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Breaking Away from the Parent Denomination

Binding arbitration clause controls church property dispute.

Iowa
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Arbitration

Key point 7-04. Churches and denominational agencies can avoid church property disputes by adopting appropriate nondoctrinal language in deeds, trusts, local church bylaws, or denominational bylaws.

An Iowa court ruled that a dispute over control of a church's property following its attempt to withdraw from a parent denomination was governed by a binding arbitration clause in the denomination's governing document. In 2002, an Iowa church requested formal affiliation with the Evangelical Methodist Church (EMC), headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2010, the church voted unanimously to sever its affiliation with the EMC, which prompted the EMC to ask a court to compel the dispute to be resolved through binding arbitration. Iowa law specifies that "a provision in a written contract to submit to arbitration a future controversy arising between the parties is valid, enforceable, ...

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Posted:
  • November 1, 2012

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