In Vaughn v. Faith Bible Church of Sudlersville, (MD App., Nov. 19, 2020), a Maryland state appellate court held that under the state’s Religious Corporation Act, trustees of the church had the authority to remove its pastor. The court said in part:
Churches in Maryland formally organize as religious corporations and thus, the trustees, not the congregation, constitute the corporation….
Appellant … argues that Shore Haven trustees lacked authority to terminate him because the firing of a church pastor is an ecclesiastical matter reserved to the church, not the trustees….
However, here, there was simply no evidence that the Board’s decision was based on disputes regarding religious doctrine, biblical interpretations or other ecclesiastical matters. As stated by appellee, “appellant’s personal behaviors, organizational shortcomings, inability to manage a breakdown in civility, and over-heated remarks about [a Shore Haven trustee] drove” the decision.