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Court Involvement in Church Finance Dispute

Some legal arguments in churches may be settled in court.

Key point. The civil courts have authority to resolve a dispute as to which of two factions within a church controls a certificate of deposit in the name of the church.

A Georgia court ruled that it could resolve a dispute within a church regarding ownership of a certificate of deposit. In 1993 a church elected a board of directors pursuant to the church's bylaws. Later that year, the congregation voted to terminate the services of its pastor, and the board informed the pastor that he would not be permitted to conduct services at the church in the future. A few days later the pastor notified his archbishop of this action. The pastor was advised by the archbishop to inform the board members that they were being removed from their positions. The board members refused to honor this decision and continued to serve. Meanwhile, members loyal to the pastor elected a new board. As a result, ...

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  • September 1, 1996

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