at the time the congregation was formed in 1975-76. Presbytery provided an additional subsidy of $25,000 in 1977. No additional subsidies were provided thereafter.
How was the purchase of the Alton Avenue site arranged and financed?
The present property was purchased from the Irvine Company in October 1977 by the denomination’s General Synod for Southern California and Hawaii for $174,000. The purchase was financed with a $50,000 loan from the denomination’s General Assembly and a $128,000 loan from the Synod. Both loans were paid off with interest according to their terms. The property was deeded by the Synod to Irvine Presbyterian Church in 1982.
How was the initial building construction financed?
The initial building construction cost was $508,000. The construction was financed in part by a $197,000 loan from General Assembly and a $100,000 loan from the Layne Foundation. The remainder was paid with contributions from the congregation. All loans were paid off with interest according to their terms.
How much has Irvine Presbyterian Church paid to Presbytery, PC(USA) and to missions supported by the Presbytery and the denomination during the past five years?
During the past five years (including 2015), IPC has paid annual ministry dues assessed by Presbytery and the denomination (called “per capita”) totally about $93,000 (on average $18,610 annually). For the years 2010 through 2014, IPC contributed a total of $87,500 in mission giving to the Presbytery.
VOTING FOR DISMISSAL
After a Joint Solution is reached, what percentage of IPC members is required to approve dismissal?
After a Joint Solution is reached and approved by LRP, dismissal requires a 2/3 majority of IPC members present at a called congregational meeting.
Will IPC offer a New Member class before the final Joint Solution vote so that regular attendees can become voting members?
Yes, there is a New Member class already scheduled for the fall.
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Can you please briefly summarize the Los Ranchos Presbytery Property Policy?
The policy may be summed up as a series of four steps:
1. A Period of Discernment
2. Dialogue Toward a Joint Solution
3. Presentation to the Presbytery
4. Acceptance and Dismissal
If a Joint Solution is accepted by the Presbytery, the congregation and Session have 90 days to accept the proposed Joint Solution. If the congregation accepts the Joint Solution for dismissal, the congregation, Session and the Presbytery will promptly begin performing all tasks and execute all documents necessary to bring about a transfer of the congregation to ECO, the successor Reformed denomination we expect to be named in the Joint Solution.
Read the Presbytery’s latest Property Policy in its entirety. View the current Discernment and Dismissal Timeline.
By leaving the PC(USA) outside of Joint Solution process, will a congregation automatically lose its church property?
Yes. Each congregation holds its property subject to the trust clause stated in the PC(USA) Book of Order. If a congregation leaves the denomination without its approval, the denomination will claim all of the property.
Will a congregation keep its property by going through the Joint Solution process?
The Joint Solution process is intended to evaluate the congregation’s and the denomination’s interest in the church property and to create a joint solution that is fair to both parties. In most cases to date, the congregation’s seeking dismissal have been dismissed with their property after agreeing to pay the Presbytery, as representative of the PC(USA), a monetary settlement.
What kind of settlements have other departing churches reached with Los Ranchos Presbytery (LRP)?
As of June 2015, 10 LRP churches have been dismissed. Examples of recent joint solutions include: St. Andrews Newport Beach ($2.98 million); First Presbyterian of Westminster ($174,000); and Trinity United Tustin ($1.629 million). In addition, the dismissed churches issued a challenge grant in the amount of $293,000. For every dollar that a congregation that stays within LRP contributes for special mission projects in 2015 through 2017 in excess of funds contributed by that congregation in 2014, the challenge grant will contribute a dollar, up to the total amount of the challenge grant.
Is the church mortgage IPC’s or the Presbytery’s?
IPC currently owns the church property, but holds title to it in trust for the PC(USA) denomination. If IPC were to cease being a PC(USA) congregation without the denomination's consent, title to the property would revert to the denomination. The current mortgage is secured by the church property and is the responsibility of IPC. If IPC were dismissed from the denomination with its property, the mortgage obligation would remain with IPC. If IPC were dismissed without its property, arrangements would have to be made for the Presbytery to assume the loan.
With ECO, will the congregation still hold title to the church property?
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MOVING TO ECO
How many congregations now comprise ECO?
As of June 2015, there are ten local ECO presbyteries and over 200 congregations nationwide. Upon approval from its members, IPC would join other local ECO churches in the Presbytery of Southern California.
It’s good to keep in mind that ECO only began in 2012 and is still finalizing some rules and policies.
Does ECO acknowledge and abide by the five basic principles (tenets) described in IPC’s early discernment materials?
Yes. They hold to confessions and have a theological statement. The five core values of ECO are:
1. Jesus-shaped identity
2. Biblical integrity
3. Thoughtful theology
4. Accountable community
5. Egalitarian ministry
Are there potential concerns about joining ECO?
Some members may worry that ECO has no general assembly but instead holds national gatherings. There is still direct accountability, however, as member churches must regularly submit clear and measurable goals. This requires extra work from member churches but IPC leaders believe it is a sound and prudent process. ECO membership also allows IPC to be part of an affinity group that will share resources and learn from each other.
What ‘accountability’ will ECO require and will extra IPC staff be needed?
No, we have already begun setting measurable goals in our budgeting and VISION statements, which will help us comply with ECO’s accountability requirements.
Will moving to ECO require IPC to change its name?
No, we may continue to be Irvine Presbyterian Church.
Will ECO recognize the ordinations of the PC(USA)?
Yes, ECO recognizes the ordination of pastors who have been ordained by the PC(USA).
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THE "OPEN LETTER"
What is the "Open Letter"?
The "Open Letter" is a letter signed by 22 LRP teaching and ruling elders (and endorsed by three Council leadership teams) related to IPC’s dismissal. The letter was sent to commissioners of Presbytery and Joint Solution Teams who are working with IPC and other churches wishing to leave PC(USA) and the Los Ranchos Presbytery. The letter, which you can read here, reflects the signers’ convictions about the Presbytery’s future, including its policy regarding church property. It was posted the LRP website on March 15, 2015. Read the "Open Letter" (pdf).