The Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church and the former Christ United Methodist Church of Fairview Heights, Illinois, announce that they have reached an amicable financial and property disposition agreement whereby Christ Church will retain its property in its four campuses and will pay an undisclosed sum to the Conference who will relinquish its claim to the real and personal property of the Church through the United Methodist Trust Clause. The money received by the Conference will be transmitted to Wespath to be used to fund clergy pensions.
Christ Church, once the largest church in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church, was organized in 1953. Its members have since organized a new congregation known as Christ Church, removed all references to The United Methodist Church from its property, including the “Cross and Flame” logo and agreed to forego using the name and logo with its new church.
Bishop Frank Beard said, “In an effort to honor Christ, we were able to sit down, discuss our differences, and recognize that we were on two different paths. To conclude in the best interest of all, a peaceful separation was warranted.” Bishop Beard serves as the episcopal leader of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church. “I believe we, even in separating, have honored Jesus Christ.”
“We thank our brothers and sisters in the Conference for this ultimately amicable and peaceful resolution and look forward to forging a new Christ-centric path as Christ Church,” Rev. Shane Bishop, Senior Pastor for Christ Church said.