Ebenezer faithful waiting for the judge

After months of depositions and court proceedings, the people of Ebenezer Baptist Church will place their fate in the hands of a visiting judge.
Jessica Cuffman
Mar 28, 2013

On either side of the church’s long-running divide: opponents and supporters of the Rev. Clayton Howard, the church’s leader since 2009.     

Dismayed at the direction Howard has taken the church, his opponents have called for his ouster. Their lawsuit seeks to have the court enforce a past vote to remove Howard.  

The pastor and his supporters, meanwhile, have asked visiting Judge Dale Crawford to wash his hands of the matter and leave the church leaders to resolve their own problems.

Four church members — perceived to be the leaders of the opposition in March 2012 — were kicked out of the church for their efforts to remove Howard. The fracturing has ultimately led dozens of church members to hold separate Sunday services, for as long as the two lawsuits play out in Erie County Common Pleas Court.

Both groups have filed court documents in the past few months, seeking final rulings on the matter.

If Crawford doesn’t buy into either side’s argument, the cases are destined for trial.

The “4” — Renee Brown, Josiah Brown, Nora Monegan and Daryl Murphy — have made their case on the legitimacy of votes they took on the church lawn last year. They sought to remove Howard and reinstate themselves as members at Ebenezer.

The votes, they say in court documents, were taken in accordance with church laws and Ohio nonprofit laws, and Howard and the current trustees are wrong not to recognize these changes.

Howard’s attorneys, however, say the courts have no authority in “ecclesiastical” matters, including, but not limited to, determining who stands at the pulpit every Sunday.

If Crawford declines arguments from both sides, they’re set to go to trial April 15.

To view copies of their arguments online, go to sanduskyregister.com.

 

Comments

queenjhb

start a new church, shame on you for tearing your church apart. Is this a social club or house of God? WWJD

gene44870

The only thing I would like for someone to explain if they can is , why does it say somewhere that there should be a seperation between church and state and would that apply to this story ? I would think it would

I
BW1's picture
BW1

The courts decide issues of incorporation and contract, such as who has legal ownership of the building.

wiredmama222

Is this never going to end? The addition is completed over there. Howard is still there. I take it some of them want him out yet. If he is unwilling to leave, can a court put him out? This truly has gotten to be bad if it has come to a lawsuit. I didn't know you could do this, sue to kick out a minister, but in this day and age, I guess anything is possible.

Don't they have an overseer of the church to whom they could ask to have him removed? I guess not or they would have by now. Wow, this is bad.

nondenominational1

You all involved in this whole church mess are a serious joke! Do any of you read the Bible? When did it become Biblical to have a worldly judicial system make decisions on church matters? Do none of you believe in God being in control our do you somehow believe that the earthly judge has more power?
Pastor Howard is a crook and needs to worry about his marriage and less about chasing skirts of young church girls. Renee Brown needs to stop being such a control freak and start letting her husband be the head of the house. Daryl Murphy needs to concentrate on his own home before he loses his wife who is already out of his league. Nora needs to quit gossiping and creating mess. Both sides of this are a hot mess! The crook pastor is just as tacky as the people who oppose him that are driving around with their "restore ebenezer, remove howard" bumper stickers. You are all poor excuse for christians and should repent now!