The Fellowship Property Trust, which is the trusteeship services of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches, has made the decision to close and written to all the churches for which they act as trustee. Many are setting up Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIOs) to hold their own trusteeship, but some are not doing so and are being directed to Church Growth Trust (CGT). We are delighted to work with these churches. It is however a major task taking on so many trusteeships at the same time (Giles Arnold, CGT’s Chief Executive, has reviewed the deeds for 48 churches and met in person or on Zoom over 30 of these over the last six months!).
There have already been a number that have asked to use CGT’s services. Seven churches have so far decided to gift their properties to Church Growth Trust and these included Hey Street Evangelical Church in Cleethorpes, where the church had decided to close and the property has now been relet to a new church. Two churches have asked CGT to become sole managing trustee of their property. These include East Dean Free Church near Chichester, where the congregation is small, but determined to continue with their Gospel work in reaching their village and the local area.
Two churches have asked CGT to take on a custodian trustee role and 11 have asked for us to become their holding trustee (with at least 17 more yet to decide). These range from congregations that are small in number and mostly elderly often in villages, such as Burnopfield near Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Alfold near Cranleigh, to larger churches in cities like Nottingham and Liverpool.
“Every church is different” says Giles Arnold, “and unfortunately there is no such thing as a standard set of deeds! So, every trusteeship situation has to be looked at individually and the options available to each church are discussed, so the best solution for each one can be agreed and then put in place. If variety is the spice of life, I am certainly living it up!”