Grace Presbytery Defends Against Litigation Instituted by First Presbyterian Church, Inc. of Gatesville, Texas
As you may know, on January 27, 2017, an entity calling itself First Presbyterian Church, Inc. in Gatesville, Texas filed a lawsuit in the civil courts against Grace Presbytery. Without giving Grace notice or the opportunity to appear in court, FPC Inc. obtained a temporary restraining order that unconstitutionally bars Grace from fulfilling its ecclesiastical duties with respect to its congregation and property. Grace is deeply saddened that some people who were officers of one of its oldest congregations, which has participated in the life of the Church for well over a century, would take an internal matter of Church governance before the civil courts. A copy of the dissident lawsuit can be found here, and a copy of the temporary restraining order can be found here.
In Grace’s Just and Gracious Dismissal Policy, which First Presbyterian’s Session invoked by unanimous signed request, Grace and its congregation covenanted to settle their disagreements relationally rather than by initiating litigation in civil courts. Nevertheless, without warning, certain officers of First Presbyterian initiated a civil lawsuit based on a sworn statement from the Clerk of Session. This lawsuit has forced upon Grace the solemn obligation to defend the Church’s polity and property rights in court based on the law and facts. Accordingly, on Monday, February 13, 2017, Grace and the continuing authorized First Presbyterian Church filed a Response to Plaintiff’s Application for Temporary and Permanent Injunctions; Answer; Affirmative Defenses; and Counterclaims. Click here for a copy of Grace’s filing.
Grace remains hopeful, however, that those persons affiliated with the Plaintiff will come forward to resolve their dispute amicably and out of court. Grace wishes to express its concern and offers its prayers for all involved in this matter.