Add new ¶2541
Cemeteries: Where local church property includes a cemetery, the local church shall be strongly encouraged to form a cemetery association. The annual conference shall provide to local churches information about the benefit to the local church of cemetery associations including, but not limited to, the assurance that the cemetery will be cared for even if at some future date the church is discontinued. In addition information shall be given to local churches on the procedures for setting up such associations in accordance with local and state laws including incorporation as a nonprofit organization. Upon the cemetery association receiving nonprofit status, the local church shall transfer any funds being held for the cemetery and the property in accordance with ¶2539 if unincorporated or ¶2540 if incorporated.
In addition to the benefit mentioned in the petition it also: removes cemeteries as a barrier to relocation or merger; allows the congregation to shift focus to the future; and provides a disincentive for individuals who retain church membership solely to be buried in the church cemetery.