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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Legal Briefs

Volume 2 . Chapter 7

There are many legal issues associated with church property. This chapter addresses several of them. For example, assume that a schism occurs in a local church and a dispute arises over ownership of the church's property. How do the civil courts resolve such a case? Which group will be awarded ownership of the property?

Another important issue is the application of local zoning laws to religious congregations. Zoning laws specify the permitted uses of property within a community, and these laws sometimes conflict with a church's desire to use property for church purposes. Similarly, most communities have enacted building codes. To what extent do they apply to church buildings? Many communities have enacted "landmarking" ordinances that prohibit ...

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