As you know, the former Fifth Avenue UMC congregation in Wilmington, North Carolina sued the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church and several Conference officials on June 27, 2023. This lawsuit challenged the decision by the Conference to close Fifth Avenue UMC. While we remain deeply saddened by this dispute, the Conference believes the decision to close the church was correct and properly made, and will create new opportunities to use the church property for ministry and outreach “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
The Conference recently requested the Court to dismiss the lawsuit for several reasons, including our belief that The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church gives Conference officials and the assembled members at the annual conference session wide discretion to close a UMC church that is declining and no longer effectively participating in the United Methodist mission to make disciples for Jesus Christ, and the First Amendment precludes courts from second-guessing church closure decisions made by Conference officials in accordance with the Discipline.
Read the Complaint filed against the Conference (PDF)→
Read the Motion to Dismiss filed by the Conference (PDF)→
Read the Affidavit in Support submitted by Bishop Connie Shelton (PDF)→
Read the Affidavit in Support submitted by DS Tara Lain (PDF)→