In what could be a landmark victory for gay-inclusiveness in the Presbyterian Church USA, the congregation at First Presbyterian Houston narrowly voted to remain part of the denomination on Sunday.
The congregation’s conservative members, including its pastor, wanted to leave the denomination over its decision to allow gay clergy in 2011. They proposed joining another denomination, A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, which prohibits gay clergy.
But the motion to leave the denomination fell 36 votes of the two-thirds majority needed to pass, the Texas Tribune reports. The outcome came as a shock to many members and stands in contrast to recent votes at other large, wealthy congregations, including Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Dallas.
The 3,000-member church is one of Houston’s oldest.