Thursday, December 18, 2008

EOP Speaks Out.

From Layman Letters: No one is helped by the reporting of misinformation. - Craig Hoster Attorney for Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery and elder, Presbyterian Church (USA)

From EOP website: (News/Kirk)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 15, 2008


The settlement agreed upon among Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Kirk of the Hills Corporation was concluded today with the closing of the sale of the church property by Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery to Kirk of the Hills Corporation. The judgment entered by Judge Jefferson Sellers in the long-running litigation filed by Kirk of the Hills in Tulsa County District Court has been released, and the appeal filed in the Oklahoma Supreme Court is being dismissed, in accordance with the settlement agreement reached among the parties. The church property, including real estate valued at $7.8 Million, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal property, was sold to Kirk of the Hills Corporation for $1.75 Million.

"We have said since the day Kirk of the Hills filed this litigation against us, that there are no winners until the matter is resolved," stated Craig Hoster, attorney for Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery. "Despite the fact that the Court granted judgment in favor of the Presbytery, we have continuously sought resolution. Today, resolution was achieved."

Dr. Gregory Coulter, General Presbyter for the Presbytery, said, "We are relieved that this legal process is concluded and that both the Presbytery and the Kirk of the Hills may now focus again primarily on sharing the Gospel with a world in need of Good News. We wish our brothers and sisters at the Kirk every blessing in their service."

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Gregory Coulter
General Presbyter
Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery

ED: I find Craig Hoster's letter to be accurate - as far as it goes. As a lawyer, he does not address the underlying cause of the trouble, which is ecclesiastic. The "law" has been misused at the national level (AI's). The GA is a broken process.

FPC College Corner, Ohio joins EPC

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Presbyterians to Address Risks of Churches Leaving, Property Disputes

Our Freedom of Religion at Risk:

A Presbyterian Crisis

Your Invitation to a Vital, Webinar Convocation

Thursday, February 19, 2009 2:00-5:30 PM EST

Is evolving civil law eroding constitutional protection of religious freedom under the First Amendment? Is our historically rooted Presbyterian system of church governance at risk when courts interfere with Presbyteries exercising their ecclesiastical obligations under our Book of Order?

Your participation in this convocation is important because the unity and independence of the church are at risk from within and without. Ministers, sessions, trustees and congregations encouraging division within the church encourage subordination of the church to the state when they file civil lawsuits against presbyteries. Court orders sought to prevent presbyteries from dealing with division, disorder, disobedience dismissal and determination of the true church threaten the beliefs and religious practices of our denomination.

Evolving civil law in many jurisdictions appears intent on treating all denominations without episcopal hierarchies as congregational in their governance. This trend ignores the Biblical and historical nature of Presbyterian ecclesiastical practices. It weakens the constitutional barrier against government interference in religion.

Pittsburgh Presbytery recognizes that for too long Presbyterians have acquiesced to the appealing concept of “me” centered religion. We have not emphasized that Christ’s church is not the building where one worships or the congregation where one belongs. Rather, we are one church, universal, in covenant through Christ. The failure to encourage God-centered religious practice has left a void filled by notions that religious organization is no different from any non-religious, non-profit group fully subject to invasion by the state into its internal affairs.

ED: This appears to be a blame the victim point of view.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Kirk of the Hills - ITS ALL OVER!

Kirk and EOP finalized the settlement. Two Court fillings: settlement and dismissal w/prejudice.

Jesus Is the Reason for the Season!

Christmas Is the Reason for Hundreds of Signs - The Ledger

I think Hobby Lobby used to have plastic bags with this printed on it?

Maybe other churches should start this ministry. It is not too late.

Here is an opposing viewpoint from an atheist. Putting Christ Back in Christmas: Is Jesus the Reason for the ...

A Personel Note: For a slow news day!

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, a car drove into my house. The driver swerved to avoid a car that stop short in front of it. The car went up my driveway, into the grass and crashed into the side of my house and knocked the side entry door back 9 inches. It also hit my power entry. The items on the laundry room counter just missed my 15 year old dog, sleeping on the floor. My door is covered by plywood as it will not close. The damage goes all the way to the second floor window.

Things to be tankful for:

  • No one was hurt.
  • Airbags did not deploy
  • Missed the natural gas line by 2 feet.
  • No Fire! Electric + Car + Gas - could have been big explosion.
  • Dog was unhurt.
  • Quick response of Police, Fire, Electric Company and Building Company.
  • Everyone has insurance.
  • Electric, phone, DSL, cable still works.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lancaster, NY EPC loses in court; plans appeal.

Buffalo News: Lancaster Presbyterian Church loses ruling on building ownership

The Layman Story: Lancaster (EPC) loses in court; plans appeal for church property

  • Congregation voted 243-0 on June 15 to affiliate with EPC
  • Asked the judge to delay enforcing his decision while the congregation considers an appeal.
  • Session voted Wednesday to move ahead with an appeal and to enter into negotiations with the presbytery
  • The church building at 5461 Broadway dates back to 1832, making it the second-oldest house of worship in Erie County.
  • The congregation spent $1 million expanding and renovating the space in 2002.
  • LPC Website
  • Presbytery of Western New York
  • Presbytery News Release: The Presbytery of Western NY, through its Administrative Commission continues to be ready, willing, and able to meet with representatives of Lancaster Presbyterian Church to facilitate their graceful departure from the denomination.

ED: I see the Presbytery is pushing the same old tired line:

"The Presbytery is confident that had Lancaster Presbyterian Church met with the Administrative Commission, this court ruling could have been avoided."

I hope that are not that clueless! The past behavior of other Presbyteries, PCUSA (Louisville Papers), has poisoned the trust between every single church and the high governing bodies.

Greg Coulter's (EOP's General Presbyter) Dec 3 Letter


As many of you already know (or have heard), the Presbytery voted unanimously yesterday to extend the deadline for the settlement agreement between the Kirk of the Hills, Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery and the Presbyterian Church (USA). The previous agreement, in outline form only, was approved by the Presbytery on Sept 19 and by the Kirk on Oct 19. That previous agreement called for a closing on the transaction by Nov 15. That did not occur, largely due to extensive conversations about the exact form of the sales contract, personal property, title insurance, and the question of review by the Synod. Those questions have now been answered to the satisfaction of all parties, with the Kirk congregation voting in favor of the agreement on Nov 30 and the Presbytery vote on Dec 2. The deadline has been extended to Dec 15, which will allow us to acquire the necessary paperwork - title insurance, updated abstracts, mutual dismissals and releases, and the like. At that time, the Kirk will pay Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery $1,750,000 and the Kirk will gain full and clear title to all real and personal property which has been under dispute.

A word of explanation – there have been and will continue to be legal motions filed between now and Dec 15. This is “routine” in that all involved do not want to miss the deadline for the filing of particular motions in the event that the final sale does not occur. This is only fair to both sides. However, at the closing there will be filed dismissals of all pending motions with the District Court and the OK Supreme Court. We do not anticipate any problem with the closing, but we expect the attorneys for all parties to exercise due diligence, which includes keeping all legal options open until the sale of the property to the Kirk is complete. Please do not read anything more than that into the reports you may hear of further court filings.

Let us thank God that this period of trial (both legal and spiritual) is now nearly over. Let us continue to pray for those on all sides of the issue who have invested so much time and energy in this struggle. Finally, let us continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Kirk of the Hills congregation may not be a member of EOP any longer, but that does not mean that they are not still our neighbors, our friends, and fellow disciples who seek to know and do the will of Christ.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Westminster Presbyterian Church to dissolve after more than 125 years

Beaumont Enterprise Newspaper Beaumont, TX

The 55-member congregation made the decision to dissolve in a Nov. 16 meeting, but the official dissolution will not take place until May, Tompkins said.

EOP approves Kirk, keeps B

The Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery voted to extend the closing date on Kirk. The delegates were told the legal paper work was not ready and this was the final papers.

They also voted 49-56 (105) to turn down the change in the Fidelity/Chasity clause, G-6.0106b.

According to the Layman in 2001/2002 the vote was 43 - 86 (129). I know Kirk had 5 votes.

Layman Story

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kirk Posts the FINAL Agreement

On the Kirk Website: (PDF) Final Agreement

Kirk and EOP still throwing Paperwork at each other!

If you check the official court site, Kirk paid for "Certification of Record on Accelerated Appeal" and EOP filed "Response to Kirk's (11-12) Proposed Judgement"

I assume all of this is just in case the "Deal" falls through.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Rock Presbyterian Church joins EPC

Index Journal

Rock Presbyterian Church, the oldest church in Greenwood, South Carolina, is launching into a new chapter of its long and varied history by becoming affiliated with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Previous to joining the EPC, Rock Church had been independent, something that Johnson said was an oxymoron.

