Nearly 190 Georgia churches win lawsuit to disaffiliate from United Methodists
A Cobb County judge recently ruled in favor of 186 Georgia churches suing to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church.
In a crowded courtroom filled with more than 200 people, Superior Court Judge Steven Schuster ruled Tuesday that 186 United Methodist churches should be able to vote to disaffiliate from the UMC, according to a news release from the Wesleyan Covenant Association, an organization helping north Georgia churches disaffiliate.
The Georgia churches listed in the lawsuit, filed on March 30, requested the North Georgia Annual Conference restore the processes that were already in place allowing churches to disaffiliate.
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With Schuster’s ruling, those churches can expect the leadership of their annual conference to put the disaffiliation process back on track so that local churches are able vote, according to the Wesleyan Covenant Association.
“Our one conviction through this whole process has been that our churches deserve to make decisions based on agreed-upon processes,” said Carolyn Moore, pastor of Mosaic Church in Evans, Georgia. “We are grateful that the court agrees this to be our legal right. Much more, we trust this will be the first step toward ending the contention in our Conference so we can all pursue reconciliation and peace.”
The churches involved in the lawsuit are waiting for dates from the conference to ratify those churches that vote to disaffiliate.
Augusta church wins local lawsuit against UMC
This is the second time in less than a month that a Georgia court has ruled in favor of United Methodist churches seeking to disaffiliate.
Earlier this month, the Columbia County Superior Court ruled in favor of Trinity on the Hill church, which sued the North Georgia Annual Conference of Methodists to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church.
Concerned that it's overarching conference may allow LGBTQ priests and same-sex marriages, Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church hoped the suit would quicken the pace of its disaffiliation.
The United Methodist Church has been at odds internally for more than four decades over irreconcilable disagreements over doctrinal and social issues. However, the current court cases have focused only on the contractual agreements that exist through the Book of Discipline between the denomination and local church.
This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Georgia churches win suit to disaffiliate from United Methodist Church