Thursday, May 29, 2008

Court: Hudson Presbyterian belongs to breakaway group

From story:
A Summit County Common Pleas Court judge has upheld a magistrate's ruling that the property at Hudson Presbyterian Church belongs to the faction of the congregation that voted to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) But the legal dispute may not be over. The Rev. Dan Schomer, who heads Eastminster Presbytery, said Thursday that he will ask the local governing body of the denomination to appeal the decision by Summit County Common Pleas Judge Mary F. Spicer.
Layman Online story (June 3).

Reformed Pastor: Victory for Hudson Pres.

Bay PC and Western Reserve Amicable Settlement reports the Presbytery of the Western Reserve accepted an amicable settlement with Bay PC in Bay Village, OH. The Bay PC church website has an announcement as well as the Joint Agreement.
  • Presbytery votes: 135-13-8, May 28, 2008
  • Effective: June 1, 2008 (tentative)
  • Church to pay $100,000 for 7 years.
Other info: Session's concern with PC(USA)
  • Christ's Lordship
  • The authority of the Scriptures
  • The integrity of church governance
Hopefully they will not have to deal with "The Empire Strikes Back", with the Synod of the Covenant stepping in to override.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On the Move? Well, at least closer.

I have finally been able to get my act together, so has gotten their setup done. So now "all" I need to do, is install my CMS (Joomla!), Configure it, Write a custom module for news, church list, upload the data, Add all the documents and Ta-Da! I'm done. I'm exhausted just talking about it. I have plans for a much more easy to use site and access to PCUSA stats, legal documents, etc.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Willow Creek's Huge Shift

From Christianity Today:
After modeling a seeker-sensitive approach to church growth for three decades, Willow Creek Community Church now plans to gear its weekend services toward mature believers seeking to grow in their faith.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kirk's Sur-Reply Filed & Posted & UPDATED

On Friday, May 16, Kirk applied for more time to file their Sur-Reply to briefs filed by EOP and PCUSA, it is unopposed by the other side. From other suits I have followed, it is wise to not oppose your opponents request for more time, as it may weight heavy against you, if you need more time in the future. (What goes around, comes around).

I can't blame Kirk, it was EOP and PCUSA that was long winded. Do they get paid by the word? ;)

UPDATE: According to the Official Court Site: Kirk has filed their Sur-Reply!

UPDATE 2x: Sur-Reply POSTED here added to Kirk's Legal page - Thanks

I am impressed with Kirk's openness, as opposed to EOP's and PCUSA's secrecy. They used secrecy, from the day of the fillings of affidavits on every EOP church's property title.

QUESTION: Has any other Presbytery filled of affidavits? Has anybody checked?

UPDATED 3x: Table of Contents added to my Kirk's Legal Page as well as below.

Interesting Quote: Ecclesiastical jurisdiction requires consent of the governed.

[Ed: My original analysis stands: Kirk Rules, EOP Drools!]

  • Summary: The very simple key to resolving the entire case is disaffiliation.
  1. Administrative Commission Had No Jurisdiction
    1. Disaffiliation by Kirk Terminated PCUSA Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction.
    2. Kirk Had the [ed: US] Constitutional Right to Disaffiliate from PCUSA
    3. Book of Order Does Not Prohibit Corporations or Congregations From Unilaterally Disaffiliating from PCUSA.
    4. Kirk's Corporation's Amendment of its Corporate Articles and Bylaws was Lawful
  2. There is No Trust Agreement Between Kirk Corporation and EOP/PCUSA.
  • Conclusion: Grant Kirk's Summary Judgment; Deny EOP/PCUSA (disputed facts)

Choosing a Church

WOW, the Holy Spirit must be working overtime! My church was just looking at why people choose to attend or not attend our church. Then I happen to check out whats new at Mark D. Roberts website and he is asking about "Choosing a Church", then a commenter points to his website with a checklist!

News Out of Date

The church list is a little out of date. I have not added the latest news stories. I hope to find more time soon. Maybe Thursday we will find out if my youngest son will need hip surgery.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Judge to hear arguments on fate of Merced Presbyterian church

It's NOT what you might first think. The Modesto Bee has more details:
"The idea at Central Presbyterian Church in Merced seemed like a good one — replace an aging sanctuary with a new facility to accommodate the growing congregation.

After years of discussion, parishioners voted 266-75 in January to take down their 1916 sanctuary and build a new one, as well as upgrade a neighboring classroom structure.

