Sunday, January 21, 2007

Who owns the church? :: Adventus

So, under this understanding, church members who put money in the plate don't contribute to the church; they invest in it, like the stock market. They own a piece of the company, apparently, or at least make a payment on the physical assets, a payment which, at some point, entitles them to a property interst in said assets, or even in the real property. An interesting issue when a church member dies, then. If they have a property interest, it passes to their estate, no? If nothing passes, there was no interest ever created. What, then, if they leave? Does that property interest go with them? No, you say? Why not? Is it only there so long as they continue to attend regularly, donate regularly, and happen to have been doing both when they vote with the majority on that fateful day? A perplexingly ephemeral idea of property interest, indeed.
. . .
The property does not belong to the people who currently worship in Falls Church or Truro, any more than it belongs to PB Schori. It belongs to the church, and the church is not just here and now but present in the past as well as in the future. PB Schori says they have a fiduciary duty with regard to that property, and she is absolutely right. At law, that is the highest duty one can owe, and it is always owed to someone else, for your custody and control of their property. You must treat that property with more care than you treat your own; that is the standard or fiduciary duty.

Truro's PR campaign begs to differ.

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