One of our members was walking with a friend who is a member of a PCUSA church in our former presbytery. That friend, aware of our quiet title lawsuit said, "You know, you're suing my church by doing this." What this friend doesn't understand is that this lawsuit asks no damages and, in fact, is simply costing Kirk of the Hills money. All we want is for the Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery to release our property back to us by removing the affidavit that they filed, putting an impediment on our property.
I'm not totally blaming our presbytery in this. The presbytery is in a difficult situation, too. The papers from Louisville headquarters clearly indicate a "take no prisoners" attitude, demanding that the presbyteries retain the property, get a sizeable negotiated settlement, or risk that the presbytery itself will be taken over by the higher bodies of the PCUSA.
All of this shows a complete disregard on the PCUSA's part for the local church. They say that they are fighting for our property to protect the mission of the PCUSA. I wonder what mission is protected by such action? What do they lose by releasing our property, other than a windfall of cash?
Another presbytery, following PCUSA plans, has an Iowa church under attack. This congregation has voted to be released from the PCUSA. What is the response?
"Continuing its retribution against the leaders of Riverside Presbyterian Church in Linn Grove, Iowa, the Presbytery of Prospect Hill has notified the Riverside pastor that he is to have no contact with members of the congregation.
Presbytery of Prospect Hill's letter to Russ Westbrook
"The consequences of violating this document," the presbytery said in an August 17 letter to Russ Westbrook, Riverside's pastor, "will be the immediate dissolution of the relationship between the Riverside Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Russell Westbrook and will immediately end any financial consideration."
The presbytery placed Westbrook on administrative leave – "to protect loyal Presbyterians" – after the Riverside leaders asked to be released from the denomination so that they could become a congregation in the Presbyterian Church of America.
The letter informed Westbrook that he was placed on administrative leave effective August 21 and that he could not contact "any member … verbally, in writing, e-mail, or other electronic devices or by going to the church."
(from The Layman Online, August 22, 2006)
For a huge contrast, click on the URL below to find out how one Episcopalian diocese is handling the same situation in Christian love.
VirtueOnline - News - Exclusives - RIO GRANDE: Diocese Weighs Plan to Allow Parishes to leave with Properties
Keep praying--keep the faith.