DISCERNMENT AND DISMISSAL
Denomination—in the Christian tradition, a denomination refers to a church subgroup that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity and where individual bodies may use alternative terms such as church, fellowship or others to describe themselves—for example, Irvine Presbyterian Church.
Denominational Affiliation—subgroup with which a church associates itself; for example, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO).
Discernment—how a congregation seeks God’s will about its future through prayer, open meetings, informational small group discussions, surveys, etc.
Dismissal—process of a church seeking to leave one denomination and join another; in our case, IPC wants to be ‘dismissed’ from PC(USA) so it can join ECO.
ECO—a Reformed denomination founded in January 2012; this is the denomination that Irvine Presbyterian Church is seeking to join upon dismissal from the PC(USA).
IPC—Irvine Presbyterian Church
Jenny Hart Early Education Center—full-day Christian preschool and IPC ministry founded in 1985 in the memory of Jennifer Lynn Hart; located on the IPC campus.
Joint Solution—term referring to the mutually agreed upon solution or settlement regarding IPC’s dismissal from PC(USA), including determining the value of IPC’s property and campus.
Joint Solution Teams—a group of representatives from IPC and LRP who are meeting regularly to identify fair and mutually beneficial terms of IPC’s dismissal from PC(USA).
Los Ranchos Presbytery (LRP)—Los Ranchos Presbytery is the district governing body for a group of PC(USA) congregations located in Orange County and southern Los Angeles County. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has over 10,000 congregations, which are organized into 172 presbyteries (district governing bodies) and 16 synods (regional governing bodies).
Los Ranchos Property Policy—the policy and procedure adopted by LRP in 2013 (revised in November 2014) that describes the process that a congregation may follow if it seeks to be dismissed from the Presbytery and PC(USA) to another Reformed denomination.
Mission Affinity Group (MAG)—term used by ECO, the evangelical denomination that IPC wishes to join; ECO requires congregations to join a MAG, whose purpose is to connect, care for, and provide accountability for churches and leaders. Each MAG consists of three or four congregations organized around similar ministry contexts. MAGs may be made up of only ECO congregations, or a combination of both ECO and PC(USA) congregations.
PC(USA)—abbreviation for the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., a Presbyterian denomination that is part of the Reformed tradition. PC(USA) was established by the 1983 merger of the Presbyterian Church in the United States with United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
Presbytery—network of congregations in a geographical area that collaborate to do mission together.
Straw Polls—two non-binding votes conducted in 2014 by IPC’s elders to ask IPC members and regular attendees whether the church should proceed with the discernment process and dismissal from PC(USA); the result was overwhelmingly ‘yes’ on both occasions.
The "Open Letter"—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.
Town Hall Meeting—congregational gathering in which IPC leaders, members and regular attendees openly discuss matters that affect church operations and/or staff; IPC has held six Town Hall meetings to present and explain the discernment and dismissal process.