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Pastor, Church & Law

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

General Scope of a Minister's Authority

Volume 1 . Chapter 3 . § 3-01
Key point 3-01. In general, clergy have the legal authority to do those things specifically authorized in their employment contract, in their church's constitution or bylaws, or by specific delegation of authority from the church board or congregation.

Question and answer

Q: What authority do clergy possess by virtue of their office?A: In general, they have the authority to do those things specifically authorized in their employment contract, in the church's constitution or bylaws, or by specific delegation of authority from the church board or congregation. In addition, state law confers authority upon clergy to perform certain functions. Actions by clergy that are not authorized may be void. For example, one court invalidated a minister's attempted ...

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