The regional governing body overseeing the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church has voted to approve the church's departure.
Earlier this month, 93 percent of participating church members voted in favor of leaving Presbyterian Church USA for ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, a much smaller, more conservative denomination created in 2012.
One motivation for the change relates to real estate. PCUSA holds the titles to real estate property used by its churches. In ECO, the churches own the property. To claim the titles, Menlo Park Presbyterian agreed to pay its former parent organization $8.89 million.
Theological conflicts also inspired the move, including one over PCUSA's approval of gay clergy in 2011 and current debate over whether to recognize same-sex marriages, according to some members of the congregation. ECO, on the other hand, states that members not in a heterosexual marriage are expected to remain celibate.
MPPC has about 3,400 members and a couple of thousand more people attending services each week. That number may go up, as church leaders have said the denomination switch will pave the way to adding five more Bay Area campuses in addition to those already in Menlo Park, Mountain View and San Mateo.