The Missouri Baptist Convention took an unprecedented move when it filed a motion for declaratory judgment against The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist University, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, Word&Way and the Missouri Baptist Foundation in August 2002. (The convention dropped its lawsuit against Word&Way in April 2010.)
The MBC decided to take action to try to force trustees of the five agencies to rescind new charters that gave the entities, rather than the convention, the authority to elect their trustees.
The Baptist Home adopted a new charter in 2000, with the other four agencies making the change in 2001.
Several actions were taken before the convention filed suit and several legal steps followed. Leaders on both sides discussed liability and control issues for a couple of years. Then the discussion took a legal bent in 2001 when then-MBC president Bob Curtis appointed a legal task force at the direction of messengers to the 2001 annual meeting. Curtis named the task force on Dec. 11, 2001.
Although Judge Thomas Brown ruled on March 11 that the plaintiffs in the convention’s lawsuit did not have standing to file the action, the legal wrangling has not ended.
The legal action timeline below includes significant dates and actions since this time.
April 18, 2002 — The legal task force presented its report to the Executive Board. The report declared that the five entities “must rescind the putative amended charters and restate their former charters.”
According to MBC lead council Michael Whitehead, the report was based on opinions from three law firms, Bryan Cave of St. Louis and Kansas City; Stinson, Mag and Fizzell of Kansas City; and Sandberg, Phoenix and von Gontard of St. Louis.
May 28, 2002 — A call from all concerned parties to discuss differences led to a meeting in St. Louis. At the session, labeled “candid and cordial,” participants shared their understanding of the issues and discussed binding Christian arbitration, covenant agreements and mediation as possible solutions to the impasse. No resolution was reached, but MBC and institutional representatives agreed they needed to continue talks.
June 6, 2002 — A called Executive Board meeting effectively halted continued dialog. At that meeting, board members voted 33-9 “to take all legal steps necessary to restore the five agencies to their former legal relationship” with the convention. The motion included legal action or binding Christian arbitration as the only options for reconciliation.
At the 2001 annual meeting, the MBC escrowed Cooperative Program and Missouri Mission Offering funds the five entities were to have received in 2002. In 2002, the convention removed the five completely from the 2003 budget. Beginning in 2002, the five were excluded from booth space at MBC annual meetings and from being included in the annual Book of Reports.
Aug. 13, 2002 — The MBC and six representative churches filed legal action against the five institutions and Missouri Secretary of State Matt Blunt in Cole County Circuit Court. Churches that joined the lawsuit as representatives included First Baptist churches of Arnold, Bethany and Branson; Concord Baptist, Jefferson City; Oakwood Baptist, Kansas City; and Springhill Baptist, Springfield.
Oct. 15, 2002 — The five agencies filed for dismissal of the lawsuit.
Oct. 28-30, 2002 — The legal task force released a video at the convention’s 2002 annual meeting to present its case for filing the lawsuit.
Nov. 19, 2002 — Cole County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Brown heard arguments in the entities’ motions for dismissal. Judge Brown ruled against the motions on Nov. 20.
Dec. 9, 2002 — The Foundation and Missouri Baptist University filed counter claims.
January 2003 — Springfield layman Darrell Moore proposed a solution, which would have allowed the convention to elect a percentage of trustees for each entity based on the percentage it contributed to each institution’s budget. His proposal was not pursued.
Jan. 30, 2003 — Judge Brown heard arguments to dismiss the secretary of state from the legal action.
Feb. 3, 2003 — Judge Brown’s order in favor of the secretary of state was filed.
Feb. 28, 2003 — Word&Way vacated its offices in the Baptist Building in Jefferson City. The convention terminated the newspaper’s occupancy effective March 1.
April 3, 2003 — MBC-elected trustees to the five institutions held board meetings to elect a chairman and to begin preparing for transition if the court would rule in the convention’s favor or to develop a process to begin new entities if the lawsuit favored the agencies.
April 15, 2003 — The convention released money earmarked in the 2002 budget for the five entities to other mission and ministry causes. Messengers approved the action at the 2002 annual session. Funds in escrow totaled $1,875,592 on March 31.
July 15, 2003 — MBC Executive Board passed two recommendations offered by the legal task force but refused to make them public. The convention had spent $626,372 in legal fees as of June 30, 2003, according to a financial report released at the July meeting.
