Judge rejects FUMC’s request for restraining order against state conference

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 9:35 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – A request for a restraining order against the state conference of the United Methodist Church by Jonesboro’s First United Methodist Church was rejected.

Pastor John Miles told Region 8 News anchor Chris Carter the judge rejected the request on Wednesday during a hearing.

Miles said the restraining order would have kept the state conference from taking action against the church or the property after it placed a lien on the church property in December.

Members of the congregation voted Dec. 15 to disaffiliate from the United Methodist Church and create a new church. Members also voted on a set of bylaws for the new church.

Following the meeting, the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church suspended Miles and placed the lien.

The request for a restraining order was made, according to Miles, to keep the United Methodist Church from stopping the use of the building by the congregation while the issue of disaffiliation was worked out.

A total of 12 judges recused themselves from the lawsuit citing conflicts of interest. The Arkansas Supreme Court ultimately assigned retired Judge Gary Arnold to the case following a request from the Craighead County Circuit Clerk’s office.

Miles said the judge also rejected a request by the church conference to dismiss the lawsuit.

Another court date has been set for March 14.