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Wisconsin Court Breaks Grip of UMC Property Trust Clause

An article was written for the May 23rd Sunday edition of the Post Crescent, Appleton-Neenah-Menasha, Wisconsin, in which a ruling over church property was decided by Winnebago County Circuit Judge William Carver in favor of the congregation. More specifically, it was ruled "that the church’s board of trustees held title to the building and property."

This situation began two years ago when the congregation of Elo Evangelical Church, Town of Utica, voted to leave the conference because of "what it saw as the conference’s increasingly liberal attitude toward acceptance of homosexuals." Then, in February of this year, the Wisconsin Conference Board of Trustees of the United Methodist Church, Inc. filed suit against the Elo board.

Judge Carver stated that "it was clear the title belonged to the board of trustees of whatever evangelical church currently existed on the site, and would only revert to the main church body if the building was abandoned."

"I’m just making a ruling on who owns the property. The court has jurisdiction to rule on title to property. What they (the congregation) decide to do with it is up to them," said Judge Carver.

This complete article, written by Todd Haefer, can be found in The Post Crescent, Appleton-Neenah-Menasha, Wisconsin, May 23, 1999.

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