Aug. 2003 — Attorneys began taking depositions from prospective witnesses. Among the first to be called were Columbia attorney and former state convention parliamentarian Bart Tichenor, former MBC president and legal task force member Bob Curtis, Word&Way editor Bill Webb and 2003 MBC president and pastor of Concord Baptist Church of Jefferson City Monte Shinkle.
Sept. 18, 2003 — Judge Brown ruled that the convention can keep confidential the three opinions on which the legal task force based its 2002 report that eventually led to legal action against the five institutions.
Oct. 24, 2003 — The MBC publicly revealed “secret” motions made at the July 15 Executive Board session. One motion formally removed all trustees from each of the five agency boards, and the other allowed election of new trustees to each. Messengers approved both proposals at the Nov. 3-5 annual meeting.
Nov. 3-5, 2003 — Messengers to the annual meeting authorized the Executive Board to establish a $1 million line of credit and to establish an “agency restoration fund” to help defray ongoing legal fees.
Nov. 10, 2003 — Judge Brown ruled that the convention is not a member of the Missouri Baptist University corporation. The ruling dismissed the MBC’s contention that it is the university’s sole member, and as such only the convention has the authority to change the university’s corporate charter.
Nov. 2003 — Church Mutual filed a lawsuit to avoid paying on policies for the MBC; Windermere; Word&Way; the Foundation; First Baptist Church, Bethany; Oakwood Baptist Church; and Springhill Baptist Church. The insurance company is seeking to avoid covering costs incurred by the continuing legal action between the convention and the five entities.
Nov. 19, 2003 — MBC president David Tolliver issued a “directive” to bar Word&Way from MBC committee meetings and Executive Board sessions and to prevent newspaper staff from covering the 2004 annual meeting.
Dec. 9, 2003 — Tolliver followed through with his directive and required Word&Way to leave the December Executive Board meeting.
Feb. 26, 2004 — Judge Brown heard arguments on the university’s motion for summary judgment that the Executive Board and six churches do not have standing to file the legal action.
March 11, 2004 — By order, Judge Brown ruled the plaintiffs do not have standing and dismisses the case.
March 24, 2004 — MBC attorneys filed a motion asking Judge Brown to reconsider his dismissal judgment, to clarify the order and to allow the MBC to amend the list of plaintiffs in the original case — from churches to individuals.
April 7, 2004 — Judge Brown denied the MBC motion to amend its legal action to replace churches with individuals. He also denied the request to reconsider his March 24 dismissal order, and he clarified that the March 11 ruling applied to all five entities.
April 13, 2004 — The MBC Executive Board passed a proposal to include the five agencies in the 2005 budget. The money, about $1.2 million, would be placed in the Agency Restoration Fund to be used to pay legal costs. Money remaining in the ARF after legal costs were paid would be available to the five agencies if the courts eventually would rule in the convention’s favor.
April 16, 2004 — MBC attorneys filed a notice of appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District to contest Judge Brown’s March 11 rulings.
July 2, 2004 — MBU attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the convention’s appeal in the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District. The court denied the motion on July 21.
July 13, 2004 — The Executive Board adopted a 2005 budget proposal that does not include the five entities, citing increased giving to the Agency Restoration Fund.
Oct. 25, 2004 — The MBC and five individuals filed new legal action against the five entities. The individuals have served as messengers to the annual meeting every year since 1999. All have served or are current MBC-elected “legal trustees” for at least one of the five institutions. Plaintiffs included Robert Curtis, pastor of Ballwin Baptist Church; Mitchell Jackson, pastor of Miner Baptist Church, Sikeston, and 2005 MBC president; James Plymale, messenger from First Baptist Church, Villa Ridge; Lyn Heying, messenger from New Oakland Baptist Church, Ralls County; and James Moore, messenger from Concord Baptist Church, St. Louis. (read more)
Dec. 16, 2004 — Attorneys for the five agencies filed four motions to dismiss the convention action. One motion requested dismissal of the MBC as a plaintiff based on its lack of capacity to sue in its own name. One motion requested dismissal for plaintiffs’ lack of standing under Missouri statutes, one for lack of standing for failure to make claims as derivative actions, and one on the basis of the abatement doctrine. The lawyers also filed a request for a protective order to shield the five entities from excessive discovery and asked the judge to require the plaintiffs to strike some paragraphs and clarify others in their lawsuit.
