The congregation of the Peters Creek Evangelical Presbyterian Church will vacate its location on Brookwood Road in Venetia at the end of next month, essentially closing the door on a lengthy legal battle over the ownership of the building that rose from a split in church membership nearly a decade ago.
Beginning May 3, the 309-member Peters Creek Evangelical Presbyterian Church will meet in the Parish Hall of St. David’s Episcopal Church on East McMurray Road.
In 2007, the church, then known as Peters Creek United Presbyterian Church, voted to leave Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for the more conservative Evangelical Presbyterians. In May 2014, the Commonwealth Court ruled the title to the property belongs to the minority, not the breakaway group.
The congregation has given the Washington Presbytery a 30-day advance notice required to leave the property. Its last Sunday service will be April 26. It will also mark the end of 220 years of continuous worship at the location.
Rev. Doug Brandt, the church’s senior minister and designated spokesman, would not comment on the vote. He would not disclose whether the church was looking for a permanent home, but said more announcements would be forthcoming.
Besides ruling in favor of the minority, Common Pleas Judge Gary Gilman ruled the Evangelical group – effective Oct. 29, 2014, had to pay $3,000 a month, or any portion of any month to Peters Creek United Presbyterian Church for occupancy. The minority has rented property at 800 Venetia Road, Venetia.
Rev. Kris McInnes of St. David’s said they are in the process of finishing up negotiations with Peters Creek United Evangelical. He said both churches will operate in different locations in the building and there will be very little overlap with the exception of adult education classes.
“We are in the process of putting together a temporary agreement,” said McInnes, adding that St. David’s could serve as a temporary base for the church for anywhere from eight to 12 months.