The Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and the former Christ United Methodist Church of Fairview Heights, Illinois Inc. announced that they have reached an amicable financial and property settlement whereby Christ Church has retained its property in its four campuses and paid an undisclosed sum to the Conference who has relinquished its purported claim to the real and personal property of the Church through the Trust Clause. The Conference and the church chose to avoid the costs, expenses, and uncertainties of litigation by entering into a settlement agreement.
Christ Church, once the largest Church in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church, was organized in 1953. Its members have since organized a new congregation known as Christ Church, removed all references to The United Methodist Church from its property, including the “Cross and Flame” logo and agreed to forego using the name and logo with its new Church.
Bishop Frank Beard said, “In an effort to honor Christ, we were able to sit down, discuss our differences, and recognize that we were on two different paths. To conclude in the best interest of all, a peaceful separation was warranted.” Bishop Beard serves as the episcopal leader of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church. “I believe we, even in separating, have honored Jesus Christ.”
“We thank our brothers and sisters in the Conference for this ultimately amicable and peaceful resolution and look forward to forging a new Christ-centric path as Christ Church,” Rev. Shane Bishop, senior pastor for Christ Church said.
We work with local counsel across the United States and lead local Methodist Churches out of the denomination. If you wish to have a call, or a zoom meeting with your leadership team, to discuss your local church – or if you have general questions regarding your state law on religious property disputes, please reach out to Daniel Dalton at Dalton & Tomich PLC to discuss your case.
You can read more about this topic in Daniel Dalton’s book, Religious Property Disputes, House of God, Laws of Man available at theAmerican Bar Association Book store or Amazon.