The Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut

Procedures for Real Estate Sales or Encumbrances

(revised July 2017) 

Click here to access the ECCT Real Estate Alienations or Encumbrances Application

Part of the role of your Bishops and the Standing Committee is to help ensure that parishes are good stewards of the real property that has been entrusted to them and to assist in a timely, orderly, and visionary manner that allows the parishes to use their real assets to participate in God’s mission.

Sales, leases, mortgages, liens, and easements are among the most common types of transactions involving land and structures. These transactions constitute “encumbrances” or “alienations” of real property, which can be a major project for a parish, often engaging the valuable time and emotional energy of lay and ordained leaders.

Canon IV, Sec 3 of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut requires the written consent of the Bishop and Standing Committee for any encumbrance or alienation of real property.  A copy of the Diocesan Canons are available here. In addition, Title I, Canon 7, Section 3 of the Canons and Constitution of The Episcopal Church similarly says:  “No Vestry, Trustee, or other Body, authorized by Civil or Canon law to hold, manage, or administer real property for any Parish, Mission, Congregation, or Institution, shall encumber or alienate the same or any part thereof without the written consent of the Bishop and Standing Committee of the Diocese of which the Parish, Mission, Congregation, or Institution is a part, except under such regulations as may be prescribed by Canon of the Diocese.”  The General Church canons can be found here.  

These Diocesan and Episcopal Church canons reflect the fact that the Bishops’ Office, with, in this case, the additional advice and consent of the Standing Committee, is responsible for the overall missionary strategy of the Diocese and is charged with assuring that an individual parish has carefully reviewed its stewardship role with respect to church property. To assist parishes in encumbering or disposing of real property, the Bishops and Standing Committee of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut have adopted the following guidelines, which are designed to help the consent process work as smoothly as possible. 


Please feel free to consult with the Operations Manager, Matt Handi, via email at  You can also call Matt directly at 203-639-3501, ext. 107. 

We look forward to working with you and your parish when/if matters related to the alienation and encumbrance of real property are involved.  We give thanks for our partnership with you in God’s Mission in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. 

Checklist of materials to be sent to the Standing Committee:

* Note: This process, from its inception to its conclusion, could take as many as three months or as little as six weeks. 

  • Narrative including:
    • History of the property
    • Date of acquisition/acquisition cost or value
    • Statement of the Reason for the Sale/Encumbrance/Alienation
    • Statement of the use of proceeds, including how it will advance God’s Mission
    • Explanations of provisions, as necessary, for clergy housing
    • If requested, a strategic plan outlining new initiatives in parish life to move toward sustainability
  • Appraisal
  • For encumbrances:  Sample of Lease/mortgage/deed of lease, lien, easement, or other restriction
  • For alienations: Statement of net income to be realized (after commissions) by parish
  • Certificate of the Clerk regarding Parish Meeting and vote to encumber/alienate