The Trustees fulfill the requirements of the state of New Jersey, and constitute the legal corporation to hold property of the presbytery; and advise the presbytery at all times of its responsibilities in carrying out all the provisions of the Book of Order, Chapter IV, Church Property (G-4.02). The Trustees meet at least quarterly and report all proceedings to the Cabinet and presbytery for review and action as required by civil law. The Trustees consist of no fewer than seven and no more than ten members elected by presbytery for three-year terms, including the President and the Treasurer. The President of the Trustees is elected by the presbytery and is a member of Cabinet. The Treasurer of the presbytery is also elected by the presbytery and is a member of the Trustees and treasurer of the corporation. The Board may elect a vice-president and a secretary from among its members.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for matters outlined in Chapter IV of the Book of Order, Church Property, including but not limited to the following:
- Review of all applications from Presbytery churches for the purchase or receipt of church properties, including manses, that are subject to an encumbrance (e.g. a mortgage), granting of easements to church property, the sale of church property, any granting of a license to use or any lease of worship space, and any granting of license to use or any lease, for a term greater than five years, of other church property. The Trustees will inform the Cabinet and make specific recommendations to Presbytery for action.
- Review of all requests from Presbytery churches to borrow funds such that, when added to a debt already incurred, total indebtedness will be greater than 15% of the current year’s budgeted income.
- Consideration of referrals from the Presbytery or the Cabinet concerning properties held in the name of the Presbytery.
The Board of Trustees may act in advisory capacity on other property matters when requested to do so by the Session or Trustees of a particular church.
The Board of Trustees is also responsible for the financial affairs of the presbytery, including but not limited to the following:
- Management of the investments and accounts of the presbytery,
- Preparing and recommending the annual budget for the presbytery and regularly reviewing financial results.
- Maintaining financial and other records in accordance with secular and denomination requirements, The Board of Trustees is accountable to the Presbytery for all actions in carrying out its responsibilities.
When to Involve the Board of Trustees of the Presbytery of Elizabeth
- Sale of a Church Manse
- Sale of Property to which a church holds title
- Granting license to use, or otherwise lease or rent a manse or other property
- Borrowing money in an amount greater than or equal to 15% of the current year’s budgeted income
- Loan to a Pastor
A Checklist for Sessions
- Call the President of the Board of Trustees to discuss the transaction and obtain information on the particulars required to present the proposal to the Trustees.
- Session then compiles the required written proposal information.
- The Trustees review the prepared and printed proposal. The proposal is meant to be a two-page document, at the most, with the attachment of the current year’s church budget when required.
- After the Trustees review the proposal, the particulars are presented at a congregational meeting.
- The results of the congregational meeting are reported to the Trustees who then present the proposal at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Presbytery.
What type of information is required for a written proposal to the Trustees?
Sale of a church manse
- Two written professional appraisals of the manse or property to be sold
- The sale price of the manse or property, which should not be less than the lower of the two appraisals.
Sale of property to which a church holds title
- Two written professional appraisals of the property to be sold
- The sale price of the property, which should not be less than the lower of the two appraisals.
- A list of present and potential uses for the property to be sold
- The church mission statement and a description of how the sale of the property will advance the church’s mission
- A statement of how the proceeds from the sale will be used
Encumbrance (mortgage, lien or easement) of property to which a church holds title
- Two written professional appraisals of the manse or property
- A list of present and potential uses for the property to be encumbered
- The church mission statement and a description of how the encumbrance of the property will advance the church’s mission
- A statement of how the proceeds from the encumbrance will be used
Granting license for use, lease or rental of worship space, manse or other property
- A copy of the required written agreement.
- Consideration as to whether the rented manse or property would return to the tax rolls, including a statement from the municipality indicating when the return would occur, if applicable.
- Note that rental of space on an occasional basis for a single use or a short time, such as a concert, recital or community event, as well as a regular group meeting such as AA, does not require referral to the Trustees.
- Also note that many arrangements for use involve the church sharing space with another organization, rather than an outright lease, particularly with respect to church and education buildings. These non-exclusive uses are better covered using a licensing agreement such as this model (Model in PDF – Model in WORD ). Churches are advised to have an attorney review the agreement before finalizing.
Borrowing money in an amount greater than or equal to 15% of the current year’s budgeted income
- The church mission statement and a description of how the sale or encumbrance of the property will advance that mission.
- The source of funds, interest rate, collateral or liens, amount and frequency of payments, arrangement to liquidate the obligation and current year church budget.
Loan to a Pastor (Note: Trustees, not Presbytery, review required.)
- The source of funds, interest rate, collateral of liens, amount and frequency of payments, arrangement to liquidate the obligation and current year church budget.
- Arrangements for repayment in the event of departure of the pastor.
or call the Presbytery office 908-755-3776.
Revised June 20, 2014