Thomson Church Leaves PCA

On February 1, 1998, Thomson (GA) Presbyterian Church voted to leave Central Georgia Presbytery. The pastor of the congregation, Wilfred A. Bellamy, had been the subject of a complaint brought against the Presbytery when he was received at the October 1995 meeting. Dr. Bellamy had been divorced when he had been a Baptist minister. He later served as a ruling elder in Key Biscayne (FL) Presbyterian Church, before supplying the pulpit regularly in Thomson and ultimately being called as pastor.

Central Georgia had been highly divided over the complaint brought by elders of First Presbyterian Church, Augusta. The complaint having been denied, the complainants eventually took their grievance to the General Assembly, which voted last June to sustain the judgment of the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC). The SJC ruled that even a guilty party in a divorce was not necessarily disqualified from church office. However, the SJC also sent the matter back to the Presbytery for a re-examination of Dr. Bellamy.

At the July 1997 meeting of Central Georgia, the court expressed its satisfaction with the pastor. A further complaint brought the matter back to the Presbytery. At the October 1997 meeting, Dr. Bellamy apparently renounced the jurisdiction of the PCA. He later recanted that renunciation by means of a letter to the court. At the January 1998 meeting, the Presbytery scheduled a special meeting for February 28, in order to carry out the Assembly mandate. The withdrawal by the Thomson Church rendered that meeting moot, and it was cancelled.

According to informed sources, a group from the Thomson Church has left that congregation and has indicated its interest in becoming a mission work of Central Georgia Presbytery.