Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Legal Update

This blog is directed mostly to the Kirk community. It’s an update on where we stand in the legal process.

The Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery (EOP) filed two requests with the court (these requests, by the way, exactly follow the PCUSA legal game plan that was leaked to The Layman). The first is to have the court direct us to turn over all membership records to the EOP. Their stated purpose in this is to continue in their “process” so that they can effect reconciliation with the PCUSA or determine the “true church” amongst all our members. There is no question that this “true church” consists only of those who wish to remain PCUSA.

We have offered to mail a letter that the EOP can write to express these wishes to you. The EOP wants to do it on their own. To me, this indicates that there is more behind their request than simple communication.

I personally have a problem with turning over these records. We give our directory to members but we do not generally distribute it. While the information in it, regarding addresses and telephone numbers, is not purely private, it is protected. If we gave our directory to any group outside the Kirk that then used it to contact all of you, you’d be justifiably angry with us.

If you do wish to contact the EOP you can do so easily. Their email address is eop@scglobal.net. Their telephone number is 918-533-1324.

The second filed request is for the court to suspend our suit for clear title. The purpose behind this, as I understand it, is to put the property issue back into the PCUSA system. The problem with this request is that there is one—and only one—result obtained by going through their system. We will either lose our property or have to pay a significant amount to retain it. In the PCUSA/EOP system, the denomination is prosecutor, judge, and jury. They also stand to benefit alone from the outcome. As far as I can figure this is a guaranteed defeat for the Kirk.

Our attorneys have filed the necessary responses with the court. There will be a hearing in late October to determine whether or not the membership records will go to the EOP. In the meantime we do what we do best—ministry. I’ll keep you informed.

Keep praying—keep the faith,
Tom

4 comments:

Larry said...

I would not give the presbytery the membership directory. Although the presbytery already has a copy as there were 30 or so members who voted against leaving.

There is no magic number of members who vote to stay with the PCUSA for the presbytery to declare "x" number represent the "true church". In the immediate situation there were 30 members voting against disaffiliation. Let the presbytery declare those 30 people as the true church.

If the presbytery wishes to start a fishing expedition to increase the numbers who would want to stay, then Kirk of the Hills would have to needlessly do its own fishing expedition to find those who were unable to be at the meeting and determine if they also wanted to leave.

The action by the presbytery looks to an outsider as a ploy to make arguments to the court that Kirk of the Hills did not exactly follow the church rules proscribed for a congregation wanting to leave the denomination.

Anonymous said...

i'm a bit confused. wasn't our vote private? how would the PCUSA determine who voted for and who voted against? if they ask for the people that voted "no" to all show up at some meeting.... couldn't we all just show up.
And, how in the world would those 30 people support the day to day expenses of the church. If the PCUSA then has to sell the assets and close the church down, are they not throwing those 30 people out on the street without a church. (which is what they are trying to say they care about all along in their current argument).
It just seems a bit backwards. thanks.

ma

Anonymous said...

If the court compels the discovery request, it's not a choice. It's one thing if the EOP calls you directly and asks for the list; it's quite another to complain about legal strategy while confusing it with a request by the EOP. If you don't like legal tactics and the discovery process, you should not have filed a law suit.

Anonymous said...

I did receive a presumptious letter today from EOP inviting me to attend services at another presbyterian church until the members who did not wish to leave PCUSA could meet at the actual church. I gave it as much consideration as I would give any letter of solicitation, i.e. unwanted junk mail.

M.B.