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Can a Church Dismiss Members Who Sue the Church?

Court refused to issue an order prohibiting the church from conducting a meeting to dismiss the 75 members for suing the church.

Last Reviewed: March 31, 2021

Can a church dismiss members who sue the church? That was the issue before an Ohio court.

A local Baptist church experienced an ongoing internal dispute over whether or not to build a new sanctuary. A group of 75 members sued the church, pastor, and board of deacons, challenging certain decisions that had been made. The board of deacons later voted (9 to 5) in favor of recommending to the congregation that the membership of all 75 dissidents be terminated.

A congregational meeting was called to vote on the issue, but the dissidents immediately sought a court order preventing the meeting from occurring. The dissidents argued that their church membership was a valuable right (some of them were fifth generation members of the church) that was being denied by the church's action. They also claimed that the church bylaws did not authorize the board to dismiss members for suing the church. The ...

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Posted:
  • November 2, 1992
  • Last Reviewed: March 31, 2021

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