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Archive for the month “November, 2014”

Preliminary Injunction Issued Against Latest Religious Non-Profit ACA Contraceptive Compromise

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“Yesterday a Florida federal district court handed down the first judicial decision on the Obama Administration’s August 2014 Interim Final Rules that attempted to create a more acceptable compromise for religious non-profits subject to the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate.  In Ave Maria University v. Burwell, (MD FL, Oct. 28, 2014), the court granted a preliminary injunction against enforcing the new rules against a religiously affiliated university.  The court relied heavily on the 11th Circuit’s decision in late June granting an injunction pending appeal to Eternal Word Television Network, a religious broadcasting network that was challenging the prior version of the regulations accommodating religious non-profits. (See prior posting.) Explaining this reliance, the district court yesterday said:

In Eternal Word, under the 2013 Final Rules, an eligible organization was required to submit the Form 700 to its insurance issuer in order to self-certify….  Here, pursuant to the Interim Final Rules, Ave Maria may, instead, send a notice containing certain information about its insurance issuer and plan directly to HHS in order to self-certify. It is the Court’s conclusion that this distinction is not so significant as to warrant departure from the Eleventh Circuit’s precedent in Eternal Word.

The court then stayed further proceedings in the case until the 11th Circuit decides the pending appeal in Eternal Word. Naples Daily News reports on the decision.”

You can learn more about this issue here.

Aggrieved Parties and Their Right to Appeal

The Rules of Civil Procedure are designed to facilitate litigation so it can be performed smoothly and predictably. Unfortunately, one simply cannot predict and write a rule for every possible contingency that could happen in the life of a case. There will always be circumstances that seem to fall into the cracks between the rules.

Pa.R.C.P. 1028(a)(1) requires a complaint be dismissed when the court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter and/or the parties to a claim. Pa.R.C.P. 1028(5) requires a complaint be dismissed when a plaintiff lacks standing to file one on the issues contained therein. What if a plaintiff sues two defendants in municipal court, wins a judgment for jurisdictional limits against only one defendant but files an appeal to the court of common pleas against both parties despite having won as much as legally permitted against one of the defendants?

Although, pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S.A. §5105, a party may file an appeal from a final order, it could be argued that only an aggrieved party may file an appeal, as in Pierro v. Pierro, 434 Pa. 131 (1969). Pennsylvania case law has something to say on this subject: “Standing [to file an appeal] requires an aggrieved party, and one ‘who is not adversely affected in any way by the matter which he seeks to challenge is not ‘aggrieved’ thereby and has no standing to obtain a judicial resolution of his challenge,’” as the court held in Lisa H v. State Board of Education 67 Pa.Cmwlth. 350 (1982), quoting William Penn Parking Garage v. City of Pittsburgh, 464 Pa. 168 (1975).

If our hypothetical plaintiff above won a judgment against one of the defendants for full jurisdictional limits in municipal court, it could be argued, per the above case law, that the plaintiff is not an aggrieved party, as he won his case against the defendant as completely as possible according to his own complaint and the municipal court rules. As he is not aggrieved, it could be argued, he has no standing to file an appeal of that judgment to the court of common pleas against that defendant. If the plaintiff had no standing and, therefore, could not file an appeal of the judgment, the court of common pleas, theoretically, has no jurisdiction over the person or subject matter at issue as it pertains to that one defendant.

The statute and cases seem to point in the direction that only a truly aggrieved party can file an appeal. Unfortunately, there seems to be a conspicuous absence among the relevant cases and statutes as to precisely whether a party that completely wins its case against a party, particularly in municipal court, is actually an aggrieved party with the right to appeal. It would seem that this issue is ripe for testing in the courts as soon as the opportunity arises.

Originally published in The Legal Intelligener Blog on May 21, 2013 which you can see here.

5 Reasons Why There Are No Millennials in Your Church

This is from anglicansablaze.blogspot.com which you can find here:

“As fewer and fewer Millennials (or maybe just white Millennials) attend a local church with regularity, pastors frantically read books and blogs about how to keep young people in the pews. Few pastors and churches are attracting Millennials in droves, and most pastors are simply frustrated by the fact that they can’t seem to get young people to walk through the doors, take off their coats, and stay a while.

I’m not a pastor. I’m not a missiologist. There are probably plenty of people reading this blog post that are a whole lot smarter than me and more qualified to write regularly about reaching people and getting people in church. I’m not an expert, but based on my conversations and interactions with a number of my peers, I’ve gathered a general idea for what keeps young people from the church (outside of the whole homosexuality debate and other similar issues).”

You can learn more about this issue here.

Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia: Banquet Bounty

God blesses those who follow his will; of this I do not and indeed cannot doubt.  The older I get the more I realize and learn that God also constantly works on his people by paring away more and more layers of one’s reliance on oneself so that ultimately one is completely reliant upon God and God alone.  I believe my experience with the Christian Legal Clinics of Philadelphia has revealed this truth to me more than ever.

I am on the Board of Directors for the Clinic and when we met in the summer 2014 we were facing very serious challenges.  First, our primary benefactor, who has enabled us to become more than just a loose collection of volunteers and turned us into what we are today, not to mention provided us with the necessary financial stability, may soon have to cut back on his support.  Second, our money reserves were running dry.  We were in danger of not making basic payroll.  We literally may not have had the money to – as the saying goes -“keep the lights on.”

