Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Beginnings

I’m back. I think.
I stopped blogging in the midst of Kirk of the Hills litigation for her property on the request of our attorneys. They said that, if I continued blogging, everything I wrote would end up projected on big screens in court, with yellow highlighting to point out pertinent passages.
Ever the compliant client, I agreed. I think, in retrospect, that they were right. I wish I hadn’t stopped, though. Information is vital to a church and, when my blog stopped, a lot of what people in my church needed to hear got blocked. More on that in a later blog.
What has happened since then? We lost in court, actually never getting to present our case as we believe it should have been. Our judge decided that it was a church/state separation issue and, his words, we were remanded to the “graces of the church court system.” Sadly, he didn’t know that grace left the PCUSA some time ago. Perhaps there’s no room for her and “Sophia” in the same place ; ).
So, we paid our $1.75 million on demand. The Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery put the money in the bank and we moved on. We really have moved on—our new, second church campus, 10 miles west of our current repurchased facility, begins worship on August 22!
We are now in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church via the New Wineskins Presbytery (a non-geographical “holding” presbytery). We LOVE the people in the EPC. For the first couple of meetings (at the geographical presbytery) there was that lump in the stomach that we always felt going to PCUSA meetings—a lump based on the realistic fear that good ministry ideas would be blocked or that the presbytery would look for ways to make life better through litigation. We couldn’t have been more wrong.
When we walked into our first meeting (late) the presbytery stopped everything to welcome us in; they gathered physically around us to pray for us.
Since we at the Kirk do some things differently (ie Wayne and I are co-pastors, which isn’t in the EPC constitution; we also employ two pastors from non-reformed denominations) we worried about approval. We shouldn’t have bothered. The attitude of the presbytery was that they trusted the local church. If a matter of contention is not something involving the EPC’s published essentials, it is ALWAYS treated with grace. What a change; what a blessing!
Keep the faith; keep praying,