Monday, January 19, 2015

A Church Downsized

"No, our church didn't go bust,"
said the churchwarden of St. XXXXXX.
"We were slaves to our buildings,
we couldn't afford the upkeep anymore.

"So we decided to sell the property,
and move to rented quarters.
The move worked out pretty well,
but we're having problems with the sale."

"The Episcopal diocese claims the proceeds,
under a church law called the Dennis canon.
They say the diocese has an 'implied trust'
over the property of its member parishes."

"We don't know how that will work out, 
neither does the lawyer we hired.
She does believe our liquid assets are safe,
although the diocese is trying to seize them."

"St. XXXXX is a functioning corporation, 
which has moved to another location.
Whether we own or rent is irrelevant;
we have not missed a Sunday of services."

"Our focus is on our main objectives:
bringing the saving grace to all who worship
with us, and engaging in charitable outreach
to the community around us."

"We employ a full-time pastor, paying her
the prescribed salary and allowances.
We pay the diocesan assessment on time,
which will have to be reduced."

"Our church has had to give up sponsoring
activities that used our former property/
AA groups and the thrift shop are gone.
The daycare operation moved elsewhere."

"We have an active network of 
church groups meeting in homes,
for education, moral support, and
simple fellowship and hospitality."

"All in all, our church regulars
are pleased with the new arrangement,
finding it much easier to invite
new people to meet with us."

"Our expenses are modest, operating
on sort of a pay-as-you-go system.
We don't worry anymore about 
what we can afford doing."

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Church for Sale

"Both the land and the buildings 
are for sale," said the agent.
"The property just came on the market,
so they're all in pretty good shape."

"The old building in front has some
kind of historical protection, so it
can't be torn down.  If you use it,
it may need some upgrading."

"The church complex is from the
seventies.  They took real good 
care of it.  Put in two ACs to 
protect the organ and cool the crowd!"

"The big building in back is what
they called a parish hall.  It has
a commercial kitchen and storage.
Would be fine for parties and receptions."

"No, the day care outfit has no 
lease on the space they use.
The church didn't charge them
anything; it was all on charity."

"I don't know why the church went bust.
I work for the seller, what they 
call a diocese.  The woman who hired
us is a lawyer for the seller."

"This is not a great location for business,
so we told them to set a realistic price.
You would have to advertise a lot 
to build a clientele here."

"On the other hand, this is a great
place for something that blends
into a historic neighborhood.
Just don't plan on much signage."

"Yes, that is a landscaper next door.
They are grandfathered into the site.
You may have to initiate some legal 
action to get them to remove the pile of dirt."

"The parking lot needs regrading,
better yet, paved with asphalt.
It is plenty big enough to host
capacity crowds for local events."

"Yes, that is a memorial garden.
No one is buried there, in a casket, that is.  
What you see are places where the 
ashes of people are stuck in the ground."

"The seller hasn't said what should
happen to the memorial garden.
Maybe they will just ask people to
remove the ashes, if they want."

"So let me know it you're interested.
I may be able to get someone who
used to go to this church to tell you
a little more about its history."