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Weekly Lessons, created and written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA, give you a basic legal overview of essential topics based on staff or volunteer positions within a church.

This Week's LessonWeek of September 1

Church Vans - Part 1

Introduction

Our lesson this week examines the topic of Church Vans. The Executive Summary provides a concise review of the key points. Before we get started, test your knowledge by completing the following quiz.

A church owns a 5-year-old 15-passenger van. The church board approves the use of the van for an overnight trip by the church youth group. The youth pastor is the designated driver for the trip, and the van is loaded with 14 teenagers. Because there is no room to store luggage, the van roof is used for storage. In addition, the van pulls a large trailer. At 4 AM, while the van is maintaining a speed of 70 miles per hour in a rain shower, the back wheels hydroplane and drop off the road. When the youth pastor attempts to drive the van back onto the road by jerking the steering wheel, he loses control and the van rolls over, killing 5 occupants. Some of the victims' parents sue the church.

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