Main >> Cultures & Beliefs >> Christianity


Summary of Events at Port Austin

December 20, 2004


The briefest description of what happened with the Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community Sacred Purpose Trust, from the point of view of Norman Scott Edwards (herein “Edwards”) is as follows:

1.         Edwards first learned about the Port Austin Bible Center on the former Port Austin Air Force Base property in early 2000. He arranged for a Feast of Tabernacles meeting there in the Fall of 2000, and maintained an occasional contact with its owners, Eternal Life Bible Institute (herein “ELBI”), and their representative, Warwick Potts.

2.         Edwards began to write articles on forming a Sabbatarian Educational Environment somewhere in 2003 and publish them in Servants’ News. Terry Monte Williams (herein “Williams”) was also interested and wanted to work together to include a Sabbatarian Elder Adult Living (SEAL) program and a farm. Edwards published one of Williams’ articles as well. They began looking for a place to implement this program and Edwards contacted Potts, but received no significant response. Edwards and Williams made a presentation to the Spring Vale Academy Board of Directors, proposing to implement such a program at their campus. The board rejected the proposal.

3.         In late 2003, Warwick Potts contacted Edwards and offered to make the facilities available for Edwards’ purposes if a suitable contract could be negotiated. ELBI was having financial difficulties at the time.

4.         Edwards wrote additional articles intended for Servants’ News, but e-mailed them to hundreds of people and wrote articles for other Sabbatarian publications. Phillip Daniel Frankford (“Frankford”) and Paul Douglas Drieman (“Drieman”) responded to one such article and asked to join Edwards in the project.

5.         Drieman, Frankford, Williams and Edwards made a general agreement to work together to make all of the decisions necessary for the project.

6.         In the SEE plan published January 2004, Edwards wrote:

The SEE government will be selected after D-day [earlier defined in the document as “Do-it Day”—the time when those interested would actually move to the property]. It should be governed by those who are providing the facilities and doing the work. If that is primarily one person or a small group of people, then it will be a small group. If it is many, then, many will govern. The government will be firmly bound to implement the plan for SEE as laid out in this and future documents. SEE will maintain its independent status—it will not become tied to a particular church organization, but serve Sabbatarian believers from a variety of congregations.

There was never any jointly written plan for the project other than Edwards’ articles and Williams’ one article on SEAL (heavily edited by Edwards). Later plans called for responsibilities to be divided in the following manner:

a.       Drieman:       manage the facilities

b.       Frankford:    develop industry and help financially

c.       Williams:       develop SEAL program and farm, and help financially

d.       Edwards       develop SEE program, publications and write contracts and other documents necessary for the purchase of the property and for the organization of the project

7.         The fundamental issue that has caused the rift between Drieman/Frankford/Williams and Edwards is which of the above two points are most important. Was this project to be whatever four men decided it would be? Or, was it to implement the specific plans outlined in Edwards’ and Williams’ writings?

8.         The question of commitment to the project has often been raised. Early in the planning, all four men talked about selling their houses and moving their resources to the project. Here is what has happened:

a.       Drieman did not plan to sell his house, but did speak of moving his substantial collection of tools and parts to the property for its use. He only moved half a truckload of belongings, most of his tools still being in Missouri.

b.       Frankford initially spoke of selling his house or collecting a large insurance settlement on damages to it and using it to help the project. Neither has been done.

c.       Williams did move from his Ann Arbor apartment, but did not put his Illinois house up for sale as once planned, but did come through with a nearly equivalent amount of money.

d.       Edwards did sell his house, used the proceeds for the project and moved everything he owned to the property.

In short, the others all have a home to “go back to”; Edwards does not.

9.         It is also significant to note that the four could not agree on how to make the initial payment, so Edwards made it himself, because he was determined to see the project through, not to simply be one of four men talking about it.

10.      In early April of 2004, all four men had a conversation with the preparer and creator of the Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community Sacred Purpose Trust (herein “the Trust”). They agreed that the property would be purchased by the Trust. Edwards prepared a contract for the Trust and ELBI, which all signed on the 28th of that month. This was a preliminary contract, as it was known that the property descriptions, the provisions for the Trust, and other points may not have been completely finalized. Point 19 of this contract indicated that there would be a need for changes—and required either part to cooperate to do this within a certain period of time.

11.      During the summer of 2004, Edwards pursued his rather extensive responsibilities, including the selling of his house and moving five truckloads of possessions, many of which are in use by the project at this time. Among many other things, he conducted a two-week music camp, and reviewed hundreds of documents in the purchase and set-up of the property, writing dozens himself. In contrast, Drieman did not complete his promised status report of the condition of the various buildings and completed relatively few repairs. Frankford produced many dozens of project ideas for industry, but failed to follow through on any one of them. Williams greatly helped financially, but did not develop the SEAL program beyond his own mother or develop the farm beyond the poultry yards.

12.      Edwards did not attempt to interfere in the other’s areas, but helped each of them when requested. Edwards has records of such for any who would like to see them.

13.      During July and August, it became clear to Edwards that false accusations and general opposition to his planned part of the project were intended to either relegate him to a subservient position or to drive him out. Explaining all of the incidents would require many pages. This opposition became obvious when Frankford and Williams attempted to make Drieman the “director” of the project. This is a clear departure from their continual statement of “four men with equal authority”. They clearly had no objection to unequal authority, as long as it was in their favor.

