Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Court Willing to Resolve Pastor’s Lawsuit Against Church for Compensation Dispute
Key point 2-04.2. Some courts are willing to resolve disputes over the termination of clergy if they can do so without any inquiry into religious doctrine.

A North Carolina court ruled that it was not barred by the "ministerial exception" and "ecclesiastical abstention doctrine" from resolving a claim by a pastor that his church had failed to pay him the salary and benefits to which they had contractually agreed. A pastor (the "plaintiff") was employed by a church in 1975 on a part-time basis. He also worked for a secular employer. In order to be eligible for retirement at his secular employer, the plaintiff was required to continue working until 2013. However, in 2001, the plaintiff resigned his secular job and entered into a contract with the church titled "Agreement of Full Time Pastorship." This contract consisted of several provisions, including the following:

The Pastor shall serve the church for an indefinite period since there is no scriptural support of tenure.

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Posted: June 19, 2017
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