Key point 7-14. Some deeds to church property contain a “reversion” clause stating that title will revert back to the previous owner in the event that a specified condition occurs. The courts will enforce such provisions, so long as they can do so without interpreting church doctrine.
Deeds to church property may contain restrictions on the sale or use of the property imposed by the prior owner. A recent ruling by a Texas court illustrates why it is important for church leaders to be familiar with any such restrictions prior to any changes involving church property, including a different type of use or a transfer of the property to another party through a sale or gift.
In 1935, George Dew conveyed to a church a two-acre tract of land. The deed provides:
It is the intention and purpose of the grantor herein to convey the surface rights in the above described land to said ...