Category : Housing/Real Estate Market

([London] Times) Church of England tells landowners it owns their mineral rights

The Church of England has laid claim to minerals beneath privately owned land covering an area the size of the Lake District, including in regions earmarked for fracking, The Times has learnt.

Since 2010 the church has officially registered its ownership of 585,000 acres of underground resources. Thousands of people have received letters warning that they do not own potentially valuable deposits under their land.

In most cases, the church has laid claim to deposits beneath land that it used to own but is now held privately. It has also exploited ancient property laws allowing it to claim the minerals beneath land that it owned under the feudal system. This gives the church the right to cash in on any profits from the extraction of stone, metals and other minerals in the earth, though it may have to compensate the surface landowners for access.

Read it all(requires subscription).

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Stewardship

What was that South Carolina Betterment Statute that Bishop Mark Lawrence referred to in his recent letter?

One of the good things about blogs is you can learn things from them which you can learn nowhere else. This past week is a case in point. In his letter of last weekend the Bishop said:

All parties to the case have previously discussed the timetable for a filing under the Betterments Statute. Legal counsel can give you best directions for how to proceed with that process (my emphasis).

And just what it this “Betterments Statute”? You can find it there and please note carefully its wording which includes among other sections the following:

SECTION 27-27-10. Recovery for improvements made in good faith.

After final judgment in favor of the plaintiff in an action to recover lands and tenements, if the defendant has purchased or acquired the lands and tenements recovered in such action or taken a lease thereof or those under whom he holds have purchased or acquired a title to such lands and tenements or taken a lease thereof, supposing at the time of such purchase or acquisition such title to be good in fee or such lease to convey and secure the title and interest therein expressed, such defendant shall be entitled to recover of the plaintiff in such action the full value of all improvements made upon such land by such defendant or those under whom he claims, in the manner provided in this chapter….

SECTION 27-27-30. Proceedings subsequent to judgment to recover value of improvements.

The defendant in such action shall, within forty-eight hours after such judgment or during the term of the court in which it shall be rendered, file in the office of the clerk of the court in which such judgment was rendered a complaint against the plaintiff for so much money as the lands and tenements are so made better. The filing of such complaint shall be sufficient notice to the defendant in such complaint to appear and defend against it. All subsequent proceedings shall be had in accordance with the practice prescribed in this Code for actions generally….

SECTION 27-27-40. Stay of judgment in first action; special verdict for betterments.

The court, on the entry of such action, shall stay all proceedings upon the judgment obtained in the prior action, except the recovery of such lands, until the sale of the lands recovered as provided in Section 27-27-60. The final judgment shall be upon a special verdict by a jury, under the direction of the court, stating the value of the lands and tenements without the improvements put thereon in good faith by the defendant in the prior action and the value thereof with improvements. The defendant in the prior action shall be entitled for such betterments to a verdict for the value thereof, as of the date when the lands were recovered from him and interest on such verdict from such date.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Church History, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

Bishop Mark Lawrence’s Letter to the Diocese of South Carolina following the recent SC Supreme Court Decisions

From here:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today legal counsel for the Diocese received written notification that both our motions for Recusal and for Rehearing were denied by the State Supreme Court.   The former was denied 5-0.   The latter was denied 2-2 with Justice Hearn abstaining and no fifth justice appointed to fill the vacancy.

For those parishes that are parties to the litigation, I encourage you, at this stage, to consult with your parish chancellor.  All parties to the case have previously discussed the timetable for a filing under the Betterments Statute.  Legal counsel can give you best directions for how to proceed with that process.  Our press release for this evening can be found here.

As you will remember, we began our week with our Annual Clergy Conference reflecting together on the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 and 12:9-10. Now this final ruling from the South Carolina Supreme Court coming as it does at the very end of the week presses us once again with the need to find comfort, strength, and courage from the Lord through these words of Holy Scripture. May I encourage you to revisit them—I believe they were prophetic in their timing for us. Meanwhile please know that I have spoken with our lead counsel, Mr. Alan Runyan, Fr. David Thurlow, President of the Standing Committee, as well as with Canon Lewis. A Standing Committee meeting has been called for this Tuesday morning, November 21, 2017.

I will write further to you and to the diocese once I have met with the Standing Committee and have more thoroughly examined the options before us. For now we will continue to stand forthright for the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the faith once delivered to the saints!

Please continue to hold our Diocesan Leadership and Legal Counsel in your prayers.

Your brother in Christ,

–(The Rt. Rev.) Mark Lawrence, 14th Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina

Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Katherine Jefferts Schori, Law & Legal Issues, Michael Curry, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(WBFO) In Buffalo, NY, Converting Episcopal Church of the Ascension into senior housing becomes confrontational

The fight over converting historic Ascension Church at Linwood Avenue and North Street into senior housing turned into something of a confrontation between Buffalo’s Preservation Board and its Planning Board during Monday’s Planning Board meeting.

The Episcopal Diocese and an affiliate want to convert the century-and-a-half-old church into 28 units of low-income senior housing, wading through regulations on three different levels of government and concern the rules for financing the project might change.