April 5, 2005 — Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan deferred action on the second MBC lawsuit. He agreed to allow discovery to continue, but limited it to issues surrounding the entities’ adoption of new charters, possible discussion among the agencies about changing their articles of incorporation and the motivation for making changes. Judge Callahan also agreed to hear the defendants’ joint motion to consider standing issues on June 1. (read more)
April 20, 2005 — Attorneys for the MBC and for the five agencies presented oral arguments in the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, in Kansas City. (read more)
May 31, 2005 — A Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, three-judge panel reversed one part of Judge Brown’s dismissal of the case. The appellate court said the Executive Board has the legal right to sue as a representative of the convention because it is composed of members, and members elect officers. The court also ruled that the six churches do not have standing in the case. (read more)
June 15, 2005 — The five entities filed a request for rehearing by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District. The motion asked the appellate court to modify its May 31 opinion to correct issues defense attorneys believe the court overlooked or misinterpreted, particularly regarding membership and the interpretation of a 1935 Missouri Supreme Court decision. (read more)
Aug. 2, 2005 — The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District turned down the five entities’ request for a rehearing. (read more)
Aug. 25, 2005 — Senior U.S. District Judge Scott Wright has ruled that Church Mutual must cover the MBC’s costs for defending itself against counterclaims. (read more)
Sept. 20, 2005 — The Missouri Supreme Court declined to review the appellate ruling. The case returned to Cole County Circuit Court. (read more)
Oct. 12, 2005 — Cole County Judge Richard Callahan dismissed the MBC’s second lawsuit against the five agencies. (read more)
Oct. 24, 2005 — MBC Executive Director David Clippard is told by the MBC Executive Board to contact three agencies and encourage them to discontinue advertising with Word&Way. The newsjournal’s board voted to ask Word&Way’s attorney to write a letter on their behalf to discontinue interfering in its ministry. (read more)
Dec. 15, 2005 — Cole County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Brown ruled the Executive Board could represent the MBC and seven individuals could be added as plaintiffs. The seven included six named in the Oct. 25, 2004, lawsuit and Randy Comer, pastor of First Baptist Church, Bethany. (read more)
Dec. 19, 2005 — Judge Brown issued a temporary restraining order against Windermere to prohibit the center from selling, mortgaging or encumbering its real estate. Windermere officials had transferred title to about 950 acres to National City Bank of Cincinnati, Ohio, on Nov. 15. (read more)
Feb. 28, 2006 — Judge Brown granted some motions and denied others regarding additional discovery requests. (read more)
May 9, 2006 — Judge Brown granted the MBC’s request to amend its lawsuit a third time. (read more)
June 1, 2006 — Judge Brown granted a preliminary injunction that prohibits Windermere Baptist Conference Center from selling or transferring property or timber or incurring further debt secured by real estate without court approval. However, the judge denied an MBC request to prohibit Sale of mortgage bonds that were part of Windermere’s debt-restructuring plan. (read more)
June 12, 2006 — Judge Brown dismissed MBC’s conspiracy claims against Missouri Baptist University and gave the convention 20 days to amend its lawsuit to clarify its breach of contract charges against MBU. The university’s motion was argued in Judge Brown’s court on June 5. (read more)
June 27, 2006 — Judge Brown dismissed conspiracy charges against the other four agencies. The four had filed motions similar to MBU’s. (read more)
Aug. 7, 2006 — Judge Brown agreed with an MBU request for mediation between the university and the convention in the ongoing legal battle. The judge also allowed the convention to file a fourth amended petition, but only after he struck conspiracy claims and an intent-to-harm claim from it. (read more)
Sept. 19, 2006 — The convention filed its fifth amended petition to spell out which MBC documents the five entities allegedly breached when each changed its corporate charter. Judge Brown reversed an earlier decision and allowed a prima facie tort — an intent-to-harm claim — to be included in the newest petition. The amended version also included conspiracy claims the judge had dismissed on June 27 and had struck from the fourth amended version on Aug. 7. (read more)
Sept. 22, 2006 — Word&Way launches a seven-part series called “Beyond Rhetoric” that “examine aspects of the ongoing conflict between the Missouri Baptist Convention and five related institutions. “The series includes: overview, theology, politics, accountability, assets, insurance and reconciliation. (read more) Links to all seven parts can be found in the first installment.
