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Shammu
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« on: July 23, 2007, 07:58:16 PM »

Woman twice arrested for going to church
Larry O'Connor

ALLEN TOWNSHIP When Karolyn Caskey leaves Allen Baptist Church on Sunday, she says she hopes to exit in God's grace instead of a police officer's grip.

Despite two arrests for trespassing there in the last month with the Hillsdale County prosecutor tossing both cases the 71-year-old grandmother plans to attend Sunday services at her place of worship since 1959.

Those spiritual pursuits are at odds with the pastor at pulpit, who doesn't want her there. Jason Burrick, 30, has twice in the last month summoned authorities to haul Caskey off to the county jail, where she's been fingerprinted and photographed for a mug shot.

County Prosecutor Neal Brady is opposed to further police intervention.

"My decision is that unless she is maliciously interfering with the worship service itself, she should not be arrested," Brady said. "It's a matter that should be handled internally and not bring government or law enforcement into it."

Caskey's arrests are at the epicenter of an internecine split between longtime members who have either been expelled or defected to other churches and Burrick, who arrived 11/2 years ago at the church at 4215 N. Edon Road.

The pastor made a number of controversial changes, Caskey and other former parishioners say such as insisting women wear skirts to services, not slacks or pantsuits.

Burrick declined to comment on why Caskey's church membership was rescinded, terming the split a "private ecclesiastical matter."

He also refused to comment on the arrests.

Repeated calls to a church deacon, Dan Childs of Jonesville, were not returned.

Although her membership was revoked, Caskey remains adamant she be able to attend a public place of worship.

"I plan on going to church; If that's a showdown, so be it," said Caskey, a retired Coldwater Regional Facility corrections officer. "I can't believe going to church is wrong."

Caskey's arrests have been the buzz at one of the rural township's meeting places, Jack's Cracker Barrel.

"We have people who come in every morning and drink coffee in the back," said Theresa Woods, a cashier at the West Chicago Road convenience nook. "They're talking about it, but I don't know what they're saying. When I walk by, I can hear them. They're up here at the coffee pot talking about it."

Township resident Gerry Osborne has lived in Allen Township all his life and knows Caskey.

"More or less, it's in her defense," Osborne said of frequent customer conversations. "The feeling is, 'There must be something we can do about this, but there's nothing we can do in short of everyone getting arrested, I guess.'"

Former parishioners Emmit and Patsy Church opted not to return when they were voted out of Allen Baptist one year ago. The couple now attends Bankers Baptist Church in Cambria Township.

Emmitt Church, who served as a deacon at Allen Baptist, said he helped bring in Burrick to spur growth. At the time, the church had only 13 voting members. It's unclear how many church members there are now.

Burrick worked as a youth pastor in the Grand Rapids area before arriving in Allen Township, Church said, who remains bitter over his family's departure.

"We were dedicated to that church," said Church, 79, who attended Allen Baptist for 15 years. "We get a guy who comes in there with his attitude and he wants to do things his way. It wasn't our way, so we hit the highway."

The retired carpenter and a handful of parishioners, including Caskey, said they became alarmed when the new pastor opted to abandon church bylaws and began stripping elders of office positions.

Caskey said she was troubled by Burrick's treatment of women, in particular.

"His idea is to have a woman be seen and not heard," Caskey said.

Caskey said she ran afoul of Burrick when he heard she consulted an attorney. While wintering in Florida in December, she received a registered letter from the church summoning her to a disciplinary hearing.

The snowbird asked Hillsdale attorney Michelle Bianchi to reschedule the hearing or sit in on her behalf. Caskey said she didn't hear back from the church.

She assumed that's why a church member was tapping her on the shoulder when she attended her first service on June 17 after returning north.

"They told me I had to leave and I said, 'Why?' Caskey said, recalling events leading up to her first arrest. "They said, 'You're no longer a member of this church and we no longer want you here.' I was totally confused."

Her subsequent arrest by Hillsdale County Sheriff's deputies and incarceration left her equally baffled.

"I never even had so much as a traffic ticket," Caskey said.

Since the initial trespassing charges were dropped, Caskey said she figured it was OK to return Sunday, July 15. Michigan State Police troopers handled the second arrest, opting not to handcuff her.

"I do not know why this happened," Caskey said. "I wasn't arrested for causing a disturbance. I was just arrested for being there. They were the ones caused a disturbance by calling the police."

Now a group of supporters have offered to attend with her on Sunday.

Brady, the county prosecutor, has contacted Burrick to explain law enforcement's position.

"I think he's going to attempt to defuse the situation the best he can. I don't think it's complicated," said Brady, who attributed the dispute to "pride and personalities."

Woman twice arrested for going to church
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Shammu
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2007, 07:59:32 PM »

This pastor sounds like a Christian Cult work in progress.
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Brother Jerry
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2007, 03:22:21 PM »

I was thinking the same exact thing
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I am like most fathers.  I, like most, want more for my children than I have.

I am unlike most fathers.  What I would like my children to have more of is crowns to lay at Jesus feet.
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2007, 10:03:50 PM »

There are churches that are going back to jewish rituals...and mixing them up with protestant belief...People have to get into the word and check what is preached for themselves...If this pastor was voted in and the changes accepted...it is wise to go to another church without argument...for we are not to argue...but to know the truth and to speak the truth..if none wants to hear...as Paul did...shake the dust from your feet and move on to ones that will hear..
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Soldier4Christ
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2007, 10:12:51 PM »

There are churches that are going back to jewish rituals...and mixing them up with protestant belief...People have to get into the word and check what is preached for themselves...If this pastor was voted in and the changes accepted...it is wise to go to another church without argument...for we are not to argue...but to know the truth and to speak the truth..if none wants to hear...as Paul did...shake the dust from your feet and move on to ones that will hear..

My exact thoughts also.

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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2007, 11:41:11 AM »

This pastor sounds like a Christian Cult work in progress.

I would leave out the word "Christian". Am I missing something since I saw no reason why they don't want her there--other than the excuse that she was no longer a member? How can someone become a member of a church if they don't go there? Also, why would she want to go where she isn't wanted? I would just find another church. If there isn't one then I would stay home.
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