Useful information related to ecclesiastical buildings

This page contains information and resources which may be helpful to congregations with respect to matters relating to church buildings (churches, halls, manses). This information is provided by the Presbytery's Planning and Deployment Committee, Property and Finance Committee, and Buildings Officer.

Useful Documents

"Your church, your community", Guidance for communities exploring future uses for church buildings: download here.

Guidance on Closure and Disposal of Category B Buildings under the Presbytery Mission Plan: download here.

Flowchart of the Guidance for Category B Buildings in Presbytery Mission Plans: download here.

Questionnaire for Disposal of Church Buildings, to assist in gathering necessary information: download here.

Sales of Buildings vested with the General Trustees

If the building is vested in the General Trustees, an extract minute from the Presbytery evidencing its approval of disposal of the building will be required. In situations where there is no Adjustment, i.e., where a congregation is not moving into a Union or Linkage, a congregational vote is required for the closure and disposal of churches and halls.

In general, buildings are exposed to the market as the General Trustees, along with local trustees, have a statutory fiduciary duty to obtain best value for buildings when they are to be disposed of.  The first order of business, once the General Trustees have formal instructions to dispose of the building, will be for the Law Department to instruct a commercial valuation survey.  This gives an idea of what might be expected in the current market and generally speaking, it is inappropriate to consider any proposals or offers submitted at an early stage.

Procedurally and chronologically, matters should go forward as follows: the Presbytery formally instructs the General Trustees to dispose of the building and provides the General Trustees with an extract from a meeting confirming this; the General Trustees Board approve disposal and formally remit matters to the Law Department; the Law Department, as above, arranges for a valuation survey to be undertaken and then consider the position with regards to previously submitted interest and offers etc.

In situations where there is to be a union of two congregations and the disposal of one of the buildings (or more), the General Trustees should receive a formal extract from the Presbytery after the date of the union.

Whist it is certainly good news that a potential buyers are expressing interest in buildings, there is a duty to generally expose the property to the open market.  That said, if interest on that front is limited it may well be that negotiations can be entered into with potential purchasers who have previously expressed interest.