Oct. 31, 2006 — In his report to the MBC annual meeting, legal task force chairman Gary Taylor noted the convention had spent $2.5 million on legal expenses since 2001, and that insurance will reimburse the convention $1.49 million. (read more)
Nov. 7, 2006 — Judge Brown, a Democrat, was defeated in his bid for reelection to the Cole County Circuit Court by Republican Jon Beetem. (read more)
Dec. 11, 2006 — In a mediation hearing involving the MBC and the university, Judge Robert Russell of Sedalia suggested that the two entities set up a nine-member committee that would appoint new trustees to MBU’s board for two years. Although the proposal was to be taken to the Executive Board, but if it was, the board took no action on it, effectively halting this effort.(read more)
Jan. 22, 2007 — The MBC lawsuit was assigned to Cole County Circuit Court Judge Richard Callahan. Judge Beetem had the suit as part of Judge Brown’s caseload. MBU filed a motion for a change of judge on Jan. 16, and the case was assigned to Presiding Judge Patricia Joyce on Jan. 18. Convention attorneys filed a motion on Jan. 19, and the case was reassigned to Judge Callahan. (read more)
May 4, 2007 — Cole County Circuit Court Judge Richard Callahan ruled at a hearing on May 4 that the MBC challenge to The Baptist Home, Word&Way, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, Missouri Baptist University and Windermere corporate charters should be tried separately. The convention had sought four trials, one as a combined case against Windermere and Word&Way and one each against the other three defendants. After deliberation it was agreed that MBC’s lawsuit against Windermere Baptist Conference Center would be first, with jury selection set to begin on Oct. 23, with the trial scheduled through Oct. 31. (read more)
Aug. 7, 2007 — Judge Richard Callahan ruled that the MBC has standing to pursue legal action against the five institutions, but only for breach of contract. Callahan recognized that entity trustees had the power to change their respective charters. He also noted that “[b]ased upon statements of the Plaintiffs’ counsel,” the convention no longer challenges that power. (read more)
Aug. 17, 2007 — Cole County Judge Richard Callahan drops conspiracy charges against five entities being sued by the MBC and heard arguments on whether or not the convention was a “member” of the entity trustee boards. (read more)
Sept. 10, 2007 — Judge Callahan moved back a trial involving Windermere and the MBC from Oct. 12 to Feb. 1, 2008, to hear motions plaintiffs say might eliminate the need for the trial. (read more)
Oct. 11, 2007 — Attorneys for the Missouri Baptist Convention have filed a motion for summary judgment against Windermere Baptist Conference Center. (read more)
Oct. 25, 2007 — A foreclosure notice had been served on Windermere Development Company Inc., owners of 941 acres that once belonged to Windermere Baptist Conference Center, but the company reached a refinancing agreement with a bank. Had the foreclosure occurred, sale of its property would not have affected Windermere Baptist Conference Center. (read more)
March 4, 2008 — Windermere Baptist Conference Center acted legally when it changed its articles of incorporation, Cole County Circuit Court Judge Richard Callahan ruled in a 43-page order. Full text of order. (read more)
March 31, 2008 — William R. Jester of Springfield filed a $10 million counterclaim against the MBC, charging the convention with making unsubstantiated and negative claims publicly. (read more)
April 9, 2008 — Missouri Baptist Convention appeals the March 4 ruling. (read more)
April 16, 2008 — Camden County Planning and Zoning commissioners delayed action on a request to change zoning on 1,005 acres. MBC claims 943 acres belong to Missouri Baptists. (read more)
May 21, 2008 — The rezoning request is once again delayed. Property ownership questions are a factor. (read more)
June 10, 2008 — The Camden County case against Windermere will move forward despite the efforts of the Missouri Baptist Convention to delay it. (read more)
June 18, 2008 — Camden County Planning and Zoning commissioners again table a zoning request, desiring to have property ownership in writing. (read more)
July 22, 2008 — A Missouri Baptist Convention appeal of Judge Callahan’s March 4 decision was filed with the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District. (read more)
Aug. 19, 2008 — Associate Circuit Judge Bruce Colyer considered several motions related to the MBC’s suit against Windermere filed in Camden County. (read more)
Nov. 11, 2008 — Oral arguments have been scheduled for Nov. 25 before the Western District Court of Appeals in Kansas City in the Missouri Baptist Convention’s case against Windermere Baptist Conference Center. One of the judges schedule to hear the case has recused himself. (read more)
