United Church of Altona leaves UMC, purchases the property
The Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church reached a financial and property settlement with the former United Church of Altona United Methodist Church.
UCA was a United Methodist congregation, originally organized in 1855. The former United Methodist members have organized a new congregation known as The Grove Community Church.
Under the terms of the settlement, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference will relinquish its interest in the real estate located at 212 N. Depot Street, Altona, to the non-denominational Grove Community Church.
Altona is approximately 15 miles northeast of Galesburg in the Spoon River District. The Conference received an undisclosed payment that included the church’s share of pension obligations for former United Methodist clergy who had previously served the church, as well as current apportionment obligations.
“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,” said Bishop Frank J. Beard. Bishop Beard serves as the episcopal leader of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church. “We were able to demonstrate effective Christian conferencing. I believe we, even in separating, have honored Jesus Christ.”
The Conference and the church chose to avoid the costs, expenses, and uncertainties of litigation by entering into a settlement agreement that became official on Jan. 10, 2021.
The Grove Community Church will remove all references to the United Methodist Church from its property, including the “Cross and Flame” logo. The Conference will release the assets from The United Methodist Church Trust Clause.