Friday, February 28, 2020

Court Refuses To Order Church Membership Meeting

In Ceglar v. Christ's Harbor Church, (TX App., Feb. 27, 2020), a Texas state appellate court dismissed on ecclesiastical abstention grounds a suit brought by some 25 church members seeking a court order forcing the Church Elders to call a membership meeting.  Two female members of the Church charged its newly-hired senior pastor with inappropriate behavior. Plaintiffs wanted the membership meeting to decide whether the pastor should be disciplined or fired. Under the Church's bylaws, calling a special meeting requires a petition signed by 15% of the Church's members. The court concluded that, given the criteria for Church membership set out in the by-laws, the court cannot determine who is a member without delving into doctrinal matters.