Street Brawls

Things got so heated that the court issued several injunctions in favor of the Church terminating the Pastor, reinstating certain members that had been removed, readmitting certain church members that had been expelled, and prohibiting certain members from various activities, including later, a 500 foot non-entry zone around the church for those members and the former Pastor.  The trial court seems to have used the church foundational documents to identify election procedures that were mandated by the documents and identify the persons elected to leadership.

At least one prior injunction had been affirmed on appeal in 2013.  Finally, the trial court entered an award of attorney fees to enforce the injunctions.  The second appeal was memorialized in Saints’ Rest Missionary Baptist Church, Inc. v Anderson, Cal. App., Slip. Op. 2016 (unpublished).  The award of attorney fees was affirmed.

For a California court to enter multiple injunctions to enforce or even decide internal church control disputes implies that the “church split” reached extraordinary levels of hostility.  That these injunctions were appealed twice is indicative of a willingness by the losing faction to fund extraordinary legal fees to continue the fight.

Court intervention by injunction in church splits is rare because usually the disputants will, once a court orders or threatens to order the foundational documents of the church or denomination be followed, calm down and allow the process to conclude the dispute.

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