The Session of First Presbyterian Church Starkville, MS went to court to sue the St. Andrew Presbytery over property issues. The root of the complaint is whether the PC(USA) has a trust interest in the property of the local church. According to my elder training that is indeed the case but others disagreed. The judge ruled that the property belongs to the local congregation free of any trust interests. He also ruled that his decision only affected the narrow issue of property ownership. How the church stays or leaves the PC(USA) is a matter of ecclesiastical law and not subject to his authority.
For posterity, this is the ruling:
FPC Starkville vs St Andrew Presbytery.pdf
If you get into legal issues then reading the whole thing can be interesting. If you are not into legal issues then it can be a great way to go to sleep. If you don’t want to read it then the last two paragraphs are the gist of the matter.
My greatest concern is the example we are setting for those who not attend church. I ask that those of you ignore what we are doing (we are not proud of it) and this is NOT how most churches behave.
I have struggled and prayed about what to do in this case. I have talked with others about it as well. Should I turn the other cheek or should I stand up for the minority what I think is right? Jesus did indeed turn the other cheek but he also turned over a few tables in his time. For now, I believe standing up for what is right and for the minority is what is needed.