This is an excellent post by Mitchell Lewis on the UM “trust clause.”
The United Methodist Church has a trust clause requirement that dates back to the days of John Wesley. The Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States formally adopted the “model deed” in 1797. In current church law, the basic principles are set forth in paragraph 2501 of the Book of Discipline.
All properties of United Methodist local churches and other United Methodist agencies and institutions are held, in trust, for the benefit of the entire denomination, and ownership and usage of church property is subject to the Discipline. This trust requirement is an essential element of the historic polity of The United Methodist Church or its predecessor denominations or communions and has been a part of the Discipline since 1797. It reflects the connectional structure of the Church by ensuring that the property will be used solely for purposes consonant with the…
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