Officials of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) decided to cut off funding for congregation Avodat Yisrael as of July 1. The funding had been a source of controversy inside and outside the denomination. The March 29 decision, made by a special administrative commission charged with overseeing the Messianic Jewish congregation for the Philadelphia presbytery, stemmed largely from the congregation's failure after two years to attract members and dollars, though the theological debate surrounding the congregation also played a part.
The leader of the congregation, Andrew Sparks, will continue as a member of the Philadelphia presbytery and as leader of Messiah Now ministries, whose multidecade work in Jewish outreach will continue. Avodat will attempt to remain in existence as an independent entity (affiliated with the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations) while still leasing space from the presbytery.