But change is often hard, and some congregants formed a nonprofit group, Sanctuary Merced, to oppose the issue. On May 5, the Merced City Council voted 4-3 to declare the church building a local historic resource, which means that tearing down the sanctuary is nearly impossible."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Synod of the Pacific FORCES Sacramento Presbytery to Appeal Property

The Empire Strikes Back: Episode 2

News from Naming His Grace:

On May 6th, At the Sacramento Presbytery meeting in Weed, the Presbytery voted NOT to appeal the court's ruling that First Presbyterian Church of Roseville California owned their property.

On May 13, 2008, the Synod Permanent Judicial Commission (PJC) ordered a stay of enforcement and ordered (thru the Moderator/State Clerk) the presbytery's attorney to file a timely notice of appeal of the judgment.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

UPDATED 2x: Stow PC, Ohio keeps Church for $40,000

UPDATED 2x: Layman has an even more in-depth article , including The Official Agreement (unsigned) and the Press Release from the Presbytery. The PR and Covenant are on the Presbytery Front Page as well.

UPDATED: Stow Sentry story

"When you boil it down, there were about 10 things that brought us to the breaking point," said the Rev. David Weyrick, pastor of the Stow Presbyterian Church. "For instance, we felt the church had really slacked off in its emphasis on world missionaries. That was a big deal to us. The straw that probably broke the camel's back was a 2006 ruling from the [Presbyterian Church] general assembly that created the option for local churches to go against what the Book of Order says."

ED: Are they referring to PUP? news story covers the settlement with Stow PC that took 18 months. The $40,000 will be paid over 5 years. The Stow church moved into its new $1.2 million, 350-seat sanctuary a few weeks ago.

The May 13 Presbytery Packet shows that Stow first offered $30k. At least one member of the AC want to wait until the Hudson case was finished.

The story also covers the status of Hudson PC in the same Eastminster Presbytery. The Presbytery has appealed the court ruling, that the property belongs to the local church. The presbytery packet alos contains an AC report on Hudson.

On a side note, The Presbytery has an Why PDF? document that I agree with being an FOSS (free and open source software) supporter.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Final Ruling in FPC Roseville, CA v. Presbytery of Sacramento

The Empire Strikes Back:Episode 3

The Presbytery of Sacramento has posted the Final Ruling in FPC Roseville, CA filed on April 8, 2008.
  • The trust clause of BOO does not require trust in deeds.
  • "The Deeds are clearly in the name of FPC."
  • "In the present case, FPC clearly and expressly revoked any trust in favor of PCUSA by its March 2006 Amended and Restate Articles of Incorporation. Therefore, even if the court were to find a that a trust had been created, that trust was effectively revoked by FPC"
From the Presbytery website:
"The corporate officers are currently in the process of discernment for proceeding with an appeal."

Sacramento vs Sierra PC (Nevada City, CA)

From the Sacramento Presbytery a "member" of Sierra Mission Partnership (Sacramento, Stockton, and Nevada Presbyteries)
"The report From the Litigation Review Task Force and the report from the Sierra Mediation Team can be found by going to Meetings & Polices, May 6, 2008. Because both of these reports consist of several documents, please allow extra time to download them."

They also had Proposed Revisions to Adopted Guidelines for Churches Seeking Dismissal

From the Minutes of Feb 23, 2008 Presbytery Meeting:

An update on civil lawsuits was read: Presbytery’s motion to consolidate both cases in Placer County Superior Court was granted. Presbytery’s motion for summary judgment and that of the First Presbyterian Church of Roseville were heard on January 29 by Commissioner Wells of the Placer County Superior Court. Her tentative ruling granted the Presbytery’s motion and denied the church’s motion. After extended oral argument, she took the matter under submission. It is anticipated that she will issue a final ruling within 90 days. The Synod has filed a motion to intervene which will be heard April 15. The Presbytery has previously filed a motion for summary judgment in the Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church case when it was pending in Sacramento County. Now that the case has been moved to Placer County, that motion and one to be filed by Fair Oaks, will be heard May 20. In the event Commissioner Wells denies all motions, the cases have been set for trial on September 2.

It should also be noted that this Presbytery, approved two overtures to GA:
  • Rescind PUP
  • Delay FOG for two years.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Peters Creek UPC vs Washington Presbytery

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a story on Peters Creek Church vs Washington Presbytery. It sounds like much of the same arguments from the Kirk briefs:

  • Jones (1979) U.S. Supreme Court - advised denominations to add trust clauses to their constitutions if they wanted to ensure that the property remained with the denomination
  • the Presbyterian Church (USA) had done so.
  • charter was for the former United Presbyterian Church of North America
  • BOO is not specific on property resolutions.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Presbytery says it, not court, should decide property dispute"

In checking the Presbytery Site, I noticed

If you look at the votes: (273-86-2)/(207-26-5), It should be 25-85 people.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Recomendation: A blog on Property

Around the scuttle butt blog has multiple articles on property, he is a lawyer after all. The one I want to call your attention to is: Property Trusts as an Ancient and Essential Tenet, Santa Claus, and other MYTHS

First Presbyterian Church of Thibodaux - Disaffiliates (updated)

Ed: This a press release by the Church.