Presbyterian Pastor who helped get "under God" in Pledge dies


The Rev. George M. Docherty was 97.

On Feb. 7, 1954, Rev. Docherty delivered it again after learning that President Dwight Eisenhower would be at the church.

Congress inserted the words a few months later. Wikipedia has much more info.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Kirk congregation votes to buy 578-361

Kirk congregation votes to buy church property for 1.75 million

578-stay, 361-appeal

Strange way to word the vote? Stay? Why not accept offer vs appeal?

What this means for the rest of the churches in all 3 OK presbyteries is more uncertainty. Since the Judge took the easy path and refused to consider the US Supreme Court ruling, it will have to be appealed by someone else.

Tulsa World Story: Kirk of the Hills votes to buy back property

The Layman: Kirk votes to end property dispute, pay $1.75 million

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Letter from the Kirk Session

Why has the Session asked you, the congregation, to vote on the property settlement one more time? The answer is simple, with underlying complexity. We recognize that most of us are a bit fatigued by this process; however, we believe it is necessary. The Lord wants us to be vigilant and carry on with His strength until we get to His conclusion

The simple part is that, technically, after November 15th, the previous settlement agreement ceased to exist. Beyond that, however, one major change occurred:

The PCUSA refused to sign the agreement unless they first received a final judgment from the court. In the original agreement both sides were going to dismiss their parts of the lawsuit and no final judgment was called for. Not having a final judgment was important for two reasons:

  1. If after settling someone challenged the settlement in the PCUSA’s legal system, the Kirk would still have recourse to the courts to defend itself. Once a final judgment is entered and settlement is made, the Kirk loses its right to go back to the civil court if the settlement is challenged.
  2. We didn’t want the PCUSA to have a legal document that they could use to discourage other congregations from trying to leave with their property.

The new agreement has substituted title insurance in place of the right to go back to court. This does not mean that we have a guarantee that the PCUSA or the Synod will forego future legal challenges. Our Title Insurance, though, guarantees that future litigation against our title would be paid through the policy. In addition, our personal property is now better protected because this agreement requires the EOP to defend it for us if it is challenged by the PCUSA or Synod.

What does this change mean to those who voted?

  • Some members voted to settle knowing that if a challenge was made to the settlement within the PCUSA’s legal system, we would have a legal recourse. These individuals might now want to change their vote to ‘appeal’ because they have lost this legal recourse.
  • Some members voted to appeal because they did not feel the terms gave enough protections against legal challenges within the PCUSA’s legal system. These individuals might now want to vote to settle because the title insurance gives more protection against a challenge and the personal property is now better protected.

Another thing that has changed is that the preschool has been able to make alternative arrangements to continue their programs should we have to vacate the property.

Why are we voting on the Sunday evening of Thanksgiving weekend? The EOP and PCUSA required that the vote take place before Dec 2nd. We asked for an extension of the deadline two days so we could hold the vote on Wednesday, Dec 3rd, but the denomination refused to grant it. Under those conditions, we thought the better turnout would be on Sunday rather than Monday evening.

What went on in between October and now was a continuation of difficult negotiations that Tim Trump had initiated on our behalf. This has not been a simple or easy process at any point along the way. Your Session has been meeting almost once a week in order to receive information from our attorneys and to look at proposed settlements. We have all tried to be faithful to the original vote without taking any foolish risk in the purchase.

There has been the suggestion by some that “the pastors are calling for additional votes until it goes the way they want it to..” Nothing could be further from the truth. The pastors have a voice, but no vote on the session or in a congregational meeting. Throughout this time, each pastor has received considerable pressure from a few people to align publically with one side or the other. In spite of that, each of them has chosen not to take a public position.

After the October congregational vote, Tom Gray was asked by the Tulsa World reporter, Bill Sherman, how he felt about the vote and what would have been his vote. Tom answered both questions because he believed, at that time, the decision was final and his words would not have undue influence. His answer was that he would have preferred appealing the case but, at the same time, was satisfied with the congregation’s vote to settle. His faithful focus has been and continues to be to stay neutral while following God’s will and accepting the congregation’s vote as the reflection of God’s will.

All of your pastors and all of your officers will make whatever your decision is work to the best for our congregation, our ministry, and our mission. Kirk of the Hills Session

November 26, 2008

A Called Congregation Meeting is Sunday, November 30th at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. This meeting is called for the purpose of voting on: 1) the election of officers for the 2012 term and 2) to accept or reject EOP’s final settlement offer. Ballot registration will begin at 4:30. An information meeting regarding the settlement offer will be held in the Sanctuary beginning at 5:00pm. Written questions will be accepted for response by the Pastors and/or Session. Votes may be submitted any time between 4:30-7:30pm.

Open letter to congregation from Session member

Three years ago you elected me to serve my fifth three-year term on your Session. As a result I have more experience on our Session than any other person, by a considerable margin. I first served on the Session when Lew Evans was our pastor. I can tell you that this current Session is unique and far and away the best Session I have served on, or been exposed to. We have argued and debated many issues, but we have always disagreed agreeably. Searching for God’s will has truly been our guiding light. I am proud and honored to have been part of this body.

The foregoing is to establish my credentials to put to rest a rumor that has been circulated. The Session asked me to write this letter. Some have said that the Session has been unduly influenced by Tom and Wayne in regards to the second vote on the lawsuit settlement proposal. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been amazed at how neutral they have remained during the entire debate, which has been extensive, lengthy and vigorous. Every member of the Session expressed their ideas and concerns and how they felt God was leading them. At no time did any of the pastors try to influence us other than to provide facts and information. They took the position that God would guide the Session and the congregation and that they would accept those decisions as God’s word to them. I believe that they will faithfully and wholeheartedly support whatever decision we make on this matter. That does not imply that they do not have opinions and feelings on these important matters.

Those who know me will tell you that I am not easily intimidated and never, ever back away from a good argument. I have personally disagreed with every one of our pastors on something at one time or another. I have done it publicly and in private. I say that to support what I just said about the pastors not unduly influencing the Session. I repeat, the actions of your Session were taken by each member voting their own conscience.

Anyone who tells you differently is just not aware of the facts of the matter.

The Session is 100% committed to accept the congregation’s decision as God’s will and intends to carry it out to the best of our ability with unity and the spirit of Christian fellowship.

Your brother in Christ,

John R. Haley

Monday, November 24, 2008

EOP's Greg Coulter Nov 17 Letter

From First Presbyterian Church of Bartlesville website: Greg's Nov. 17 Letter

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

It is with great disappointment that I am writing you this note. As you know, on September 19, 2008, Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery voted unanimously to sell the property located at 61st and Yale and known as Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church to the current congregation of the Kirk of the Hills. Correspondingly, the Kirk of the Hills congregation approved the same motion on October 19, 2008. A specific term of those motions was for a closing to occur on or before November 15, 2008. Despite the continuing efforts of Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery and our counsel, Craig Hoster, the Kirk of the Hills leadership was not willing to close the real estate transaction within the designated time period.

During the week following the Kirk congregation’s approval of the settlement, the Presbytery office received calls from both a bank and a title company to request routine information which would have led to the closing being completed in a timely manner; however, the Kirk of the Hills leadership soon thereafter began a series of allegations that somehow the PCUSA had defaulted on the terms of the settlement motions by requiring a written order reflecting the judge's ruling of September 9, 2008. Yet, the PCUSA never changed its position or required an additional term. Moreover, we have written communication from the Kirk negotiator reflecting his understanding of the same. That written order was clearly contemplated by the District Court. Indeed, the Court reaffirmed this interpretation on October 6, when it directed that if the parties were unable to agree on a journal entry recording the decision, the Court would enter its own. That written order was entered by the Court on November 4, and is consistent with the Court’s September 9 oral pronouncement. On the same date, the judge, without request by any party, further ordered that the ownership of all of the church property, both real and personal, was quieted in the name of Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery and that EOP would obtain possession of the church property on December 1, 2008, at 5:00 p.m.

In preparation for closing the settlement, EOP, with the assistance of our counsel, provided appropriate forms of closing documents to the Kirk leadership and its counsel; however, all attempts at setting the closing were delayed repeatedly. By last Wednesday it became clear that the closing preparations begun in October had stalled shortly thereafter and the Kirk’s leadership was not making preparations to close the transaction by November 15. Yet, Kirk representatives were now complaining of an inability to obtain clear title to the property. Since Wednesday, we have focused our attention on finding a way to honor the votes of EOP and the Kirk congregation while also seeking to address perceived problems to clear title to the property (though we do not believe such problems exist). To that end, we offered to obtain title insurance for the Kirk, at our expense, and we arranged for all closing documents and funds to be placed in escrow on November 15, since it had become too late to obtain the title insurance by that date. These efforts went unacknowledged by the Kirk leadership. Sadly, the November 15 closing deadline established by EOP and the Kirk congregation has now passed, and neither a closing nor escrow has been accomplished.

