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Breakaway entity trial moved to Feb. ’08


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BP)–A trial over the legality of Windermere Baptist Conference Center breaking away from the Missouri Baptist Convention has been moved from Oct. 12 to Feb. 1, 2008, after Windermere and two other breakaway entities filed a motion for a summary dismissal of the Missouri convention’s case Aug. 22.

Cole County Judge Richard Callahan, in his Sept. 10 ruling, also scheduled the summary judgment motion for a Nov. 20 hearing.

The delay had been sought by Windermere attorneys asking that Callahan take at least 60 days to review the summary judgment motion, encompassing about 500 pages including exhibits filed by the conference center and two other breakaway entities, The Baptist Home retirement center and the Word & Way newsjournal.

Two additional breakaway entities, the Baptist Foundation and Missouri Baptist College were not part of the summary judgment motion. Only the trial relating to Windermere currently is on the court’s calendar.

The five entities changed their corporate charters in 2000-01 to stop the Missouri convention from electing their trustees. When the five entities resisted a Christian arbitration proposal from the convention for over a year, the convention finally filed a declaratory judgment petition in court on Aug. 13, 2002, contending that the charter changes violated Missouri law. All five entities have vigorously litigated the case since, filing numerous procedural motions which have delayed the proceedings.

Missouri convention attorneys, in another motion filed for the Sep. 10 hearing, asked Callahan to stay all discovery and proceedings regarding the other defendants until the Windermere trial is concluded. As noted by The Pathway, the Missouri convention’s newsjournal, “Attorneys for the Missouri Baptist University and Missouri Baptist Foundation have continued to file discovery requests and hearing notices, all of which merely divert MBC attorneys from trial preparation for Windermere.”


Callahan declined to stay other discovery in view of the continuance of the Windermere trial until next year.
Compiled by Art Toalston from reporting by The Pathway, newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.