—Ingram Book Group of LaVergne, Tennessee, and Spring Arbor Distribution Company of Belleville, Michigan, announced on May 22 that they are joining forces to become the nation's largest wholesaler of Christian books and related products. The new entity, Spring Arbor Distributors Inc., a subsidiary of Ingram Industries Inc., will be based in Belleville. Spring Arbor chief executive officer Richard L. Pigott is the new president and chief executive officer. Spring Arbor, founded in 1978, has annual sales of $220 million and employs 700.
—Roseville, Minnesota, pastor Thomas Basich and his Advent Lutheran Church have left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, following an eight-year legal battle over pension fund investments (CT, May 15, 1995, p. 52). The congregation, which Basich started in 1953, voted 114 to 41 to leave the elca and to join the recently incorporated Augustana Orthodox and Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Basich and 45 other pastors and lay workers from 21 states unsuccessfully sued the elca pension board for investing money in socially screened funds.
—A compensation dispute between Augsburg Fortress, publishing house of the elca, and former president Gary Aamodt has been settled out of court. In litigation beginning in 1995, Aamodt accused Augsburg of breach of contract, fraud, and defamation over terms of his employment agreement. In a counterclaim, Augsburg accused Aamodt of enriching himself with more than $500,000 in Augsburg funds for an annuity, life insurance policy, car rental, and to cover tax obligations.
—Religious liberty expert Dean M. Kelley, a National Council of Churches executive from 1960 to 1990, died at age 70 on May 11 after a 15-month battle with cancer. Kelley, ...1
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