About Us

Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church (GSPC) was established in early 2016 as the first ECO Presbyterian Church in the state of Michigan. Most of the founding members of GSPC left the PCUSA denomination in order to remain obedient to the denomination’s polity.

Presbyterians have been of two minds about essential tenets. We eco leafrecognize that just as there are some central and foundational truths of the gospel affirmed by Christians everywhere, so too there are particular understandings of the gospel that define the Presbyterian and Reformed tradition. All Christians must affirm the central mysteries of the faith, and all those who are called to ordered ministries in a Presbyterian church must also affirm the essential tenets of the Reformed tradition. Recognizing the danger in reducing the truth of the gospel to propositions that demand assent, we also recognize that when the essentials become a matter primarily of individual discernment and local affirmation, they lose all power to unite us in common mission and ministry.
Essential tenets are tied to the teaching of the confessions as reliable expositions of Scripture. The essential tenets call out for explication, not as another confession, but as indispensable indicators of confessional convictions about what Scripture leads us to believe and do. Essential tenets do not replace the confessions, but rather witness to the confessions’ common core. The document linked to below is thus intended not as a new confession but as a guide to the corporate exploration of and commitment to the great themes of Scripture and to the historic Reformed confessions that set forth those themes.

To read more about the thinking behind leaving the PC(USA), please read this article by Assistant Pastor, Dr. Laura Smit, about leaving the denomination for ECO.

Reverend Doctor Laura A. Smit is a Professor of Theology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, where she has been teaching since 1999.  She was ordained in the PC(USA) in 1989 and served as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Clayton, New Jersey for six years before going to Boston University for a Ph.D. in medieval philosophy and theological aesthetics.  Her dissertation was on aesthetic epistemology in the theology of Bonaventure.

She is the author of Loves Me, Loves Me Not: The Ethics of Unrequited Love, a book that features interviews with many college students about their experiences of romantic rejection.  This book has led to many speaking engagements on college campuses.

From 2003 to 2008, Smit served as Dean of the Chapel at Calvin College, and in connection with that position she was ordained as a minister in the Christian Reformed Church, while retaining her PC(USA) ordination.  In the summer of 2012, Rev. Smit was dismissed from the PC(USA) to ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.  She has been a member of the theology team for both the Fellowship of Presbyterians and ECO since August 2011.  She is a member of ECO’s Great Lakes Presbytery and serves on the Ministry Assimilation Team.  She also serves on ECO’s Synod Executive Council.