It appears that the efforts of the Kirk congregation, PCUSA and Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery to resolve the litigation and convey the property to the Kirk to continue its mission and worship have been thwarted by the Kirk leadership or its counsel, despite the actions of the Presbytery and the Kirk congregation. We are greatly disappointed that we have been unable to settle this matter in accordance with the authority given by the Presbytery.

Please continue to pray for the members of the Kirk of the Hills, all of our churches in the Presbytery, and the PCUSA.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Beaver-Butler Presbytery sends back Declaration for rework

From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

We will not accept discipline that, like many of the [General Assembly] actions, rests on human institution instead of God's word," it said. Twelve congregations have endorsed it. After long debate the presbytery voted 57-45 to send the declaration to a task force for reworking.

Official Website:

  • new task force
  • report to the whole presbytery at its March 2009 meeting.

Beaver-Butler Presbytery has dismissed Portersville

Layman Online

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Story:

  • Beaver-Butler Presbytery
  • Portersville Presbyterian Church to EPC
  • 176-members
  • voted 115-3
  • Third Church to be dismissed
  • assets appraised at $423,000
  • tithe of that, $42,300
  • There was no debate
  • A voice vote of more than 100 commissioners, there were just a few dissenters.

The financial terms of the earlier dismissal of Chippewa United Presbyterian Church in Beaver Falls were appealed to a church court, so Chippewa remains in the presbytery pending a decision.

Washington Presbytery is in civil litigation with one (ed: Peters Creek UPC in Venetia, Pa?) that voted to leave without permission.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Presbytery of the Cascades has voted to dismiss two of its Portland congregations

From the Layman: The Presbytery of the Cascades has voted to dismiss two of its Portland congregations – the 2,000-member Sunset Presbyterian Church and the 62-member Kenton Presbyterian Church. Both will soon become a part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

Although the Cascades is considered one of the most liberal presbyteries in the denomination, the presbytery was gracious in approving the dismissals, according to Alan Wilkinson, pastor of the Kenton congregation.

Kirk of the Hills Files Proposed Judgement

The official court site show that Kirk filed a "Proposed Judgment".

I am little surprised that Kirk can still file. The Judge has "Order Entered Adjudicating Summary Judgment". I wonder what the difference is? What legal advantage does this give Kirk? The selfish side of me is still hoping for a appeal and win.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Coming Soon - Maps

I have developed a little bit of program using a library from The University of Manchester GPC library and some "maps" in Google form (KML). The maps have outlines of every county in the US (almost 3100). The library lets me combine outlines (polygons) into one outline. I have "manually" done one state. I am adding to the software to make it easier to select counties to include in each map. When I am done, I will post the software and map files.

My main purpose is to develop a map of presbytery votes on keeping the “fidelity/chastity” ordination requirement in the Book of Order. I also plan on using the google geocoding interface, to pinpoint all of the PCUSA churches as pins on the map.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Legal Update from Tom & Wayne

Dear Kirk Family,

Negotiations to re-purchase our property were temporarily halted because the PCUSA added demands not contained in the purchase agreement that the Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery and you voted for. Even though the denomination’s additional and unexpected demands stopped the transaction we voted on, we are still in negotiation. Your session has authorized John O’Connor, our lead litigating attorney, to head up a team for new negotiations. He has already been in contact with the Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery.

We believe the only reasonable way we can complete this re-purchase is to have the same kinds of contractual guarantees that you and I would insist on if we were buying a home. We want it to be free and clear of any alternate claims to ownership before we actually write the check. It is the lack of such guarantees, along with the PCUSA’s clouding of the agreement that stopped our original deal.

Your session authorized our negotiators to seek the following:

  • $1.75MM purchase price,
  • Warranty Deed,
  • Title Insurance,
  • Assurance in writing that the Synod or others will not oppose the deal,
  • A December Close Date,
  • Release all church leadership of any and all liability.

If the above is unsuccessful, we still have some alternatives to move on.

At the same time, Sean McKee and his partners were authorized to move forward with the appeal procedures in order to protect our path forward as to the various court deadlines.

Both the new negotiations and the filing of our appeal will take place this week. Please keep John, Sean, and their colleagues in your prayers. Also pray that the Lord will soften the hearts of the decision makers in our old denomination.

Your brothers in Christ,
Tom & Wayne

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Letter From Tom and Wayne

Judge Sellers announced his judgment.

We expect that the judge will sign a final judgment in our case in the next few days, granting the EOP ownership of our land and building and ownership of the personal property the Kirk owned as of August 15, 2006 The Judge stayed the effect of his ruling until December 1, 2008. This means that any time after 5:00 pm December 1, 2008 they have the right to seek to evict us.

The filing of the judgment means that our 30-day appeal “clock” begins ticking. In order to preserve our right to appeal, we are preparing to file in a timely manner, even while negotiations continue regarding the deal on our property.

The deal has not yet been consummated because the PCUSA, at the last minute, entered what we believe is an additional condition to the sale. While the EOP promised us that the PCUSA was “on board” with all the details we had negotiated, it became evident that the PCUSA had not even been consulted.

If, in the meantime, we go into appeal, there still is the possibility of negotiating a bond so that we can stay in place until any appeal is decided, but that is anything but certain. Our attorneys are re-entering negotiations to re-purchase the property, but trust and certainty are issues.

We don’t want to hand over $1.75 million (or any other amount), only to have another part of the denominational bureaucracy sue us again for the same amount or more. Unless our payment gives us free, clear, and marketable title to the property, and is confirmed by an owner’s title insurance policy, then there can be no deal.

The process has become harder for us to complete, and even the idea of our church building being at risk is emotionally difficult. We certainly still believe that we have been wronged by the denomination, and that the court has erred in its decision (so far). Since the judge held to the “deference principle,” he left us to the “fairness” of the church courts, denying us our real day in court.

We are considering all of these issues, seeking God's wisdom and guidance. The decisions we will make will be based on His leading which are in the best interest of our congregation and the cause of His Kingdom.

There are other concerns.

In one of the most recent filings by the EOP, they told the judge that they planned to operate a church in our facility after evicting us. We don’t see how they could do this according to their constitution, since they announced this without first receiving approval from the presbytery as a whole. We believe that this statement is one meant to divide our congregation. If the EOP does start a church at our facility, it will be to try to divide us by attracting some of you to stay put where we’ve worshiped for decades.

The representatives of the EOP are publicly saying that the Kirk is a “deeply divided congregation.” We believe that they wish it were so. The truth is the opposite. We are so grateful for your support and unity. More than 1,100 of us gathered for worship on Sunday, and we expect to continue to honor the Lord in worship together, without fail.

We will appeal the judge’s decision. Because of the nature of the decision, this appeal would be on a “fast track” to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Even though it’s a “fast track,” courts take time to make decisions, so it will probably be six months at the least and 15 months at the most.

What do we need from you?

Pray for us. We feel those prayers, and they are powerful.

Keep encouraging each other. We have a wonderful, caring congregation. It is important that we support each other and not let circumstances discourage us.

Remain faithful in your worship attendance. Although we love the facility the Lord has granted us so far, we know the Church is the people, not the place.

If you are able, keep up your tithes, offerings, and gifts. Our monthly cost will go down a bit while we worship at Metro, because it won’t be as expensive as our current building costs. However, we still have vital programs and missions that need your support.

What do you need from us?

Please feel free to call or email any pastor or elder of the Kirk. All their names and numbers are listed at the end of this document. Don’t hesitate to contact us, whatever the reason.

In the meantime we will continue to worship where we are. If that situation changes, you’ll be among the first to hear about it.

Wayne Hardy and Tom Gray
Kirk of the Hills Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Kirk: Court gives Final Decision for EOP

Today Judge Sellers made a final decision and ruled in favor of EOP. Click here for more information about the decision. Official Court Website

Tomorrow night our leadership (Elders, Trustees, Deacons) will meet to discuss all options for the Kirk of the Hills. We will communicate more details when they become available.

ED: So what are the choices now for Kirk?

  • File Appeal and Pay bond - 10%??
  • Walk Away by Dec 1.
  • Pay $1.75M (if EOP will still accept)

Court Orders Personal Property of Kirk to EOP

Personal property held by corporation as listed in the response to interrogatories belong to Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery. Journal entry to be prepared by defendants. Judgment stayed until Monday, December 1, 2008 at 5:00 pm.

