“Church Growth Trust are an answer to our prayers!” stated one trustee of a Gospel Hall in the West Country during a recent visit by Giles Arnold, the Trust’s Chief Executive.
As a trustee and elder of the assembly this gentleman had been struggling to know what to do over a number of trusteeship matters, needed advice on property and development opportunities and was concerned over the future of the Gospel Hall. He was delighted to get some free advice on the Trust Deed, under which the property is held, relating to finding new trustees and what options were available to the existing trustees. Talking through some of the building compliance issues concerning asbestos, fire, health and safety and disabled access was also helpful. It was exciting to consider possible future plans for the property and the possibility of the assembly getting involved with a major new development on their doorstep was discussed. Like many trustees of small Gospel Halls, often with assemblies that are getting elderly and low in numbers, the main concern was about the future of the church property. This is precisely where Church Growth Trust (CGT) can help, as it holds almost 100 Gospel Halls and chapels across the country and has a passion to keep them in Gospel use.
Some property trustees hardly ever meet. “I came across one Trust that was set up in 1970 and no one could remember whether the trustees had ever met!” Giles Arnold recalls. “Certainly no new trustees had been appointed since 1970 and those trustees believed to be alive had no current connection with the assembly, which was a bit of a nightmare to resolve. But resolve it we did!” CGT can help you get your trusteeship up-to-date or draw up a Resolution to reduce the minimum number of trustees.
Many trustees do not know what their Trust Deed says and what their objects and powers are, how to appoint new or remove old trustees or what they are allowed to do with the property if the assembly closes. Giles has been able to work with trustees: “Just giving some basic advice on these matters gives trustees some assurance, can help them get up-to-date, register the title to the property and prepare for the future.” CGT has produced a briefing paper “Understanding Property Trust Deeds”, which gives trustees some helpful advice. CGT also offers a free service to review your Trust Deed for you.
Some trustees need help to get their paperwork in order. Others are keen to retire and pass the baton to others. Still others are more concerned about the future of the church property. Church Growth Trust can help with all of these. Giles Arnold again: “I was contacted by a church recently in Norfolk that was in discussion with the trustees of a chapel, where the independent church had just closed. The trustees wanted to be give the property to the church, but there were ultimate beneficiaries to the Trust, so it could not be done. However, a solution was offered where the trustees appoint us as sole trustee of the original Trust and we let the property to the church for a nominal rent. Both the trustees and the church could see the advantages of CGT being involved, giving practical advice, including our architectural services, and helping with funding. We are delighted to be able to help.”
Church Growth Trust is committed to keeping independent church properties in use wherever possible and to making them places of excellence for worship and outreach to the local community. Giles Arnold would be happy to talk to any trustees who need advice or are concerned about the future of their property. “This is a unique ministry that we have been called to and we are constantly humbled by God’s timing and provision, to be able to help trustees and elders plan for the future and ensure these Gospel resources are safeguarded for the generations to come. We are praying that the Lord will connect us with the right people at the right time.”
If you need advice or wish to talk about a specific situation, please contact Giles Arnold on 01536 647164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org