Don’t blame the Quaker meeting!

by Jez Smith

An American has failed in his attempt to sue his Quaker meeting after he decided that the meeting was involved in the break up of his marriage.

Warren Pegram, of Snow Camp in North Carolina, had issued proceedings in November 2012 to remedy the difficult financial situation he claimed to face after his wife left him after almost 30 years of marriage. However, the case was thrown out of court when a judge ruled that North Carolina state civil law does not allow a group to be sued when a spouse has ended a marriage.

Married in 1982, Warren Pegram told Fox 8 News that his marriage finally finished when other members of the church helped his wife leave him. “I don’t think she could have moved out if the church hadn’t helped her,” he said, adding, “they provided all the people to move out the stuff.”

Warren Pegram sued the Cane Creek Friends Meeting for $180,000 for his alleged loss and sought up to $10million in punitive damages. Cane Creek Friends Meeting was successful in having the case thrown out.

According to media reports, the suit that Warren Pegram submitted to the court, “the defendant’s pastor made multiple visits to Plaintiff and his wife’s residence to play Wii games with them not at the invitation of the Plaintiff.” However, there was no implication that the pastor was in any way romantically involved with Warren Pegram’s wife but the implication was left there.

Local Friends wrote in defence of their pastor to the Times-News that the pastor: “is a man of the highest character and integrity, and we are confident he will be vindicated in the lawsuit brought against him and the Meeting by Warren Pegram. We wish that the fact that Mr. Pegram has not accused [the pastor] of being romantically involved with Mrs. Pegram was stressed more prominently in the Times-News article of Jan. 30.”

Cane Creek Friends Church is in Snow Camp, near the city of Greensboro, which is known for having Friends churches and meetings broadly representing all the different traditions found worldwide.

Regardless of the separation, the members of Cane Creek Friends Meeting had continued to include Warren Pegram in their community.  In April last year the church’s facebook page wished him and his former wife a happy birthday each – their birthdays falling on consecutive days.

Perhaps the situation can be best summed up by the most recent sermon posted on the Cane Creek Friends Meeting website. Based on the Bible verse Philippians 1:19-26 it has the title: NO WAY TO LOSE!

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