95 Theses for the American Church

by Jared Wilson Blog: The Gospel Driven Church - The pastor of Element, a missional Christian community in Nashville, TN. Here They All Are on One Page:
  1. God saves us as individuals, but he does not save us to an individual faith.
  2. The Christian's faith may be personal, but it should not be private.
  3. Life is not about us.
  4. The Church is not supposed to be about us.
  5. The American Christian takes for granted the convenience of the availability of God's revelation in the Holy Scriptures.
  6. When a Christian abandons the discipline of the study of Scripture, he spites and dishonors the men and women who toiled, sacrificed, and died to increase the availability of God's written word.
  7. Moreover, when a Christian doesn't read Scripture, he spites and dishonors God who graciously reveals himself to us in and through it.
  8. The Christian who does not devote himself to Scripture but yet expresses frustration over not hearing "God's will for my life" is either confused or stupid.
  9. The Christian who devotes himself to Scripture in order to achieve a knowledge that puffs up is storing up a harsh rebuke from the Holy Spirit.
  10. The aim of devotion to Scripture is our transformation, not merely our information.
  11. The American Christian and the churches that train him are adherents to the syncretism1 of biblical values and the self-idolatry of consumer culture.
  12. This syncretism1 is suffocating the discipleship culture of our churches, which are mostly predicated on therapeutic gospels and self-help which make do not glorify God and which make the disciple the center of Christian faith rather than Christ.
  13. The American Christian is often offended by or secretive about the message of the gospel, which puts him dangerously in league with those who find the message foolish and are perishing.
  14. The Christian in the American Christian ought to affirm and embrace the cost of discipleship, but the American in the American Christian hesitates to deny himself because Self is his highest value.
  15. The modern disciple is currently being spiritually deformed by leaders in the Church who do not make that which is "of first importance" the most important thing.
  16. The modern disciple compartmentalizes his life and does not realize that even a large compartment for "faith" or "church" or "God" is not healthy discipleship. The American Christian's schedule and routines reflect he believes his days belong to himself and not to God.
  17. The American Christian finds Jesus' command to sacrifice and serve abhorrent.
  18. The American Christian has forgotten how to pray.
  19. Discipleship is best cultivated in the active participation in and contribution to the culture of a gospel-embracing Christian community.
  20. The culture running counter to the kingdom is neither sympathetic to nor conducive to the experience of real community.
  21. The American Christian, immersed in self-idolatrous consumeristic culture, is in his attitudes and behaviors unresponsive to the biblical call to Christian community.
  22. The evangelical Church in America, having capitulated uncritically to the values of the surrounding culture, is unwittingly supporting the idolatry of Self and thereby suffocating the community it professes to desire.
  23. Discipleship is designed to be experienced in community, but we have privatized our faith.
  24. The legacy of legalism, gossip, condemnation, and bigotry in the fundamentalist church suffocates community by removing the gospel-honoring security of bold confession and relational authenticity.
  25. The legacy of license, corruption, and theological superficiality in the modernist church suffocates community by affirming the Self and its prerogatives as the Christian's real gods.
  26. There is no such thing as "virtual community." Technology is a valuable tool in the contemporary church, but it is a powerful one that is used too often uncritically.
  27. The uncritical use of technology by the Church only fosters individualism and facilitates separation from incarnational community.
  28. Christian community requires that Christians submit themselves to the benefit of the community.
  29. Every Christian is endowed by the Spirit with gifts and talents for the edification of the Church and the glory of God, not only or primarily for the fulfillment of self.
  30. When a Christian refuses to submit to community, he is saying "I have no need of you" (1 Cor. 12:21) and therefore is spiting the exhortation of Scripture and despising the purpose of giftedness, which is "the common good" (1 Cor. 12:7).
  31. When a Christian refuses to submit to community he is declaring himself better than others -- even if he is abstaining because of elitism or arrogance in the Church -- and is guilty of hypocrisy.
  32. Christian community ought to be oriented around the treasure of the gospel and purposed around the proclamation of the kingdom.
  33. The American Church's occasional attempts at community are oriented around superficial interests, hobbies, self-actualization, and the livelihood of the church organization.
  34. Christians need gospel-oriented community because we are sinners and constantly need to have our brothers and sisters speak and be the gospel to us, and because we constantly need to speak and be the gospel to our brothers and sisters.
  35. The gospel is about reconciliation; therefore, to orient around the gospel means (a) to enjoy and to proclaim the good news of the sinner's reconciliation with God through Christ's finished work and (b) to enjoy and to embody the good news of the sinner's reconciliation with other sinners through Christ's finished work.
  36. Christian community is primarily about "the ministry of reconciliation" (2 Cor. 5), not mere fraternization.
  37. Thousands of churches holding out Acts 2 as the ideal picture of the Church do so while simultaneously, in the context of their message and their methods, subverting the likelihood of their church resembling what is seen in Acts 2.
  38. Our triune God exists in community, so the American Christian's refusal to submit to community is disobedience to the first commandment.
  39. Because Christian community reflects reconciliation with God and reconciliation with our neighbor, the American Christian's refusal to submit to community is disobedience to the Great Commandment.
  40. The New Testament designates God's elect "The Body of Christ," and therefore the Church's role in the world is to do what Christ did: proclaim and embody the gospel of the kingdom.
  41. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.
  42. Much of what passes for church in America will be prevailed against by hell.
  43. The local church is intended to be a loving community that truly treasures the gospel.
  44. The Church in America is generally not community-oriented and mostly treasures itself.
  45. The American Church loves itself more than its neighbor.
  46. The message of the evangelical American Church has shifted from bold proclamation of Jesus to an inordinate application of "biblical values."
  47. The American Church loves the spirit of the age and idolizes relevancy.
  48. Consequently, the American Church has lost its courage to preach repentance and its faithfulness to the gospel.
  49. The American Church needs more and more bold elders and ministers willing to be missionaries for the gospel to evangelicalism.
  50. The number of large churches has increased, but the number of professing Christians has decreased. This means what we are being told is working isn't.
  51. Churches are spending lots of money on unnecessary and selfish things.
  52. The Church must repent of its idolization of personality and business principles.
  53. The Church must repent of its idolization of political power and prestige.
  54. The Church must repent of its idolization of the self and its failure to find Christ sufficient.
  55. The Church must repent for its neglect of and casual approach to the sacraments.
  56. The Church must repent of its idolization of "cool," in which we dishonor our parents, spite our brothers and sisters in the faith, and merely set ourselves up for the sins we perceive in them -- appearing "of the times."
  57. The Church must return to feeding its gathered people the Word of God, not therapeutic motivation, on a regular basis. The Church must return to cultivating community, not maintaining programs.
  58. The tide can turn in American evangelicalism if we will return to our first love.
  59. The elders and pastors of the church, as ministers of the gospel, are charged by Jesus to feed the sheep.
  60. The trend within the American church of orienting the worship gathering around seekers while simultaneously demanding sheep "self-feed" is therefore a sin in need of repentance.
  61. Leaders in the church must watch their life and their doctrine closely.
  62. Leaders in the church must not remove themselves from the community life of the church, as if they are somehow, by office or giftedness, above it.
  63. The pastors of the churches in American have ceased serving as their church's resident theologian.
  64. The qualities necessary for church leadership are clearly outlined in Scripture. These include self-control, ability to teach the Word, and gentleness.
  65. The qualities most in demand in the American pastorate are frequently foreign to the qualities made most important in Scripture.
  66. The professionalization of the pastorate is stunting the discipleship culture of the American Church. This is not to say that pastors should not receive pay for their service, only that the influence and predominance of professional business and marketing skills and "types" have overtaken the biblical office of church overseer so that the pastorate is more about management than it is about shepherding.
  67. Churches should protect their pastor's livelihood and integrity by both providing for his needs and lovingly demanding he feed them the Word.
  68. The pastors who direct the church are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
  69. The pastor who preaches not the incarnate Word in the revealed word, who teaches the satisfaction of good works (or anything but Christ) is serving dishonorably.
  70. If any pastor preaches no gospel or a different gospel, let him be accursed.
  71. The American pastor must repent of ambition.
  72. The American Church must repent of its idolization of the celebrity pastorate.
  73. The American pastor is right to seek to contextualize the gospel, but he must repent of the idolization of innovation and technology.
  74. The American pastor must pastor more than he programs.
  75. The American pastor must trust the Spirit, not statistics.
  76. The American pastor must repent of the idolization of numbers and results.
  77. The American pastor must above all be faithful to Christ, passionate about the gospel clearly articulated, devoted to the Word and the sacraments, and motivated by what is right, not what is expected, popular, or even productive.
  78. The purpose of Christian worship is not momentary music but total submission to God and consecration for life.
  79. The purpose of worshiping through music and the arts is not emotional reaction but the exaltation of God.
  80. The purpose of preaching is not motivation but the proclamation of the gospel.
  81. The purpose of teaching is not information but edification.
  82. The purpose of evangelism is not recruitment but reconciliation.
  83. The purpose of service and justice is not achieving or demonstrating righteousness but obeying Christ and demonstrating his righteousness.
  84. The purpose of salvation is not self-improvement but resurrection.
  85. The purpose of prayer is not accumulation but intimacy with God.
  86. The purpose of ministry is not imparting knowledge or a spiritual impression but knowing and sharing Jesus Christ and him crucified.
  87. The purpose of discipleship is not self-actualization but conformity to the will of God.
  88. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is not self-fulfillment but the common good of the church.
  89. The purpose of Scripture is not education but transformation.
  90. The purpose of community is not fellowship but “follow-ship.”
  91. The purpose of the pastorate is not impressing an audience but feeding the sheep.
  92. The purpose of love is not reciprocation but the glory of God.
  93. The purpose of grace is not vanity but the glory of God.
  94. The purpose of the Church is not itself but the glory of God.
  95. The purpose of the gospel is the glory of God.
  96. The point of human existence is the glory of God.