Nov. 25, 2008 — A hearing takes place in the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District in the March 4 ruling in favor of Windermere. (read more)
Feb. 3, 2009 — Windermere Baptist Conference Center acted within its legal rights when it changed its articles of incorporation, a Missouri appellate court ruled unanimously. Full text of decision. (read more)
Feb. 10, 2009 — A Camden County judge has delayed ruling on motions to dismiss a Missouri Baptist Convention lawsuit against Windermere Baptist Conference Center and several financial institutions and individuals. (read more)
Feb. 18, 2009 — The MBC appeals the Feb. 3 Court of Appeals ruling to the Missouri Supreme Court. (read more)
March 31, 2009 — The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, will not rehear the Missouri Baptist Convention case against Windermere Baptist Conference Center, nor will it transfer the case to the state’s highest court. (read more)
April 9, 2009 — Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Hayden has dismissed a Missouri Baptist Convention lawsuit against Windermere Baptist Conference Center and several financial institutions and individuals. The order included all defendants in the case except one. (read more)
April 14, 2009 — The Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board on April 14 gave its unanimous stamp of approval to using Cooperative Program gifts from churches to fund its ongoing litigation against five institutions. (read more)
May 5, 2009 — The Missouri Supreme Court has turned down a request to examine a district court ruling favoring Windermere Baptist Conference Center. The convention has now exhausted its options to overturn Cole County Judge Richard Callahan’s March 4, 2008, ruling in favor of Windermere. (read more)
May 6, 2009 — MBC attorneys filed a request to submit an amended version of legal action the convention took against the center in Camden County Circuit Court on Nov. 1, 2006. Judge Kenneth Hayden dismissed that case on April 9. (read more)
May 20, 2009 — Representatives from four of the five agencies respond to claims that Cooperative Program funds “purchased, built, established and maintained” the institutions. (read more)
June 22, 2009 — Judge Kenneth Hayden upholds dismissal of legal action against a former Missouri Baptist Convention entity but will allows a lawsuit to continue against a one-time MBC executive director. (read more)
August 24, 2009 — Camden County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Hayden allows William R. Jester of Springfield 30 days to resubmit an amended counterclaim to his original filing after a July 15 hearing. The amended counterclaim is for $15 million to compensate for lost profits, plus asks the court to grant punitive damages “in an amount deemed appropriate.” (read more)
October 7, 2009 — Word&Way reports that messengers to the 2009 Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting will be asked to use Cooperative Program funds to help pay the legal fees of its litigation against the five agencies. (read more)
October 27, 2009 — Messengers to the 2009 Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting vote 764-226 to give the Executive Board more authority to resolve ongoing lawsuits against five formerly related entities, (read more)
December 15, 2009 — Three messengers address the December Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board and ask them to drop the lawsuits against the five agencies. (read more)
January 14, 2010 — Windermere Development Co., owned by William R. Jester of Springfield, files a bankruptcy petition to halt a foreclosure sale in Camden County of acreage once part of the conference center. WDC has been unable to develop the property, which would have brought in revenue, because of continued legal action against Jester and several of his companies, and said the bankruptcy filing will not halt land development. (read more)
January 15, 2010 — A three-judge appellate panel hears oral arguments in Missouri Baptist Convention’s second lawsuit to reclaim land once owned by Windermere Baptist Conference Center. The appeals court hearing is the latest round in legal action the MBC filed in Camden County on Nov. 1, 2006. (read more)
April 12, 2010 — Cole County Circuit Court Judge Paul Wilson set two hearings to try to move a step closer to ending ongoing litigation on April 27 and May 11. (read more)
April 13, 2010 — Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board members dip into reserves to pay legal bills, approving a $150,000 bridge loan from general reserves to the Agency Restoration Fund to pay “immediate” legal bills. The loan must be repaid through the ARF within 12 months. (read more)
