How do I know God is in this case? Because He is my law school! Praising God all the way.
The Lord sent me to get involved in this church zoning fight. By all means, this case should have been over. and the church should be in their new building by now. But they chose to do it their way and not God's. And they still do not understand that God is fighting this battle. The Lord took this case from being the neighborhood's fight (located near the church) to being His battle.
Since 1998, this case has gone from including many names on the complaint to:
JUDICIAL REVIEW --
Rev. Lainie Dowell vs First Baptist Church of Guilford
Howard County Board of Appeals
Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning
County Council - Howard County
County Executive - Howard County
Civil Appeal No. 13-C-04-057788AA
Circuit Court - Howard County (MD)
ADMINISTRATIVE APPEAL -
LAINIE DOWELL vs. HOWARD COUNTY et al.
Case No. 01020, September Term 2004
Court of Special Appeals, Annapolis, MD
Some years ago, on the night that the Lord first sent me to observe the church zoning board hearing, the pastor and church members went believing they were to witness the Board of Appeal's previously announced approval of their church permit application. But as I sat by and watched with a few others in opposition and many more times church members in support, the Board of Appeals members sat at a table stretched across the room in front of all of us and they deliberated about the church until about 11 p.m. Then we all watched as one by one they changed their minds (with the paper already in front of them ready for their signatures). Instead, one of the board members said, 'Take this back (approval order) and have them write a new order denying the application."
That was a stunner to all who witnessed it. People were so shocked that my voice was the only one that could be heard as I exhaled. It was an amazing moment! They all piled out of the room as if they had attended the saddest funeral in their lives -- from the pastor to the last person from that church. And they all looked at me with daggers, as they went out of the room. And it has continued like that with this case ever since. The church would get approved and then get denied on appeal. Twice two different judges have remanded that case to the Board with their decisions and orders to deny the case and dismiss it. Even when the Hearing Examiner held many hearings (it seems), in the final analysis of his 32-page decision and order, everything seemed positive for the church until the very last paragraph, where the Hearing Examiner wrote that the church application was denied and the variance application was dismissed. I had to reread it, because I wanted to find where there might have been a clue in earlier pages that the case was going to be denied. For a few minutes, I was thoroughly confused! lol
But, today (Tuesday, November 30th) was the last day for me to get my brief into the Court of Special Appeals (COSA), in Annapolis, Maryland, where I have an administrative appeal pending, pro se. I always rely on the Lord, because I do not know what to do with a blank sheet of paper. But, in the past two days, including this morning, it was done.
Today, before 10:30 a.m., I had completed fifteen (15) copies to file in Annapolis COSA, then by 11:30 a.m., I delivered one (1) copy to the Ellicott City Circuit Court, and I mailed copies to the attorneys of record. And my soul felt so calm. I just knew the angels accompanied me. Thanks to God, I met the deadline and I feel so free today. I am praising God every step of the way.
For doubters who told me that I could not stand a chance taking this case further on my own, (and I ignored their comments every time!) that church zoning case is all about putting trust in God and it is demonstrating to all in that dead church that God is really real. This is all for His glory and for a witness to onlookers to understand that our God lives and He can do whatever He wants. Including taking His hand away from a church, as He has done for FBCG. But I am so glad God taught me to trust and obey Him.