We are pleased to announce that our client, the former Christ United Methodist Church of Fairview Heights, Illinois Inc, successfully and amicably separated from the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. The joint press release provides as follows:
The Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and the former Christ United Methodist Church of Fairview Heights, Illinois Inc. announced that they have reached an amicable financial and property settlement whereby Christ Church has retained its property in its four campuses and paid an undisclosed sum to the Conference who has relinquished its purported claim to the real and personal property of the Church through the Trust Clause. The Conference and the church chose to avoid the costs, expenses, and uncertainties of litigation by entering into a settlement agreement that became official on May 16, 2021.
Christ Church, once the largest Church in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church, was organized in 1953. Its members have since organized a new congregation known as Christ Church, removed all references to The United Methodist Church from its property, including the “Cross and Flame” logo and agreed to forego using the name and logo with its new Church.
Bishop Frank Beard said, “In an effort to honor Christ, we were able to sit down, discuss our differences, and recognize that we were on two different paths. To conclude in the best interest of all, a peaceful separation was warranted.” Bishop Beard serves as the episcopal leader of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church. “I believe we, even in separating, have honored Jesus Christ.”
“We thank our brothers and sisters in the Conference for this ultimately amicable and peaceful resolution and look forward to forging a new Christ-centric path as Christ Church,” Rev. Shane Bishop, senior pastor for Christ Church said.