andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Jane asked me if the local church was still in use. And I told her I thought that I'd seen the signs up there change occasionally, so it probably was.

And a bit of googling later on found me its web page. Where it transpires that they've recently combined a couple of churches togther to form this congregation. And that for the 8,500 people in the parish it has a a congregation of...24. (Assuming that the whole congregation is in the photo they've used - and it probably is, as they've described themselves as being 20-30 strong).

That's 0.3%. And over 1/3 of those are _really_ elderly.

I believe that overall in Scotland they're doing better than that. But some more googling turns up that they lost 50,000 people between 2010 and 2013. They only have 300,000 people left. At what point does it become worthwhile joining a congregation just so you can be the last member of the Church and end up owning a lot of prime development opportunities?

Date: 2017-06-11 10:03 pm (UTC)
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
From: [personal profile] randomdreams
I don't know about how they do things there, but when the Shakers, a quite popular sect in the US in the late 1800's, went utterly moribund in the 1960's, they made a decision as a church to stop accepting new members precisely because of suspicion of their motives in joining, and set up legal processes to slowly sell off the remaining assets to finance the living costs of their remaining (now 2) members.

Date: 2017-06-11 10:43 pm (UTC)
amaebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
In many denominations the polity specifies that the real estate belongs to the denomination, not the congregation. Much to the surprise of many a schismatic local congregation.

Date: 2017-06-12 11:25 am (UTC)
amaebi: (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi

I'd be surprised if denominational law permitted a cookie-grab, even for one last person in the jar.

Date: 2017-06-11 10:53 pm (UTC)
joexnz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] joexnz
In Church of Scotland, the estates belong to the church, not the congregation.

And most of the churches are listed in some way

They were mainly built in the late 1800's
And with the split and rejoining, quite a lot of towns have two large churches

It's a substantial time bomb for them

Date: 2017-06-12 03:34 am (UTC)
movingfinger: (Default)
From: [personal profile] movingfinger
My gosh, they don't even have a minister, it seems.

Date: 2017-06-12 09:58 am (UTC)
danieldwilliam: (Default)
From: [personal profile] danieldwilliam
From a practical point of, perhaps.

The Church of Scotland is presumably sitting on a great property portfolio (lots of big buildings in good locatation, minus the fact that many of them are listed). They also presumably have a decent long-term non-property investment portfolio. On the other hand they have some long term liabilities. 1) pensions for existing and future ministers 2) care and maintenance of buildings 3) being a church until your (our) take over succeeds. Income from membership will be declining as rolls drop.

With a current membership of 50,000, and say 1/3rd of those over 60, 1/3rd in the 40-60 age bracket and 1/3rd between 16-40 but generally skewed to the older end of those age brackets you probably need to bring 5,000+ new "members" in and have them be prepared to hang on for 20 years. They probably have to turn up to every vote and get someone on every committee every time - so it's perhaps not exactly a low effort plan.

Wikipedia says they have 1,300 congregations, so say, 1,500 large buildings (churches and offices and seminaries etc and 1,500 small buildings (manses, small offices, other facilities). Say an average of £1m per large building including the small buildlings so, £1.3bn of property

Church of Scotland income is about £20m a year, judging by their last set of accounts. However, at least £9m of this is income directly related to them actually being a church and doing some charity activities. Assets valued at 2/3rd of billion but I'm not sure all the churches will be held at current re-sale value, so I stick with my £1.3bn estimate. Investments were about £165m.

So, there's maybe £1.5 bn of value tied up in the Kirk. £300,000 each for 5,000 of us after 20 years of managing it's decline.

Date: 2017-06-12 08:36 pm (UTC)
brixtonbrood: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brixtonbrood
I used to insure the Church of Scotland's property portfolio. The book value is higher than your estimate I think - you haven't allowed for St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh which must be worth a bomb in land value alone. However the upkeep costs are astronomical.

I guess the question of whether 300,000 is suffient reward for 20 years speculative labour depends on how many hours work it would take per month and whether you normally have anything better to do on a Sunday morning.

Date: 2017-06-13 11:09 am (UTC)
danieldwilliam: (Default)
From: [personal profile] danieldwilliam

I had forgotten St Giles.

Thinking about it overnight I reckon I'd discount St Giles to zero value for the entryists. It's an iconic national building literally in the very middle of a World Heritage Site. You might get change of use for most of the listed churches but I think never in a thousand years for St Giles. One's best option would be to gift it to the National Trust for Scotland for free.

Date: 2017-06-12 11:50 am (UTC)
cmcmck: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cmcmck
Belonging as I do to a fairly small sect (the Quakers) it's a bit surprising to see such small numbers in a more mainstream church!

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