Oak Grove Church, Blountsville, AL

Oak Grove Church, Blountsville, AL

On April 2, 2015, the Blount County Circuit Court issued a judgment in favor of our client, Oak Grove Methodist Church (“Oak Grove”), in a long running dispute involving ownership of real estate and bank accounts between the local church and the national denomination, the United Methodist Church, Inc. (“UMC”). Oak Grove Church has been in existence since at least 1873, and had affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Inc., since 1968. When Oak Grove voted to disaffiliate from the UMC, the national denomination sought to take ownership of the Oak Grove church building and cemetery, along with certain bank accounts. Oak Grove argued that they the local church through their Trustees owned the land and bank accounts for the congregation, and that Oak Grove had never transferred ownership to the UMC. In Alabama, our courts do not get involved in spiritual or religious disputes between churches or church members, but only in civil disputes such as who owns real estate. Brett King tried the case on behalf of the local church and successfully showed that the original deeds to the property were recorded in 1879, 1897, and 1965, and that the deeds were unambiguous. The Court agreed and held that the Oak Grove Church’s Trustees and their successors had always had ownership, not the national UMC. We are very happy for the Oak Grove Church to receive this good news right before Easter.