The project has been in the works for more than two years, as various approvals were sought and various design changes were made, shrinking the project and moving a new building.

Charles von Simson said it is still not worth building in his neighborhood and other residents agree.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market, TEC Parishes, Urban/City Life and Issues

James Workman Chimes in on the Anglican/Episcopal Dispute and the Supreme Court in South Carolina

From there:

When a friend heard that the Episcopal Church is continuing a lawsuit over ownership of church real estate in the Diocese of South Carolina, knowing it could drive 20,000-plus Christians from their meeting places, that person said, “That’s just not Christian.”

I cannot disagree. Apart from the legal arguments, when a fair person weighs the biggest issues, it’s real estate versus unimpeded worship and ministry.

It is hard to see that the Episcopal Church is being Christian in this action.

Posted in * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(WSJ) For Some Struggling Malls, Churches Offer Second Life

Neighborhood shopping centers battered by store vacancies are finding solace in churches.

As retailers consolidate and shrink the number and sizes of their stores, retail center landlords, especially in weaker markets, are being forced to consider a wider range of prospective tenants that might not fit the conventional retail mold. Among them: houses of worship.

“Having a church becomes an asset because it creates a mixed-use space,” said Rodney Arnold, pastor at OneLife Church, based in Powell, Tenn. The church leases space both in Powell Place Shopping Center and at a building near Knoxville Center Mall in Knoxville.

Until recently, property owners have turned mainly to theaters, restaurants, medical and wellness clinics, and bowling alleys to fill space formerly occupied by retailers that have been plagued by the shift to online shopping and changing consumer tastes.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Religion & Culture

(Telegraph) Did the Church of England ‘lose £8bn’ in a rush to sell off historic parsonages?

England’s vicarages and parsonages are almost as iconic as its churches. But campaigners say they may be all but gone after a 70-year process of selling-off which began after the Second World War and has seen thousands of vicars ejected from the historic buildings and moved into private houses.

What’s more, they have raised concerns that many modern priests have no interest in living in the properties – leaving them vulnerable to being sold.

Campaign group Save Our Parsonages estimates that 8,000 such houses have been sold by dioceses since the Second World War, causing the Church of England financial loss because of the growing value of property.

Read it all.

Posted in Adult Education, Church of England (CoE), Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Northern Echo) New man takes on the complex task of caring for York Minster ‘largest medieval, gothic cathedral north of the Alps’

York Minster’s new director of works and precinct, Alex McCallion, has joined from real estate provider Savills, where he worked as a director in the planning team.

A chartered planning and development surveyor by trade, he is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and brings considerable experience developing master-planning projects within the heritage sector.

His role at the Minster involves overseeing the maintenance, restoration and conservation of the cathedral and its precinct properties and services.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Telegraph) Marijuana company buys entire California town for ‘hospitality destination’

One of the largest marijuana companies in the US has bought a California desert town, promising to turn it into a “cannabis-friendly hospitality destination.”

American Green Inc. said it is buying all 80 acres of Nipton, which includes its Old West-style hotel, a handful of houses, an RV park and a coffee shop.

The town’s current owner, Roxanne Lang, said the sale is still in escrow, but confirmed American Green is the buyer.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Rural/Town Life

Phil Ashey takes an in depth dive into the recent TEC Bp Jon Bruno decision and what it tells us: Questions about the corruption of a diocese

The Hearing Panel stated unequivocally that prior review and approval of the sale of church property by the Standing Committee “is a crucial part of the fabric and polity of the Church.” (Report at 57). And yet the specific findings recited in the Hearing Panel’s Report show that the Standing Committee did little, if anything, to investigate the legal ownership of St. James, to review any legal documentation for the sale, and to refer to its own minutes in doing so. If they had, they presumably would have discovered that the only properties transferred to Corp Sole were back in 2009, and did not include St. James. They would have discovered that a purported May 2014 quitclaim deed by the Diocese to Corp Sole was without any review by the Standing Committee. If they had followed Bishop Glasspool’s advice and consulted with another diocesan chancellor, they might have intervened and halted the sale. Nevertheless, they did not

These detailed findings in the Hearing Panel’s Report are troubling in the extreme, to say the least. Viewed as a whole, the findings strongly suggest that corruption and greed were systemic. They were not limited to Bishop Bruno himself. Key staff and leaders at the highest levels appear from the Report to have been complicit. The Standing Committee appears to have failed to properly review, let alone check, these problematic actions. Both laity and clergy close to the bishop were apparently involved.

How could the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles end up with so many people in positions of leadership who had lost their moral compass?

If the statement of the Diocesan spokesman and its webpage are any signs, the absence of conviction, humility and repentance is not promising.

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

(OC Register) Episcopal panel recommends suspension for L.A. Bishop J. Jon Bruno, return of Newport Beach church to locked-out congregants

A panel of officials from the national Episcopal Church issued its recommendation on misconduct charges against J. Jon Bruno, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, on Friday, July 21, nearly ending a two-year battle during which he tried to sell the St. James the Great church in Newport Beach and displaced its congregants.

