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)

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