April 23, 2010 — The Missouri Baptist Convention drops its case against Word&Way in documents filed with in Cole County Circuit Court voluntarily releasing the news journal from all claims against it. The MBC dismissed its legal action “without prejudice,” meaning that it would have the option to re-file the case. Although the case has been dismissed, MBC Executive Board members officially voted to exclude Word&Way or its agents from attending meetings. (read more)
April 30, 2010 — The Missouri Baptist Convention’s effort to reclaim land at Windermere Baptist Conference Center in Roach is back in the hands of Camden County Circuit Court after an appeal was dismissed. (read more)
June 2, 2010 — Springfield developer and philanthropist William R. Jester dies in Springfield. (read more)
June 23, 2010 — The Missouri Baptist Convention filed a motion to send its legal action in Camden County against Windermere Baptist Conference Center to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. A federal judge will decide whether the case will remain in federal jurisdiction or be returned to Camden County. (read more)
September 17, 2010 — A federal court has refused to hear the ongoing Baptist struggle over 1,300 acres at Lake of the Ozarks. Chief U.S. District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan Jr. Sept. 17 ordered the case returned to Camden County. (read more)
December 31, 2010 — Outgoing Cole County Circuit Court Judge Paul Wilson rules that the Foundation did not have the right to file amendments made to its charter in October 2001, stopping short of voiding all Foundation actions since 2001. The Foundation issues a statement that indicates the entity will likely appeal. (read more)
January 26, 2011 — Cole County Circuit Court Judge Byron Kinder issues a stay of Judge Wilson’s Dec. 31, 2010 ruling against the Foundation. (read more)
February 8, 2011 — The Missouri Baptist Foundation files a note of appeal in the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District of Judge Wilson’s Dec. 31 ruling. (read more)
March 29, 2011 —The Missouri Court of Appeals dismisses the Foundation request for an appeal, ruling it did not have jurisdiction in the case and returning the case to Cole County. (read more)
June 21, 2011 — The Foundation files a second notice of appeal of Judge Wilson’s Dec. 31 order. (read more)
October 28, 2011 — Missouri Baptist Foundation trustees issue an open letter to Missouri Baptists to call for an end to nearly 10 years of litigation. (read more)
November 1, 2011 — During the Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting at Tan-Tar-A, the Agency Restoration Group’s report on the ongoing lawsuits draws no questions, suggestions or motions from messengers. (read more)
April 10, 2012 — MBC Executive Board members agree to increase a bridge loan to cover expenses in ongoing litigation against five formerly affiliated entities. The original $150,000 loan was made out of reserves in 2010, with $25,000 later repaid. The loan will be increased to $225,000, with payment due when the lawsuits end. (read more)
July 25, 2012 — Attorneys for both sides in the Missouri Baptist Conventions case against the Missouri Baptist Foundation present oral arguments before the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District. The appellate panel has three options — to dismiss the case and send it back to the Cole County court, to reverse the lower court ruling or to affirm the Cole County decision. (read more)
September 18, 2012 — A three-judge panel for the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, rules that the lower court failed to resolve all the issues in the case filed by the Missouri Baptist Convention against the Missouri Baptist Foundation. Until it does so, an appeal cannot be made. The court dismisses the appeal and returns the case to Cole County. (read more)
October 9, 2012 — In an open letter to Missouri Baptists, Missouri Baptist Foundation president Chris Calmer says he believes discussions between both sides in the MBC’s lawsuit against the Foundation might lead to “some areas of compromise or resolution outside of the courts and without all parties incurring more legal fees…a mutually beneficial and redemptive solution for all involved.” (read more)
March 21, 2013 — Camden County Circuit Court Judge Ralph H. Jaynes dismissed legal action the Missouri Baptist Convention had filed in 2006 against Windermere and several financial institutions to regain control of the center’s property. The MBC is appealing that action. (read more)
October 25, 2013 — Windermere filed a lawsuit in Cole County Circuit Court against the MBC in an effort to move ahead with utility improvements the facility needs. (read more)
October 28-30, 2013 — Messengers to the MBC annual meeting adopted a report by the Agency Restoration Group that included a plan to allow an attempt at mediation called for by Church Mutual Insurance, the MBC’s carrier. (read more)
