Harvest Church scores huge victory in Methodist dispute
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - A Houston County judge has rejected a plea from the United Methodist Church to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the denomination by Harvest Church Dothan.
UMC asks that the issue be decided out of court, claiming this is an ecclesiastical matter and not a legal issue.
The suit, which first requested a restraining order against the UMC, had been on hold since November as Harvest contemplated leaving the denomination as others have. The church voted overwhelmingly in January to depart.
With that settled, the two sides argued their stances before Houston County Circuit Judge Chris Richardson on April 13.
His ruling keeps the matter in court as Harvest seeks to secede from the Methodist denomination in disagreement with its stance on social issues.
The UMC accuses Harvest of leaving without following the guidelines it agreed to follow.
Richardson also denied a request to dismiss the General Conference from the lawsuit that also named the Alabama-West Florida district.
Another court date is pending.
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