The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 7, 2006

Judge denies Church of Israel loses suit

Church with infamous association fails in bid to get house back from ex-pastor

By Debby Woodin

Globe Staff Writer

NEVADA, Mo. - A judge has ruled against the Church of Israel and its trustees, who tried to take back the deed to a house and property that had been given to a former minister as part of a "peaceful" severance agreement.

In the lawsuit, the church's leader, Dan Gayman of Gayman Ministries, and other church leaders claimed they were forced under duress to give a house and 31/2-acre tract to Scott Stinson, a minister who left the church; his wife, Lori Kay Stinson; Stinson Financial Services; and its trustee, Thomas E. Stinson.

The church and the disputed property are on Schell City route 1.

Neither Kendall Vickers of Nevada, who was the attorney for the church, Gayman and other trustees, nor Jay Kirksey of Bolivar, the attorney for the Stinsons, could be reached for comment.

A person who answered the telephone at the Church of Israel hung up.

The church has widely been characterized as being associated with the fundamentalist Christian Identity movement, but Gayman denies it teaches racist philosophies. It is where fugitive Eric Rudolph, suspected in a string of abortion clinic bombings and the bombing of Olympic Park in 1996, once lived.

See Church, Page 5A

The Joplin Globe in January 2001 published an investigative report, "Ordained by Hate," that profiled the church and its leaders, and reported that it owned a compound in rural Vernon County that had grown to more than 1,400 acres.

The Globe also documented a rift between Gayman and Scott Stinson, an associate church pastor. At that time, it was reported that Stinson was given a deed to his home as part of a negotiated agreement that terminated his employment.

After the rift, the church tried to rescind the agreement, and the trustees filed a lawsuit in Vernon County Circuit Court seeking to nullify the deed and reclaim the property.

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