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Contracts

A church's decision to discontinue making payments to a former pastor's widow did not amount to a breach of contract.

Key point. Financial commitments made by a church to a staff member are legally enforceable only if the church receives something of value ('consideration') in return for its commitments.

* A Tennessee court ruled that a church's decision to make biweekly payments to a former pastor's widow was unenforceable since the church received nothing of value ('consideration') in return for its commitment, and therefore the church's decision to discontinue making the payments did not amount to a breach of contract. In 1981 Pastor Dave began his tenure as senior pastor at a Baptist church (the "church"). He served in this capacity until his death in 1995. In return for his services, the church paid Pastor Dave a salary as well as various fringe benefits such as cell phone services, beeper services, lawn services, and vehicle maintenance. At Pastor Dave's request, the church orally agreed to ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • November 1, 2006

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