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.

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



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