Key point 6-12.1. Church membership meetings must be conducted in accordance with the procedural requirements ordinarily specified in the church's governing documents. The most common requirements pertain to notice, quorum, and voting.
A New York court ruled that a specially called church business meeting was invalid because notice of the meeting failed to state the purpose. A pastor (the "plaintiff") entered into an employment contract with a church. The contract provided that if the plaintiff's employment was to be terminated, "an announcement is to be made two weeks in advance, one each week before the called business meeting. Two thirds of the members present must vote for removal of the pastor."
Five years later the church convened a special business meeting at which more than two-thirds of the members present at the meeting voted to terminate the plaintiff's employment as pastor, allegedly because of financial improprieties. The meeting was conducted on April 15, 2008, and the church provided notice to the congregation on April 6 and April 13. However, neither notice stated that the pastor's employment would be considered.
The plaintiff sued the church to recover damages for breach of contract and defamation against the church, alleging that the church business meeting was invalid due to the church's failure to provide notice 14 days in advance of the meeting, and the failure of the notices to specify the purpose of the meeting. The plaintiff also insisted that he had not committed any financial improprieties.