Motion 19. Restrictions on Sales of Church Lands

Discussion in 'General discussion' started by CRfromQld, Jun 13, 2022.

  1. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    Mr Tom Finn to move; Dr Chris Gourlay seconding:

    Synod acknowledges that Church Lands and Properties are not commodities to be sold. But gifts to the glory of God; held in trust by the church for future generations.

    Synod notes that the market for property is such that should these be sold, within a matter of years, even with an increase in liquidity, re-acquiring that or similar real estate is in effect impossible. That is the sale is irreversible. As such any proposed sale or mortgage of real property should face full scrutiny and approval by Synod in session.

    In accordance with the Diocesan Council Canon subsection 13 and pertaining to clause c. Synod directs the Diocesan Council to not sell real property or church lands without the consent of Synod in session. Diocesan Council will retain the ability to negotiate leases and including long term leases.
     
  2. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    All property is owned by the diocese and cannot be sold without diocese approval. Proceeds from the sale go to the diocese although it would be expected that a proportion would go to the parish to meet debts and ongoing needs.

    In the case of Manly parish the last remaining site has just been sold to Education Qld for the expansion of Manly State School. Some proceeds will be allocated to Manly parish to allow us to continue to operate in an alternative location for several years.

    Manly parish has been declining for many years and without a large reversal of the trend we would have become insolvent within a few years. Many parishes within the diocese are in a similar position with projections of perhaps 50% closing in the near future. For such parishes property and buildings are a liability rather than an asset.

    The diocese is in a position to consider retaining property for future use although they will no doubt be attracted by the lure of ready money.

    Requiring sales to be approved by Synod in session could delay sales by 12 months or more and result in lower prices, and would but an additional burden on already struggling parishes.
     
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  3. Tina Woodall

    Tina Woodall New Member

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    With the level of Motions, Canons, Reports and Financials that Clergy and Laity must go over for Synod and debate at Synod there would not be sufficient time to approve or not approve sale of property. Nor would some Members of Synod have the qualifications needed to make such decisions.
    There is a lot of work that goes into setting up, negotiating and checking legal implications of sales put before the Senior Property Officer for Finance and Diocesan Services Commission. We have such a body to assist us with sales. Regardless of the clause at Subsection 13, every 3 years Synod elects Members to Diocesan Council to act on behalf of Synod when Synod is not in session. The Diocesan Council is then obligated to report on all business performed on Synod's behalf. So if we have a Property Officer, why would we not utilize her skills and then have Diocesan Council report back to Synod on business conducted each and every year. If we were to wait for Synod to get the information required to make a solid decision on property sales this could take years. Buyers and prices would be lost and Parishes would not move forward.
     
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  4. Graeme Smyth

    Graeme Smyth New Member

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    Sorry to hear about Manly circumstance, Chris.
    Agree with everything you said, Chris and Tina - fundamentally, Synod is the wrong forum for these decisions.