Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians
The Fellowship of Presbyterians began in January 2011 as a conversation between seven PC(USA) pastors who wanted to find new ways to encourage each other in common faith, ministry, and mission. These pastors were concerned about the health of the PC(USA) as a denomination, where membership has dropped steadily over 40 years and ongoing disputes over theology and bureaucracy create a culture of contention more than vitality. They talked of reclaiming a covenanted biblical community, where unity is derived from a shared mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ, not from structural affiliation, and where young leaders are nurtured to speak the gospel into a rapidly-changing world. The pastors issued a nationwide call to others of like mind who envisioned a new future for congregations to connect and grow while sharing a Presbyterian, Reformed, Evangelical heritage. In August 2011, more than 2,000 men and women of diverse ages and ethnicities answered that call, gathering in Minneapolis to dream and pray together. In January 2012, a Covenanting Conference took place in Orlando, where The Fellowship of Presbyterians met and the new Reformed body, ECO, was officially launched.