Bay Presbyterian Church in Ohio is trying to get out of the PCUSA, but it seems that the Presbytery of the Western Reserve is determined to make it cost them an arm and a leg, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
The largest Presbyterian church in Northeast Ohio is offering a $550,000 buyout to its denomination so it can move to a more-conservative church body.
Bay Presbyterian Church in Bay Village wants to become part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, joining other congregations upset with what they consider liberal theological trends and growing acceptance of gay and lesbian clergy in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Unlike the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, which this year sued several local churches seeking to leave the denomination that approved a gay bishop, the Presbytery of the Western Reserve is negotiating with Bay Presbyterian. Bay spokesman John Fuller said the church has more than 2,000 members, representing about 14 percent of the total membership of nearly 14,000 in the Western Reserve area.
The presbytery negotiating team initially asked for $3 million to be paid over 10 years as compensation for the loss of giving and membership with Bay’s departure. The Rev. Elizabeth Hendricks, general presbyter, said Friday the group is still discussing a revised offer.
Bay officials, who want to keep the building and land, said that the presbytery negotiating team is insisting on more than $1 million but that the church’s final offer is $550,000 over 10 years.
“Compensation for the loss of giving and membership.” Like Bay should be apologizing for the PCUSA’s drift from biblical orthodoxy, and paying for the right to leave it behind.
“We would like to avoid the civil court process if at all possible,” Hendricks said. “All of us think it is not what the Bible instructed us to do, at least not as a first resort.”
Yes, that’s exactly what Paul meant when he excoriated the Corinthians for taking one another to court. They weren’t supposed to do so as a first resort. After they didn’t get what they wanted out of each other (for instance, an extortionate ransom for the release of property), then they could sue the daylights out of one another.
UPDATE: The Bayou Christian has more on this situation. Read his analysis carefully, and Mac McCarty’s follow-up comment as well.