Then you have Washington Presbytery which, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette :
... has filed a countersuit against the Rev. L. Rus Howard and a church treasurer, demanding return of all church property and rent for use of the buildings.
There is some background to this, the majority of the original Peters Creek UPC:
has occupied the property since a 207-26 vote in November to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA) for the more theologically conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
But Washington Presbytery, the local governing body of the Presbyterian Church (USA), declared the minority who wanted to stay with the denomination the "true church."
It argues that the minority owns the property because the majority broke church law by taking the property without presbytery approval.
The majority filed a lawsuit last year to keep the property. The countersuit against the Rev. Howard, pastor of the majority, and Robert Elmes, the treasurer, asks for return of property ranging from the sanctuary to the handbells, and funds, financial instruments and pledges estimated to total about $3 million.
The church, as a registerd Pennsylvania corporation, filed suit against the Presbytery to keep the property saying that the 'trust clause' is in violation of its corporate rights. The Presbytery, following advice given by the PCUSA HQ in Louisville, is claiming that its a Hierarchical church, which to any Presbyterian lay person is a bunch of hooey !!
The original church suit named the Presbytery as the defendent, however the Presbytery's countersuit is:
against the Rev. Howard, pastor of the majority, and Robert Elmes, the treasurer, asks for return of property ranging from the sanctuary to the handbells, and funds, financial instruments and pledges estimated to total about $3 million.
A Peters Creek spokesman said that its okay for the Presbytery to file a countersuit against the church corporate, after all it filed against the Presbytery.
But to file a suit against two individuals, one of whom is a 74-year-old widower on a fixed income, is ... just an attempt to harass and intimidate and scare,"
The reply from the interim presbyter was basically, they sued us, we're suing them. However, the original suit (I believe) did not name individuals. Then you have the slight dig at the EPC by the interim presbyter.
We are preparing for the trial, as is the judge, as are the folks in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church," he said.
AFAIK ... the EPC has not involved itself in ANY litigation between congregations and a governing body of the PCUSA, and to imply that is self-serving and just mean.