FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Seattle Presbytery Assumes ‘Original Jurisdiction’ of First Presbyterian Church of Seattle
Contact: Executive Presbyter, Rev. Scott Lumsden
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON (February 17, 2016) – After thoroughly investigating allegations of mismanagement, disorder and denominational irregularities within the leadership of First Presbyterian Church of Seattle (FPCS), the Presbytery of Seattle, acting through an Administrative Commission, has assumed original jurisdiction of FPCS effective February 16, 2016 with the hope of preserving FPCS’s historic legacy of ministry in downtown Seattle.
Seattle’s Executive Presbyter, Rev. Scott Lumsden says, “This decision was certainly not arrived at lightly, but after much prayer, input and serious deliberation.”
This action was required under the constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the bylaws of the church as the former FPCS leadership repeatedly:
- Failed to follow the constitution and its own procedures;
- Failed to be truthful and forthcoming with its own congregation, ministry partners and the Seattle Presbytery; and
- Failed to wisely manage the affairs of the church.
Furthermore, both former co-pastors renounced their Presbyterian ordination, leaving FPCS with no pastoral leadership.
As such, effective immediately the Administrative Commission has assumed the role of Session (the governing body within Presbyterian churches), has appointed an interim pastor and will provide for worship, pastoral care and assist in the ministries of the congregation.
FPCS was organized in 1869 by a pastor who arrived by wagon train and canoe, and started with seven people. By 1940 it had grown to 8000 members, the largest Presbyterian Church in the world. In recent years, membership has dwindled and currently fewer than 100 people worship on Sunday. It is the Seattle Presbytery’s sincere hope to help restore this urban church’s historic ministry in downtown Seattle.
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