State Supreme Court will review Harvest lawsuit against Methodist Church
The lawsuit stems from fears the United Methodist Church would evict congregation, shut down services.
MONTGOMERY Ala. (WTVY) -The Alabama Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider an ongoing legal dispute involving one of Dothan’s largest churches.
In November 2022, Harvest filed a lawsuit seeking a restraining order against the United Methodist Church and its Alabama-West Florida District, expressing fears that the UMC would attempt to shut down its sprawling Fortner Street campus and evict members.
Denomination leaders, who claim Harvest isn’t following agreed-upon guidelines, hoped Houston County Circuit Judge Christopher Richardson would dismiss that suit, claiming this is an ecclesiastical issue and not a court matter.
After a hearing last spring, Richardson ruled against the UMC, which prompted denomination leaders to appeal in a Writ of Mandamus to the state’s highest court.
In that appeal, the UMC renewed its claims that a circuit court judge lacks jurisdiction.
Hundreds of churches have bolted from the UMC because of the denomination’s stand on social issues, including same-sex marriage.
Some paid millions to leave, and sources said the Harvest dispute also involves a possible buyout.
Justices decided Friday to review what could become a landmark case and set oral arguments on February 7 in Montgomery.
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