Skip to comments.PC(USA) Extorting Money from Local Churches
Posted on 05/08/2013 6:42:36 AM PDT by Timber Rattler
This is a request for information assistance. Last night, I received a disturbing email from a longtime friend and pastor from my hometown church, which is breaking from the corrupt, mainline Presbyterian Church (USA), like many others are doing. Apparently PC (USA) has asked the congregation for an exorbitant sum of money, and is threatening the church manse and other property in an effort to force the congregation back into the corrupted fold.
I've been out of the Presbyterian loop for a while but want to help, and so I'm wondering if anyone has any specific information about what is going on inside the PC (USA) that might be contributing to this ugly situation and what is being done to deal with it.
My prayers are with you. I was once an elder in a PCUSA church and gained visibility into the workings. Radicals have taken over the denomination and they are not guided by God.
I left, which was hard but I felt it was the only choice I had.
This is indeed an attempt to keep more of Christs flock tied to PCUSA's apostasy.
DJ, is there a list somewhere of these small churches that have been extorted-—it’d be nice to set up a network so that they can communicate and coordinate some sort of defense with each other.
Quite a number of years ago, our church made the decision to give up the property and go out on our own and now are in our own church.
Problem all churches in PCUSA have is the bylaws state the property belongs to the denomination as a whole rather than to an individual congregation. It is why so many congregations have chosen to stay over the years, even though the denomination was becoming increasing liberal and corrupt. There has been an incorrect thinking among some of the middle of the road congregations that they could live and let live, even if their particular congregation did not agree with the thinking at the top level.
I do think congregations need to simply walk away from their property. Leave PCUSA with empty husks they have to deal with. The church is not the property, it is the faithful.
Our story is that after more than spending lifetimes in the Presbyterian Church (it wasn't called PCUSA when we began as babies really) my husband was an Elder, leader of the Session and all other offices, etc., we made the decision that there was no hope of saving our church from its self!
We both spent some time "church shopping" and finally found some that preached and believed the bible in its entirety!
From day one, we didn't feel guilty as the same denomination that embraced "the mother's right to choose," also began with "gay friendly" gatherings and moved to "blessings of gay unions," to endorsing gays to leadership roles, all of which is against the teachings in the scriptures both Old and New Testaments!
My advice is to locate your local representative of the Alliance Defending Freedom network and they can either help you or direct you to someone who will help you.
As in some Episcopalian churches locally,the congregation had to gather donations, seek loans and purchase property from the denomination as a last resort.
The Layman Online does cover churches that are leaving PCUSA.
The PC(USA) not to be confused with the other Presbyterian Church, is nothing more than a libtard factory from the top down. Even got into an argument with a “Pastor” when she declared Angels were not in the Bible....
While I am not a Sola Scripture, or literal reader by any stretch, to be so completely factually wrong on a basic and verifiable item causes me nothing but wonder about what it takes to be ordained in that “faith”.
The leity at that church were fine enough fellows, but its clear the entire church is corrupt and blasphemous from its core.
This was also the same pastor who would read a letter from Paul to whoever by making sure to add feminine adverbs and adjectives to the Gospel readings.... “When I was a boy or girl I engaged in boyish or girlish things”... And no I’m not making this up. I tried to point out that PAUL was most definitely never a GIRL.. adding “or girl” to the reading made no sense whatsoever... but fell on deaf leftist ears.
It aint your grandpappy’s presby church anymore. Satan’s little servants have subverted and taken it over. Pull out (and if they attack, defend as best you can). Just get out
In reading the BCO, however, I think the local congregation does indeed have a strong argument: there are clauses that make the local congregation responsible for buying, insuring, paying for, and maintaining property. However, paragraph G-4.02 is written contrary to this and declares that no matter who holds the mortgage - even if it is a corporation acting in the name of the local church body - the PCUSA claims is as being held "in trust" for their purposes. Nice to be able to claim something that they have no financial interest in. I suspect that this is counter to the corporate laws of most states, so a lawyer will be required to fight this battle -- for sure the national general assembly will want to fight it.
