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.

The members of the COGIC General Assembly should amend the trust clause so the property would be held for the exclusive use of the local members of local church.

10 Responses to TRUST CLAUSE:

  1. Mary Darby says:

    Thank you for the information provided. In April 2013 the trust clause was changed to make the property held for the members of the local church.

    • admin says:

      It was presented but the amendment has not been ratified yet. It has not had the required number of readings.

      • Jo says:


        Out of curiosity, what do you believe is the reason that the COGIC officials have not am ended the constitution to change this?

        Do you think this will move forward with the new leadership?

        Lastly, if I recall correctly, when Bishop GE Patterson returned to the COGIC fellowship, all of his church properties were purchased and controlled by Bountiful Blessings, Inc. (along with sermons, audio, video, etc.). After his death, the disagreements that came about between Mother Patterson and Temple of Deliverance/COGIC led to them trying to flex their authority over the ministry, which in turn caused Mother Patterson to remind them that while they may have control of Temple of Deliverance COGIC, the building/land that the ministry uses is owned by Bountiful Blessings Inc. (or maybe it was just the land), which was Bishop Patterson’s private business, and that she was the heir to, and that she could charge rent or evict the ministry.

        If I have the details of that story correct (please tell me if I don’t), would the purchase of the church building by an individual, LLC, or another incorporated business (NOT the incorporated local church) protect the congregation from this trust clause?

        Is this what GE Patterson did? Basically, rent the commercial building to the “National Congregation”?

        • admin says:

          The amendment to the trust clause is needed to protect the LOCAL congregation from bishops who upon the death of a pastor, pilfer the finances seize bank accounts sometimes to the extent that the local bills can not be paid without his approval. One bishop in Memphis as well as others have sued the local people with the biggest reason being finances. If there was no financial windfall or just the power trip of controlling people it would pass with no problem. The chairman of the General Assembly is the one who appears to prevent the amendment form going before the delegates.
          Yes, the property at Temple of Deliverance was owned by Bountiful Blessings LLC. That is the best way to prevent the theft of the local church from the local members. As the movie said, “It is all about the Benjamins.

  2. Mary Darby says:

    Thank the General Assembly. I am Mary Darby “in name only” on the “Church of God in Christ, Inc. local church property “deed” at 2011 Eaton Street, Twinsburg, OH 44087. The local church’s attorney, and title company need directives to Quiet Title. That corpus of a trust is the sum of money or property that is set aside to produce income for a named beneficiary and rebuild the church. Putting faith in God would mean we believe that even though things look tangled up, God can untangle them. When tragic things happen, putting faith in God means we believe, no matter how bad things look, that God will work them together for good. ( Romans 8:28) When God says he will work all things for good, there is no exception.

  3. Mary Louise Darby says:

    The above is not a question. Instead, ask COGIC, Inc. please contact and about any documents in possession of the national church regarding the mortgage paid in full on Trust Deed property of Church of God in Christ 2011 Eaton Street, Twinsburg, OH 44087. Thank you

  4. Mr. Batson says:

    We are going through a similar situation with our church, that is going on with the members in pensacola fl with bishop willie green.. here i am a Member of timothy farmer memorial COGIC and we are apart of the maryland eastern shore ecclesiastical jurisdiction where bishop paul r. Harmon is the prelate and mother lee vanzandt is the supervisor of women. Over 5 years ago Our church took a vote to leave the COGIC organization and submitted it and we were denied by the Bishop, not sure on what basis but im sure it had something to do with this Trust clause, due to us rebuild our new santuary and we feel like we are in bondage as a whole church as we are not the only church in the jurisdiction that this is happening too, which they have not had appointed pastor yet since the late bishop foreman passed away.. i am only writing this so that this can make it too a higher ups can review this claim.. i will continue to write these statements each month until our voice is heard!! Thanks

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