We were concerned.  We were worried.  What would become of this ministry?  What was God doing?  The Clinic serves hundreds of people per year.  We are sharing the Gospel.  We are helping the poor.  We are bringing justice to those who would otherwise have to suffer injustice.  Aren’t these things God’s will?  Aren’t these things what God wants us to do?

Look again at the paragraph above.  Look at how much the word “we” is used.  Look at what “we” were doing.  Apparently, as I mentioned in the introduction above, more than anything else the Clinic needed, God needed to pare away some of our layers of self-reliance.  If you look to God’s Word, what does St. Paul have to say about this?  St. Paul says “[s]o neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.  (see I Corinthians 3:7).  The Clinic is planting.  The Clinic is watering.  The Clinic is not giving the growth.  God showed us that starkly as we approached the exhaustion of our resources.  We were on the doorstep of not being able to plant or water.  Our own efforts and resources and strengths could not provide sufficient, indeed any, growth.  What were we to do?

The answer was deceptively simple: pray and rely on God, and not on ourselves, to do what he promised to do: give growth.

Over the last couple of months the Clinic held two banquets, one in Doylestown and one in Philadelphia; I wrote about the Philadelphia Banquet here.  What did God do for us?  The Doylestown banquet precisely closed our budget gap and ensured our solvency through the end of the year.  The Philadelphia banquet allowed us to meet our budget requirements two months early.  Both Banquets introduced us to many new people who just learned about the Clinic and secured more annual and periodic donors to keep a steady stream of support going for us into the future.  We made relationships that may last into the future to assist this ministry.  What else?  We may have finally made inroads to the “big firms” of Philadelphia which have been, thus far, a near impossible nut to crack for support and assistance.

God did not just met our needs; God gave growth.  God showed us that self-reliance is not what he wants.  He wants reliance on him and him alone regardless of our efforts in doing the ministry; indeed, his ministry.  We had to learn that our ministry thrives not because of what we do but because of what he does.  We received unexpected blessings that, as the Psalmist says, did not just fill our cup, but made our cup run over in ways that only God could do.

Below is the latest video presentation of our ministry.  It is an amazing piece of work given to us by the talented filmmaker Timothy Fryett.  Please check it out; you will be inspired!

If, after reading and seeing the above, you feel called to give to our ministry, please look here.  Otherwise, please pray for us and help us in any way you can so that we can continue this ministry, serve God, and bring justice and mercy to those who cannot get it through the legal system.

Thanks and God bless.

City Now Says Ministers’ For-Profit Wedding Chapel Need Not Perform Same-Sex Marriages

This is from religionclause.blogspot.com which you can find here:

An excerpt of the Religion Clause post is as follows:

“In Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the Hitching Post, a for-profit wedding chapel across the street from the county clerk’s office now seems in the clear to refuse to perform same-sex marriages.  Earlier this month, the ministers filed suit against the city which had threatened to enforce its non-discrimination ordinance against the chapel. (See prior posting.) However now, as reported Friday by Boise State Public Radio, the city attorney says that the chapel is exempt, even though it is a for-profit entity.   Last month it reorganized as a limited liability company and provided in its operating agreement: ‘The Hitching Post is a religious corporation owned solely by ordained ministers of the Christian religion who operate this entity as an extension of their sincerely held religious beliefs and in accordance with their vows taken as Christian ministers.’

You can learn more about this issue here.


Idolatry Is Alive Today: Why Modern Church Leaders Still Fight an Old Battle

This is from anglicansablaze.blogspot.com which you can find here:

An excerpt of the Anglicans Ablaze post is as follows:  “Some readers likely saw the headline on this blog and decided they didn’t need to read an article about the Old Testament, perhaps opting to read a blog on leadership instead.

After all, you probably don’t have a carved stone statue in your house, and you’ve never traveled to Asia and purchased a totem or some other representation of a false god. So why would a conversation about idolatry be of any importance to you, right?”

You can learn more about this issue here.


Check out Faye Cohen’s post to her blog Toughlawyerlady!


I have been driven to distraction this week talking to some potential clients about their issues, especially those who have been sued, and need to mount a defense in a certain period of time. I don’t think any professionals have to face the recurrent issue of people who think they can be their own lawyers in a complicated legal matter. People who wouldn’t dream of performing surgery on themselves, designing a house, preparing a complicated tax return, etc., think nothing of determining that they don’t need a lawyer to represent them, or convincing themselves that they can’t afford a lawyer. They think that when they are involved in a lawsuit the court system will be protective of their interests, and warm and cuddly to them. What usually happens is that they decide, after they have botched up a case beyond repair, or they have even lost the case, they should…

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November 2014: “The Evangelist” Newsletter from St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Abington, PA

The Evangelist is the monthly newsletter of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in Abington, Pennsylvania.  Below is the November 2014 issue of The Evangelist which you can also read here in .pdf format.

Please take the time to read about what we are up to at St. John’s and, if you are in the area, please be sure to stop by on a Sunday morning; we would love to welcome you at our weekly worship services at 9:00am.  We are also involved in other ministries, Bible studies, and worship services which are also described in The Evangelist below.  I hope to see you there!  God bless!

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