CHURCH NAME CHANGES
If your church is considering a name change or has had its name changed in the past, please review the following:
1. For a Church of God congregation to officially change its name within the denomination, a written request should be sent to the State Administrative Bishop prior to proceeding with any name change. An explanation as to why a church is wanting to change the name of the church should be attached to the form. Please do not assume that all name changes are approved. There must be a valid reason given. Once the appropriate form is completed and submitted to the State Administrative Bishop, if the State Administrative Bishop concurs with the request, he then submits the required paperwork from his office to the International Offices. This step is very important. It keeps the local church’s file number connected with the new name, and keeps the new name of the congregation linked with the denomination’s blanket IRS 501(c)3 exemption as a non-profit organization.
2. Once the official name change has occurred, the congregation’s property deeds must be corrected to reflect the new church name. The advice of a competent attorney is needed in this regard. The appropriate language from the Minutes of the General Assembly must be contained in the deed (S45. Church Property, V. Standard Deeds Recognizing Trust Ownership, Minutes, pp. 187-188) and the completed deeds must be approved by the State Overseer prior to being recorded (S45. Church Property, VI. Registration of Deeds, Minutes, p. 189)
3. It will be necessary for the local church to contact its insurance carrier to be certain that all insurance contracts and policies reflect the correct local church name.
4. It is very important that once corrected property deeds have been recorded that the property tax exemption status of all exempt church properties are current