Alabama Supreme Court weighs arguments between Wiregrass church and denomination

DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — A Dothan church’s case against their denomination they are trying to leave is in the hands of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Lead pastor at Harvest Church in Dothan, Ralph Sigler, tells WDHN that after Tuesday’s court proceedings in Montgomery, they feel good about how the oral arguments went.

The church is trying to keep the United Methodist Church and its Alabama-West Florida Conference from seizing property, as Harvest is trying to leave the denomination.

According to the United Methodist Church, Harvest leaders have admitted to improperly voting to disaffiliate.

They are accusing the church of not wanting to follow church law and instead wanting the court to allow it to disaffiliate on its terms.

Pastor Sigler says the church leaders feel that the denomination broke the rules and made changes they feel weren’t warranted.

In the past 2 years, 248 churches, or about a third of the Alabama West-Florida conference have left the denomination, which is due to some congregations being concerned the denomination is not always enforcing the bans on same-sex marriage and ordaining openly LGBTQ+ persons.

Before going to the state Supreme Court the denomination asked a Houston County judge to dismiss the case, arguing that it was an issue that needed to be handled in the church and not in a courtroom, but that motion was denied which is when they asked the supreme court to get involved

The case has been taken under advisement by the Supreme Court Justices and Sigler says it could take about 8 weeks for the judges to decide as to whether or not this case will be dismissed or if Harvest will still have a case to argue in an open courtroom.

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