January 14, 2014 — Representatives of the Missouri Baptist Convention and four formerly affiliated agencies have agreed to continue to talk about an end to litigation, now in its 12th year at the request of Church Mutual, who insures Windermere Baptist Conference Center and the Missouri Baptist Convention. Representatives met Jan. 14-16 in Columbia, Mo. (read more)
February 13, 2014 — Mediation between the Missouri Baptist Convention and four formerly affiliated agencies has ended without a resolution. The primary issue — who would control those organizations — could not be settled. (read more)
March 25, 2014 — The MBC lost its bid to reclaim Windermere and its property when a three-judge Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, panel affirmed a Camden County Circuit Court decision in Windermere’s favor. The convention lost on procedural grounds of its own making, according to the appeal court’s ruling. (read more)
May 27, 2014 — The Missouri Supreme Court denied an MBC request for the high court to examine an appellate court ruling in Windermere’s favor on March 25, ending the case. In addition to Windermere, the Camden County case included former MBC Executive Director James Hill, Reliance Trust Co., National City Bank of the Midwest, Consolidated Mortgage Inc. and First American Title Missouri Agency Inc. as defendants. Still ongoing, Windermere filed suit against the convention last fall in an effort to move ahead with utility improvements required by the state. (read more)
June 6, 2014 — Judge Frank Conley issued a final judgment to a earlier 2010 ruling that was amended in 2011. It requires the Missouri Baptist Foundation to pay attorneys’ fees and court costs that accrued from 2002 to 2010. Judge Conley set additional fees and costs to cover the period from 2011 to 2013. Interest of 9 percent per year would be added to the total. Because Judge Conley issued his ruling as a final judgment in the Foundation portion of the 2002 case, the MBF now could appeal. (read more)
June 17, 2014 — The Missouri Baptist Convention has bought about 970 acres that originally had been part of Windermere Baptist Conference Center. News reports indicate that the purchase includes shoreline on both sides of the current Windermere facilities on the Lake of the Ozarks. (read more)
July 15, 2014 — The Missouri Baptist Convention Executive Board recommended that President Wesley Hammond name a seven-member taskforce to research possible uses and recommend a strategy for use of 970 acres at the Lake of the Ozarks, which originally had been part of Windermere Baptist Conference Center. The seven-member team will offer reports at the board’s December meeting and its April 2015 session and should have a plan in place by April 2015. (read more)
October 17, 2014 — The MBC filed a writ of garnishment against Church Mutual Insurance Co. in an effort to force the firm to begin paying legal costs for the Missouri Baptist Foundation, which could rise as high as $5 million as interest accrues. The question remains whether the MBC can legally collect from the insurance company now or will have to wait until after the appeal Judge Frank Conley left in place earlier court rulings that requirements stemming from those rulings would be stayed until all legal remedies have been exhausted. (read more)
January 14, 2015 — Church Mutual Insurance Co., the insurer for the Missouri Baptist Foundation, reached a partial settlement with the MBC early in December and has paid $5 million to the Missouri Baptist Convention toward a settlement in ongoing litigation between the two Baptist entities. The insurer decided to offer a partial settlement even though a Foundation appeal is pending in the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District. (read more)
February 13, 2015 — The Missouri Baptist Convention had taken steps to regain control of the Foundation by declaring that MBC-elected trustees are legally in charge of the Foundation’s ministry, despite the Foundation’s pending appeal of an earlier ruling. Contact were made by a convention attorney to the Foundation’s legal counsel on Jan. 26, along with the Foundation’s investment partner, insurance carrier and others. A February 13 ruling The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, issued an order on Feb. 13 requiring the Foundation and the Missouri Baptist Convention to seek clarification from the Cole County Circuit Court (read more)
March 4, 2015 — Circuit Court Judge Frank Conley ruled that a 2011 issues by Cole County Senior Judge Byron Kinder remains in effect until all appeals are exhausted. That ruling means the Foundation’s current board of trustees will continue to govern the entity — despite the MBC’s claim — until a higher court, either the Missouri Court of Appeals or the state’s Supreme Court, determines who will be in charge. (read more)
