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Recent Developments in Alabama Regarding Church Property

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a local church, rather than a parent denomination, owned title to church property following a vote by the church to withdraw from the denomination.

Alabama
State:
Key point. The civil courts may resolve church property disputes on the basis of neutral principles of law, including nondoctrinal language in any one or more of the following documents: (1) deeds to church property, (2) a church's corporate charter, (3) a state law addressing the resolution of church property disputes, (4) a local church's bylaws, or (5) a parent denomination's bylaws.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a local church, rather than a parent denomination, owned title to church property following a vote by the church to withdraw from the denomination. The United Methodist Church ("UMC") asked a court to determine the ownership of property belonging to a local congregation that passed a resolution to withdraw from the UMC. The UMC claimed title to the property, based on the local church's hierarchical relationship with the national church and based on several sections ...

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Posted:
  • May 1, 1999

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