Also, there is a clause that the local church must get written permission from a presbytery before buying property. If this was never done, then I would expect that the national org would have even less of a claim.
Anyway, here is the BCO, for what it's worth.
One thing I would do if I were an elder is to calculate the total amount of dollars ever directly paid by the PCUSA either via Presbytery or General Assembly to that church, add interest, and then subtract all monies ever paid from the local congregation to those overseeing bodies. If the amount is greater than $0.00, send them a check for that amount with a letter that declares what it is for. If they cash it, then they could argue in court that the action indicated acceptance of the letter's terms. :D
Yep, that exactly what we’re trying to do—get out, but the threats are now coming in, and the congregation is in a desperate situation. This particular church is very old and relatively isolated out in the back country, and has never encountered this kind of nastiness and viciousness before from the main church, which is now nothing but a den of hypocrites and sodomites.
In the PC(USA) church property is owned by the Presbytery (group of geographically close churches) but is managed by the local Session (governing board). This is well documented in the bylaws of the PC(USA). Regardless of whether you approve of it or not it is the governing law of the denomination - a denomination that is structured on democratic principles. Granted the PC(USA) - of which I am a member - is quickly losing population because of the liberal direction taken at the national level. But many small-town churches remain the bedrock of conservative society. The mega-churches have to many votes to overcome on the national (General Assembly) level. Remember that King George II called the American Revolution the Presbyterian Revolution - 13 signers of the Declaration were Presbyterians. There is hope for us yet!
Well, very shortly, the PC (USA) will be the owners of a very old and very empty building if it continues with this evil course of action.
Not only the property but the denomination controls the retirement accounts for the pastors. If they leave they can also lose their retirement.
I spoke with a pastor once who quoted some stats about other pastors to me that were quite scary.
Something like 70% of practicing pastors don’t believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.
Just over 50% don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God or that he is Risen.
here are a a couple more articles of possible interest.
it appears that the PCUSA headquarters is in the Property Acquisition (or confiscation) business... maybe they’ll convert your church into a nice big gay bathhouse or Nazi party headquarters, consistent with their new political theology?
If I were in PCUSA I’d get out immediately. but insofar as the property is concerned it may be worthwhile to study this problem, issue a bit first... to see if there may be a way to salvage your building there?
but if the Devil gets the building, so be it.... get out of PCUSA it has gone to the Other Side.
sorry to say.
very sorry to have to say.
all the best,
this one may be the first article to read?
Yes I’m aware of those ‘democratic principles’, but am also aware of the leftists who have worked their way into positions of power. Its a shame but I don’t believe the denomination is true to God any more. Individual churches are but this is forcing them to comply or die.
I attended and voted in one of the annual meetings (representing my church) in which they voted on whether to accept homosexuals as leaders and whether to accept abortion. In the end the vote was to defer the decision for one more year.
I knew many good and Godly people in the church but they had allowed a demonic influence to gain control.
Hate to say, but what you folks need to do is to bite the bullet and leave the PCUSA. If they have legal title to your church property then this is all you can legally do.
Of course, in another time believers would’ve marched on Louisville, seized the lesbians who run your denomination and then burn them at the stake like they deserve. Naturally, this is the 21st Century so I am not advocating the kind of Biblical response that is called for in this circumstance.
if your congregation tries to keep its church,
get a knowledgeable lawyer FIRST before taking any actions or votes or writing any letters even.
forget all about Judeo-Christian agape. You will be going up against a very well-lawyered, aggressive money-grubbing and now-very-anti-Christian gang that wants the property, all of it, (and doesn’t give a rat-s ass damn about you, your parishioners, or Christian faith principles).
The much-maligned money-changers are no longer just sitting on the front steps offering acceptable sacrifices for sale to faithful pilgrims ... they’ve infiltrated and taken over the very Temple itself.
Check out the Anglican resistance. One place to start is the Virtue Online website. Somewhat different theology but similar legal questions. Unfortunately Satan seems to have the better lawyers.
