N.Y. Religious Corporations Law Section 17-C
Property of Lutheran congregations


1.

Congregations of the Lutheran Church in America. The synod having jurisdiction over a particular congregation of the Lutheran Church in America, may declare defunct any congregation, belonging to the synod, which has disbanded, or has ceased or failed to maintain religious worship or services according to the tenets and usages of the Lutheran Church, or whose membership has so diminished in numbers as to render it impossible or impracticable for such congregation to fulfill the purposes for which it was organized or to protect its property from waste and deterioration, or having departed from membership in the Lutheran Church in America, without the consent of a convention of the synod. Whenever the synod having jurisdiction over a particular congregation of the Lutheran Church in America, declares defunct the particular congregation, upon petition to the supreme court, and upon satisfactory proof of the facts leading to said declaration, the court shall have jurisdiction to grant an order to the effect that all property of whatever kind which may have belonged to, or having been held by, said congregation shall vest in the synod of jurisdiction in as full and ample a manner as the same shall theretofore, have been vested in the congregation so declared defunct. The secretary of the synod of jurisdiction shall record in the office of the county clerk, in which the congregation is located, a certified copy of the resolution of the synod, declaring such congregation defunct and the court order transferring the title of the congregation’s property; and the recording of such resolution and court order shall be proof of the vesting of the title of the real property of such congregation in the synod of jurisdiction.

2.

Congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

(a)

The relationship between a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran church in America and the church may be terminated in one of the following ways:

(i)

The congregation takes action to dissolve;

(ii)

The congregation ceases to exist;

(iii)

The membership of the congregation becomes so scattered or diminished in numbers as to make it impracticable for such congregation to fulfill the purposes for which it was organized. In such case, the synod in order to protect the property from waste and deterioration, through the synod council or trustees appointed by it, may take charge and control of the property of the congregation to hold, manage, and convey the same on behalf of the synod. The congregation shall have the right to appeal the decision to the synod assembly;

(iv)

The congregation is no longer recognized by the church under the disciplinary provisions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; or

(v)

The congregation terminates its relationship according to the procedure outlined in paragraph (b) of this subdivision.

(b)

A congregation may terminate its relationship with the church by the following procedure:

(i)

A resolution indicating desire to terminate its relationship must be adopted at a legally called and conducted special meeting of the congregation by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present;

(ii)

The secretary of the congregation shall submit a copy of the resolution to the synodical bishop and shall mail a copy of the resolution to voting members of the congregation. This notice shall be submitted within ten days after the resolution has been adopted;

(iii)

The bishop of the synod shall consult with the congregation during a period of at least ninety days;

(iv)

If the congregation, after consultation, still desires to terminate its relationship, such action may be taken at a legally called and conducted special meeting of the congregation by a two-thirds majority of the voting members present, at which meeting the synodical bishop or an authorized representative shall be present. Notice of the meeting shall be mailed to all voting members at least ten days in advance of the meeting;

(v)

A certified copy of the resolution to terminate its relationship shall be sent to the synodical bishop, at which time the relationship between the congregation and this church shall be terminated;

(vi)

Notice of termination shall be forwarded by the synodical bishop to the secretary of the church and published in the periodical of the church; and

(vii)

Congregations which had been members of the Lutheran Church in America shall be required, in addition to the foregoing provisions, to receive synodical approval before terminating their membership in the church.

(c)

Subject to the provisions of the governing documents of congregations recognized at the establishment of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the following shall govern the ownership of property by congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:

(i)

Title to property shall reside in the congregation. The congregation may dispose of its property as it determines, subject to any self-accepted indebtedness or other self-accepted restrictions;

(ii)

Title to the undisposed property of a congregation that ceases to exist by virtue of subparagraph (i), (ii) or (iii) of paragraph (a) of this subdivision, shall pass to the synod of this church to which the congregation is related;

(iii)

Title to the property of a congregation that is no longer recognized by this church as a result of discipline shall continue to reside in the congregation;

(iv)

Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate its relationship with this church by the provisions of paragraph (b) of this subdivision and to relate to another Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation; and

(v)

Title to the property of a congregation that has acted to terminate its relationship with this church by the provisions of paragraph (b) of this subdivision and to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body shall continue to reside in the congregation only with the consent of the Synod Council. The Synod Council, after consultation with the congregation by an established synodical process, may give approval to the request to become independent or to relate to a non-Lutheran church body, in which case title shall remain with the majority of the congregation. If the Synod Council fails to give such approval, title shall remain with those members who desire to continue as a congregation of this church.

Source: Section 17-C — Property of Lutheran congregations, https://www.­nysenate.­gov/legislation/laws/RCO/17-C (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Jun. 15, 2024).

3
Filing and recording certificates of incorporation of religious corporations
4
Property of unincorporated society transferred by its incorporation
4‑A
Age qualifications of voters
5
General powers and duties of trustees of religious corporations
5‑A
Investment of funds
5‑B
Any investment of the funds of any religious corporation heretofore made by the trustees thereof shall not be deemed to have been restric...
6
Acquisition of property by religious corporations for branch institutions
7
Acquisition of property by religious corporations for cemetery purposes
7‑A
Deeds for cemetery purposes
8
Lot owners’ rights
8‑A
Reacquisition of a lot, plot or part thereof by a cemetery
9
Removal of human remains from one cemetery of a religious corporation to another cemetery owned by it
10
Acquisition of property by two or more religious corporations for a common parsonage
11
Correction and confirmation of conveyances to religious corporations
12
Sale, mortgage and lease of real property of religious corporations
13
Consolidation or merger of incorporated churches
14
Judicial investigation of amount of property of religious corporations
15
Corporations with governing authority over, or advisory relations with, churches or synods, or both
15‑A
Consolidation of incorporated presbyteries
15‑B
Consolidation or merger of incorporated Presbyterian and Lutheran synods
16
Property of extinct churches
17
Property of extinct Free Baptist churches
17‑A
Property of extinct Seventh Day Baptist churches and Seventh Day Baptist religious societies
17‑B
Property of extinct Presbyterian churches in connection with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U
17‑C
Property of Lutheran congregations
18
Dissolution of religious corporations
19
Corporations for organizing and maintaining mission churches and Sunday schools
20
Corporations for acquiring parsonages for district superintendents and camp-meeting grounds
21
Corporations for acquiring camp-meeting grounds for the Reformed Methodist denomination
21‑A
Corporations for acquiring lands for parsonage or camp-meeting purposes for the Free Methodist denomination
22
Establishing and maintaining a home for aged poor
23
Powers of churches created by special laws
24
Government of churches incorporated prior to January first, eighteen hundred and twenty-eight
25
Pastoral relation
26
Worship
27
Reservation as to Baptist churches, churches of the United Church of Christ and Congregational Christian churches
28
Electronic meetings

Accessed:
Jun. 15, 2024

Last modified:
Sep. 22, 2014

§ 17-C’s source at nysenate​.gov

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