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Trial Court Can Resolve Internal Church Dispute

Both sides had agreed to court's involvement.


Bacher v. Metcalf, 611 So.2d 1030 (Ala. 1992)

Key point: The civil courts will not resolve internal church disputes involving matters of doctrine, practice or discipline. However, the courts can resolve such disputes if both sides agree.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that it was proper for a trial court to resolve an internal church dispute over a church election since both sides to the dispute agreed to civil court involvement.

A dispute arose in a Baptist church concerning a proposed day care center at the church that was to be operated by the daughters of the senior minister and song leader. The senior minister decided to resolve the dispute by calling for a special business meeting at which the church would exercise discipline over two of the church's four deacons and the chairpersons of six committees.

The minister also proposed that a vote of confidence would be taken on him at the ...

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  • September 1, 1993

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