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Board Possessed Legal Authority to Fire Its Pastor

State nonprofit corporation law factored heavily in the court's ruling.

Key point 6-02.02. Churches are subject to the provisions of their governing documents, which generally include a charter and a constitution or bylaws (in some cases both). A charter is the state-approved articles of incorporation of an incorporated church. Most rules of internal church administration are contained in a constitution or bylaws. Specific and temporary matters often are addressed in resolutions. If a conflict develops among these documents, the order of priority generally is as follows—charter, constitution, bylaws, and resolutions.

A Maryland appeals court ruled that a church’s board of trustees had the legal authority to terminate a pastor even though this authority was not specifically mentioned in the church’s governing documents.

Background

In the summer of 2016, a man met with a pastor regarding his desire to start a church. During their discussions, it ...

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Posted:
  • October 7, 2021

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