Definitions of words I am unfamiliar:

1 Syncretism consists of the attempt to reconcile disparate or contradictory beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought.

Kirk of the Hills - Summary Judgement


I will update as soon as I know what this means.

Here are a couple of letters on Presbyweb:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tom's Back!

Tom Gray is back at blogging! He is trying to bring balance back to EOP reporting, so both sides will be told.

Two San Joaquin Presbyterian congregations vote to break away

Fresno Bee Stories:
  • FPC Fresno: 543-10
  • Trinity Presbyterian in Clovis: 264-7 Rev. Chuck Shillito
  • Presbytery of San Joaquin: Rev. Rick Irish
  • churches cite gay issues.
  • The presbytery's leader, the Rev. Rick Irish, said the votes are only informational and without authority. The next step is for presbytery-appointed committees to review the transfer requests, including who would get church property. Reviews can take up to a year to complete.
  • Irish said one or two more Valley congregations may also ask to leave.

Ed: Does all of this activity look like the snowball is getting bigger as it rolls along?

Kenton voted 44-2 to EPC

Kenton voted 44-2 to approve the Session's recommendation to seek Presbytery's dismissal to the EPC. Presbytery votes on Friday, November 7

Rev. Alan Wilkerson
Pastor Kenton United Presbyterian Church
Portland, OR.
an endorsing congregation of the NWAC
personal blog

Friday, October 31, 2008

More Court Filings in Kirk of the Hills

  • EOP: Response to Kirk's Motion to Reconsider
  • PCUSA: Response to Kirk's Motion to Reconsider
  • PCUSA: Dismissal Without Prejudice 2 of Counterclaims of PCUSA

NOTE: One of my lawyer contacts wonders if "Without Prejudice" means anything in Oklahoma? Our law says you must file all issues at the start of the lawsuit. You CANNOT file a second lawsuit over the same action.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two more churches to leave PCUSA?

This Layman Story: Presbytery, 2,000-member Oregon congregation draft separation proposal has two churches leaving PCUSA.
  • Presbytery of the Cascades
  • Sunset Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR
    • Members: 1,957 Sunday School: 3,911 Worship: 2,067
    • Oct. 12, 19 and 26, Sunset’s members voted
    • Nov. 7-8 Presbytery will vote
    • Elders had voted unanimously to seek dismissal from the presbytery.
    • Joint Agreement
    • Denominational Frequently Asked Questions and Resources
    • Three annual payments of $41,000 – a total of $123,000.
    • Seven contributions of $45,000 a year to support presbytery missions – $315,000.
    • Grand Total: $438,000 or $217.50 per member
  • Kenton United Presbyterian Church, Portland, OR
    • Members: 62 (2007 PCUSA)
    • Worship: 40
    • $7,500 over five years to the presbytery’s mission. $37,500 or $604/member or $937/worshiper
    • The name of the church would change to Kenton Church EPC.
    • Letter to Membership
    • Kenton voted 44-2 to approve the Session's recommendation to seek Presbytery's dismissal to the EPC.- Rev. Alan Wilkerson
    • Presbytery votes on Friday, November 7

Check out the NEW and IMPROVED Layman Online!

They even have an RSS feed

\ | / - \ ! (me turning cartwheels)

OUCH! (me remembering I am no longer 20!)

Kirk Objects to EOP's Proposed Journal Entry

The Official Court website show that Kirk Objects to EOP's Proposed Journal Entry.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Greg Coulter's (EOP's General Presbyter) Letter about Kirk

From: Greg Coulter
Oct 24, 2008 4:07 pm
To: EOP Pastors' Notes


No doubt many of you have read in one or more places that either the presbytery or the denomination is not playing fair with the Kirk of the Hills. Kirk spokespersons accuse EOP and PCUSA of lying about the terms of the settlement agreement. I want to assure you that this is not true.

The primary question raised is whether or not the proposed settlement concludes all pending legal matters. It would. One item, however, is no longer pending, the court decision on September 9 in which the District Court ruled in favor of EOP and PCUSA in the lawsuit filed by the Kirk. The Court ruled in favor of EOP and PCUSA under both legal constructs - "hierarchical deference" (which is the state law in OK) and "neutral principles" (which is the law in other states). Once the Court entered a ruling, it became a matter of public record. The only issue to be resolved is the wording of the final order (called a "journal entry"). EOP and PCUSA have agreed that the court's order (awarding the property to EOP) would be set aside at the settlement closing, but it has been (or should have been) clear all along that a judgment would be entered in the case.

At a subsequent hearing on October 6, set to determine the final language of the journal entry, the Kirk's attorneys raised several more arguments. Judge Sellers said that he had hoped the three parties to the suit (Kirk of the Hills Corporation, EOP, and PCUSA) would have resolved the language of the journal entry, but noted that more time might be necessary. He then said, "So, if you think you want to get closer and submit additional proposals, that's fine. You have ten days in which to do it, then I'll settle the judgment - - or journal entry, reflecting what my ruling is." At no time did the Court allow a situation in which the decision of September 9 would not be recorded in some manner.

Following the September 9 Court decision, representatives of the Kirk and EOP drafted a proposed settlement which would allow the Kirk to remain in the facilities which have now been awarded to EOP. EOP voted to accept that settlement on September 19. The Kirk congregation voted to accept that settlement on October 19. The Court requires a final journal entry to conclude the hearing on September 9 and all parties are working on the language of that final order. We are asking that it be a joint filing by attorneys for all three parties, as the language is largely that which was proposed originally by the Kirk's attorney. I have no word yet on whether the filing will be made by all three attorneys or not.

It is unfortunate that some of the normal conversations between attorneys which always accompany such discussions were forwarded to the media. However, it is not PCUSA or EOP which has tried to change any terms of the proposed settlement. Judge Sellers has ruled on the case and has determined that a journal entry will be placed in the Court record, whether the attorneys agree on common language or not. He has stated this on the record on multiple occasions. We see no reason not to settle and we remain confident that this matter will move forward.

If you have questions on these or any other matters, please do not hesitate to call the presbytery office. Dana Bailey or I would be more than happy to answer your questions or visit with your Session. In the meantime, please continue to pray for all involved, most especially the Kirk congregation.


Kirk of the Hills - They agreed to disagree, but not disagreeable.

Remaining steadfast on the Hill

Ed: For those who have not been following The Kirk story, this story seems to be a rebuttal to Rev. Greg Coulter comments from the Tulsa World Story: "He said the closeness of the vote clearly indicates a divided congregation."

NOTE: I have updated the court timeline and brought it up to date!

7 Years - Free at Last!

Layman Story: Presbytery, Hephzibah fight comes to an end
  • Hephzibah Presbyterian Church
  • Bessemer City, N.C.
  • Presbytery of Western North Carolina
  • bitter, seven-year fight
  • Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP) bailed Hephzibah out when all looked lost.
  • $12,225.54 in rental income
  • $82,000 Purchase Price
  • Presbytery Changed the Locks
  • Presbytery won a civil court ruling
  • Upheld by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
  • 30 Members
  • 100 Worshipers at Welcoming Service

Friday, October 24, 2008

Announcement from Tim Trump regarding failed settlement with PCUSA and EOP

Thursday, October 23, 2008

After the vote of the Congregation to settle our lawsuit with the EOP and PCUSA, Dean Luthey, attorney for the PCUSA, notified the Kirk that the PCUSA would not sign any release or agree to the settlement approved by the EOP and the Kirk. Instead, the PCUSA is now demanding a final, written order from Judge Sellers finding that the PCUSA won on its claims against the Kirk, and reciting certain legal grounds for that decision.

