'Church Law & Tax Report' Celebrates 25 Years
Times, and technology, change, but the mission remains the same.
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As hard as it is for me to believe, Church Law & Tax Report launched 25 years ago. In 1979, I was asked to teach a course on church law at a local seminary in Springfield, Missouri. I was a young attorney, with little experience in church legal matters, but I agreed to the assignment based entirely on my assumption that someone had written a "church law" text that I could use. I soon discovered that my assumption was incorrect. There were no such books in print!

Over the next few years, I made the commitment to write my own book. I spent countless hours in the legal library of a state appellate court pouring over every court ruling involving churches or clergy back to the 19th century. It became a familiar sight, me sitting at a table surrounded by piles of casebooks and pads of paper, working at a frenetic pace. I slowly began making progress. An increasingly detailed outline emerged, with countless references under each point to the cases I had read. My knowledge of church law began to expand. My only regret, looking back at this period of my life, was that I was away from my wife and two preschool children for so many hours each week. Fortunately, in time, my workplace shifted from the law library to my home, since my work increasingly consisted of writing rather than research. Yes, I continued to make trips to the library, but they became less frequent.

After three years, the book started coming together in final form. I typed the final manuscript myself, using an IBM Selectric typewriter with the little "typeball" that rotated and pivoted before each strike. This was in the days before computers. If I needed to add a paragraph to a page, the entire page had to be retyped. It was a very slow and laborious process!

Posted: July 20, 2012

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