Does your church rent space to a preschool, congregation, or other tenants, either formally or informally? Were you aware that ALL leases and renewals of leases need to be run through the Board of Church Location and Building (CLB) at the District?
And did you also know that we have sample leases that might help your church work with a tenant more easily and more thoughtfully, protecting church interests and giving clarity to less formal agreements?
The Book of Discipline, in sections 2540.3 and 2541.3, outlines the process of leasing a piece of church property; it includes the church building, parsonages and other property owned by the church. The process in the Bi-District is to draw up a draft lease with the proposed terms, and request a place on the next meeting of the CLB (usually monthly except for July & August). If you need a sample lease, email SarahCalvert@vaumc.org and we can send you one for a preschool lease and a church to church lease. The committee will review the lease and either hold a meeting, requesting you to come and talk about the lease, or it may do an email meeting and provide any changes to the lease that may be necessary by email. Once the changes are made, the CLB will vote on the final lease.
The purpose of all of this seemingly extra work is to provide an extra set of consultation regarding United Methodist property to help the District Superintendents. The strategies of the DSs are often more encompassing than just one church may know about, and the lease or sale of property may or may not fit the strategies of our key missional strategists. Sometimes churches lease out so much of their property that there is no room left for growing the local UM congregation. Sometimes terms are too long, or there aren’t enough ‘out’ clauses to protect the local church. There are also requirements on insurance and child protection policies that need to be mentioned in leases.
We also have gathered real estate professionals, architects and other key laity, along with clergy who have done large building projects to help you get to your goals. The CLB helps by asking questions, suggesting language and challenging assumptions. Rewrites, financial plans or strategic plans may be requested by the Board to help understand the ministry and missional requirements for your local church as it involves the lease. With the approval of the CLB, your church can then vote on a new lease or sign renewals knowing that your United Methodist property fits in with your District plans as well as your local plans.
Got a lease? A renewal or new one? Call your District administrator (Artabia for Arlington, Maureen for Alexandria) to get on the CLB agenda and send us your lease for review!