You should know that this was never a part of the agreement between the Kirk, the EOP or the PCUSA. In fact, written and oral assurances were given by the EOP and PCUSA that the PCUSA had approved the settlement as voted on and agreed to by the EOP and the Kirk. It is not advisable that we enter into a settlement only with the EOP since the PCUSA is a party to the lawsuit with claims against the Kirk.

What this means is that the settlement we approved on Sunday will probably not be completed. At this point, the lawsuit will continue and we will keep you posted as to its progress. We have had no recent word from the EOP as to whether or when it will seek to evict us from our building.

I deeply regret that the PCUSA has lied to the Kirk and the EOP about its approval of the settlement agreement. Please continue to be in prayer regarding the future of the Kirk. We will keep you informed of any changes or progress as it happens.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

PCUSA lawyer clouds Kirk settlement proposal

Layman Online story say PCUSA only will settle if they get a favorable ruling from the Judge.

Rumor is the the Judge is so angry, he is thinking about ruling against PCUSA and for the Kirk. ... Not really, but it is a possibility.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kirk congregation votes to buy property! 508-483

Kirk vote 10/19:
For buying property - 508
Against - 483

A Kirk member

ED: As my wife says: "We're screwed" - the small churchs will never be able to leave.

Note from a Kirk Member

EOP is during everything it can to frighten Kirk members into voting for the buyout. They have dropped the fiduciary and breach of contract portions of the lawsuit and are saying that if the vote goes against they buyout they will evict the congregation and start another church in the building. It's all about the money, isn't it?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Kirk of the Hills Court Fillings

From the Official Court Site:
  • Oct 16 2008 4:14: PM: EOP: Proposed Journal Entry
  • Oct 17 2008 7:31: AM: Kirk: Proposed Order and Motion to Reconsider
  • Oct 17 2008 7:54: AM: EOP: Dismissal without Prejudice of Certain Counterclaims

Note: That the Clerk entered these first thing on Friday, which means they were filed Thursday, to meet the deadline.

Kirk Session Recommends Not to Buy!

The Kirk session had a meeting last night and voted to change their recommendation and oppose the offer to purchase the property made by EOP. This came after the Kirk attorneys reviewed the transcript of the hearing 10/6.

A Kirk Member

Layman Story: Kirk's session recommends rejecting property buyout

Monday, October 13, 2008

FPC of Thibodaux PC(USA) dissolved!

Dissolved - what a relief!

First Presbyterian Church of Thibodaux PC(USA) has been dissolved by the Presbytery of South Louisiana. Now FPC of Thibodaux can continue as an EPC congregation.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Open Letter to EOP Delegates to Presbytery

Now is is the time to stand up for Jesus with Grace, Love, Peace and Righteousness!

  • Dismiss the Lawsuits against Kirk of the Hills.
  • Dismiss the Administrative Commision
  • Release the Kirk with their property at NO charge
  • Apologize to Kirk of the Hills for pain and suffering.
  • Order the removal of "lien" from all Church properties
  • Remove Greg Coulter as General Presbyter.
  • Become the Fourth Presbytery to approve the "An Open Theological Declaration To The PC(USA) Explicating Major Errors Of The 218th General Assembly As A Church Council And The Means Of Their Redress"
  • Adopt a reasonable and fair procedure to dismiss churches from PCUSA as other presbyteries have.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Congregational Vote Postponed

Your session unanimously voted to postpone the congregational vote to October 19th. Because of the expiration of the EOP’s offer to repurchase the building expires that day, this meeting will absolutely have to take place.

After we reviewed the results of the Monday hearing with Judge Sellers, we all felt that enough had changed that we would need time to review the transcripts, which are not available until next Monday. What we do know now is that, should you vote to repurchase the building, the problem of the Synod of the Sun undoing the transaction is largely resolved. The second option has changed entirely. Since the judge has not issued a final judgment, there is no appeal to be made at this time, nor would we have to leave the building unless or until such judgment is final.

We will have informational meetings on Wednesday, October 15th at 6:30pm. There will be a presentation and we will answer written questions. We will also have informal informational meetings on Thursday and Friday (the 16th and 17th) at 11:30am in the Chapel.

Tom Gray and Wayne Hardy

Kirk's View of the Case

Kirk's Attorney Tim Trump:

We had a 2 hour hearing before Judge Sellers Monday morning. It was interesting and very confusing. I will try to distill what happened as best I can and then explain how it may affect the vote on Wednesday.

  1. Judge Sellers ultimately decided that his ruling on September 9 was not a final appealable judgment because it does not resolve all issues as to all parties. He is not going to attempt to certify his ruling as a final order nor is he going to certify any questions that we could ask the Supreme Court to decide at this time.

    What does this mean? This means that without a final appealable judgment the EOP cannot evict us. This also means that we cannot take an immediate appeal. This means that if we do not settle the litigation will go on for several more months or maybe years before we get a final appealable judgment. The ruling in the EOP’s favor on the quiet title portion of the judgment (who owns the real estate) will not change regardless of how long the rest of the issues take to get resolved. This also means that the EOP does not really have a final judgment that it can tout to the rest of the world as a total victory. Finally this means that if there was an objection at the Synod level to a settlement that ended up undoing the settlement we would still be able to come back to Court and challenge it. In other words our appeal rights would not be lost.

  2. Judge Sellers also decided that the effective date to determine ownership of the personal property would be August 15, 2006.

    What does this mean? This means that he will give them the equivalent of whatever we had in the bank accounts on that day plus all other assets we owned as of that date. Anything that was acquired after that date is ours to keep. This is important because it means that if we leave we may not leave completely empty handed. This also bodes well for our position that they cannot touch anything in Joppa’s name.

  3. Judge Sellers effectively invited the EOP to request a temporary restraining.

    What does this mean? Judge Sellers recognizes that because he does not have a final order he cannot evict us in the normal course. He is concerned that something would happen to the property while we continue with the case. He wants to protect and preserve that value so that when the EOP gets the property at the end of the case it will still have value. This may take the form of some kind of bond or promise to insure or maintain the property. It also might take the form of an eviction order before the case is finished. That would be unusual but not impossible. At this point the EOP has not requested anything in this regard so there is nothing for him to decide. If the EOP files such a request my guess is that we would have a hearing in 30 to 60 days. At that hearing he would take evidence and determine an appropriate amount of a bond or level of protection. If we meet those terms we could continue to stay. If we don’t the Judge could order us to get out. He gave no indication of what he would consider an appropriate bond.

  4. Judge Sellers also made several other miscellaneous comments including: He hoped that his ruling on September 9 would have caused us to settle. He really wants us to settle. Each side has another ten days to submit revised proposed versions of his order from September 9.

    He will file a written order within 20 days. If we do not settle he will set a scheduling order to get the remaining issues resolved. This may take years. EOP’s attorney indicated that they might dismiss the breach of Contract and fiduciary duty claims. The court indicated that if they do not dismiss those claims, we would be entitled to a jury trial on those issues. He is not sure if he can enforce the Administrative Commission Report since it does not really recommend a specific course. In terms of the jurisdiction issue he makes a distinction between Church discipline and property ownership (In essence he is saying that once we leave the EOP cannot discipline us but they can take our property).

BOTTOM LINE- The ruling does not substantively change option #1 (pay the money and settle). It does, however, change option # 2 (appeal and vacate) since now we can neither appeal nor would we be required to immediately vacate. Option #2 really becomes-- Do we want to continue with the litigation until there is future order that requires us to vacate? Eventually we would get a final order which we could appeal but it may be a year or so down the road. The litigation course will cost more money and take more time. We know the decision from Judge Sellers regarding ownership of the building will not be in our favor and we will still have to appeal.

In the meantime, however, it is possible that we could move forward on a new church and be a long way down the road toward completing it before we ultimately got evicted. This might be two months or it might be two year

State of the Kirk of the Hills Case

From my "outside" perspective:
  • Court: EOP wins, Final delayed AGAIN!
  • EOP: Option 1: Pay Up($1.5M) and Shut UP (no appeal)
  • EOP: Option 2: Vacate NOW, EOP asks for $2-3M, appeal optional
  • EOP Summary: Take the bribe (less cost) or Take the Stick (money, money, money)
  • Kirk: Option 3: Rent during appeal (turned down by EOP)
  • Kirk: Option 4: Walk, forget Appeal, risk $$$ (turned down by EOP)

I see not grace from EOP, I only see hate, anger, and denial of the facts and denial of the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Kirk Oct 6 Court "Outcome"

from the Official Court Site: Parties to Submit Proposed Journal Entry Within 10 Days. Scheduling Conference Set for Nov 4, 2008 9 am.

