District Superintendent Conference December 2-4, 2009 Nashville, TN Rick Rettberg, GCFA General Counsel Dan Gary, GCFA Administrative Counsel. PROPERTY matters workshop. THE TRUST CLAUSE. Who owns the properties of our local churches? The local church? The annual conference?
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“is an essential element of the historic polity of The United Methodist Church”
“a fundamental expression of United Methodism”
“is and always has been irrevocable”
Must be included in the deedOur trust clause – ¶ 2501
In trust, that said premises shall be used, kept, and maintained as a place of divine worship of the United Methodist ministry and members of The United Methodist Church; subject to the Discipline, usage, and ministerial appointments of said Church as from time to time authorized and declared by the General Conference and by the annual conference within whose bounds the said premises are situated. This provision is solely for the benefit of the grantee, and the grantor reserves no right or interest in said premises. (¶ 2503.1)
Q: Some of my local churches don’t have the clause in their deeds. Does that mean that it doesn’t apply to that property?
However, the absence of a trust clause . . . in deeds and conveyances executed previously or in the future. Nor shall it absolve a local church . . . or the board of trustees . . shall in no way exclude a local church or church agency, or the board of trustees of either, from or relieve it of its connectional responsibilities to The United Methodist Church . thereof of its responsibility and accountability . . . to hold all of its property in trust for The United Methodist Church; provided that the intent of the founders and/or a later local church or church agency or the board of trustees of either, is shown by any or all of the following:Our trust clause
If one of your local churches is buying, remodeling, mortgaging, etc., its property, use that as an opportunity to review the deed for the presence of the trust clause
It’s also a good idea to review the local churches’ deedsThe trust clause and you
Q: Can the property be “abandoned” if a congregation is still using it?
Problem: A local church is selling its property (or taking out a mortgage) and the potential buyer (or lender) objects to the trust clause being in the deed.
[T]he written acknowledged consent of the proper district superintendent representing The United Methodist Church to the action taken shall constitute a release and discharge of the real property so sold and conveyed from the trust clause or clauses; or in the event of the execution of a mortgage, such consent of the district superintendent shall constitute a formal recognition of the priority of such mortgage lien and the subordination of the [trust clause to it].
These paragraphs set forth requirements for the sale, transfer, mortgage, lease (of 30 days or more), or purchase of (incorporated and unincorporated) local church property
Your written consent is required before any and all of these transactions can occur¶¶ 2535 to 2541
Compatible with the mission and ministry of the church and with the Social Principles (¶ 2532.3)?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires buildings to be accessible to the disabled