“Our passion is to save gospel halls and independent church properties from being lost for the Kingdom and making sure that they continue in Gospel use for the future” says Giles Arnold, Chief Executive of Church Growth Trust.
There are many churches that are closing, mainly due to congregations that are getting older and smaller in numbers. Many of these are part of the traditional church (Church of England, Methodist and United Reform Church) and these closures are managed by each denomination’s property department. There are also a number of independent churches that are having to consider their future. Covid-19 may have brought matters to a head. By their nature these independent fellowships do not have a denominational property department to look to for advice and to take responsibility for dealing with the property if the church closes. Many trustees of property trusts and church leaders do not know where to turn to. This sometimes leads to unwise (and even illegal) decisions on what to do with the property.
This is where Church Growth Trust (CGT) can help, and has done so in many cases in the past. CGT is able to give advice to trustees on their options when they are considering the future of their property, as well as keeping them on the straight and narrow as far as charity law is concerned. This may involve reviewing the Trust Deed under which the property is held and finding an appropriate Chartered Surveyor to provide a Charities Act Valuation Report to get best value if the property is sold.
CGT’s desire however is for the building not to be sold, particularly if it is going to end up being redeveloped and no longer in Kingdom use. Because CGT works with other organisations such as Counties and Partnership, it is often possible to link the fellowship with these organisations in order to see a new church planted, a re-plant where new leaders are brought in or in some cases a church revitalisation, connecting other local fellowships and building up the existing assembly/church. In all these cases the trustees have the option to transfer the ownership/trusteeship of the property to CGT, so that it is held on a long-term basis for continued Gospel work.
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