I’ve had a long night to think about the meeting some of our congregation had with presbytery. The message of the presbytery was that, if we’d simply sat down and talked with them, everything would have been all right. I take that to mean that they would not have followed the PCUSA legal game plan, nor would they have insisted that we buy our property back from them.
The presbytery representatives mentioned, according to attendees, that there had been seven different times when they felt they were justified in removing me from my pastorate, but held back. I’m thankful for that, but not particularly comforted that they were keeping count.
In terms of the Kirk’s fears, it would have gone far for them to say some things in response to what we (I) had clearly articulated as our fears. They could have said they would consider removing the affidavit. We asked for this, but they refused. It would have helped tremendously if they had told us they would not have followed the PCUSA legal game plan, especially when it seems that they have been, at every step so far. It would have been helpful for them to say that they weren’t really interested in our property, just our congregation. Sadly, none of these things happened.
There is still time for others. I won’t name them, but I’m aware of at least three other Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery congregations that are considering, or would like to leave the denomination for the same reasons we did. NOW is the time for the presbytery to put its money where its mouth has been.
Tell these congregations that, if they vote to leave, you will not remove their pastor(s) from office. Tell their pastors that they can speak freely without the threat of disciplinary action. Promise that you will not remove their sessions. Promise that you will not make them pay you for the property they’ve already paid for. You can do this, if you want. That seems to be what you told the Kirk people Monday night. Please, for the sake of these other churches, prove that we at the Kirk were in the wrong.
Keep praying—keep the faith