LITTLE ROCK, Ark., June 23, 2023 – In a ruling announced from the bench in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on the afternoon of June 22, 2023, Judge Gary Arnold stated that he intends to enter an Order directing the issuance of a Writ of Possession to place into the possession of Arkansas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, Inc. by August 1, 2023, the numerous properties in downtown Jonesboro, Arkansas, formerly owned by First United Methodist Church of Jonesboro, Arkansas and presently occupied by a group that departed from The United Methodist Church. This ruling covers the multiple square block campus formerly owned by First United Methodist Church of Jonesboro, Arkansas, including the nearly 100-year-old sanctuary, education building, Wesley Hall, youth building, and several parking lots.
“We are pleased with the Court’s ruling, and we look forward to immediately restoring the use of these properties for the benefit of all members of The United Methodist Church denomination, including the hundreds of faithful members of First United Methodist Church of Jonesboro,” said Rev. Dr. Ruben “Tony” Griffin, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Arkansas Annual Conference. “Arkansas Annual Conference recognizes the contributions to the Jonesboro community provided by the daycare historically operated from the downtown properties and we have every intention of continuing that daycare operation,” added Griffin.
Earlier in the year, Judge Arnold denied a request made by the departed group for an injunction against Arkansas Annual Conference. In denying the injunction request, the Court ruled that the departed group did not have a likelihood of succeeding on the merits of its lawsuit it filed against Arkansas Annual Conference seeking to quiet title in the departed group of the numerous properties formerly owned by First United Methodist Church of Jonesboro, Arkansas.
Searcy Litigation Update
We are pleased to announce that today, papers have been filed in Court in White County by the Petitioner that brought the lawsuit against the Annual Conference earlier this year related to the property of First United Methodist Church, Searcy, Arkansas. These court papers seek to dismiss with prejudice the lawsuit that was filed against the Annual Conference.