14.      During this same time, Frankford, Drieman and Williams all expressed either uncertainty or opposition to the Sacred Purpose Trust. Yet, they did not provide for any way to deal with the existing contract between ELBI and the Trust or provide any alternative form of organization. It became increasingly clear to Edwards and the Trust creator that they would not be suitable trustees for the existing agreements.

15.      In Late August and early September, Homer Kizer (herein “Kizer”) began to make offensive Internet documents and posts, which further divided the efforts of the project. Both ELBI and some of the project’s supporters were extremely offended by them, and even consulted attorneys. Frankford at first agreed with the writings, then denied that he did. ELBI strongly urged the removal of Frankford from any management position related to the project. Drieman and Williams refused to take any outwardly observable action against Frankford.

16.      With all of the above things happening, the Trust documents still had not been finalized and the required corrections to the contract between the Trust and ELBI still had not been made. The time period had expired, and ELBI’s cooperation was required to make these corrections. Frankford and Williams rarely had any direct communication with ELBI, and Drieman stopped answering the requests of ELBI.

17.      Edwards met with Drieman for over an hour attempting to show him why Frankford should not have any leadership position in any aspect of the project. Drieman disagreed and defended Frankford.

18.      On September 12, 2004, Edwards then met with Williams, explaining that Frankford was not suitable to be a trustee and that Drieman was not willing to help solve the problem. Edwards recommended that the Trust be formed with only two trustees, Edwards and Williams, until the problems could be resolved. Williams agreed that Frankford was a problem, but wanted to wait for whatever solution Drieman might agree to.

19.      In the following days, Edwards found the situation nearly unworkable and even made calls to find a new ministry wherein he might work. However, both the Trust creator and ELBI independently volunteered that one trustee could do the job until the problems could be resolved.

20.      After much prayer and counsel, Edwards agreed to be become the single trustee. The Trust Indenture was completed and the Certificate of Trust and a corrected contract with ELBI were recorded on September 17, 2004, the day after the Feast of Trumpets.

21.      Due to multiple extended trips on the part of Drieman and Williams, and the urgent repairing of the meeting hall for the Feast (the ceiling was literally falling down), there was virtually no time for all four men to meet together. Edwards arranged for a meeting on October 29 to present the financial records he had produced thus far and to explain why the Trust was created like it was. About 20 minutes into the presentation, Drieman asked about the Trust, so Edwards explained that he was the only trustee at that time. In less then one minute, Drieman, Williams and Frankford left the room, not willing to hear any of the other prepared information or means whereby issues could be resolved.

22.      That same day, Edwards wrote a letter to Williams offering to make him whole for his efforts and to continue to work with him. He also met with Williams that evening to discuss the issues. On October 31, Edwards wrote another letter to Williams and Drieman offering to continue to work together in some way. On November 3, 2004, Edwards sent an eviction notice to Frankford for a number of reasons. This was the only eviction letter Edwards sent. Edwards later sent certified letters to Frankford, Drieman and Williams, but only Drieman accepted his letter; the others let them return after 15 days unclaimed. No written response to any of these letters has been received, though some of the displaced property mentioned in them was returned a few days later. The three have not tried to initiate communications in any other way. There have been no face-to-face conversations between Edwards and the other three since October 29, 2004.

23.      On December 7, 2004, Frankford and Drieman moved off the Trust property.

24.      On December 8, 2004, Edwards found on the Internet—it was never sent to him—an affidavit stating that Frankford, Drieman and Williams were ending the Port Austin Sabbatarian Church Community, the Port Austin Sabbatarian Community Church, SEE, SEAL and all of the related programs of these ministries. After verifying with the signing notary that the document was indeed genuine, and realizing that these three men were a majority of the members of these entities, Edwards agreed to comply with this demand and stop using the names of these now defunct entities. In accordance with the provisions of the Trust, a new Beneficial Certificate Holder was named for the Trust, the Port Austin Bible Campus, formed by William A. Buckman, Anna Emily DeLong and Norman Scott Edwards. The goals of this ministry are compatible with the Trust and are largely similar to the concepts expressed in the Servants’ News articles of 2003. This information was recorded in an affidavit on this day, and mailed to Frankford, Drieman and Williams on December 20, 2004, along with this explanation.

25.      Edwards acknowledges that he did not fast, pray and seek the will of God sufficiently in agreeing to work with the other men on the project. Nor did any of the men involved take sufficient time to write down the responsibilities and authority of each person involved. Edwards prays that the mistake will not be repeated in the future.

26.      Edwards is aware, from Internet sites and third parties, that Frankford, Drieman, Williams and Kizer plan to organize a church, ministries, a school and businesses. Edwards plans to expand the present nucleus of people on the Trust property to a Christian community teaching young people via an educational approach similar to the disciples in the New Testament or Elijah/Elisha’s “School of the Prophets”. Edwards believes that this can be done with the help of over 100 others who have previously expressed interest in helping with the project from his previous writings, and through others who will yet hear about it. Edwards is glad to accept the November 30, 2004 affidavit of Frankford, Drieman and Williams disavowing any “financial dealings, covenants or other affiliations” between the two groups (but has reserved the right to repay Williams for his expenses). Edwards hopes that each group can now concentrate on their respective ministries, attempting to excel each other in the service of Jesus Christ.

—Norman Scott Edwards