In Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America, (Phil. Ct. Com Pl., Sept. 22, 2008), a Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania trial court dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction a church's challenge to action taken by its parent body to close down the congregation. Because of diminished attendance and financial problems in the congregation, the Synod invoked provisions of its constitution to take control of the church's property, allegedly worth $1.5 million, prevented the congregation from hiring a new pastor, and closed the congregation. The court held that it could not adjudicate the church's breach of contract claim against the Synod. This was not a dispute that can be decided using neutral principles of civil law. Instead it is "intimately linked to defendant's internal criteria." The court concluded that the free exercise clause requires it to defer to decisions made by the church hierarchy in this type of challenge to matters of internal governance.