IS THERE JUSTICE IN THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST?

January 23, 2014

DON’T TRUST THE TRUST CLAUSE!

DON’T TRUST THE TRUST CLAUSE!

There is a lot of confusion as to what the ‘Trust Clause” found in the COGIC, Inc constitution really means.  The COGIC Trust clause found in the Official Manual, Article III, Part II, Section D paragraph 9 on page 16 states;

“The said property is held in trust for the use and benefit of the members of the Church of God in Christ with National Headquarters in the City of Memphis. Shelby County. Tennessee, and subject to the Charter, Constitution, Laws and Doctrines of said Church, now in full force and effect or as they may be hereafter amended, changed or modified by the General Assembly of said Church”

How many people really know what that means?  To put it bluntly it gives the National Church ownership of your property.
In Wichita, Kansas, in 2005, in District Court, the former General Counsel said;
” The members of the Church of God in Christ are all members who are a part of the national organization from the headquarters down to the local assembly.”
Since the General Counsel in his official position stated this for the court,  that is the position of the Executive branch of COGIC, Inc.
Did you know you are holding your Church for everybody who is part of the national organization? And here you thought it was for the local members.

Black’s Law Dictionary gives the definition of a Trust as;

1. An equitable or beneficial right or title to land or other property, held for the beneficiary by another person, in whom resides the legal title or ownership, recognized and enforced by courts of chancery. See Goodwin v. McMinn, 193 Pa. 046, 44 Atl. 1094, 74 Am. St. Rep. 703; Beers v. Lyon, 21 Conn. 613; Seymour v. Freer, 8 Wall. 202, 19 L. Ed. 300. An obligation arising out of a confidence reposed in the trustee or representative, who has the legal title to property conveyed to him, that he will faithfully apply the property according to the confidence reposed, or, in other words, according to the wishes of the grantor of the trust. 4 Kent Comm. 304; Willis, Trustees, 2; Beers v. Lyon, 21 Conn. 613; Thornburg v. Buck, 13 Ind. App. 446, 41 N. E. 85. An equitable obligation, either express or Implied, resting upon a person by reason of a confidence reposed in him, to apply or deal with the property for the benefit of some other person, or for the benefit of himself and another or others, according to such confidence. McCreary v. Gewinner, 103 Ga. 528, 29 S. E. 9G0. A holding of property subject to a duty of employing it or applying its proceeds according to directions given by the person from whom it was derived. Munroe v. Crouse. 59 Hun. 248, 12 N. Y. Supp. 815.
Law Dictionary: http://thelawdictionary.org/trust/#ixzz2rGkq7QOw

In layman’s terms, what that means is; you give the beneficiary (the National Church) an equitable (think equity as in equity in your house) interest in your Church.  Their name does not have to be on the deed.  When you join, pay your National Reports, participate and go to the meetings you are on the hook.

The attorneys know this but they talk in legal speak where words have a different meaning to them and the civil court than it does to those not trained in the law.  This I think is done to deceive, when you want to communicate truth you speak the language your hearer will understand.

Different states also handle this differently.  Some states use the “Neutral Principle”, that means whatever name is on the deed, that whose it is.  Others states use whatever their state law says.  The third and the one that is most harmful to the local members is the “Hierarchical Principle”.  You should find out which policy your state uses but remember, it  could change with the stroke of a judges pen.

If the Trust Clause stated it was held for none but the local church members or congregation, it would protect the local church.

As it stands, every chicken dinner, every bake sale done for the church is for the National Church, because of the “Trust Clause.”

Because of the Trust Clause, you are owners in name only.  Which makes you a sharecropper.

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2 Comments »

  1. While this is ‘standard’ practice for most churches, I agree that COGIC leadership should clarify this and modify the official manual to indicate that the property is held in trust for ‘the local church members or congregation”. Particularly when you consider the fact that most local churches are built with 99.9% local funds. The National Church does not build local churches nor does it give generally give loans for such.

    Comment by WarrenMA — January 24, 2014 @ 10:18 AM | Reply

    • The biggest difference with COGIC is the vast majority of the congregations are allowed to believe as long as there is no state or national money involved the local congregation owns the property and not just in name.

      Comment by R.E. Stidham — January 24, 2014 @ 12:14 PM | Reply


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