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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Inspection

Volume 2 . Chapter 6 . § 6-03.1
Key point 6-03.1. Church members generally have no right to inspect church records unless such a right is conferred by state nonprofit corporation law, a church's charter or bylaws, state securities law (if the church has issued securities), or a subpoena. Church records enjoy no privilege against disclosure, with the exception of documents that are protected by the clergy-penitent privilege under state law.

Can church members inspect church records? If so, which records can be inspected and under what circumstances? What about nonmembers? Generally, there is no inherent right to inspect church records. Such a right must be granted in some legal document such as a church's bylaws or state nonprofit corporation law. Some of the possible justifications ...

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