FUND USAGE FROM SALE OF URBAN CHURCH PROPERTIES
Indiana Annual Conference is constricting like many other conferences, with churches merging and properties no longer needed. The sale of urban propereties has a particular requirement under Paragraph 2549.7. All of the proceeds of such sales are to be distributed among the other churches in the area to support their missional activities.
The Conference Board of Trustees took out some of the proceeds to cover demolition costs. That use was questioned at Annual Conference.
The Council ruled that was contrary to the Discipline. The bishop’s main argument that the rest of the proceeds were being properly used did not sway the Council.
I’m not knowledgeable about property matters (watching the “Property Brothers” on HGTV does not qualify me). However, the Trustees may have encountered the problem of selling the property with the old church building on it meaning a significant lowering of the sale price. And negotiating a better sale price by including that the Conference would demolish the building left the Trustees with a better sale price but the obligation of the cost to demolish. Unfornately Paragraph 2549.7 doesn’t allow the cost of demolition to come out of the sale price. Trustees usually have contingency funds for such purposes but they need to find a way to increase them either from conference apportionments or from sales of other assets (mainly other closed churches).
This may be a job for General Conference. The Trustees would need to send in a petition to resolve this dilemma.