Of course seek legal counsel. Probably but not certainly, you will lose the building. Prepare to start meeting somewhere else.
The elders I suppose can start a new bank account and start putting collections in there to get ready to leave.
Suppose you lose the building, what is the PCUSA going to do with it? Probably put it on the market in a while. Unless they can get a unbiblical false church work going there.
Once it’s on the market, have someone buy it back. Voila.
It will be tougher going than your church is used to for a few years, but (easy for me to say) you will probably all be the better for it. Pioneer times, standing for Christ, sticking together, sacrificing. It’s all good.
On a personal note, we recently visited the cute little country PCUSA church down the road. Without getting into much detail it was a chaotic multicultural circus rather than a worship service. I am not proud to admit that for the first time ever we left church before the service was over. There were a few old souls in the back pews that smiled knowingly at us as we left. I guess they are just hanging around so they can be buried in grandpa's church. It was heartbreakingly discouraging.
If you look at churches that have broken with them, usually now PCA or OPC, you will notice that many of the churches are very basic, newer structures. That's because they left the PC(USA) with nothing and had to start over from scratch. There are some exceptions.
I see this as part of the persecutions that all true believers will have to undergo. If you want to worship as outlined in Scripture you will have to pay.
Much depends on the laws of your state. Some states do not recognize the 'trust' clause of the PC/USA in the case that PC/USA failed to modify the deed for the local property and thus the name on the deed is the local congregation. (See for instance this US Supreme Court decision as pertaining to Indiana law.) I would suggest that your pastor contact The Presbyterian Lay Committee (The Layman Online) for starters. PLC would have a better record of churches and the terms of the dissolution agreements that I could find.
There is a procedure within the Book of Order that covers a congregation wishing to be released from the main body, usually to affiliate with another Presbyterian body. We are seeing many of the 'conservative' local churches leaving PC/USA for affiliation with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and other bodies that are not as antiBiblical as the PC/USA has become.
As a generality, what has happened is that the regional presbytery upon agreeing to allow the local body to dissolve the relationship will 'suggest' (translate: demand) a 'tithe' (translate: extortion payment) of ten percent of the value of the properties in question - which can amount to a bit more than small congregations can afford.
In my neck of the woods, the first local church that tried to flee the PC/USA and the ultra liberal Presbytery of the Hudson River was saddled with the 'tithe' stipulation. Many other local churches, and not all were Presbyterian, sent this congregation donations to help meet the
extortion payments need. A second local body was required to pay the equivalent of either five or ten years (forget which) of per-capita assessment to a mission fund. A third local church tried the legal route that their name was on the deed and thus the 'trust' clause didn't apply. They won the initial legal skirmish, but Hudson River Presbytery appealed, and the local body lost on appeal. They are now in a really tough situation. A forth local body has just started the process by requesting to be released from PC/USA with their property to affiliate with Presbyterian Church in America. Not sure how that will play out.
Don't know if any of the above is of any help or consolation... If you have any questions that I might be able to answer, ping back. (Disclaimer: While I am an ordained Elder from one of the churches mentioned above, I was not on Session during the approximately two year span that it required to be free from PC/USA, so I am not exactly in the loop as to all the meanderings that took..)
