• Fran Morris

    Re ownership of church property. When you look, all churches have rules that say the diocese owns all property but the parish must pay for it. The more important issue is the legal status of church committees. I looked into this when I was a warden of an Anglican church and we had a fire report that said the church (‘unique’ heritage with wooden roof) would burn down in 7 minutes. It was valued by the diocese at $22m (this was in 2001). The Anglican (Episcolpalian in the US) church says that wardens have ‘directors responsibilities’ and responsible for the debts of the parish. I have never agreed to be on a church committee again as they won’t insure the church leaders (they self-insure property) even against health and safety legislation.

    NFP boards need to watch this – there are many schools called ‘independent’ that are actually private trusts (property in the trust with an operating company to run the school). You can never find out who the real ‘owners’ are – even the board members I have asked cannot answer that. They say ‘it’s non-denominational’. One school asks parents for $1000 per child each year as a contribution to the property maintenance. The legal owners could sell the land and assets tomorrow. Don’t get caught.