Providing Things Honest in the Sight of all Men: Who Owns Your Gospel Hall?

With this article we begin a short series alerting brethren to the need for care in the business aspects of an assembly and its responsibility to the government.

Who Owns Your Gospel Hall?

This is a question which every responsible brother should consider carefully, since 1 Corinthians 14:40 exhorts us, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”

One common method of ownership is by having trustees who are responsible for the building. This is satisfactory legally, but it has caused some difficulties. Some trustees die and others move away and the list of trustees is not updated. In one case which recently came to our attention, none of the trustees were in fellowship in a particular assembly. Some were in heaven and the others had moved away and were now in fellowship in distant assemblies of the Lord’s people. In another case which was also recently made known, only one trustee remained and he was in very poor health.

While laws affecting the ownership of buildings will vary from Province to Province and from State to State, some important items stated in the Religious Organizations’ Land Act of the Province of Ontario follow:

1. A religious organization may acquire and hold land for the purpose of a place of worship in the name of trustees.

2. A religious organization may.. .appoint trustees . . .remove any trustee.. . decrease or increase the number of trustees.

2. Unless the constitution of the religious organization otherwise provides, a trustee holds office until he dies, resigns or ceases to be a member of the organization.

4. When no trustees of a religious organization remain in office, the land to which the organization is entitled vests automatically in trustees subsequently appointed by the organization.

It is recommended that a careful scrutiny should be given to the present list of trustees to ensure that it is accurate and up-to-date. Whenever changes are made, the list of trustees should always be updated.

Another method of owning a Gospel Hall is by incorporating. Under certain circumstances, there may be some advantages in this method, and an article by another writer on this subject will follow in a later magazine.