G-4.0202 Decisions Concerning Property The provisions of this Constitution prescribing the manner in which decisions are made, reviewed, and corrected within this church are applicable to all matters pertaining to property. G-4.0203 Church Property Held in Trust All property held by or for a congregation, a presbytery, a synod, the General Assembly, or the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), whether legal title is lodged in a corporation, a trustee or trustees, or an unincorporated association, and whether the property is used in programs of a congregation or of a higher council or retained for the production of income, is held in trust nevertheless for the use and benefit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). G-4.0204 Property Used Contrary to the Constitution Whenever property of, or held for, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ceases to be used by that congregation as a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in accordance with this Constitution, such property shall be held, used, applied, transferred, or sold as provided by the presbytery. G-4.0205 Property of a Dissolved or Extinct Congregation Whenever a congregation is formally dissolved by the presbytery, or has become extinct by reason of the dispersal of its members, the abandonment of its work, or other cause, such property as it may have shall be held, used, and applied for such uses, purposes, and trusts as the presbytery may direct, limit, and appoint, or such property may be sold or disposed of as the presbytery may direct, in conformity with the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). G-4.0206 Selling, Encumbering, or Leasing Church Property a. Selling or Encumbering Congregational Property A congregation shall not sell, mortgage, or otherwise encumber any of its real property and it shall not acquire real property subject to an encumbrance or condition without the written permission of the presbytery transmitted through the session of the congregation. b. Leasing Congregational Property A congregation shall not lease its real property used for purposes of worship, or lease for more than five years any of its other real property, without the written permission of the presbytery transmitted through the session of the congregation. G-4.0207 Property of Congregation in Schism The relationship to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) of a congregation can be severed only by constitutional action on the part of the presbytery (G-3.0303b). If there is a schism within the membership of a congregation and the presbytery is unable to effect a reconciliation or a division into separate congregations within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the presbytery shall determine if one of the factions is entitled to the property because it is identified by the presbytery as the true church within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This determination does not depend upon which faction received the majority vote within the congregation at the time of the schism. G-4.0208 Exceptions The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) except that any congregation which was not subject to a similar provision of the constitution of the church of which it was a part, prior to the reunion of the Presbyterian Church in the United States and The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America to form the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has been excused from that provision of this chapter if the congregation, within a period of eight years following the establishment of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), voted to be exempt from such provision in a regularly called meeting and thereafter notified the presbytery of which it was a constituent congregation of such vote. The congregation voting to be so exempt shall hold title to its property and exercise its privileges of incorporation and property ownership under the provisions of the Constitution to which it was subject immediately prior to the establishment of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This paragraph may not be amended (G-6.05).
Note that the local congregation had to exclude itself from the 'trust' clause within eight years of the formation of the PC/USA. Also note that the PC/USA has set itself up as both the benefactor and the executor of the trust. This seems to be in conflict with most law concerning trusts, but to my knowledge, no one has attacked this from a legal angle.. (Just another thought to toss at some legal beagle... )
My hometown church has already left PC(USA) and joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and so now PC(USA) is turning loose its attack dogs and demanding a large cash payment, or else the keys to the church building and the pastor's manse. He's got some smart but inexperienced people helping him and there are going to be some negotiations since the congregation can hardly afford what PC (USA) wants, and so I have no idea how this is going to play out. I sent him everything that has been said here, along with the associated web links, and so we will be making a difference in this case.
My warmest thanks to everybody who responded on this thread!
Ecumenical resistance. The religious equivalent of the Committees of Correspondence in the American Revolution.
Yes, there is help. Go to www.layman.org and click on the “Discern” page if you’re looking specifically for information about churches departing the PCUSA for more conservative denominations. There is a chart of more than 200 churches that have realigned their denominational affiliation in the past 5 years and there are links to resources that churches are using to navigate the waters. Yes, most churches are having to pay their presbyteries in order to get “out.” We can talk more about that if you’re interested.
There is a chart of churches and (where available) the information related to what they’ve paid to get out of the PCUSA. Posted here: http://www.layman.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/churches-seeking-discernment.xls
This statement is not true. Participants in the PCUSA Board of Pensions are fully vested after three years. That means that most pastors vest during seminary. The Board of Pensions is actually one of the bodies related to the PCUSA that is not monkeying around - at least on the Pension side of things. See: http://www.layman.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/pension-brochure.pdf
Here’s their playbook: http://www.layman.org/pcusa-lawyers-advise-hardline-tactics-in-church-property-disputes/
Great legal work is being done on behalf of local churches. A third edition is in the works but to read up on the issues get “The Guide to Church Property Law, 2nd edition”
Sorry to be so late in finding this conversation! Do you have an update?
Welcome to FR.
A pastor told me that.