By Grace Q. Bryant
The assigned Judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit Court in Bong County, Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay has ruled against Bishop Wolo Belleh and Pastor Osakata Kollie of the Harvest International Ministries from a complaint filed by the Bethel World Outreach Ministry, Suakoko Branch.
Judge Gbeisay made another ruling from his assigned court in Bong County on the recent controversial changing of Bethel World Outreach Ministry to Harvest International Ministries by Bishop Wolo Belleh , Pastor Osakata Kollie and others.
Judge Gbeisay noted in his ruling that the only issue determinative of the matter is to settle who actually owns the property of Bethel World Outreach Ministries regardless of the change of its name by some members to Harvest Miniseries International.
The Judge further noted that, “the change of name of the church from Bethel World Outreach Ministries Intl. to Harvest Intercontinental Ministries Unlimited by the leadership of the church without the expressed consent of the entire membership of the church brings the question as to what happens to the church property owned in the name of Bethel World Outreach Ministries Intl. Suakoko Branch.?
He said, “In my interpretation of the law controlling, the changing of the church name to a different denomination or nomenclature without the consent of all of the members, leaving other members with the original name is considered a breakaway or secession by the group who have unilaterally carried out said act, be it against the majority or minority members of the church.”
Gbeisay based his ruling on the case, concerning the Church of Christ, Appallant Vs. St. Timothy Appellee; 31LLR page 300, decided July 7, 1983 syl 3. In the said case, the Supreme Court of Liberia pointed out that, “The rights and obligations of members of a religious society are governed by the laws of that society. Every person entering into a religious society impliedly, if not expressly, covenants to conform to its rules and disciplines, and he has no right to insist on the exercise of his rights as a member where such insistence amounts to an invasive and destruction of property rights of the society and of the members thereof.”
Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision, he further noted that in the same case in syllable four, “The rights of a member of a religious society are dependent upon the continuance of his membership so that when he ceases to be a member his rights and beneficial interests in the property of the association ceases, and he no longer has standing to sue in relation thereto.” In the instance case, Bishop Wolo Belleh, Pastor Osakata Kollie and all others who are now Harvest members rights and beneficiaries interest seized to exist in Bethel World outreach properties.”
Court Rules Against
Bishop Wolo Belleh, Others
By Grace Q. Bryant