Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pastor Evicted by Mistake

A couple months ago I pointed out this story about an LCMS pastor arrested "in the pulpit". Now some further developments...

From the Chicago Sun-Times. Please keep Pr. McCants in your prayers.

Pastor's eviction was a mistake, sheriff's department says

May 9, 2006

BY CATHLEEN FALSANI Religion Reporter

One Sunday morning about two months ago, some members of his congregation
had the Rev. Jimmy McCants arrested for trespassing as he stood on the altar
preaching.

On Monday, the same group of congregants from Zion Evangelical Lutheran
Church on Chicago's South Side had McCants and his family evicted from the
parsonage next to the church that he has pastored for a decade.

Cook County sheriff's police stood guard as evictors removed all of the
McCants' belongings and piled them on the lawn and sidewalk in front of the
house at 10855 S. Calumet.

Now the sheriff's department and an official for the denomination to which
McCants and his congregation belong say it was all a big mistake.

"Technically, the eviction should not have taken place," said Sally Daly, a
spokeswoman for the sheriff's department. "On March 30 there was an eviction
order entered in Cook County Circuit Court. Unbeknownst to us . . . Mr.
McCants' lawyer went into court and got it vacated."

But the pastor's attorney didn't file the proper paperwork with the
sheriff's department, which conducts the evictions on behalf of the court,
alerting it that the eviction had been vacated, Daly said.

McCants could not be reached for comment Monday.

McCants' Feb. 5 arrest was the result of a rift in the small congregation of
about 75 that began more than a year ago, said the Rev. William Ameiss,
president of the Northern Illinois District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri
Synod.

Last December, a "minority group" assumed control of the church's board and
voted McCants out, Ameiss said, but they did not have the right to do so.
McCants was quickly reinstated as pastor, and Ameiss wrote letters to police
and bank officials letting them know that McCants was the legitimate pastor
and had the right to be on church property, he said.

But Ameiss said he had no idea the small group -- about 14 people, he said
-- had initiated eviction proceedings against McCants at the parsonage.

"The church is supposed to be controlled by the majority," Ameiss said. When
McCants was reinstated as pastor, it was by a vote of 42-0, he said.

Late Monday afternoon, McCants had begun to move his belongings back into
the parsonage, Ameiss said. "But the house is torn up pretty badly," he
said. "Apparently they had to break down doors to get in."

5 comments:

Jim Roemke said...

Do you know if there has been any talk of excommunication regarding these members? It seems that this would certainly be a good use of the disciple. If it were to be done in the LCMS, what would the procedures be? Would the district be involved? Would the whole Synod be involved? Could there be any legal repurcutions to the church because of excommunication?

Preachrboy said...

Don't know much more info than what has been written in these stories. Although one email group I get suggested the same thing for the 14 who seem to be causing the trouble. Excommunications are rare in our circles, but this certainly sounds like a candidate for the practice. I'm sure there's quite a bit of legal wrangling going on too, which probably complicates everything.

Lynn of St. John's said...

Seems like the Pastor might want to remember that our Lord Jesus has told us to dust our feet off as we leave the place were they don't receive us or listen to us.I wonder why that Pastor isn't doing what our Lord has said that he should do?

Jim Roemke said...

Well, should he let a small minority dictate what he is to do? I can only imagine if every pastor "shook the dust off his feet" every time someone didn't receive the message they preached. We would have a lot of clean pastors and very dirty parishoners.

Lynn of St. John's said...

Maybe not , but sad as it is, I've not heard that "anyone" in his congregation has come to the poor Pastor's defense,which gives me the impression that our Lord would not expect him to stay there in that pit.