DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — A lawsuit filed by Harvest Church against the United Methodist Church will continue after Houston County Judge Christopher Richardson denied the UMC’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Judge Richardson denied the motion almost a month after Harvest Church and the UMC went to court over the matter.
Harvest Church voted to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church and its Alabama West Florida Conference in January.
The UMC wanted the lawsuit dismissed because they say this is a church matter and not a court matter.
In the motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed on February 20, the UMC claims 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.
According to the UMC, Harvest leaders have even admitted to improperly voting to disaffiliate and are accusing the church of not wanting to follow church law and instead wanting to court to allow it to disaffiliate on its own terms.
A large part of the fight between Harvest and the UMC has been the fear that the UMC will try to seize Harvest Church’s property and assets. In November, Harvest filed a temporary restraining order against the UMC, which expired on Nov. 20.