DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — The United Methodist Church has requested the Houston County court system dismiss a lawsuit filed by Harvest Church.
In January, Harvest church voted to split from the United Methodist Church and its Alabama-West Florida Conference.
The vote came a few months after Harvest Church filed a temporary restraining order against the United Methodist Church and its Alabama-West Florida Conference, saying it was afraid the UMC would confiscate church property if it voted to leave the denomination.
According to the UMC, Harvest did not conduct the vote to disaffiliate in accordance with the Book of Discipline, which outlines the rules of the UMC, and the church has not followed the disaffiliation process required by the AWFC and UMC.
In the motion, the UMC says Harvest has even admitted to improperly voting to disaffiliate and is accusing the church of not wanting to follow church law and instead wants to court to allow it to disaffiliate on its own terms.
It also says the matter at hand is not just about church property and the UMC trust clause, but involves much more and should be resolved on a church level based on church law and should the Court not dismiss the Harvest Complaint, the church’s attempt to disaffiliate will be an additional issue to be resolved in this case
Harvest has chosen not to follow ¶2501, ¶2553 and the rest of the Discipline unlike dozens of other local churches within the AWFC, and 1000 or so churches within the UMC that have followed the Discipline Harvest should not be able to intentionally violate church law and then avoid the ramifications of doing so by filing a lawsuit requesting a court to intercede in a church dispute to absolve Harvest from its noncompliance. If Harvest wants to leave the UMC, there is a process to do so that will allow their departure through a process followed by other churches.UMC motion to dismiss
According to the motion, Harvest agreed to abide by the Discipline when they joined the UMC.
In the complaint, the UMC also says Harvest failed to state a claim against the UMC General Council on Finance and Administration or offer why it was named a defendant in the case along with the UMC and says the GCFA is due to be dismised in the case.