A Primer on UMC Assets: Challenges in Dividing Assets

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Local Church assets when leaving UMC

I am a retired elder. I once served a church sitting on land given many years ago. The deed specified that if the land was ever used for something other than a Methodist Episcopal church, the land would revert to the original owner. Of course the UMC is a direct descendant of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Suppose that congregation were to decide to leave the UMC, would they have to return the land (or purchase it from the heirs)? This is not hypothetical. The heirs (who live in another state) are well aware of the deed and their rights. I know this because when I was pastor the congregation considered moving to another location, and was well aware that the heirs would get the land if the church moved. If the church leaves the UMC, it may have to pay for the land (which is worth a great deal of money today). Out of the tens-of-thousands of UMC congregations in the USA, there could easily be a hundred or more with such reversion clauses in their deeds. Is anyone addressing this question?

Richard E. Davies 32 days ago