Panel members voted 4-1 to suspend Bruno for three years, restore the congregation and halt efforts to sell the 40,000-square-foot building and surrounding property at 3209 Via Lido, which includes a rose garden where the ashes of 12 former parishioners are buried.

The decision comes after panel members presided over a three-day disciplinary hearing in March.

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Supportive Housing Coming to Former Delaware Episcopal Church in Union City

A unique adaptive reuse project is currently underway in a Hudson County community.

The St. John’s Episcopal Church was incorporated in 1846 in what is now known as Union City, and operated as a parish for 165 years, before being converted into a mission church in 2011. A few years later, during the 140th Annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark in 2014, it was decided that St. John’s would be closed altogether, according to the Diocese. This was despite efforts by some community members to save the congregation. Now, the former church, which has stood in the same building for over a century in what was once known as West Hoboken at 1514 and 1516-1518 Palisade Avenue, at the southeast corner of 16th Street, is in the process of being converted into new use.

The Garden State Episcopal Community Development Corporation (GSECDC), of Jersey City, is rehabilitating the church, along with a neighboring vacant two-story building, “to provide supportive housing for homeless families and individuals,” according to the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency.

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Housing/Real Estate Market

A S Haley–TEC Bishop Jon Bruno Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place

The litigation grew nastier, as narrated in this post. Matters even began to sour between Bishop Bruno and his own Diocese’s convention. Eventually, the original purchaser pulled out of the contract (because of the litigation, no doubt), +Bruno rejected all attempts at mediation / conciliation with the parishioners, and the Disciplinary Board’s review panel ordered the matter (over +Bruno’s hypocritical objections) to a full-blown, public hearing, which took place over three days at the end of March of this year. (You can read the day-by-day accounts of the proceedings at this site, if you choose. With my departure from ECUSA, I have pretty much stopped chronicling all the desultory conduct that goes on in the name of that body.)

In the civil courts, meanwhile, +Bruno achieved mixed results. The parishioners’ lawsuit to stop him from selling the property was dismissed, but his suit against the original donor has not fared well. On February 24, the Court of Appeal reversed a decision by the trial court which had denied the donor’s motion to strike +Bruno’s “slander of title” claim against it. The decision ordered the trial court to strike the claim from the lawsuit and award the donor its attorneys’ fees and costs incurred as a result of its filing. The fees and costs will have to be paid out of the Bishop’s own corporation sole, since it was the plaintiff against the donor. In another ruling, the trial court found the original donor had failed to record a renewal of its deed restriction as required by law to keep it enforceable. That freed +Bruno to sell the property, but by then (as we now learn — see below) the original buyer had backed out.

After the disciplinary hearing concluded on March 30, the hearing panel took the matter under submission for briefing before issuing its decision. The Bishop’s attorneys asked the panel to dismiss all charges against him, while the attorney prosecuting the charges asked the panel to find him guilty and suspend him from active ministry for up to a year while fashioning a remedy that would foster reconciliation — for which +Bruno to date has shown no interest whatsoever.

On June 14, before the panel had issued any decision, one of the complainants submitted colorable evidence that +Bruno had entered into a new contract to sell St. James while the disciplinary proceedings were going on. The panel asked +Bruno’s attorneys to disclose to it whether he was under contract with a buyer or not, and when they gave evasive replies, the panel issued a sanctions order on June 17 directing +Bruno not to sell or contract to sell the property until “further order of the Hearing Panel.”

Now comes word from Anglican news sources that on June 22, +Bruno’s attorney sent an email to the panel in which she disclosed that Bishop Bruno had signed a contract to sell the property to another developer — just three weeks after the disciplinary hearing (the purchaser signed the contract a month later).

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, TEC Bishops

Some Lowcountry South Carolina churches cash in on Mount Pleasant land prices

For a number of churches in this fast-growing town, soaring land prices have been a godsend.

Some have inked multimillion-dollar sales of land they bought inexpensively many years ago, boosting church finances and in some cases paying for other initiatives. Development-weary residents, however, might not appreciate new homes popping up on previously tax-exempt property. In at least one community, residents say they feel betrayed.

Parcels once owned by churches are now home to a parking lot for the future Lucy Beckham High School, a cellphone store at Towne Centre, and the Tidal Walk single-family home development.

Read it all from the local paper.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Housing/Real Estate Market, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Theology

(NYT) A Bigger Economic Pie, but a Smaller Slice for Half of the U.S.

Even with all the setbacks from recessions, burst bubbles and vanishing industries, the United States has still pumped out breathtaking riches over the last three and half decades.

The real economy more than doubled in size; the government now uses a substantial share of that bounty to hand over as much as $5 trillion to help working families, older people, disabled and unemployed people pay for a home, visit a doctor and put their children through school.

Yet for half of all Americans, their share of the total economic pie has shrunk significantly, new research has found.

This group ”” the approximately 117 million adults stuck on the lower half of the income ladder ”” “has been completely shut off from economic growth since the 1970s,” the team of economists found.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, History, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Psychology, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology