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Pastor Lacked Authority to Appoint Board Members

The appointments were rescinded because they violated the church’s bylaws.

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.

Key point 6-06.01. Churches select their officers and directors in various ways. For example, it is common for members of a church board to be elected by the church’s membership, while officers are elected by the board. The civil courts generally refrain from resolving disputes involving the selection of church officers and directors on the ground that the First Amendment guaranty of religious freedom prevents them from becoming involved in ecclesiastical disputes.

A New York court ruled that a pastor lacked the authority under his church’s bylaws to appoint members of the board of trustees and therefore his attempt to do so ...

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Posted:
  • July 7, 2022

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