THE PURPOSE OF THE TRUST CLAUSE
In the Church of God in Christ, the trust clause was originally intended to protect the members of the local church from loss of their church. Many times, the founder and his wife purchased property, built a church and for various reasons the property title was never changed from their name to the churches. Upon their deaths, some of their descendants, because the church was titled in their parent’s name, required payment for the congregation to remain in a church they all had mutually built.
It seemed the solution was to require the deed to contain a trust clause. The purchaser of the property establishes the trust (benefactors) and gives an equitable interest to the members (beneficiaries) of the church.
Through the course of time, some in positions of authority believed the National Church was the beneficiary of the trust. With the help of men such as the former General Counsel of the COGIC, Inc. (Bishop Enoch Perry III). In a Kansas court, Bishop Perry stated the members were “all members who a part of the organization …”
What does that mean? When you think of equity in your house, if you have a $100,000 home, you’ve paid it down and the remaining balance is $75,000, you have $25,000 dollars’ worth of equity.
With a trust clause, you give all of your equity to the beneficiary (currently in COGIC, the beneficiary is the NATIONAL CHURCH). The name on the deed is not changed, but (as in the example of the house), if you give away equitable interest, (your $25,000 dollars) you have zero equity. The bank and the one you gave your money to really own your house. You just get to pay for it. Like a share cropper, you work the land, you harvest the crop but at the end of the day, you don’t own anything.
In the Church of God in Christ Constitution; ARTICLE III, Part II, § D (9) states;
“Real Estate or other property may be acquired by purchase, gift devise, or otherwise, by local churches. Where real or personal property is acquired by deed, the instrument of conveyance shall contain the following clause, to wit:
“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”
Those who purchase the property (benefactors) give the beneficiaries, in this case the members of the Church of God in Christ with National Headquarters in the City of Memphis. Shelby County. Tennessee, the equity in their church.
It is an admirable thing to protect the people of God, to protect their rights in property they have labor to build.