September 15, 2015 — Lawyers for the Missouri Baptist Foundation and Missouri Baptist Convention appear before the Western District Court of the Appeals. The Foundation claimed Judge Conley’s ruling in 2014 left several issues unresolved. (read more)
May 24, 2016 — The Western District Court of Appeals rules in favor of the Missouri Baptist Convention in the 14-year case against the Missouri Baptist Foundation. Chief Judge Alok Ahuja announced the ruling that the MBC is entitled to regain control of the Foundation, which issued a statement that they were reviewing their options. (read more)
June 8, 2016 — The Missouri Baptist Foundation files a motion that asks the Western District Court of Appeals to either rehear the case or transfer the case to the Supreme Court of Missouri, claiming that the May 24 ruling is not a final judgement as it did not resolve all the MBC’s claims against the Foundation. (read more)
July 5, 2016 — The Western District Court of Appeals overruled and denied the Foundation’s request to either rehear the case or transfer it to the Missouri Supreme Court. The final remaining option for the Foundation is to appeal directly to the state Supreme Court. (read more)
September 20, 2016 — The Missouri Baptist Foundation lost its final appeal when the state Supreme Court denied the Foundation’s application to transfer its appeal of a judgment issued by the Circuit Court of Cole County, Missouri, in October 2014. As a result, current trustees will be required to surrender governance to MBC-elected trustees. (read more)
December 2, 2016 — The Missouri Baptist Convention filed motions on Dec. 2 asking the Circuit Court of Cole County to issue a ruling for the MBC in lawsuits against The Baptist Home and Missouri Baptist University, asking the court to offer a summary judgement. (read more)
December 9, 2016 — The board of trustees of the Foundation elect new officers. During the meeting, the board also elected the three officers to serve as the search committee to find a new president for the Foundation. (read more)
January 31, 2017 — The Baptist Home and Missouri Baptist University submit legal responses to urge a judge to dismiss motions for summary judgment filed by the Missouri Baptist Convention on Dec. 2. A new judge, Karl DeMarce, was assigned to the case on Jan. 30, the day before the filings. Word&Way publishes an analysis of the legal arguments in the filings. (read more)
August 2017 — Marking the 15-year anniversary of the Missouri Baptist Convention legal action, Word&Way publishes a recap of the activities and issues involved and a look back at the legal promises made by the MBC. The issue also notes other Baptist convention cases in other states involving colleges that have been settled much more quickly.
September 18, 2017 – Judge Karl DeMarce has his first hearing in the ongoing litigation, based on Missouri Baptist Convention arguments filed in Dec. 2016 and counterfilings in March by Missouri Baptist University and The Baptist Home. It also was the first hearing since lead TBH attorney Jim Shoemake, who passed away in June. (Oct. 2017 Word&Way.)
September 21, 2017 — Neil Franks is elected president of the Missouri Baptist Foundation by its board of trustees. (read more) Stephen Mathis, who had been serving as interim president, announced his retirement Aug. 18 after nearly 31 years of service. (read more)
September 27, 2017 — Judge Karl DeMarce rules in favor of the Missouri Baptist Convention in its cases against The Baptist Home and Missouri Baptist University. (read more)
October 27, 2017 — The Baptist Home filed a motion asking Judge Karl DeMarce to amend or correct his ruling. (read more)
October 31, 2017 — Missouri Baptist University files an appeal to the Sept. 27 ruling. (read more)
November 2, 2017 — The Missouri Baptist Convention responds to The Baptist Home’s Oct. 27 filing. (read more)
November 6, 2017 — Judge Karl DeMarce denies The Baptist Home’s Oct. 27 motion. TBH files an appeal the same day. (read more)
November 11, 2017 — The Missouri Baptist University Board of Trustees unanimously appointed Dr. Keith L. Ross as the University’s seventh president. Ross formerly was MBU’s senior vice president for university advancement. (read more)
May 2, 2018 – The Baptist Home and Missouri Baptist University file longer briefs to the appellate court to overturn the lower court’s decision. The Missouri Baptist Convention has until July 2 to file its response. Word&Way publishes an analysis of the arguments in the briefs. (read more)
February 19, 2019 – A three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District ruled unanimously for the Missouri Baptist Convention in its lawsuit against The Baptist Home and Missouri Baptist University. (read more)
February 26, 2019 — The Baptist Home board votes unanimously to cease further appeals. (read more)
February 28, 2019 — The Missouri Baptist University board votes to forego additional appeals. (read more)