Appeal from Circuit Court of Jersey County. No. 92MR1. Honorable Thomas G. Russell, Judge Presiding.
Released for Publication December 4, 1995. As Corrected December 6, 1995.
Justices: Honorable James A. Knecht, P.j., Honorable Robert J. Steigmann, J., Honorable John T. McCULLOUGH, J., Concurring. Presiding Justice Knecht delivered the opinion of the court: Steigmann and McCULLOUGH, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Knecht
PRESIDING JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court:
Plaintiffs Garnett Clay, Donald Clay, Florence Klein, Nadine Klunk, Charles Manley, Shirley Kirby, and Grace Manley appeal the trial court's grant of summary judgment for defendants Illinois District Council of the Assemblies of God Church (Illinois District Council), Ernest Moen and C. Dale Edwards, trustees, and Jeffrey Senger, William Senger, and Marsha Senger. We affirm.
In March 1955, the trustees of the Grafton Assembly of God Church (Grafton Assembly) received a deed to certain real estate in Grafton, Illinois. Title to the real estate was in the names of the trustees and their successors in office. In March 1963, the Grafton Assembly became affiliated with the Illinois District Council with headquarters in Springfield, Illinois, and the General Council of the Assemblies of God Church (General Council) with headquarters in Springfield, Missouri. In becoming affiliated with these organizations, the Grafton Assembly adopted a constitution and bylaws. The constitution declares:
Section 1. This assembly shall have the right to govern itself according to the standards of the New Testament Scriptures[.] ***
Section 2. In connection therewith it shall have the right to purchase or acquire by gift, bequest or otherwise, either directly or as trustee, and to own, hold in trust, use, sell, convey, mortgage, lease or otherwise dispose of any real estate or chattels as may be necessary for the furtherance of its purposes; all in accordance with its constitution and bylaws or as the same may be hereafter modified or amended.
While maintaining its inherent rights to sovereignty in the conduct of its own affairs, this assembly shall voluntarily enter into full cooperative fellowship with assemblies of like precious faith associated in the Illinois District Council, and the [General Council], with headquarters in Springfield, Illinois[,] and Springfield, Missouri[,] respectively[,] and shall share in the privileges and assume the responsibilities enjoined by that affiliation.
All property of the assembly shall be deeded to the assembly and held by the Official Board and their successors in office. No property of the assembly shall be sold, leased, or mortgaged or otherwise disposed of without the same shall have first recommended by a vote of at least two-thirds of the voting membership who are in attendance at a regular meeting or a special meeting of the assembly which has been called for the consideration of the proposal. The Pastor and Secretary of the assembly shall certify in such conveyance, lease or mortgage, that the same has been duly authorized and recommended by a vote of the assembly. Such certificate shall be held to be conclussive [sic] evidence thereof."
The bylaws of the Grafton ...