Ten days would be Oct 16th?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Presbytery of Wabash Valley acts like a greedy fool!

Layman Story: Five congregations in Indiana await terms for leaving PCUSA

Five Presbyterian congregations in Indiana have been trying to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA) for more than a year, but the Presbytery of Wabash Valley has stymied their efforts to let them go with their property.

It has placed administrative commissions in all of the five congregations and a temporary pulpit supply minister at First Presbyterian Church in Kokomo.

Covenant PCW. Lafayette1,165
First PCKodomo568
First PCFrankfort303
First PCNappanee99
Attica PCAttica90

Four churches in California have announced they are pulling out of the denomination

From Layman Story:

General Assembly Council member Clark D. Cowden of San Diego said that four churches in California have announced they are pulling out of the denomination, "and a great number are getting in line to do the same."

He said that if presbyteries vote to remove the fidelity-chastity ordination standard from the PCUSA's Book of Order, there may be "a great exodus." He also said that churches may not leave physically, but they are already leaving spiritually, mentally and financially.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Kirk Files Notice of Pendecy of Action

I think this is Kirk saying the property is tied up in court, Just as EOP did to every single Church.

NOTE I will not be able to attend (day job is pressing). I hope to hear news from Kirk website or a Kirk member

From Ask a Lawyer:

Q. What is Lis Pendens?

A. A Lis Pendens means a Notice of a Pending Lawsuit.

It is a means by which the filer of the lis pendens notifies the world as a matter of public record that the real property against which it is filed is subject to the decision of a Court in a pending action.

Typically a lis pendens or notice of pendency is employed in a foreclosure action by lenders when borrowers default of mortgage loans. The property mortgaged acts as security for the debt or loan given. It can also be used in other actions involving real property such as an action in specific performance to compel the sale of real estate.

If there has been a lis pendens filed against property in which you have an interest you should consult with local counsel immediately to determine your rights.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Kirk Court "Fillings" - Updated

  • 10-02-2008 EOP Response to Kirk's Request for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law
  • 10-02-2008 NEW Lawyer PCUSA: Cupp, Heather L, Tulsa, OK
  • NEW Lawyer ?: Green, Amanda Maxfield, OKC, OK (Still not corrected by Clerk)
  • 10-03-2008 Kirk - Notice of Pendecy of Action (Lis Pedens)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

EOP VICIOUSLY kicks Kirk while it is down!

Layman has details on the EOP settlement proposal: Okla. Presbytery wants Kirk to pay $2.4 million in rent
  • The church is approximately 100,000 sq. ft.
  • With a parking garage in a prime Tulsa location.
  • the facility is in excellent shape and completely furnished.
  • Using a Rental rate at $12 per square foot.
  • Which would be below the commercial rate in the area for Class A space
  • seeks to gain control of its financial assets when the suit was filed in 2006 ($52,218.09)
Other Info:
  • The presbytery also wants the Kirk to pay its legal costs. $500K?
  • The presbytery also wants Breach of Contract Damages $??
I will wept for EOP to return to the Lord's love and repent of the ways of man.

I beg Kirk to put all of the INFO on their website so the rest of EOP may judge its leaders and hold them accountable.

Presbytery of South Louisiana aggressive attack plan

Layman Story: Presbytery votes to wrest control of local churches that 'contemplate' leaving

Presbytery of South Louisiana NOTE: They protect most things behind a password. Only cowards and dictators hide their documents.

The Plan: "Policy on the Severance of Relations between a Particular Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) including Disposition of Property,"

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Upside to Belonging to a Denomination.

PCA (Presbyterian Church of Australia) is in the news again. It has declared teachings Heretical at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Camberwell.
  • Accepting "feelings" as revelation from God equal to the Bible
  • Contact with non-Fellowship members leads to defilement
  • The Fellowship claims higher loyalty than members' families
  • Christians can be controlled by "generational curses" or evil spirits
  • God's forgiveness depends on confessing to other people
  • God's forgiveness depends on personal holiness.

The declaration, to be released today, vindicates the church in its decade-long battle to expel the cult, headed by stockbroker Bruce Teele, that dominates Trinity Presbyterian Church, Camberwell.

The commission instructs that these beliefs must not be taught in any congregation or by any Presbyterian office bearer, and its declaration must be read in every Presbyterian Church of Australia congregation by October 31.

News Article: Cult's teachings deemed heretical

FPC Tulsa to discuss the "Kirk Situation"?

From a Kirk Member:
I was just advised that Dr. Jim Miller , First Presbyterian Church has invited members of his congregation to a meeting in their chapel at 4:00 pm , September 28th and again at 12:15 on October 5th to openly discuss the "Kirk Situation" and its implications for the PSUSA

ED: I was unable to confirm this on FPC Tulsa website. Many people believe that FPC is the driving force in EOP to attack Kirk at all costs.

Presbyterian Global Fellowship

Fresno First Presbyterian mentions this group as a possible group to join if they leave PCUSA.

What is the Presbyterian Global Fellowship all about? By God’s grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit, our mission is to transform mainline congregations into missional communities following Jesus Christ. We are committed to a vision for missional renewal, to connecting congregations and leaders with one another and with the global church, to sharing ideas and resources worldwide, and to stewarding our material gifts in service of Christ's mission.

The formation of PGF in 2006 reflects several important trends. New technologies and creative partnerships make it possible for Christians to connect with one another in unprecedented ways, both within a certain region of the world and across the globe. We believe this new reality offers significant opportunities to join together in God’s mission, and as a fellowship we are committed to innovative networking and new patterns in building relationships and sharing resources.

Secondly, although our fellowship is open to individuals and congregations from across the Reformed tradition, the congregations who initiated PGF were responding to the crisis within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The PC(USA) has been mired in theological, moral and institutional crisis. PGF was formed to give congregations and individuals the opportunity to identify with a fellowship in which they can confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ with integrity, take full advantage of new forms of partnership, and get on with the mission of the church!

Finally, this need to “get on with the mission” is urgent, in the midst of major changes in Western culture. While the Gospel flourishes in many areas of the global South, the church in the “Western World” (i.e. Europe, North America, Australia) is struggling to engage the mission field in its own backyard. Most of our congregations are not used to having a “missionary stance” towards Western culture. And yet we believe that God has called us to be just such a missionary people. So, we formed this new missional fellowship, experiencing a fresh movement of the Holy Spirit, expanding beyond denominational patterns in the way that we express our theological vision and connect with one another and with the global church.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Why the Distrust? - Full Court Presby

Why the Distrust—An Answer to our General Assembly Moderator.

EOP kicks Kirk while it is down!

From the comment

The Kirk congregational meeting has been changed to 6:30 pm October 8 on advice from our attorneys. There is a hearing on October 6 and they feel it best to have the meeting after that so the congregation can have all the details before voting.

The Kirk is being given 2 options by EOP:

  • Buy the building and property for $1.75 million
  • Leave the building. There can be no appeal unless the members vote to leave.

There are strong arguments for both options, and I really don't know which way the vote will go. Pray for God to guide us in this matter.

A Kirk member

ED: I thought the EOP could go no lower! My shame of being a member of EOP has increased 10 fold.

The EOP has the full agreement on their website(PDF). EOP approved this unanimously on Sept 19. I did not see it on the agenda. This meeting is the least attended Presbytery due to the location and it being a weekend meeting. Sneaky!

Proposed Kirk of the Hills Settlement

Kirk info:

EOP responses to Kirk's Objections

Court Entry: Sept 25 2008 4:13PM: Deft Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery's Response & Objections Concerning Motion To Settle Journal Entry

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kirk Alternative Journal Entry, Request

From the Official Court Site:
Plaintiff's Combined:
  • Proposed Journal Entry Of Judgment
  • Objection To Defendant's Proposed Journal Entry
  • Request For Findings Of Fact And Conclusions Of Law

Also, a new Attorney for somebody, the clerk mangled the entry.

Green, Amanda Maxfield
SUITE 1800

Roseville and Fair Oaks

Back in the battle again for Roseville and Fair Oaks
However on Saturday, the Sacramento Presbytery of the PCUSA voted to request that an administrative commission be formed by the Synod of the Pacific. The petition read:
The Presbytery hereby petitions the Synod to appoint an administrative commission under G-9.02503, with the power to act on behalf of the Presbytery in all matters related to the Suits, including the Appeal and to provide or obtain funding in connection therewith.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Reading of the Beaver-Butler Presbytery Declaration

UPDATE: Approved for second reading.

