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

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.


FEED PCUSA List Feed Atom Feed of Blog Posts
EMAIL PRESBYLAW webmaster Comments, corrections, updates
NEWS PRESBYWEB: Viewpoint PCUSA Property Trust History Disputed By Jeffrey C. Francis
PDF Memorial Park on Seperation Bulletin Insert for May 6th
Web Kirk's Legal Docs (pdfs) Kirk Of The Hills, Tulsa, OK
PDF PCUSA Articles of Incorporation Churches can't be a member of the PCUSA according to its own articles of incorporation
PDF Legal Strategy #1PC(USA)'s Legal Strategy for churches wanting to leave
PDF Presbyteries Process #2 PC(USA)'s Process for churches wanting to leave
Doc Secret Document #3 News about a third secret document
PDF Process Administrative Review Process from the Synod of the Northeast
PDF Presbytery Of New Covenant Process For Addressing Churches Seeking To Withdraw From PC(USA)
PDF Wabash Valley Presbytery Separatist Task Force
Doc PC(USA): Constitutional Musings: Note 12 Responding Pastorally to Troubled Churches
Doc PC(USA): Advisory Opinions: Note 02 Dissent and Defiance
Doc PC(USA): Advisory Opinions: Note 03 Administrative Commission
PDF PC(USA): Advisory Opinions: Note 11 Church Property
Doc PC(USA): Advisory Opinions: Note 17 Schism
Doc PC(USA): Advisory Opinions: Note 19 Implementing the Trust Clause for the Unity of the Church
Web Presbyterian Outlook Statement about resources prepared by the Constitutional Services Department and the Office of Legal Services at the General Assembly level of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Web Stated Clerk, GAC chief urge churches not to defect from PC(USA) We are better together in Christ's Unity

PC(USA) News Service

Presbyterian Google News

IRD Presbyterian News

The Christian Post


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
NewsSave Hollywood PresLinks to news about PC(USA) Troubles
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
PDFPresbyteries Process #2PC(USA)'s Process for churches wanting to leave
DocSecret Document #3News about a third secret document
PicPresby Chart 1Chart showing the history of breakups and mergers (standard)
WebPresby Chart 2Presbyterian Church History-Lesson 13-An Overview of Contemporary American Presbyterianism
WebPresby Chart 3 (text)History of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Web Presby Chart 4 Denomination Family Trees (Interactive)
WebPresby Chart 5 ARPC Denomination Family Tree
WebMaps of ReligionsList of Many Maps of 2000 Census Data on Religion
PicMap: CountyMap of Denominations by County
Pic Map: Presbyterian Map of Presbyterian's as percentage of Population
Web ARDA Association of Religion Data Archives
PPTReport on PUPNew Wineskin's Report on PUP
PDFReport on PUPNew Wineskin's Report on PUP
PDFBook of OrderOfficial PDF Copy of Book of Order for PC(USA)
PDFBook of ConfessionsOfficial PDF Copy of Book of Confessions for PC(USA)
WebAdvisory OpinionsPC(USA) Stated Clerk Advisory Opinions (not binding, nor authoritative)
WebPC(USA) Constitutional MusingsOffice of Constitutional Services - Unofficial Thoughts
WebPC(USA) Amicus Curiae BriefsStated Clerk & AC on Litigation - Friend of the Court Briefs
WebGAPJC PC(USA)PC(USA) General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission Decisions
WebPension Board PC(USA)PC(USA) Board of Pensions
WebFoundation PC(USA)Presbyterian Foundation, New Covenant Trust and New Covenant Mutual Funds
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)

Usage: This information, including formatting/html,..., may be used by other sites, without limit. In Fact, I hope somebody would take over, with more time on their hands.

Blog Archive