Montana Supreme Court rules in church dispute

AP News
Posted: Mar 13, 2014 2:20 PM

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Montana Supreme Court says the property of Faith Lutheran Church in Great Falls belongs to a minority group that opposed the church's split with its national denomination in 2010.

The court ruled unanimously Wednesday the church's constitution requires 90 percent of members to vote for a split for the property to go with them.

Seventy-one percent of Faith Lutheran members approved the break with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America after the denomination approved the ordination of gay ministers.

They kept the church's name and property. Half of those who voted to stay with the national denomination formed the New Hope Lutheran Ministry, which sued for control of the church's property and a foundation.

The high court ruled the foundation is independent and not part of the church property.