Southwest region severs ABC ties; loyal churches organize

Not all churches to leave denomination
After years of conflict centering mainly on the issue of homosexuality, a large, southern California–based regional body of the American Baptist Churches U.S.A. has voted to continue the process of separating itself from the denomination.

The Pacific Southwest region voted 1,125 to 209—without discussion—in a telephone-conducted referendum coordinated from First Baptist Church in Pomona, California, on April 29 to terminate its relationship with the ABCUSA. Those participating at Pomona and at six other locations from Hawaii to Arizona represented just over half of the congregations in the Pacific Southwest region.

The ABCUSA, a 1.4-million-member denomination based in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, learned that the region’s board of directors voted unanimously May 11 to withdraw, effective in November 1. Dale Salico, the region’s executive minister, has repeatedly characterized its differences with national leadership as irreconcilable.


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