Merely Confessional Presbyterianism Blog:

News Stories:

Three CA churches concerned about PCUSA direction

Fresno Bee: Valley Presbyterian group may split
National rule on gay leadership threatens divide.

Ed: This subtitle does not match the article.

Ed: A short version of this story is all over via AP.

Total 1950 = 28%

Presbytery of San Joaquin

  • 32 congregations
  • 7,000 members
  • Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties.
The concern is that the national denomination is backing away from tenets that some believe are indisputably decreed by the Bible in favor of more vague guidelines. Evans doesn't think it's right that "they've reduced it to regions where it is a debatable issue." He said homosexuality "is a secondary issue."

University Presbyterian Church in Fresno, which has 350 regular attendees, wants to start a discussion about the "lightning-rod issue of sexual orientation," said the church's pastor, the Rev. Chris Erdman.

But some Presbyterian congregations in the Valley have already left the denomination over disagreements about the Bible and homosexuality.

Total left/leaving = 2350? 33%

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hearing continue to Oct 6, 2008


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kirk of the Hills Sets Congregation Meeting

Kirk Current Events

The Kirk and EOP continue to discuss options for the Kirk following the judge’s ruling against the Kirk on September 9th. The Kirk’s pastors, elders and trustees have met several times and expect to have a recommendation early next week for the congregation to consider.

The next information meeting will be held Wednesday, September 24th at 6:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Additional information meetings are scheduled for Monday, September 29th and Tuesday, September 30th at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel.

There will be a Called Congregational Meeting on Wednesday, October 1st at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. Only members will be allowed to vote. Please arrive early to check-in and receive your ballot.

Joppa Church Corporation

Please make all future contributions to Joppa Church Corporation instead of the Kirk of the Hills. Joppa Church is a new non-profit organization that has been set up to receive contributions that are secure from the Presbytery. The address is 7107 S. Yale #279, Tulsa OK 74136

Presbytery maps plan to wrest control from sessions of churches 'contemplating' leaving PCUSA

Layman Story: Presbytery maps plan to wrest control from sessions of churches 'contemplating' leaving PCUSA

My title: Presbytery of Southern Louisiana - Pope of the South.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A blast from the past!

I was googling for something else, when I ran across this old 2001 story: Church leaders refute Presbyterian Layman charges. I had to laugh at how history has proved the Layman correct.

Kirk Speaks: "When you're in God's will, the best is always still ahead."

From a Tulsa World Story: Kirk of Hills congregation faithful about future
  • "They said they don't want to evict us, and they desire that we continue our ministry," Tim Trump said.
  • If the EOP takes over the property they will sell, there are interested buyers.
  • Presbytery statements that the church rebuffed efforts to negotiate a settlement over the last two years were untrue. "The truth is we made several earnest attempts to settle," Trump said.
  • If the church buys the building, there will be no appeals process, and no chance that the church will get the property back through a favorable court ruling.
  • The name of the church is considered part of the intangible value lost in the court case, but the presbytery has said they have no interest in the name, so the congregation could continue to use it.
  • An appeals process could take one to two years.
  • The church has about $1 million in debt, which will stay with the building.
  • All automatic bank draft donations and credit card giving to the Kirk of the Hills corporation have been suspended. A new corporation, Joppa, has been created for future giving to the church.

Ed: Every promise that the G.P. Rev. Greg Coulter makes is not his or the AC to decide it is up to the Presbytery!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Kirk Calls for the Congregation to Decide Property.

Kirk of the Hills will hold Informational Meetings, 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel
  • Monday, September 15th
  • Tuesday, September 16th
  • Wednesday, September 17th

Tom & Wayne will answer your questions about the judge's decision and the options the Kirk has for the future. The possible options include:

  • Buying the property from EOP
  • Leasing the property from EOP
  • Obtaining a bond to stay the effect of the order pending appeal
  • Abandon the property to EOP
No decision has been made yet. The congregation will vote at an upcoming congregational meeting.

Editorial: On a side note: EOP has only voted once, to form an AC. They have never had a chance to voice their opinion about what to do about Kirk. There is nothing on the agenda for Sept 19&20 Presbytery Meeting (At Dwight Mission)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Synod of the Trinity PJC issues Stay on Beaver-Butler

Hands Tied: Synod of the Trinity PJC issues Stay on Beaver-Butler

From Classical Presbyterian

I just received the news that the Synod PJC will review Beaver-Butler Presbytery's recent vote to allow Chippewa United Presbyterian Church to depart to the EPC. Reasons given in this Stay of Enforcement apparently include the lack of a complete inventory of CUPC's posessions.

Yes, the AC in charge of the recommendation to the presbytery is actually being accused in this Stay of failing to take into account how many forks, pew Bibles and fine china pieces the church may have owned!

Judge rules in favor of EOP - Kirk WILL Appeal!

Judge Sellers ruled. Here is MY summary of the trial.

  • Judge had no questions for the two parties
  • Thank both parties for well written briefs.
  • Cimmaron court case is still in effect.
  • It has not been overturned, reversed in Okla.
  • Therefore Summary Motion for EOP is affirmed
  • And summary motion for Kirk is denied
  • If ruled on Hierarchical Principals - EOP/PCUSA wins
  • If ruled on Neutral Principals - ???? wins
    Presbyterian Outlook heard this as EOP wins?
    Can someone that was also there or has the transcript verify?
    The judge of course used legalize: Defendant/Plaintiff
  • Ruling delayed 20 days - for appeal, writing journal entry, and negotiations by each party
  • Kirk asked for court date if issues can not be resolved.

Impressions of the court case:

Kirk had about 70 people, 3 lawyers, Tom and Wayne were in the spectators seats.

EOP had 2 lawyers and PCUSA 1 lawyer and someone else. The Executive Presbytery was there along with 2 other people.

Court opened at 1:15, they had 5 pews of 8 people each and 5 chairs, there were 13 people standing, and 10 people waiting in the hall. They finally people sit in the Juror box and the extra side chairs by the EOP side. The Judge entered at 1:33 and concluded at about 1:50

Hearing set for Sept 18, 2008, 3:30pm for Supersedeas Bond and Settlement of Journal Entry.

A Supersedeas bond is a type of surety bond that a court requires from an appellant who wants to delay payment of a judgment until the appeal is over.

My independent legal counsel is very confident that Kirk will win on appeal. He thinks Judge Sellers, took the easy way out (90% of the judges would), and passed the buck to the appeals court.

I wish I knew what EOP offered to settle that Kirk turned down. My guess would be 10% of the property value plus back per-capita

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Beaver-Butler is asked to challenge Local Option.

Story from Classical Presbyterian Blog: Beaver-Butler Watchtower Report: Beaver-Butler is asked to challenge Local Option

UPDATED: PDF is up on PresbyWeb. I have placed as text below

UPDATED 2x Layman Story: Ministers want presbytery to declare status confessionis due to GA errors

UPDATED: Here is a blog to discuss the Declaration: Merely Confessional Presbyterianism

Once small quote from the Declaration:

We do not now and will no longer recognize ordinations that are constitutionally or biblically unsustainable. We will vigorously examine each candidate seeking admission to our Presbytery, especially from Presbyteries who cannot share this affirmation in good conscience.

A little background info from their website:

Beaver-Butler Presbytery at Zelienople PA

87 churches in the counties of Beaver and Butler in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Denominational Concerns Task Force Documents:

Presbylaw temporary site.

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If you wish to make a church announcement of a vote or lawsuit, I will need to verify. You either need to send it via a email that I can publicly verify belongs to the church, or point to a website with a news story, or official church website. Contacting the layman may be a better route.


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Denomination NameParentLocationSizeYear
United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. - UPCUSA(N) PUSA & UPCNA New York City8,909/2,342,4411958-1983
Presbyterian Church in United States (Confederate) - PCUS(S) Presbyterian Church in United States Atlanta, Ga.4,250/814,9311861-1983
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) PC(U.S.A) UPCUSA(N) & PCUS(S) Louisville, Kentucky11,596/3,122,213June 10, 1983
Evangelical Presbyterian Church EPC UPCUSA(N) & PCUS(S) Livonia, MI67/19,000 (1982)1980/1981
Presbyterian Church of America PCA PCUS(S) Lawrenceville, GA260/41,232May 18, 1973
Orthodox Presbyterian Church Presbyterian U.S.A. Willow Grove, PA 300/20,417 1936
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church Associate Presbytery/Reformed Presbytery Greenville, SC 250/40,392 1782



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