re: presbytery taxing proceeds received by a pastoral charge from property transactions

Opinion 95-015-O agreed conference had the authority to create the category volunteer associate minister but further expressed that conference had no authority to create a requirement not provided for in the Manual.

Similarly, using the Manual interpretation of property, except in the circumstance where

the presbytery only has authority to "approve" or "not approve" and has no Manual authority to tax the disposition of proceeds requiring that a percentage go to some outside interest specified by presbytery different from that proposed by the congregation.

We walk a very thin line by using the authority to "not approve" as means to coerce congregations to comply with presbytery objectives not explicitly authorized by the Manual.

C 3.5 Property

The presbytery is responsible for

(a) making decisions on requests from congregations to acquire, sell, mortgage, exchange, lease, or otherwise deal with congregational property;

(b) making decisions on the meaning of the terms "other major assets" and "major renovations" for that presbytery;

(fyi) The importance of the terms "other major assets" and "major renovations" is explained in G. Congregational Life 2.1.2 and 2.1.3.

(c) communicating the meanings of those terms to each congregation and pastoral charge in the presbytery; and

(d) making decisions on requests from congregations for approval

G 1.4.3 Presbytery Decision on Amalgamation

The presbytery makes a decision on whether to approve the amalgamation. If presbytery approves the amalgamation, it may include conditions.

G 1.4.4 [Amalgamation of Congregations] Property

The presbytery consults with the congregations on the property needs of the new amalgamated congregation. A congregation may ask its governing body to represent it in this consultation.

a. Surplus Property of Amalgamating Congregations: The presbytery decides how much of the congregations' property will be needed for the new amalgamated congregation. Any property that will not be needed is called "surplus property."

b. Use of Surplus Property: The Conference is responsible for all surplus property after the amalgamation. It is up to the Conference to decide on how to use the surplus property for the benefit of the United Church.

G 1.5 Ending

A congregation ceases to exist when the presbytery makes a decision to disband the congregation.

The process for disbanding is set out below. The congregation, presbytery, and Conference are each responsible for the steps assigned to them.

1.5.1 Decision by Congregation

The congregation decides to disband.

1.5.2 Decision by Presbytery

The presbytery makes a decision on whether to approve the disbanding of the congregation.

The presbytery may also decide to disband the congregation on its own initiative, without a decision by the congregation.

1.5.3 Effective Date of Disbanding

When the presbytery makes a decision to approve the disbanding, it may specify a future date that the disbanding will come into effect. If not, the disbanding comes into effect when the presbytery makes the decision.

(fyi) The presbytery makes the decision to disband when it passes a motion approving the disbanding.

1.5.4 Property

(!) Section G.1.5.4 applies before the disbanding comes into effect It applies if the presbytery has not yet made the decision to approve the disbanding or if the presbytery has made the decision and specified a future effective date for the disbanding.

The congregation makes a proposal to the presbytery for dealing with the congregation's property, which must be used for the mission of the congregation or the wider United Church. The presbytery makes a decision on the proposal. Both must follow the requirements for dealing with congregational property.

(fyi) The presbytery may decide to approve the congregation's proposal as presented, or it may approve the proposal with changes, or it may decide to deal with the congregation's property in some other way than as set out in the proposal.
(!) The requirements for dealing with congregational property are set out in section G.2 below.

G 1.5.7 Remaining Property

(!) Section G.1.5.7 applies after the disbanding comes into effect.
(!) See section G.1.5.3 above.

If there is any remaining congregational property after the disbanding is effective, the Conference is responsible for this remaining property. It is up to the Conference, after consulting with the presbytery, to decide how to use that property for the benefit of the United Church.

The General Council may not change the Conference's responsibility for remaining property without the Conference's approval.

(fyi) There are resources about disbanding to assist congregations and presbyteries.
(fyi) See the Congregational Board of Trustees Handbook available from the General Council Office.

{note the interpretation given for the safeguard referenced by The United Church of Canada Act article 28(b) "to legislate on all matters respecting property, subject to the limitations elsewhere provided in the Basis of Union, and subject also to the approval of the Conference in which the property is situated" [basis 8.6.2 (2)]