In an effort to settle a dispute over the pastorship of Southern Missionary Baptist Church, a judge has ordered the two sides to come up with a procedure to retain or remove a pastor.
Judge James Bates of Lucas County Common Pleas Court said in a written opinion filed Monday that a group of members who voted Jan. 28 to remove the Rev. Lemuel A. Quinn III from the pulpit was not the proper entity to make that decision. He also ruled the Indiana Avenue church needs a proper procedure to remove a pastor.
“Therefore, this court orders that the parties jointly create a bylaw committee for the purpose of determining the procedure for the retention or removal of a pastor,” he said. The panel is to contain six members chosen by the defendants, six by Reverend Quinn, and a 13th member/moderator named by the court, the judge ruled.
Judge Bates appointed attorney Keith Mitchell as moderator, saying the two sides would share in paying his fees.
The dispute made its way to court Feb. 1 when the church sought a temporary restraining order against 13 members who it alleged not only voted illegally to oust the pastor but filed false police reports and physically threatened other church members.
Attorneys for the two sides could not be reached for comment.