The First Presbyterian Church of Thibodaux at its duly called congregational meeting on May 4th, 2008 voted unanimously to disaffiliate from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and voluntarily affiliate with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Of its 91 voting members 47 were present and all voted in the affirmative to disaffiliate and all voted in the affirmative to seek admission into the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.

It is with great expectation that we announce what we consider this to be our return to our roots in orthodox Christian practice by joining our sister churches in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC). Already one of the congregations we had the honor of planting many years ago (First Presbyterian Church of Houma) is a member of the EPC with them and others we are taking a firm stand for the Essential Tenets of the Christian Faith as articulated in the EPC Constitution.

For decades we have watched with alarm as the PC (USA) has drifted from its roots and its clear proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord. We do not perceive this so much as our leaving the denomination as our recognition that it left us. With that realization came a desire to return to our long lost family in the EPC. As a Christian Church in the Reformed tradition we hold dear to the teachings of the Bible and its call upon our lives. In this action we choose to remain Presbyterian in our polity (church governance) and Biblical in our beliefs while affirming that actions as well as words matter.

This moment is made bittersweet by the many friends that we leave behind in the PC(USA) but we know that we must follow Jesus above all other relationships. We also live in the hope that our friends will realize that we have not changed; merely institutional affiliation has changed. We will continue to pray for the PC(USA) but it is time for us to move forward with joy and expectation into our new life in Christ.

Matthew 10:38-39 38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Also see A Classical Presbyterian blog for a reaction: Choosing Your Trench: Soldiering in the denominations. Please note the discussions in the comments, including the preacher. This action stems from the Synod of the Sun actions.

Layman has a more detailed story. This again shows they are the professional journalist, and I am just an amateur blogger. Blogging is faster, but journalism take time.

Presbylaw temporary site.

Announcement Policy

If you have comments, corrections, or updates to this website please email me: PRESBYLAW webmaster or leave a comment.

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



News Crosswalk The Intersection of Faith and Life
News Church Report National business news magazine
NewsPC(USA) NewsPresbyterian Church (U.S.A.) News Service
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NewsThe Layman OnlineTHE News Source about PC(USA)
NewsLayman - propertyThe Layman - Property Issues Archive
Blog Reformed Pastor EPC Pastor - Church Planter
BlogFull Court PresbyPastor Lance's Blog to his Congregation about PUP etc.
BlogClassical PresbyterianBlogging for the Reformed Resistance in the PC(USA)
BlogAnderson SpeakCommentary on Faith, Christianity, and the PCUSA by Noel K. Anderson
BlogBayou Christian Bill Crawford, Pastor First Presbyterian Church of Thiboduax
Blogblog 137Pastor Dave Moody, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Sparta, IL.
BlogTruth in Love NetworkA group of Presbyterian elders who are concerned with the direction of the PC(USA).
BlogMark D. RobertsProfessor & Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, CA
BlogInstitute on Religion and Democracy25 years of working to reform the social and political witness of American churches
Blog The Berkley Blog James D. Berkley, Director of Presbyterian Action
BlogTom's ThoughtsTom Gray, Co-Pastor, Kirk of the Hills, Tulsa, OK
WebStand to ReasonChristian Ambassadors for defense for classical Christianity
WebPresbyterian ForumWorking for reformation through overt political action
WebWiki:PresbyterianWikipedia's Presbyterian Overview
WebKirk Of The Hills, Tulsa, OKChurch in Tulsa, OK - Fighting for its Property.
WebKirk's Legal Docs (pdfs)Kirk Of The Hills, Tulsa, OK
WebKirk Docs (text)Kirk Of The Hills docs, Converted to text
PDFLegal Strategy #1PC(USA)'s Legal Strategy for churches wanting to leave
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WebPresby Chart 2Presbyterian Church History-Lesson 13-An Overview of Contemporary American Presbyterianism
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WebAdvisory OpinionsPC(USA) Stated Clerk Advisory Opinions (not binding, nor authoritative)
WebPC(USA) Constitutional MusingsOffice of Constitutional Services - Unofficial Thoughts
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WebGAPJC PC(USA)PC(USA) General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission Decisions
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WebPC(USA) BOO AnnotatedPC(USA) Book of Order - Annotated
WebPresbyterian CoalitionWorking for a Revitalized Church
WebConfessing Church Movement1,314/434,697
WebNew WineskinsNew Wineskins Association of Churches(2001)

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