The article says,
The schism declaration came in response to a report from an administrative commission that was appointed by the presbytery in September 2006, shortly after the congregation voted to follow the lead of its session and pastors and bolt the PC(USA) for the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).The EOP has declared us to be in schism, which is the PCUSA equivalent of bell-and-candle with a papal rebuke mixed in. If their definition simply meant that we had split from the PCUSA, it would be accurate. The administrative commission report, though, is using “schism” to mean that the Kirk is internally divided. This is just not so.
Does that mean that there were no people who disagreed with what we did? No. There was a handful of Kirk members who either joined other churches or simply started attending elsewhere. The rest have chosen to remain with us, choosing the direction of the Kirk over that of the denomination.
The unity of the Kirk has never been greater. Since I’ve been at the Kirk for over 25 years, I have a historical perspective from which to speak. Morale is high primarily because we have moved on. The property issue must still be determined in court, but the denominational issue is concluded. Rumors of internal division have apparently been seeded by members of the EOP, possibly because they cannot envision unity through such a change.
Another inaccuracy regards a significant detail:
The session, acting as the corporation board, then hired Gray and Hardy as pastors and filed suit in civil court to gain ownership of the church’s property.It was not the session that acted as the corporation board and rehired Wayne and me. It was the corporation board itself—the trustees. The Kirk has always had a separate Board of Trustees. The corporation is a separate legal entity, not to be confused with the congregation.
Finally, there is a misrepresentation:
Doug Dodd, moderator of the commission said that “over six months of efforts to achieve reconciliation and determine the nature of division” had failed.Let me itemize their “six months of effort.”
- A couple of public meetings, sparsely attended.
- So-called “Kirk of the Hills, Presbyterian Church worship services,” held at another church and also sparsely attended (by presbytery members, not Kirk members).
- A letter to the Kirk board, inviting them to a meeting that, since we are no longer PCUSA, was irrelevant.
- The publication of a rather angry, ad hominem report.
The presbytery, again on the recommendation of its administrative commission, authorized its trustees to protect the presbytery’s property rights over Kirk of the Hills. The PC(USA) Constitution states that church property is not owned by a particular congregation but is held in trust for the denomination.Their effort dealt little with reconciliation--just read the report. The EOP cares about only one thing: the property. This was evident when a presbytery official, long before the Kirk seriously addressed the idea of leaving the PCUSA, told others "the Kirk may want to leave, but they'll never get their property." It was evident the next March when, in secret, the EOP went to the courthouse to file an affidavit against our property. It is evident in the AC report. The AC's "six months of effort" was unwanted and unneeded by the true Kirk that still meets on 61st Street in Tulsa. A church that is united in ministry and purpose has no need for reconciliation.
Keep praying--keep the faith,