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Northern Illinois Conference Regretfully Files Lawsuit Against Naperville Korean Church

Posted: October 11 2023 at 10:30 AM
Author: Victoria Rebeck


The Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church has, with a heavy heart, filed a lawsuit on Oct. 10 against a breakaway faction of the former Naperville Korean United Methodist Church, alleging that it unlawfully took possession of property and funds rightfully belonging to the Northern Illinois Conference.

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The Naperville Korean United Methodist Church sought to leave the Northern Illinois Conference because it did not agree with the conference’s recognition of the sacred worth of LGBTQ+ persons and their eligibility to receive and participate in United Methodist ministries. The conference contends that the Naperville Korean congregation later withdrew from the disaffiliation process and ignored church rules and the law by taking possession of property and funds rightfully belonging to the Northern Illinois Conference. The Northern Illinois Conference’s complaint seeks return of its property and funds.

In late 2022, the Northern Illinois Conference began working with the Naperville Korean United Methodist Church to honor its request to explore disaffiliation from The United Methodist Church. Through the spring of 2023, the Northern Illinois Conference worked faithfully on the process required by the denomination.

In May, the agreement for Naperville Korean Church's exit from the denomination was finalized. Included in the exit agreement was full payment of the mortgage and arrearages related to church property.

The Northern Illinois Conference contends that, prior to the final vote, the Naperville Korean congregation abandoned the disaffiliation process, blocked conference authorities from entering the property, and a breakaway faction took possession of the parsonage, church building, and church financial accounts.

During the subsequent months, the Northern Illinois Conference worked in good faith to negotiate a return of its properties and funds. When the Naperville Korean  Church refused to return the properties and funds, the Northern Illinois Conference had to take the last resort of filing a lawsuit.

Bishop Dan Schwerin, who oversees the Northern Illinois Conference, invites people to hold all concerned in prayer.

Photo by UMNS

 


Previous Coverage:

"Disaffiliating Congregation Disengages from Required Process" (June 1, 2023)

 

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